I can’t count how many memes and references there were to Obama as Marie Antoinette back in the day. Now, a decade too late, Maureen Dowd picks up the thread with an op-ed titled, “Behold Barack Antoinette”.
That’s a reference that I and just about any conservative made a thousand times. What got Dowd on board? The birthday party.
But what really infuriates Dowd and Matt Taibi, who has a similar piece, is that Obama picked the celebs over his old political hands.
Many of those who helped Obama achieve the moonshot, becoming the first African American president and then becoming uber rich, were disinvited…
Whether the party was 500 or 300 or 30, Obama should have made sure to have the people there who made the moment possible, the ones who worked so hard to get him elected and cement his legacy.
David Axelrod, Pygmalion to Obama’s Galatea, was a disinvitado, which he handled with his usual grace. Rahm Emanuel, the former Obama chief of staff who helped him navigate the first two successful years of his presidency, was also disinvited and quipped in the Times story by Annie Karni that getting voted off the island was character-building.
Obama would not have been president if Nancy Pelosi had not subtly put her high-heeled shoe on the scale for him against Hillary Clinton and her chances to be the first woman president. And he would not have gotten health care passed without Pelosi. She wasn’t there.
It was a bombshell when Caroline Kennedy endorsed Obama in 2008 along with her uncle Teddy, a turning point in the primary against Hillary. After being disinvited from the party, Kennedy had the speaker at her home on the island for dinner. “I would have disinvited me if I was him,” she joked.
David Geffen, whose endorsement of Obama and break with Hillary was instrumental, didn’t even get an invite.
One disinvitado joked that he’s going to throw a surprise 61st birthday party for Obama. “As long as they had anything to do with passing health care, rescuing the auto industry and saving the economy from a Great Depression,” he said, “they’re invited.”
Matt Taibi similarly notes…
Obama didn’t cancel his party, he merely uninvited those he considered less important, who happened to be almost entirely his most trusted former aides.
Cast out, the Times said, were “the majority of former Obama administration officials… who generally credit themselves with helping create the Obama legacy,” including former top aide David Axelrod, who’d just called Obama an “apostle of hope” in the Washington Post and sat for a three-hour HBO documentary deep-throat of his ex-boss. Remaining on the list were celeb couples Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, as well as Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union, along with Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Bruce Springsteen, Questlove, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Don Cheadle, and other Fabulous People, who drank “top shelf liquor,” puffed stogies, and hit the links at the Vineyard Golf Club (membership fee: $350,000)…
It’d be hard not to laugh imagining Axelrod reading that even “Real Housewife of Atlanta” Kim Fields got on the party list over him, except that Obama giving the shove-off to his most devoted (if also scummy and greedy) aides is also such a perfect metaphor for the way he slammed the door in the faces of the millions of ordinary voters who once so desperately believed in him.
Obama invited the major celebs, especially black, jettisoned minor white dorks and all the staff who helped him get here. Not to mention donors like Geffen. For all the conspiracy theories about his wife running for president, this is the sort of thing you do when you no longer have any further political plans and don’t care.
I know some people love to think that Obama is an evil genius who’s calling all the shots, but while he’s evil, he’s no genius. The Biden administration is Obama 3.0, not because he’s calling the shots, but because the same people are calling the shots.
With his birthday party, Obama sent the clear message that he doesn’t care about any of those people anymore. He’s going to do what he always enjoyed doing at the White House, partying with celebrities.
Despite the legion of media dorks (Hello, Jeffrey Goldberg) eager to create the myth of Obama as a serious thinker, he was always a narcissist, a cold fish in person who didn’t like any of his lefty fans, and shallow as a fish pond.
It doesn’t matter now. And that’s why the belated takedowns of Obama can come. Just like the belated takedowns of Bill Clinton. And I’m sure the belated takedowns of Biden will be even more glaringly obvious.
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