The year is 2005, and Bush just got reelected to every Kerry supporter’s chagrin. In the news recently was armor for humvees and the cost of war. Courtesy of Newsbusters, we can now remember that the Associated Press, in the guise of an impartial observer, reports, as Bush prepares for his second term, “The questions have come from Bush supporters and opponents: Do we need to spend this money on what seems so extravagant?”
Fast forward to the present. It is 2009, and Barack Obama is preparing for his inauguration as the first black president in American history (something about the word “historic” comes to mind). There’s cause for celebration. There is also a recession on. And the wars obviously. Yet the Associated Press, in this time of widely accepted economic bust, goes all out:
So you’re attending an inaugural ball saluting the historic election of Barack Obama in the worst economic climate in three generations. Can you get away with glitzing it up and still be appropriate, not to mention comfortable and financially viable?
To quote the man of the hour: Yes, you can. Veteran ballgoers say you should. And fashionistas insist that you must.
The people want to celebrate (as they did in 2005). So they should. But why was the AP so intent on spoiling all the fun when it was a Republican?
Anyway, come to think of it, it may actually be an urban legend that DC will be overcrowded, and that everyone is making way down to Washington. From Kashmir Hill in the Orange County Register:
But the turnout now looks likely to be less than two million, with enthusiasms dampened by the expense and difficulty of traveling, the crowds, the economic downturn, the cold weather and the scarcity of swearing-in ceremony tickets. Despite early reports of area hotels being sold out, as of Jan. 7 there were still 627 hotel rooms available in the city, and over 12,000 within a 400-mile radius, according to the official tourism organization, Destination, D.C.
Tour organizers across the country have discovered that inauguration enthusiasm has faded. GotoBus.com, an online bus tour company with one, two and eight-day inaugural packages from Boston to Washington, still has tickets for sale on every trip.
Obama supporters in Florida had planned a “Yes We Can 2009 Cruise,” with over 300 people to sail from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., to Baltimore, Md. But the cruise was cancelled, due to a lack of demand. Now the group will just send two buses, said Obama campaign volunteer Karen Phillips.
Two buses is a long way off from a luxury cruise. But that would explain why my apartment, only 5 blocks from the White House, hasn’t had any takers for what is clearly a good rate. Don’t you people want to enjoy the Rapture?!
“The excitement seems to have died,” said Neal Kellman, owner of SolidPlanIt, a tour and events company in Brooklyn, N.Y. His 56-person bus was only half full by Jan. 13, though the package had been discounted to $175 from $233. “This was supposed to be a big deal. Everyone said they were going to go…But now little small issues-‘It’s cold. There will be a crowd.’-seem to be making people decide against it.”
Look people. My plan is for all of you to get in the same frigid windtunnel (we call it the National Mall) and endure the cold chill of your government getting bigger. In the meantime, I wanted to appear smarter for going skiing or swimming on a beach. Are you telling me that my comparative advantage is being diminished at this very moment?
A comparative advantage deferred is a comparative advantage denied.
And guys, Moby is totally doing a monster set at 9:30 Club on Sunday night that I totally need to get in on.