Kardashian vs. Obama

Mark Tapson, a Hollywood-based writer and screenwriter, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He focuses on the politics of popular culture.


kimAt the end of July, President Obama participated, for some reason, in a “Kindle Singles Interview,” a new interview series for Amazon.com’s e-reader. In the course of discussing the need for increasing government involvement in our lives, lamenting the increasing polarization of American politics (which he personally has exacerbated beyond measure), and whining about increasing Republican resistance to his disastrous agenda, Obama also commented dismissively on the cultural impact of super-rich celebrities – among them the famous-for-being-famous Kim Kardashian. Kim’s mama bear Kris Jenner responded by publicly calling him out for his hypocritical and anti-capitalist jab.

So what? Why is a little spat between the President and a reality TV maven important? Because when a celebrity as widely known as Jenner not only doesn’t slavishly heap adulation on Obama, but actually challenges and chides him on her talk show, the cultural impact is potentially huge, and that trickles down to the political. She reaches a wide swath of low-information voters who otherwise might not follow politics at all, or ever hear any criticism of the President in the left-leaning cultural realm. The fact that Jenner’s audience cheered in support of her defense of her daughter against Obama is revealing and significant.

Things began when Obama, reflecting on how his own childhood differed from the world his children face, said, “There was not that window into the lifestyles of the rich and famous… Kids weren’t monitoring every day what Kim Kardashian was wearing, or where [her rapper fiancé] Kanye West was going on vacation, and thinking that somehow that was the mark of success.”

In one sense, he’s not wrong about the culturally degrading impact of contemporary shows like Keeping up with the Kardashians, the wildly successful reality TV series that chronicles the mind-numbingly petty and uninteresting existence of young, beautiful people living in a bubble of impossible wealth (exactly the kind of bubble that wealthy socialist actor Matt Damon attacks in his new sci-fi movie Elysium, but I digress). The hoi polloi have always envied and idolized the rich and famous, but today’s ubiquitous entertainment media have instilled a warped, shallow, celebrity-obsessed perspective into the consciousness of young people everywhere, many of whom now fantasize about living large like “Kimye.”

However, that having been said, if any of those young people work hard to achieve that level of financial success, they have every right to live any way they choose and spend their money as they see fit.

This doesn’t jibe with Obama’s feeling that “at a certain point you’ve made enough money,” and apparently he thinks Kardashian and West have crossed that line. He criticized them in his Kindle interview for their new 10,000-square-foot home, and Kris Jenner shot back on her talk show, pointing out that their jobs enabled them to live in that home, just as Obama’s job enables him to live in the 55,000-square-foot White House. She thought it was admirable that people, including a high school graduate such as herself, aspired to obtain such great jobs. “But I wasn’t aware that you could only set the bar so high and that we could only dream so big,” she told the approving studio audience. Well played, Mrs. Jenner, well played.

That wasn’t all. “I bet the President has some friends with 10,000-square-foot houses,” she continued, “and he probably wouldn’t mind going over there when asking them to have a party for campaigning for dollars to run for president.” Exactly. Jenner still wasn’t done: “I find it so odd that he’s picking on Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Well, Kanye West, first of all, doesn’t go on vacation. Ever.”

That’s debatable, but in any case, her point was well-taken – it’s hypocritical for Obama, who has turned vacationing into practically a second career, to dismiss Kardashian and West as lazy. “And Kim Kardashian,” Jenner went on, “is the hardest-working young lady in the world. She never sleeps, she never stops, she never slows down and works so hard for what she’s got.”

Jenner also defended her family’s reality TV show for employing hundreds of workers. In rebuttal, Obama might tell her, “You didn’t build that” empire. But they did. Say what you want about the Kardashians, and I’ve been critical of them here on FrontPage Mag on more than one occasion, but they have spun gold out of TV shows, perfumes, magazine covers, personal appearances, and clothing lines. Talentless? Perhaps, but not lazy. Kim didn’t get to be worth $40 million by sitting on her famous behind gorging on Cheetos and Big Gulps around the clock.

Yes, the family started out light-years ahead of the rest of us, thanks to a massive trust fund bequeathed by Jenner’s deceased husband, OJ Simpson attorney Robert Kardashian, not to mention the fact that her current husband, ex-Olympian Bruce, brought yachtloads of his own money into the mix. But they didn’t coast on that money; regardless of how talented they may or may not be, the family worked hard to built an empire on top of that foundation. Not coal miner hard, but hard.

By contrast, Obama, who had every single success in his life handed to him by forces paving his way first into Harvard, then the Senate, then the Presidency; who now spends taxpayer money on himself and his family as extravagantly as any Sun King; and who hangs with obscenely wealthy celebrity friends like Jay-Z and Beyoncé (combined worth $1 billion), has the nerve to complain that young fans shouldn’t aspire to his or the Kardashians’ lifestyle.

Why not? What right does the President, or anyone else, have to tell Americans what the limits of their dreams and aspirations should be, or to claim that they didn’t build it themselves? That’s quite simply un-American.

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  • https://twitter.com/SoCalCMH christopher hubbard

    barack obama, like all good socialists, envies the time, work and effort those who achieve put into themselves and (usually) their business in order to succeed. his collectivist clap-trap is less a principled, if misguided, ideology about “shared sacrafice” and more a resentment of the fact that other people are willing to work harder than he is to get more out of life. the man is truly a cancer on the american body politic. we will recover after he’s gone because self-correction and recovery are antibodies built into the american dna that even mr. “fundamentally transform america” can’t change but it won’t be long after his stench has left the white house before people begin to realize what a waste his 8 years was and how much better it can and will be without him.

  • Gamal

    Another story on this had a lot of hostile comments towards the Kardashians which is a sad statement about America. Leftists need to grasp the concept of wealth creaton, the Kardashians didn’t take money away from people, people paid them that money because the entertainment provided by Kim and the law service provided by her father were worth more to them than the money they paid. Providing those services is wealth creation. Entertainment and legal services are a part of what constitutes wealth. Kim Kardashian besides being beautiful is a actually a good person.

    • m4253y

      in fact, entertainment is so much a part of wealth creation that the muslim in chief has had it incorporated into the new calculations for US GDP only recently.

    • spyeatte

      Leftists are too far gone to be redeemed. They are bent on telling everyone else how to live, and it that does not work, then by force. What they don’ understand is we will resist at all hazard.

  • 8ball

    Your caption should be Kris Jenner v Obama.

  • LindaRivera

    Good article. Obama once again reveals that he believes only he and his leftist friends should live a life of total luxury. Only he, the One, World Emperor and his friends should enjoy a lavish, expensive lifestyle. Everyone else is regarded with the utmost contempt. The People should NOT be allowed to prosper.

  • Digli

    “Kids weren’t monitoring every day what Kim Kardashian was wearing”
    Does Obama make generalized assumptions about everything in the universe or is he just an uneducated inarticulate moron?
    I have four kids. All are well educated, well read and hard working.
    They all have very good values.
    They don’t try to keep up with anyone including the Kardashians.
    I might also add…..
    None of them voted for Obama.

  • Infidel4Ever

    While I can’t stand the Kardashians, at least they don’t go on $ 100,000,000.00 vacays to Africa on the taxpayer’s dime. We all know the 0bama’s are the most self entitled moochers and grifters this country has ever seen.

  • Alan

    Civil servant politicos/ex community organizers like Barry do not have a clue about running a business…yet they never have a problem squandering the tax dollar “donated” to them by business.

  • Well Done

    Neither one of these people has really accomplished much of anything that most of their peers have done… whether in showbiz or in politics.

  • the clown

    Amazing. A bunch of conservatives commenting positively on a right wing biased page. Get your information from a neutral news source, instead of having someone else telling you what your opinion about something should be, get the facts, then form your own opinion.

    • Killerdog

      Wow, when did you get your official Barky O’ kneepads?

  • tanstaafl

    Obama vs. Kardashian? Even a steel cage death match won’t resolve it……….

  • http://originalpechanga.blogspot.com OriginalPechanga

    I too think the Kardashian show is mindless, but I also know that KK “works” very hard. I’d LOVE to see a typical work week for Kim laid out over Obama’s…

  • grannylake

    I don’t personally know the Kardashians or the Obamas.
    The Kardashians have never done anything harmful to my family, never spent any of my hard earned money that I paid in taxes to support my country’s needs or never lied to me. Additionally, they are tax-paying citizens
    Obama has lied to me every time he addresses the American people. He has almost destroyed our ecomony, tarnished our country’s global honor and respect, spends our money like it was his and has caused a great divide between Americans.
    There’s no doubt about who the loser is. Obama has been groomed to create America’s downfall from the day he was born.

  • Marie Shanahan

    I agree with Obama. The Kardashians aren’t exactly “steel tycoons” or any kind of self-made millionaire, at all. They are where they are because they “mooched” off Robert Kardashian’s fame – so they became famous by association. And the sex tape. And anyone can sell anything so long as people are morbidly curious about you. And as far as I know, they’ve failed wildly in most of their business ventures. But they definitely do not provide an example to what the American Dream is. And perhaps Obama did grow up privileged and this privilege opened all the right doors through monetary flexibility and the best of education, but he still worked hard – and still does work hard. These people are working their back ends off – but for a place in pop culture – that’s all. A thousand truly gifted actor/actresses and artists are living on very small income and watching these goofballs on TV right now and they are probably as sick of them as the rest of us. I wish the Kardashians no ill will, but I also wish they would just go away.