by Max Brantley
The New York Times today weighs the approach of a variety of new governors to their coming inaugural festivities. Rick Scott in Florida is putting on something worthy of a French king.
To warm up the Florida crowds for his inauguration as governor, Rick Scott has been flying around the state this week on a seven-city “appreciation” tour. For the main event on Tuesday, he will lead a parade featuring 26 marching bands, followed by a black-tie dinner for 2,100 people, with oysters Rockefeller and fried calamari served in mini-martini glasses. “Real classy,” said Christy Noftz, who is overseeing the catering.
The article didn't indicate whether, beyond lavish banquets, any governor is rounding up contributions to buy jewelry and duds for a first lady, as was done in the Huckabee era in Arkansas. Indeed, occasions of state pomp often were accompanied by gifts for the Huckabees, such as at the grand opening of the governor's mansion reception hall — named for the first lady, who was also gifted by a tax-free charity with thousands of dollars worth of china and crystal. She later gave up the gifts after controversy arose over use of the Mansion friends' group to raise money for the first lady's benefit, rather than that of the mansion.
Second-term Gov. Mike Beebe didn't make the list of governors featured in the Times article. He had previously announced a fairly typical inaugural lineup — a casual dinner the night before at Cajun's Wharf and a $100-per-person ball at the Statehouse Convention Center the night of the swearing-in. If custom follows, familiar corporate names will help with the cost and by buying blocks of tickets.