Larry Elder

"When," someone recently asked me, "does President Obama's media 'honeymoon' period end?"

Answer: It won't.

Oh, sure, every relationship experiences peaks and valleys. But the "mainstream media" wanted Obama to win, and helped him do so. If Obama were a stock, the media would be "fully invested."

During the Bush administration, we saw many "Big Stories" of "Bad Actions." Let's liken these stories to crimes. If Bush committed no crime, they reported an infraction. If he committed an infraction, they reported a misdemeanor. If he committed a misdemeanor, they reported a felony. If he committed a felony, they reported a capital offense. With Obama, the media reverse the procedure. Any future capital offense will get reported as a regular felony, a felony as a misdemeanor and so forth.

Obama's inauguration showed the double standard on full display. The final tally for all the expenses won't be out for a few months, but clearly the cost of Obama's inauguration meets or exceeds Bush's four years ago, even adjusted for inflation. And expect a higher price for security, in large part because about 400,000 people attended Bush's last inauguration versus Obama's 1.5 million to 1.8 million. Obama's inaugural committee budgeted about $45 million for the fun stuff -- such as balls and concerts and parades -- with taxpayers putting up $49 million more, and local jurisdictions are asking federal taxpayers for another $75 million to cover their costs.

But back in 2005, when Bush's second inaugural costs (excluding security) reached $42 million, the media attacked. Unseemly! Exorbitant! Extravagant! How can Bush justify the spending during wartime? Not only does the country remain at war, but our country now suffers a serious recession.

So what do the mainstream media say about Obama's inaugural "extravagance"? Virtually nothing. One Associated Press article, headlined "For inaugural balls, go for glitz, forget economy," opened with this lead: "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." Four years ago, an Associated Press article that attacked Bush's "extravagant" inauguration listed things $40 million could buy -- from Humvees to vaccinations.


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.


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