October 5, 2009

"President Barack Obama's failed bid to bring the 2016 Olympic Games to Chicago cost more than a bruised ego."

"Taxpayers shelled out probably $1 million or more for the president, his wife and others to fly to Copenhagen and back to woo members of the International Olympic Committee. A 2006 congressional study pegged the cost of flying Air Force One at $56,518 an hour. The Pentagon recently said it cost $100,219 an hour to fly the huge, reconfigured Boeing 747 without Obama aboard.... [P]residential travel requires additional spending, especially for security personnel and equipment. Also, first lady Michelle Obama and some administration officials traveled to Copenhagen at public expense ahead of the president."

And please calculate the "carbon footprint" too while you're at it.

***

Maybe the President should never travel anywhere. We've got him set up to work at home. Let him stay there. Let people visit him. Maybe the occasional truly momentous summit, but basically, work from home, President.

44 comments:

Daddio said...

Totally agree!

traditionalguy said...

How much did the death of American soldiers attaked and killed from the surrounding mountains while sitting in an a valley outpost in the Afghan no-where areas next the Pakistan nowhere areas cost? Being a professional narcissist with no plan is not the style of Commander-in-chief that those men needed.

AllenS said...

From the article: "A 2006 congressional study pegged the cost of flying Air Force One at $56,518 an hour. The Pentagon recently said it cost $100,219 an hour to fly the huge, reconfigured Boeing 747 without Obama aboard. The Pentagon estimate included more costs for support needs, such as maintenance.

At those rates, the president's 14-hour trip to Copenhagen and back cost about $790,000 to $1.4 million."

Don't forget, Michelle took another jumbo jet earlier to the event. What did it cost the taxpayers to fly her ass over there?

Father Martin Fox said...

My objection was to the imprudence, as I see it, to the Copenhagen trip. The fact that the President and his family and entourage cost a lot of money to ferry about and protect is not their fault, provided they don't abuse the service.

For example, I think the criticism by some of the President going on vacation, or going to Camp David, or going out on the town, because of the expense of his travel and protection, is wrong. The President is entitled to vacations, nights out on the town, and time away on the weekend.

(And since I don't like most of what he aims to do with his work time, I'm happy as a clam to have him go on vacation as much as possible; just as I'd happily pay Congress more to go on recess. It'd be a bargain!)

Having Air Force One fly (supposedly) empty over New York City for a photo-shoot (if that's what it was)? No, that's not okay. I have a suspicion there is much more to that story, and maybe it's exculpatory, but I harbor the suspicion it was just a bone-head move.

Original Mike said...

I'm not put out by his expenses, but what's up with her flying a separate plane? Good grief.

former law student said...

The trip to Copenhagen was a good cover story for Obama's face-to-face meeting with McChrystal.

bearbee said...

Small price to pay if the international kick in the pants smartens him up a bit and moderates his narcissism.

peter hoh said...

Maybe Obama should get a ranch. I hear that clearing brush does wonders for the presidential psyche.

DADvocate said...

Obviously, some people don't appreciate the sacrifice that Michele and Barack made to bring the Olympics to Chicago.

Ingrates!!

garage mahal said...

Maybe Obama should get a ranch. I hear that clearing brush does wonders for the presidential psyche..

Or maybe Obama should have put on a fighter pilot costume and landed on a carrier parked off Denmark.

Rob Anderson said...

The president was in a no-win situation with the Olympics bid. He's getting a lot of negative feedback only because the Chicago bid was unsuccessful. Imagine what his critics would have said if he didn't make the effort and Chicago still lost!

rhhardin said...

It cost more than money, Belmont Club.

The only return is entertainment value. What a chump this guy is.

MadisonMan said...

Presidential travel costs money. I'm willing to shell out for it. I think the more time he spends out of the cesspool of DC, the better.

MayBee said...

I remember when Obama had Ag Secretary Vilsack attend a press briefing to announce a fabulous cost savings of $400,000. The Agriculture department had canceled the contracts of one Stanley Johnson.

That $400,000 was apparently a very important chunk of money.

TosaGuy said...

AF1 is part perk and part requirement for the president. It costs what it costs and I don't support the President hunkered down in the White House as a prisoner with servants.

However, Obama ripped into those who fly on private planes. He has committed the worst sin imaginable of a populist politician -- his personal actions don't follow his public words.


This is a petty issue, but it is one that Obama created for himself.

Shanna said...

For example, I think the criticism by some of the President going on vacation, or going to Camp David, or going out on the town, because of the expense of his travel and protection, is wrong.

Agree. I always found the pictures on the golf course and the moralizing irritating. Of course, whether going to this Olympics thing was a good idea is a separate question. And I'm not sure why Michelle took a separate plane. And did the government fly Oprah there? That doesn't make any sense.

Henry said...

The cost of flying the president over there is nothing compared to the cost to Chicago if they'd actually won the boondoggle.

Father Fox is right, to a degree. The president should not be strapped to an anchor. But Mr. President, do some prioritizing.

Henry said...

garage mahal wrote: Or maybe Obama should have put on a fighter pilot costume and landed on a carrier parked off Denmark.

LOL. "Mission Accomplished."

Seriously, the Olympics will be great in Rio. Chicago is better off without them.

miller said...

It was an epic FAIL to go to Copenhagen and expect a speech to change things. That only works on gullible American voters.

The cost of the trip was irrelevant - a rounding error in the HHS budget.

WV: unity. I kid you not.

Larry J said...

At those rates, the president's 14-hour trip to Copenhagen and back cost about $790,000 to $1.4 million."

Don't forget, Michelle took another jumbo jet earlier to the event. What did it cost the taxpayers to fly her ass over there?


Michelle flew over with her entourage in a converted Boeing 757. That isn't exactly an economy plane. If the plane cost "only" $10,000 an hour (likely a very low estimate when you factor in the crew costs, maintenance costs, etc), then her flying separately cost about $140,000 over and above the cost of flying BO.

In addition, whenever a president flies somewhere in AF1, at least one military transport plane is also needed to carry the presidential limo or helicopter used for local travel. Add to that the need to send security teams ahead before the president leaves. This goes for all presidental travel regardless of who is in the office. For that reason, presidental travel should be for necessary purposes, not ego trips.

As for meeting with his general, before last Friday, he had one video conference since appointing the general last April. In the age of easy and secure video conferencing, Obama can meet with his generals any time with almost no lead time or cost. The equipment needed for the video conferences already exists. Obama only needs to use it.

Paul said...

"Or maybe Obama should have put on a fighter pilot costume and landed on a carrier parked off Denmark."

Yeah sure. He's such a super genius big balled manly man he could learn to fly one of those stupid fighter jets in no time.

Hell if Dubya the moron coward could fly one....Sheeeeit.

AllenS said...

Or maybe Obama should have put on a fighter pilot costume and landed on a carrier parked off Denmark.

I wasn't aware that Obama knew how to fly a fighter plane. When did he learn how to do this?

Original Mike said...

The trip to Copenhagen was a good cover story for Obama's face-to-face meeting with McChrystal.

As I said before, FLS, I sure hope your wrong, because the thought of him thinking he needs a cover story to meet with McChrystal is down right scary. He's CIC, for Christ's sake!

Alex said...

Garage's last words on his deathbed will be - "lol Bush that coward bastard... mission accomplished lol.... BLARGH!!!!!!!!!!"

The Drill SGT said...

In addition, whenever a president flies somewhere in AF1, at least one military transport plane is also needed to carry the presidential limo or helicopter used for local travel. Add to that the need to send security teams ahead before the president leaves. This goes for all presidental travel regardless of who is in the office. For that reason, presidental travel should be for necessary purposes, not ego trips.

Larry is the first one to scratch the surface on the true costs.

For some visits, the advance team, e.g. aides, Secret Service, commo guys, mechanics, PAO's, interpreters, DoS guys, etc, runnings to 500 staff or more, each driving the cost of transporation, cars, hotels, per diem etc up.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I think the more time he spends out of the cesspool of DC, the better.

Well considering he's about as much of the DC establishment as the rest, I don't see what benefit that has.

Its one thing to spend the taxpayer qwan on travel that is meaningful. I think the objection here is 1) is it really the job of the President of the USA to be the pitchman for getting an Olympic bid? and 2) Was it really necessary for Her Royal Highness to be flown seperately on the taxpayer dime?

I mean with all the bullshit about carbon footprints being shoved down my throat this sorta rubs me the wrong way.

former law student said...

When did [Obama] learn how to [fly a fighter plane]?

He started with MS Combat Flight Simulator, then moved on to this:

http://lockon.co.uk/img/home/LO_MAC_full.jpg

him thinking he needs a cover story to meet with McChrystal

Keeping it a secret kept the pundits away. Being able to operate out of the media spotlight is a good thing.

In the age of easy and secure video conferencing

Videoconferencing is no substitute for being able to look people in the eye. But I could get behind keeping Congress at home, responsive to their voters, using video conferencing for the few times they actually meet during the year.

This "talking to the guy down the hall" business, or even eating a meal with people, is seriously overrated when you can just open your take out lunch together simultaneously over the internet.

MadisonMan said...

is it really the job of the President of the USA to be the pitchman for getting an Olympic bid?

Probably not. It's not in the Constitution, after all, that he should do such a thing.

Original Mike said...

Keeping it a secret kept the pundits away. Being able to operate out of the media spotlight is a good thing.

More like keeping it secret from his base, me thinks.

garage mahal said...

Garage's last words on his deathbed will be - "lol Bush that coward bastard... mission accomplished lol.... BLARGH!!!!!!!!!!".

If I had a choice, no. Mission Accomplished between Salma Hayek or Kim Kardashian on my deathbed, whole nuther story! And a mighty tough pick that would be.

The Drill SGT said...

In the age of easy and secure video conferencing

Videoconferencing is no substitute for being able to look people in the eye. But I could get behind keeping Congress at home, responsive to their voters, using video conferencing for the few times they actually meet during the year.


For a REMF (now days called a FOBBIT), FLS is very insightful here.

For some things, only a face to face meetiung works. The military does use a lot of VTC, but nothing can replace the ability of the commander to look a subordinate in the eye when issuing an order and getting the acknowledgement and an upcheck on the capability to complete the order. look at the eyes, sweaty palms. the gut check vibes. all are integral to giving and receiving orders that mean men will die in its completion.

serious stuff, and that is the nature of a face to face meeting between the POTUS and a field commander. Been that way since before the Romans...

The POTUS needs those meetings, I only question why it didn't happen when he appointed the guy...

Hoosier Daddy said...

If I had a choice, no. Mission Accomplished between Salma Hayek or Kim Kardashian on my deathbed, whole nuther story! And a mighty tough pick that would be.


Well a real man wouldn't have to pick. I'd just take them both.

bearbee said...

Making all better a bruised ego

Hoosier Daddy said...

Probably not. It's not in the Constitution, after all, that he should do such a thing.

Sigh. You're right MM, having the President of the USA personally lobbying the IOC was a good use of the President's time now that we won the war in Afghanistan and fixed the economy.

Larry J said...

The military does use a lot of VTC, but nothing can replace the ability of the commander to look a subordinate in the eye when issuing an order and getting the acknowledgement and an upcheck on the capability to complete the order. look at the eyes, sweaty palms. the gut check vibes. all are integral to giving and receiving orders that mean men will die in its completion.

serious stuff, and that is the nature of a face to face meeting between the POTUS and a field commander. Been that way since before the Romans...


There's teleconferencing and then there's what's available at the White House. Simple teleconferencing like DCO Connent allows for sharing computer screens and voice communications. However, high end teleconferencing allows you to look people in the eye. The White House has very high end communications gear for good reason along with the highest priority on military satellite communications. Depending on face-to-face communications is too slow.

careen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

Obama to Copenhagen to sell USA Olympics? Si!

Separate plane for Michelle? No!

Cedarford said...

traditionalguy said...
How much did the death of American soldiers attaked and killed from the surrounding mountains while sitting in an a valley outpost in the Afghan no-where areas next the Pakistan nowhere areas cost?


For now, the troops are still dying in Afghanistan, and getting maimed (something the only death counts crowd always ignores) - because there is still a continuation of the Bush policy.

That we are gladly there and dying to help the Noble Democracy-hungry Freedom Lovers!! of Pashtunland...And eventually the ever-grateful Muslims will learn to savor and cherish each American they kill or mutilate for helping them realize their better interests!
Honest! And of course the Dems painted themselves in a corner ever since John Kerry started the meme that Iraq was the Bad War, Afghanistan the Wonderful War to give the magnificent Afghan freedom lovers their Freedom!!! - and to "find bin Laden and give him his ACLU attorneys..

The cost? For each death? 150K to near a million in training, 250K in death bennies, 15K-to a million or so in VA bennies to serviceman's families.

=======================

blake said...

I dunno, if we'd had the technology, wouldn't Jimmy Carter have been the first telecommuting President?

Cedarford said...

Drill SGT - The military does use a lot of VTC, but nothing can replace the ability of the commander to look a subordinate in the eye when issuing an order and getting the acknowledgement and an upcheck on the capability to complete the order. look at the eyes, sweaty palms. the gut check vibes. all are integral to giving and receiving orders that mean men will die in its completion.

serious stuff, and that is the nature of a face to face meeting between the POTUS and a field commander. Been that way since before the Romans...


There is a world of difference between a Colonel grilling a direct report Captain who in turn had just gotten a full briefing from his sargeants and 2nd Lieutenant - and some mystical ability for a lawyer who never served gaining full insight and knowledge from a General. Or a mano a mano meeting with 6 Global Warming PhDs on the nuances of the latest computer models...

Presidents shouldn't pursue executive decisions like that. At best, McChystal sould be one of 100 people whose advice Obama's Administration weighs...and then only for tactics and present needs he says are waiting for filling - in order to do his mission.

The better Presidents, even those with Commanding Officer experience or high military office background (FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon) tended to realize their own military experience was narrow...and their proper focus was on diplomacy, broad brush strategy formed by a host of military and non-military advisors, academics, statesmen, and monitoring what the military said it could do to see if they could do it with a prudent level of resources....

Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton did well to follow Nixon's advice to them.. and FDR & Truman's pattern and avoid "eyeball to eyeball" talks with field commanders. Truman dumped MacArthur not because of some magical face-to-face discovery by "military expert Truman" about military flaws in MacArthur...but because MacArthur thought he could buck a strategy formed by hundreds back home and buck his Chain of Command.

And we have had disasters where someone with limited military experience fancies himself as a military expert who wants those eyeball to eyeball meetings to best decide what tactics and battles are next and how those battles must be fought with his personal micromanagement.

A big believer in the personal hands on approach was a WWI war hero corporal. It didn't go well for him....

And or such huge believers in face-to-face field commander insights while pursuing a disastrous overall strategy as LBJ, Jimmy Carter, Dubya, and undoubtedly the "expert in all military matters" based on suffering as a POW...JOhn McCain. (Thank God we didn't elect that genius micromanager of military matters..!!)

The best thing Obama could do is ask Clinton and Bush I to tell him what Nixon told them on on national security strategy and conflict management...and what Truman & George Marshall & Keenan amongst hundreds of strategist told Nixon..

I have little doubt what Nixon and Truman would have said about Bush's beloved Noble Iraqi and Afghan Freedom Lovers.

"Afghan and Iraqi Freedom Lovers!!....well...fuck 'em!" "If they love Freedom!! so much let them earn it themselves." "Otherwise it's just a fools errand and a bloodletting of US lives and treasure..what are our vital interests??"

Robt C said...

The Houston Examiner did a rough calculation of the carbon footprint. The trip was the carbon equivalent of 430 American families' carbon output for a YEAR.
Link: (Sorry it's so long)
http://www.examiner.com/x-25061-Climate-Change-Examiner~y2009m10d2-Calculating-the-carbon-footprint-of-President-Obamas-Olympics-trip

Flexo said...

My question is -- when does Obama get sworn in as president?

I hope it's soon because then he can start working in the Oval Office, rather than being forced to campaign 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Has Bushitler even let Obama come see the Oval Office?

Ralph L said...

And we have had disasters where someone with limited military experience fancies himself as a military expert who wants those eyeball to eyeball meetings to best decide what tactics and battles are next and how those battles must be fought with his personal micromanagement
You mean Lincoln, '61-'63?

The personnel costs have to be paid anyway. What are the additional costs incurred by the trip? How many AF1 towels were filtched?

Larry J said...

And we have had disasters where someone with limited military experience fancies himself as a military expert who wants those eyeball to eyeball meetings to best decide what tactics and battles are next and how those battles must be fought with his personal micromanagement

You mean Lincoln, '61-'63?


No, Lincoln had enough military experience to know that actually fighting was preferable to doing nothing. Fort McCellan (now closed, I think) was named for one of the generals Lincoln fired for ineptitude. It seems fitting that Fort McCellan was in Alabama, a state more than willing to honor a useless northern general.

No, a better example of a self-proclaimed military expert who micro-managed a war was Lyndon Johnson (with his moron SecDef McNamara). Johnson bragged that "they can't bomb an outhouse without my say so." If you want to know how to fight and perhaps win a war, study what LBJ did and do the exact opposite.

Another "winner" in this category was the godawful Jimmy Carter. He was a terrible commander in chief. I know - I was in the military at the time. He sucked like a black hole.