Sunday, November 21, 2004

Anchors Aweigh!

This could be a general posting about the $388,000,000,000 omnibus spending bill that the GOP-controlled congress passed yesterday. Or, this could be a rant posting about all of the trap doors that were built into this bill, such as opening all taxpayer IRS returns to scrutiny by the "Chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees or their agents to review any American's tax return with no restrictions whatsoever". Or even still, this could be a partisan whine posting about Rep. David Obey's (D-Wis) comment that the bill "falls so far from meeting our investment obligations for the future that it could only be brought to the floor by the majority party after the election".

But it's not.

This posting is about the USS Sequoia:

...A floating retreat, the USS Sequoia was one of the places presidents from Hoover to Carter found to escape the rigors of office. Richard Nixon came to the 104-foot-long vessel on perhaps the most difficult moment of his presidency, the day he announced his resignation...

In 1977, Jimmy Carter sold the Sequoia -- "the yacht was a bit too imperial for his down-home presidency," Stamberg reports. In 1999, a collector of presidential memorabilia bought the Sequoia for almost $2 million, restored it, and rents it out now -- for $10,000 a night...

So, why is this posting about the USS Sequoia? First off, I have always been fascinated by this vessel and its history. And it reminds me a lot of Admiral Dewey's flagship, the USS Olympia, which I've toured on several occasions and is now a museum on the Philadelphia waterfront.

Second, included in the aforementioned omnibus spending bill, $2 million dollars is allocated for the government to buy back the USS Sequoia from its current owner. For the life of me, I couldn't figure this one out. Why would the government want to buy back an antique, which would certainly be more expensive to renovate and operate again as the Presidential Yacht than buying, say, a state-of-the-art Hatteras yacht.

But in reading the quoted NPR piece above, it struck me - the words: "too imperial for his down-home presidency", discussing Jimmy Carter's reason for selling the ship. I suppose that's exactly why the GOP-controlled house wants to buy it back for Dubya - the "imperial presidency" thing.

Long Live the King.