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Marie Antoinette

Laura Bush has modernized Marie Antoinette's "let them eat cake" defense of privilege in the face of suffering:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 - With less than a week to go until her husband's second inauguration, Laura Bush on Friday defended the decision to hold the $40 million celebration as planned despite a war abroad and the tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean.

Inaugurations, Mrs. Bush said, are "an important part of our history."

"They're a ceremony of our history; they're a ritual of our government," she said in a round-table interview with reporters in the White House map room. "And I think it's really important to have the inauguration every time. I think it's also good for Washington's economy, for people to come in from around the country, for the hotels to be full, and the restaurants to be full, and the caterers to be busy. I think that's important."

Our soldiers may be dying, and whole villages may have been washed away, but Laura, undistracted, still recognizes the value of full hotels and busy caterers.


Are these comments that I see?

$40 million is extravagant, but when you consider the source of that money (although the security costs seem to be taxpayer-footed), and that the kind of people donating to Bush's inauguration probably just would be spending the money on hotels and caterers anyway, why not? Might as well honor the office of the presidency, if not the president.