In the midst of joblessness and deprivation for millions of Americans, another opulent White House party took place Tuesday night feting fellow socialist crusader François Hollande, the president of France. While the Obamas frequently decry the excesses of private-sector wealth, characterizing it as the product of ill-gotten gains, they have demonstrated time and time again that they have little difficulty emulating the same behavior when Americans are footing the bill. Meanwhile, incessant regulations, attacks on industry and on middle class paychecks through ObamaCare, are crushing ordinary Americans, with no end in sight.
Three hundred and forty-eight guests took part in the state dinner for President Hollande. In an uncharacteristic burst of honesty, the New York Times noted that while many presidents have used state dinners to promote America, those that have taken place during the Obama administration "have been elaborate events and criticized for expenses that have risen with the number of guests and high-cost entertainers like Beyoncé, who may waive their fees but still require equipment, lighting, technicians and even wind machines."
Tuesday's soiree was no exception. The event began with a reception in the State Dining Room on the second floor of the White House. A selection of cheeses and fresh vegetables were served along with Maine trout, smoked on Maine hardwood. After that, guests headed downstairs and took trolleys from the White House’s south portico, rolling across the South Lawn to a heated tent. The tent contained chandeliers, and was decorated to resemble a scene from French impressionist Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies.” Elegant place settings were accompanied by elaborate floral arrangements composed by the White House florist, who studied in Paris. The “deconstructed” arrangements, as in flowers and greenery in separate vessels, were comprised of quince branches, acacia leaves, white and purple iris flowers and bamboo.
The first course consisted of American Osetra Caviar, farm-raised in Illinois estuaries, Fingerling Potato Veloute, consisting of twelve varieties of potatoes from farms in New York, Idaho, and California, and Quail Eggs from Pennsylvania. The second course was a Winter Garden Salad with petite mixed radish, baby carrots, and merlot lettuce, all of which were reportedly grown in a hot house. Individual salads were served in large glass bowls made to resemble terrariums.
The main course consisted of dry-aged, rib-eye steaks, raised on a family-owned farm in Greeley, Colorado. Each one weighed approximately six ounces. The steaks were accompanied by Jasper Hill Farm Bleu Cheese from Vermont, charred shallots, oyster mushrooms and braised chard. The dessert course consisted of Hawaiian chocolate-malted ganache (layer cake), vanilla ice cream, and tangerines from Florida. An after dinner treat included fudge made from Vermont maple syrup, lavender shortbread cookies, and cotton candy dusted with orange zest.
Three wines were also served during dinner. They included a Morlet "La Proportion Doree" 2011, from Napa Valley, CA, a Chester-Kidder Red Blend 2009 from Columbia Valley, WA, and a Thibaut-Jannison "Blanc de Chardonnay" from Monticello, VA. Also included were a combination of sugar roses and fleur-de-lis, the official flowers of the U.S. and France respectively. "We made 38 of each--that's more than 1,800 petals," revealed Pastry Chef Bill Yosses.
The guests were entertained by R&B singer Mary J. Blige, and it was reported that First Lady Michelle Obama's black and liberty blue Carolina Herrera gown cost approximately $12,000. The cost of the dinner remains unknown, but state dinners in Obama's first term ranged from approximately $203,000 spent on a State dinner for President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea, to around $570,000 spent on a State dinner for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India. This latest one is thought to be on the expensive side of the spectrum. The taxpayers will pick up the tab.
It took 13 months for the State Department to release information regarding the cost of five previous state dinners hosted by the Obamas, which ran to a total of more than $1.9 million. A sixth dinner was held for British Prime Minister David Cameron on March 14, 2012, but the State Department has refused to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filed seven months ago regarding the costs.
One suspects most Americans understand the requirements of the presidency demand adherence to a certain set of protocols. Moreover, Obama is not the only president who has held state dinners at the White House. Yet for a man seemingly obsessed with income inequality, the level of excess that attends not only this dinner, but the numerous private parties and lavish vacations he and his family have taken -- including those involving dog airlifts and separate jet travel to the same destination, simply for convenience sake -- reeks of hypocrisy.
The Morning Call, a Lehigh Valley newspaper, published an article in August of 2013, regarding the Obamas' vacation bills that best summed up the level of that hypocrisy: "President Obama is the most expensive president in U.S. history," the paper stated.
In the meantime, the taxpayers underwriting the Obamas' lavish lifestyle have seen their household incomes decline by 4.4 percent since the recovery began in 2009. Almost 92 million Americans have left the workforce, bringing the workforce participation rate to its lowest level in almost four decades. The long-term unemployment rate, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, comprises 36 percent of all unemployed Americans. Moreover, the president's latest unilateral "adjustment" to ObamaCare delays the mandate for corporations and businesses -- the kind of people who get invited to state dinners -- while regular Americans must adjust their lives to higher premiums, greater deductibles and the reality that they can't keep their doctor and/or hospitals.
While the elitists dine on aged beef, a record-setting one-in-five American households use food stamps to pay for their food. Those same elitists, who inhabit Silicon Valley and the Chamber of Commerce clamor for comprehensive immigration reform that would pit millions of low-skill, low-wage American job-seekers against newly-amnestied illegals, lowering wage levels in the process, according to the CBO. Obama and the rest of his inner circle applaud the actions of the Federal Reserve, whose newest chairwoman, Janet Yellen, has promised to remain accommodative to Wall Street (while Main Street America remains saddled with pitiful interest rates on their savings) and to remain committed to an ongoing Quantitative Easing policy that fuels market speculation, even as it debases our currency.
While the president and his party bemoan income inequality and joblessness, four of the five richest counties in the nation are suburbs of Washington, D.C. A supine Republican Party is praised by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for approving a clean raise of the debt ceiling, allowing the nation's unconscionable borrowing habits to continue. That those unconscionable borrowing habits will either bankrupt the nation, or lead to a vastly lower standard of living for future generations of Americans is dismissed as exaggerated nonsense that only animates "radicals" like the Tea Party faction of the GOP.
All while the president and his friends party hearty. Ordinary Americans can likely imagine the conversation at such parties occasionally addressing the latest theories regarding social justice for the benighted masses -- in between sips of Chardonnay or bites of oyster mushrooms. No doubt the atmosphere is thick with the aroma of self-aggrandizement that surrounds people who earnestly believe the historical wreckage attached to every attempt to achieve a socialist utopia was due to the fact that the wrong people were in charge.
Now the “right” people are in charge, and more than eager to realize their vision by any means necessary -- while they enjoy the opulence to which they feel entitled for their efforts on our behalf. That's what radical egalitarianism is really all about.
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.