The made-up India trip costs

THE MADE-UP INDIA TRIP COSTS…. President Obama is getting ready to depart for a trip to India — it was scheduled long before the midterm elections — the right wants to complain about it. Apparently, it’s not cheap for a U.S. delegation to travel abroad.

First, Drudge and Limbaugh started whining about a $200 million-per-day price tag. Then Glenn Beck. Then Sean Hannity.

And last night, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) got in on the act. CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked her to detail the kind of spending cuts the public can expect from the new House Republican majority. She didn’t answer, exactly, but Bachmann did complain about the India trip.

“Well I think we know that just within a day or so the President of the United States will be taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day,” Bachmann said. “He’s taking two thousand people with him. He’ll be renting out over 870 rooms in India. And these are 5-star hotel rooms at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. This is the kind of over-the-top spending, it’s a very small example, Anderson.” […]

“But don’t all Presidents take overseas trips, and stay in hotels where there’s security?” Cooper asked Bachmann.

“Not, not, not at this level. We have never seen this sort of an entourage going with a President before. And I think this is an example of the massive overspending that we’ve seen, not only just in the last two years, but really in the last four,” she responded.

When told the White House has already said these figures are wildly inflated, Bachmann suggested administration officials are lying. She had no proof.

Look, I realize the discourse can be mind-numbingly stupid at times, but this is just silly. Sometimes, presidents travel abroad on official business. It’s part of an effective foreign policy, and it’s not controversial. There are costs associated with these trips, but partisans usually know better than to whine incessantly about it.

For security reasons, the administration can’t actually release detailed figures, but independent analyses of the right-wing claim have concluded that the allegations are “probably false” and “highly doubtful.”

Given that the entire war in Afghanistan costs about $190 million a day, it seems highly unlikely this presidential visit to India will be even more expensive.

Jay Bookman described the entire argument on this “a case study in pathological lunacy.” That sounds about right.