Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Bad Taste and Big Checks

New York Times editorial today, "Victor's Spoils," speaks out about next week's tasteless inaugural fit for an emperor....

"At the rate President Bush's supporters are giving money, his second inauguration threatens to stand out in the history books like the common folks' muddy boot prints on the White House furniture at Andrew Jackson's gala. The $40 million record for inaugural partying set four years ago for Mr. Bush is expected to be shattered this month. The only limits for this binge of giving are the private inaugural committee's maximum of $250,000 for corporate donors (more than 40 have pledged so far) and $100,000 for individuals (60 and counting).

Ordinary citizens might have hoped that the overriding issue in Washington - the perilous Iraq war, with its drain on the nation's blood and treasure - would dictate restraint. But plans for the four-day extravaganza roll forward with nine celebratory balls being underwritten by the usual corporate and fat-cat supplicants in the political power mill.

There's nothing new in Washington's triumphalist celebrations, festooned with price tags for access, but war usually mutes the singing and dancing. Not this year.

The inaugural's stated theme - "Celebrating Freedom, Honoring Service" - is spin-doctoring in the extreme and hardly justifies the unrestrained lucre-fest. Planners did take care to create a "Commander in Chief Ball," free to the military and their families.

But that only underscores the bad taste. Officials say "freedom everywhere" is the point of the celebrations. The freedom most obviously honored is that of American businesses, eagerly writing checks to get ever closer to the election winners. "

Again I ask....as our self-proclaimed Christian faith-driven President should be asking himself....what would Jesus do?

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