Let's hope he got mints on his pillow…

The Weekly Standard notes that the hotel bill for Vice President Joe Biden’s one-night stay in Paris was $585,000.50.

The magazine cites a government document that provided information on the contract for Biden’s stay at the Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand, a “historic treasure in the centre of Paris."

It was for one night, as noted, and here is general information:

Notice Type:

Award Notice

Contract Award Date:

January 28, 2013

Contract Award Number:


Contract Award Dollar Amount:


Contractor Awarded Name:


Contractor Awarded Address:


PARIS, 75009


Added: Feb 14, 2013 8:58 am

Contracting Office Address:

2 avenue Gabriel
75382 Paris Cedex 08
Paris, Non-U.S.

I guess this means that Biden’s $459,388 stay at the a Hyatt Regency in London was a bargain.

Obviously, this isn’t just a hotel room for Biden. The vice president travels with an entourage that includes security. We wouldn’t want somebody to steal our Joe Biden, though they’d probably return him after a few hours of his non-stop talking!

But is such a large and expensive retinue necessary–or even seemly–for a vice president of a democracy?

My guess is that the large retinues are a huge ego boost to a politician's already-bloated ego. Indeed, I have long thought that body guards are the ultimate Washington status symbol.

I reached this conclusion after observing officials at various Washington events. In particular, I recall the massive precautions, including dogs sniffing out every nook and cranny of a hotel ballroom and reception area, made for a brief visit from then-Governor Janet Napolitano. Maybe she had just had a threat. Otherwise, the whole process was lacking in a sense of proportion. I bet it made Ms. Napolitano feel hugely important.

Still, somebody has to pay for this.

You may say that this is a trivial thing to worry about in the face of our country's potentially ruinous financial woes, largely unrecognized by Mr. Biden’s party.

But it is not trivial. Aside from the waste of money, it is an indication of two unattractive truths: our representatives are taking advantage of us; they are all so puffed up about their own importance that they have lost touch with the rest of us.

We want our representatives to be comfortable and we want them to have the funds to entertain in a way that reflects well on the United States. However, living ostentatiously and above one’s means never looks good. And our employees are living above our means.

Byzantine potentate is not the right look for representatives of the world’s oldest democracy.

Maybe our leaders need to take a leaf from the book of Pope Francis, who is winning accolades for cutting back on the pomp.