Obama, in first nod to financial crisis, spends big time on trains, parties and parades

Sure, it is pretty impressive that America has elected its first black president. Sure, we are a country at the brink of a major depression and need to celebrate something. Sure, someone has to feed the media's insatiable appetite for glitz. But at the very precipice of financial disaster, to see our new leader turn a blind and unfeeling eye on the financial woes of millions of Americans is disconcerting at the very least.

Sure, it is pretty impressive that America has elected its first black president.  Sure, we are a country at the brink of a major depression and need to celebrate something.  Sure, someone has to feed the media’s insatiable appetite for glitz.  But at the very precipice of financial disaster, to see our new leader turn a blind and unfeeling eye on the financial woes of millions of Americans is disconcerting at the very least.

 

One can only imagine the millions of tax payer dollars spent on his “historic” train ride yesterday.  And, it doesn’t take any imagination to guess at the millions and millions more that are about to be spent on the inauguration and the parades and the parties.  Who doesn’t like a good time, but these are very bad times, and it would have been very good for President Obama to have shown both leadership and sensitivity at this moment in America’s history.  

 

He could have designed his inaugural such that it marked the important moment of transition and history at the same time as it paid heed to one of the most serious crises facing this nation in our lifetime.  Such a design would have been dignified and understated, filled with ceremony, but intentionally holding the line on unnecessary and over-the-top spending.  At a moment when we need sophisticated, sober, and tone-setting leadership, to see this kind of irrational exuberance is unsettling and disappointing.

 

It is a serious misstep, but let’s hope it is the only one to come in the days and months ahead.  He needs to come down to earth and remember that tone is a critical part of wise and successful leadership.    

Daniel Socolow
Daniel Socolow: President, Socolow Group. Former Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program, President of the American University of Paris, Vice President of Spelman College. BA, MA, Ph.D.

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Comments

  • JBHardy

    January 19, 2009

    Every thing has a cost, including hope.

  • JE.Smith

    January 19, 2009

    If you are garnering hope or change out of the above mentioned human.You live or are a "Fallacy" yourself ladies and gentlemen!!!

  • AW. Woloc

    January 19, 2009

    No, I think Obama is great for our times. But, I agree that he blew it here and missed an opportunity to set the right tone.

  • JE.Smith

    January 19, 2009

    1-20-09 The Beginning of an Error!! Yes just as Tim Geithner our soon to be Fed Chairman made an honest mistake by not paying his taxes.Sure he did! You Mr.AW.Woloc need to stop drinking the David Axlerod Kool- Aid.Stop the Pandering and Catering!!

  • bennel

    January 20, 2009

    Someone's wearing his underwear much too tight.

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