As the Bush Administration vacated the White House, Democrats cheered. Barack Hussein Obama, they said, would bring honor and dignity back to the White House, restoring it to the sacred ground it was before being defiled by corrupt oil buddies.
Here’s how the Obama Administration is bringing dignity back to the White House this week: by raffling off a dinner in order to raise money. For just $5, you can buy a chance to win a “casual” dinner with the president of the United States. “We rely on everyday Americans giving whatever they can afford – and I want to spend time with a few of you,” said Obama’s email to supporters. “So if you make a donation today, you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to be one of the four supporters to sit down with me for dinner. Please donate $5 or more today.”
It has nothing to do with the money, really, Obama insists. “This won’t be a formal affair,” the email continued. “It’s the kind of casual meal among friends that I don’t get to have as often as I’d like anymore, so I hope you’ll consider joining me.”
Leave aside the fact that Obama is only interested in having dinner with the common man if the common man shells out his cash to pay, making Obama the equivalent of the rich guy in the Ferrari who wants to split the check with his date. Leave aside the fact that Obama’s “friends” will surely be picked to ensure racial diversity and level of obsequiousness. Leave aside the fact that Obama is turning the “people’s house” into the “donors’ house.” The real question: doesn’t it devalue the presidency when you are raffling off access in order to raise money for re-election?
Of course, this isn’t the first time Obama’s supporters have used gauche tactics to raise money for The Man. They’ve handed out t-shirts with Obama’s birth certificate for donations of $25, reinforcing the odd notion that anyone opposed to Obama must inherently be a “birther.” Controversially, Democratic-affiliated groups tried to fundraise using the Gabby Giffords shooting.
And then there’s Obama’s devaluing of his brand – and the brand of the presidency – through ubiquity. He appears on American Idol. He appears on Oprah. He appears on The Ellen Degeneres Show. He appears during the All-Star Game (where he throws like a girl). He appears during the Super Bowl. He appears on the NCAA Tournament. He appears during the NBA Conference Finals. He appears on The Late Show With David Letterman. He appears on the Teen Choice Awards. He appears on the Oscars.
The Presidency of the United States is not a Lay’s Potato Chip commercial. He should not show up every time we look up. But that’s what Obama-style honor and dignity are all about: honoring him and dignifying pop cultural cotton candy.
Obama gives a bad name to the office he occupies. He also gives a bad name to the House he occupies. Unlike Reagan and Bush, who stood for highest decorum while occupying the Oval Office, one of the first pictures of Obama in the Oval Office showed him with his jacket off and his feet propped up on the desk, as though he were Jonah Jameson ruling over the Daily Bugle. His administration invited Chinese pianist Lang Lang to the White House, where the musician played a rousing rendition of “My Motherland,” the theme song from the pro-Communist North Korea film “Battle of Shangangling Mountain”; the song includes lyrics that call Americans “jackals” and encourages them to be shot. Michelle Obama has invited rapper Common to the White House. Last week, Obama invited Gabon’s president Ali Bongo, whose family has pocketed 25 percent of the GDP of the country … but the Dalai Lama must leave through the back door. Obama holds party after party at the White House, even as millions go without salary and lose their homes, smiling as Jamie Foxx croons to him, “We won the election! White House, baby, so much fun!”
And while Obama has made the White House open territory for celebrities of all types, he refuses to allow Americans to see who he invites home for political dinner. According to Andrew Breitbart, “The White House is still holding back ‘tens of thousands’ of visitor logs … The visitor logs that have been released are problematic, because they are simply lists of names, with no way to verify whether a specific name belongs to a particular person.” In a nutshell, the Obama White House is open to glitz, open to donors, and closed to the media and to the prying eyes of the American public.
Of course, Obama is not unique in his contempt for the White House. Clinton famously pursued his own personal Weinergate in the Oval Office, rented out the Lincoln Bedroom, and then ransacked the White House on the way out. JFK smuggled women in and out of the White House, and was even rumored to have experimented with drugs there. Warren G. Harding made full use of the White House closet facilities with Nan Britton.
None of these men lent dignity to their office. Obama stands with them. The White House, wrote John Adams, should house only the most “honest and wise Men.” Obama is neither.
Ben Shapiro is an attorney and writer and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, and author of the upcoming book “Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How The Left Took Over Your TV” from Broadside Books, an imprint of HarperCollins.