With record crowds expected to pack the National Mall from end to end, hotels are marketing fantasy inaugural packages ranging from $50,000 to $200,000 replete with chauffeurs, designer duds and gourmet meals.
Then there’s the homeowner in suburban Maryland offering to rent an “inaugural sleeper sofa” for $250 a night. Or the $65-a-night cabins without running water at West Virginia’s Harpers Ferry KOA campground.
“I’m making sure that people fully understand that they have to take a hike to the shower house,” said Dale Brechlin, camp manager.
The inauguration of the 44th president has sparked a flurry of complicated logistical planning by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee, and the District of Columbia, not to mention restaurants, hotels, tuxedo and limousine rentals and other enterprises.
Officials are calculating how many porta-potties to plant on the mall — open from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial for the first time during an inauguration — as well as what to do with all the buses bringing visitors to the city. For those arriving by private jet, the National Business Aviation Association has warned of likely “parking challenges” at regional airports.
“You can expect airports to be packed like a Wal-Mart parking lot,” said Dug Garrett, veteran of the air charter business.
Obama will take his oath at noon on Jan. 20, on a platform being built on the west steps of the Capitol. He will deliver his inaugural address, have lunch inside the Capitol and then ride in a 1.5-mile parade down Pennsylvania Avenue to a reviewing stand in front of the White House.
The crowd is expected to far surpass the record 1.5 million estimated turnout for President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1965 inauguration.
Tickets to the swearing-in have become so hot that they’re being kept in a secret, high-security location.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., leading the Joint Congressional Committee, has introduced legislation to make it a federal crime to scalp or counterfeit inaugural tickets.
Can we have a more perfect storm?
The people who would normally attack "excess in spending" will themselves be at the grand party SPENDING!! Why not take this show on the road? Have Obama Inaurugations in various cities. Have Obama take the Amtrak train from DC to Baltimore, stop off in Biden's Delaware, Philadelphia, Camden, Newark. Have a big blowout in New York City. Move on to Hartford, and then Boston!
Think about the billion dollar effect that this series of inaugurations would have. It would be like marriage recommitment ceremonies, done in serial fashion. Some celebrities would spend money as they worked to attend all of them. Ebony Magazine could have a commemorative edition for each of these cities.
We need to put aside concerns about practicality and focus on what is best for the economy AND the positive motivations of the American people.
Personally suggestion - spike the punch with "Sam-E". This little supplement serves to keep my mood perky.