Sunday, January 16, 2005

JABBS Agrees With Michael Savage? Yes. At Time of War, Bush Inauguration Cost is Excessive

I seldom agree with radio host Michael Savage.

I can listen to Savage for a minute or two and agree with the gist of his argument, and then, like lightning, he'll go off the deep end with some racist, sexist or homophobic comment.

But among conservative radio hosts, Savage, at times proudly, defies to drink the Republican Kool-Aid. He regularly knocks Rush Limbaugh and others for parroting GOP talking points, especially when those talking points go against what Savage sees as the principals of conservative government.

In other words, given a choice between having to weed through Savage at his most offensive to listen to some independent conservative talk, or listening to the idiocy that is the "Mark Levin Comedy Hour," I'll choose the former (the two compete on the New York radio dial).


That said, I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with a point Savage made several times on his show last week: At a time of war, should President Bush be celebrating at an inauguration some are saying may ultimately cost $50 million ($40 million of private donations and $12 million in Homeland Security, paid for by the District of Columbia)?

To be clear, the Bush inauguration is being paid via private donation, rather than "by the taxpayers." But that's not Savage's point. What he has said is that Bush should show some "decorum," and have a less-costly bash.

By comparison -- and I have not independently checked his math -- President Clinton's second-term inauguaration, in 1996, cost roughly $30 million. But, as Savage points out, the country was not at war at the time.

A poll on Savage's website ( found that 53% of listeners, out of nearly 6,000 respondents, agreed with Savage's assessment. One would think this pool of respondents tilted far to the right.


Taking Savage's point a step further, whatever happened to fiscal conservatism? As pointed out on JABBS ( and elsewhere last week, President Bush is resorting to accounting tricks as a way to reduce the voluminous budget deficit. The combination of two wars, multiple tax breaks for the rich, a lax IRS audit system (due, in large part, to a reduced IRS staff size for conducting audits) and a continued sluggish economy have led to record deficit levels, with no end in sight.

During the presidential campaign, the Democrats harped on how, throughout history, the nation sacrificed at times of war. Yet President Bush, rather than asking Americans to sacrifice, has instead been handing out tax breaks as if they are going out of style. Corporate lobbyists have never found a greater friend that George W. Bush.

The $50 million inauguration, perhaps, is more than a little symbolic of the president's inability to say no when it comes to budgeting. As Michael Savage points out, a dress for one of the Bush Twins (designed by Badgley Mishka) is $10,000.

Perhaps, at this time of war, it would have shown more decorum to have Barbara and Jenna buy off the rack.


Blogger Michael said...

"Fat Cats in Washington Party While Our Kids Die in Illegal War For Oil"

Boy, I wish even one single newspaper had the courage to run a headline that tells the truth. Unfortunately I fear we will get more gushy photos of Bush and Barbara dancing and maybe a retrospective timeline of what gowns the previous First-Ladies have worn. I don't know wether to cry or puke first.

5:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Bush really concerned about how much the war costs?
We should not expect Bush's alternative reality to change now at the time of his reinauguration party.
A brief raid by U.S. forces could not overtake the country as Bush and his band of incompentents believed a few years ago. We have seen the worse case scenerio of Bush critics come true. It was said when Bush was first elected in 2000 that his lack of foreign policy and war experience would result in a "learn as you go" strategy in affairs overseas. That is exactly what happened and look what is has cost us in terms of human lives, credibility abroad and money.
Back to the alternative universe, Bush has not once told the truth about the "progress" of the war. Such lies helped get him elected. Well, maybe now that he has been elected he did attempt the truth once in recent weeks now that things have gotten so bad in the run-up to the Iraq elections even he can no longer ignore or lie about it. For one, the entire city of Falluah has reportedly been completely leveled and destroyed. It is no longer habitable for the 300,000 residents who used to live there.
Bush, cheered on by the Republican press, really is under no overwhelming pressure to accept accountability for Iraq. And commentators are already predicting more of the same in his inauguration speech.
So F to all you liberals. Bring on the damned party! And spare no expense.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there anything more tiresome than some whining liberal complaining about losing an election, and complaining about the other side winning? Sure, $50M could be used for a lot of things, those individuals could choose to buy me a car, they could choose to start a website to counter the crap posted on here, they could choose to buy 50M cheeseburgers at Mickey D's. However, these private individuals have chosen to spend their hard earned money to donate to the Presidential inauguration. Spending private money on choice A is not mutually exclusive to spending on choice B, but the hack press would not have you believe that, since they compute how many humvees could have been armored, social security benefits paid for, etc ... However, they ignore the difference between public and private dollars. Also, I found it interesting that the corporate and individual donors to the inauguration have also donated in excess of $50M, in addition to in kind donations, to the tsunami relief efforts. I guess that would be too painful for the moonbats to acknowledge, since they seem to be keeping score.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whether it's off topic or not, it should be pointed out the corporate donations to the inaugural ball are largely from big organizations like Sallie Mae which want to influence the Republican legislative agenda this year.
Instead of obsessing on Ms. Bush's gown for the event, the press should give equal attention to the listing of these donors so the public can get a sense of which companies/individuals are influencing policy this year.
But who wants to listen to these "liberal" whiners.

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How conservative do you have to be to call Michael Savage (aka Michael Weiner) a "whining liberal"?

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JABBS clearly says that the money coming in for the inauguration is private.

The point is not how many armored Humvees $50 million can buy. The point is that we're at war, and given how often Bush and friends reminds us of the war on terror, the war in Iraq, etc., maybe a little decorum during the inauguration would not only be responsible, but would gain them some political capital with the left side of the aisle.

From the sound of things, the inauguration is a time for lobbyists galore to try to milk whatever they can out of the administration -- business as usual. But that goes against the idea of sacrifice, of belt-tightening, or of fiscal responsiblity that Americans have come to expect from its leaders during wartime.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is such a stupid topic. one can clearly argue that an extravagant inaugural is in poor taste during war. big deal. so what. go ahead. not really news. that is a style issue, not a money issue. on the monetary issue, if this inaugural is privately funded, then what is there to question? Do we question the private expenditures of people on a day to day basis and compare it to what could be spent this is a capitalist society. its just absurd, and it only serves those who hate Bush and want to just lay into him yet again.

So, if you want to say it is in poor taste to throw a party during war, fine. But to question where the money comes from---non issue. i would also suggest that all inaugurals in post 9-11 world will be expensive, in large part due to extra cost of security needed.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The issue isn't as much money as it is taste. It's private money -- no one is doubting that -- and no one is suggesting people (or companies) can't spend on whatever they want.

But the broader issue is what does it say about our president? About the sadness he feels about fallen troops? About the frustrations he feels at how every reason the U.S. initially gave for going to Iraq have been proven false (connections to Al Qaeda, WMD, etc.)

What does it say about his mindset that he is happy to enjoy a $50M shindig, while in the same breath his administration has spent the past three years scaring our citizens dozens of times over any number of things, including Saddam and terrorism.

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what does it say about Bush...hmm. I think it says he doesnt care at all about the troops, is secretly happy about all the deaths in iraq, psyched he got away with lying to the public, enthused he got rid of that liberal thorn CBS, glad he pissed off the french. he probably is even happy about the big wave he heard about on the other side of the planet. and also is happy he was able to steal the election, bring jesus to the world, destroy our international standing, prevent saddam from shaving, torture all those poor downtrodden souls in our prison camps, increase global warming issues, cause more people to catch the flu, create terrorism where it didnt exist, piss off the french....what else? What did i miss. Oh yeah the deficit-- thats right, he is trying to bankrupt the country for our kids--at least those who dont die in the war once the draft is reinstituted. because he cant speak well, he wants to eliminate freedom of speech and therefore has given the FCC leeway.

Brought to you by Air America.

Question---what does this say about Al Gore, John Kerry and the dems. Hmm......

Here is an idea: lets show fiscal responsibility by eliminating the awards shows (oscars, emmys globes), puff daddy's hip hop parties, high end restaurants, golf clubs......what other millions of private money excesses do we not need to survive here in the good old US of A.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It says nothing about Bush's views on these things. unrelated. this entire topic is absurd and doesnt deserve the time it is getting. if you think the president is in poor taste, so be it. i agree only IF it is over the top. not just because it is costly--that is irrelevant.

but it being in poor taste does not mean anything you imply. I dont subscribe to the liberal whine theory espoused above. Please dont make me change my mind.

This is a non-story.

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe this is a better angle for fans of this blog:

The Washington Post reports that the White House, breaking from precedent, is "refusing to reimburse the District for more of the costs associated with next week's inauguration." Instead, federal officials are instructing the District to make up for the $11.9 million difference by diverting money awarded in federal homeland security grants. That means more money for parties, parades and feasting and less money for "increasing hospital capacity, equipping firefighters with protective gear and building transit system command centers."

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jolly good idea by blogger directly above me. Although it should be a much bigger issue than David's initial comments, it will not get anywhere near the same air or print play.
Bush should be setting an example for the entire country and the world.
Remember Bush's State of the Union speech a year ago? It had reaped some of the lowest approval ratings of State of the Union addresses of the last several presidents. It was universally characterized as a horrible speech -- all rhetoric and lacking in any substance. It had many already predicting a Bush landslide defeat in the fall.
All this hub bub over his next inauguration ceremony such as Barbara Wa Wa's interview of the First Couple in a sickening, ass-kissing, suck-fest extravaganza last Friday night, diverts attention from the lack of substance of his administration (if you leave out the mistakes). Bush wants to take the focus away from all the anticipation of yet another empty unapologetic speech.

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Non story.
So the locals in Wash DC are going to be upset at having to cover the cost.....not that i dont sympathize considering the lack of federal money coming to NYC after 9-11, the fact it has to deal with the UN, the amount of tax dollars it contributes to the pot versus what it gets back etc....

basically many people have a claim that their locality gets screwed.

the security costs will either be paid by federal monies or by local money. so what is the argument here--whether the cost should be borne by the district taxpayers or by all US taxpayers? Money is money. I can see the potential arguments here but they get you nowhere in the end.

Maybe there just shouldnt be an inauguration at all. I hear Kerry wouldnt have had one.

Again, i dont personally care if Bush has a 100m inauguration privately funded. the question is whether it will be tasteful considering the times. the jury is still out on this. the oscars after 911 was toned down - considered the tasteful thing to do - but it wasnt cheaper. this entire (non) issue is just another excuse to play target practice with Bush wearing a bullseye.

there are so many things Bush has and is doing wrong that need air time that to waste time on this demeans all of us.

was listening to air america the last few nights. Is it just me or is Janeane Garafolo a complete idiot? Man, does she love to hear herself talk. At least Randi Rhodes has solid background for debates.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Non-issue? How our National Leader behaves, his readiness to celebrate himself by blowing $50 million on champaign and ice sculptures while our sons and daughters are being blow apart in a pre-emptive war based on wrong information, his eagerness to accept $40 million in gifts from Big Businesses seeking influence in the Oval Office?

Sure, Republicans say that sort of thing isn't worth discussing now. But think back a few years to when they were on the attack against Clinton. Then is was all about "a question of character and judgement" (to quote a Bush snr. condemnation of Clinton).

Sorry, but this is an issue - an issue of "character and judgement". And it says volumes about the man.

7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dont think it is an issue now; didnt think it was an issue with clinton either. stereotyping here..... you havent even seen the inaugural and you are already condemning it based on its cost (or is it because it is for Bush rather than Kerry). So you think Kerry wouldnt have had one? Maybe more toned down, maybe not.

For those that hate Bush, business as usual. They will say it is deplorable as they say about everything he does.

For those that love him, he can do no wrong and they will say it is perfectly acceptable.

For those in the middle, who focus on the issues and are concerned more about actual problems, they will reserve judgment as to the tastefulness of the inaugural and recognize that this is an "issue" undeserving of the time it has received.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A question of character and judgement, huh ? I suppose that Sen. Kerry was not planning on having an inauguration were he to have been elected.

A question of decorum? Why is the prior commentator unable to separate having concern for the soldiers from participating in a symbolic ceremony that celebrates our democracy - the peaceful transition of power?

This is such a non-story, that was mentioned previously. However, what I find the interesting story to be is the fact that the moonbats will find anything, and I mean, anything, to complain about when it comes to President Bush. They show their character and their colors when they resort to such petty bickering. Little wonder they consistently get beat in the elections.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Savage doesn't drink from the Republican Kool-aide because he's not a Republican. But a casual listner like yourself wouldn't know that. Perhaps that's why it's best for you to refrain from commenting on Dr. Savage's insights. Savage is conservative, but above all else, he is a Nationalist. He believes in protecting America's culture, language, and borders. Evidently Nationalism is catching on in Liberal New York, where Savage's show is No. 1.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The story did not say Savage was a Republican. It said he was a conservative commentator.

1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, the three most expensive inaugurals ever were G.H.W. Bush (1988/$46M), G.W. Bush (2000/$43M), and G.W. Bush (2004/$40M). Clinton's inaugurations cost $30M and $35M, I think.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

considering the security concerns now as opposed to the past, this one looks cheap by comparison.

i will say it here.....who cares how much it costs. aint my money. i dont tell my friends how to spend theirs.....was it tasteful or way over the top? Enough already. People need to get a life.

this is such a small amount of money in teh overall scheme of american politics and our war etc.....the whole so called issue is absurd.

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the $40M included security, it might be seen as a bargain compared with 1988 or 2000. But the security charges have been passed along to the DC government.

Add it together, and the inaugural cost $52M.

Wasn't the original point not that the cost was high, but that the decorum was low?

6:34 PM  

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