Hey, everybody! Are you itching to help a lot of well-connected political donors and influence peddlers celebrate American democracy, but are unsure how to go about doing it?
Well, get thee hence to the 57th Presidential Inauguration Store and start buying up some 57th Presidential Inauguration swag, immediately! If you wait too long to make your purchase, you might notice that the payroll tax holiday was ended by Congress, meaning that you will soon have a lot less money to pay for this stuff, thanks to bipartisanship.
Stuff like: this $165 throw blanket, or this $15 "golf divot tool," or this $15 pair of Obama tube socks. Yes, that's a single pair of tube socks. I thought I was a fussy fancy-pants elitist for exclusively buying Muji brand repurposed yarn socks, but at $17.25 for a pack of five, it turns out I am downright thrifty.
You can also buy a $5 button celebrating the Obama family dog, for whatever reason. Or if you just want to show off your extreme wealth transferring skills, there is a $7,500 medallion set, to commemorate your rapacious need for more commemorative medallions.
The money raised by the 57th Presidential Inauguration Store will go to the 2013 Presidential Inauguration Committee, which is responsible for funding the official inauguration shebang and, among other things, bringing "40 children riding 6-foot-tall unicycles" to town so that attendees can say, "Hey, look! There go 40 children riding 6-foot-tall unicycles!"
Seriously, that's the sort of thrill the 2013 PIC will be paying for, as it has a "keen awareness that given the flaccid economy and the stresses of the fiscal cliff, the order of the day will be scaling back from the size and hoopla of the first Obama inauguration," according to Washingtonian's Carol Joynt. This doesn't mean there won't be opulence at this year's inauguration, just that the opulence will prevail at "unofficial" inauguration venues.
As Christina Wilkie reported back in December, the most controversial decision made by the 2013 PIC was its decision to "accept unlimited corporate contributions."
"To help cover the cost of the public events, the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee will be accepting contributions from individual and institutional donors in compliance with the laws governing contributions to an Inaugural Committee," said spokeswoman Addie Whisenant. "The PIC will not be accepting donations from lobbyists or PACs and will not be entering into any sponsorship agreements with individuals or corporations."
The decision marks a reversal of the self-imposed ban that Obama's inaugural team placed on corporate donations in 2008 -- and opens the floodgates to massive amounts of corporate cash funding official balls and other public events. It also likely reflects lessons learned with this summer's Democratic National Convention, for which Democrats initially banned corporate money but then devised a loophole through their own ban when funds came up short for the four-day event.
Nevertheless, no matter how many Inauguration 2013-branded key chains you buy, this year's festivities are likely to be much more sedate that the ones in 2009. Hopefully, they will be much less disastrous for the people who are given "purple tickets" as well.
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