As President George W. Bush is sworn in for his second four-year term, he holds a place in history. He holds a place as a president who allowed gross overspending on a frivolous event when a huge portion of the world is struggling to put itself back together.
Bush's inauguration Wednesday cost an estimated $40 million, including musical performances, fireworks and several inaugural galas. The Bushes were also the guests of honor at three candlelight dinners in which donors who gave $100,000 or more received dinner tickets.
Is all this hoopla necessary? Not a bit.
When much of this money could be spent helping the tsunami relief effort, rebuilding the Middle East or even Colorado's higher education system, donors to the inauguration decided to waste their money on a one-time event that could have been pulled off under a much tighter budget.
For a president who should know first-hand the suffering and pain that is going on in the world, this "inaugural extravaganza" seems very over-the-top.
The theme of the inauguration was "A Celebration of Freedom." If freedom is free to all, it is ironic that its celebration cost $40 million.