The Republicans have begun to flood into the nation's capital for what they're calling W2, and so far it seems that the hotels and bars are the prime beneficiaries. It's certainly not the people of the District. They're the ones who will be stuck with the road closures, the intense security and a big chunk of the bill for it all. Among the hardest hit of District residents: the homeless, who will find many of the services they need curtailed because charitable groups can't get through the security barriers erected downtown.
Such concerns seemed a million miles away inside the bar at the Ritz-Carlton Tuesday night, where the first waves of well-heeled Republicans gathered for inauguration-themed drinks and $25 cigars. Braced against outdoor temperatures in the teens, GOP women from near and far -- mostly far -- wore so much fur that entire species of critters must be dead somewhere. A big bowl of Ohio buckeyes sat on a table near the front door, a symbol, the sign said, of the "good luck" Bush enjoyed when he won that state. The residents of Washington should be so lucky.
Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.