"Obama's Katrina?"

Under the screaming headline Obama's Katrina? with the equally screaming sub-title "The new president seems dangerously out of touch," the Wall Street Journal is running a story about...

A couple of parties in the East Room of the White House.

I could not make this sh*t up!

Since the presidency changed hands less than six weeks ago, a burst of entertaining has taken hold of the iconic, white-columned home of America's head of state. Much of it comes on Wednesdays.

The stately East Room, where portraits of George and Martha Washington adorn the walls, was transformed into a concert hall as President Barack Obama presented Stevie Wonder with the nation's highest award for pop music on Wednesday.

A week before that, the foot-stomping sounds of Sweet Honey in the Rock, a female a cappella group, filled the East Room for a Black History Month program first lady Michelle Obama held for nearly 200 sixth- and seventh-graders from around the city.

Cocktails were sipped during at least three such receptions to date, all held on Wednesdays.

We do not begrudge the president his fancy cocktail parties. Indeed, if anyone in the White House is reading this, please add us to the invitation list.

But there is a dissonance here that is rather hard to miss. The same president who last month lectured private-sector executives, "You can't get corporate jets, you can't go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayer's dime," is living large in the Executive Mansion that we taxpayers have generously provided him.

It's Hurricane Katrina all over again!

...but only in the psychotic fantasy-world of the Wall Street Journal.  

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    Maybe (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 06, 2009 at 12:56:55 PM EST
    But watch how many vacations he goes on.  See if he beats Bush's record.

    Three receptions (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jacob Freeze on Fri Mar 06, 2009 at 01:20:30 PM EST
    Maybe it wasn't really worth posting about a crazy article in the Wall Street Journal, but there's crazy like when they claim that FDR prolonged the Great Depression, and then there's flaming-dog-poop crazy when they compare three small receptions in the East Room to Bush fiddling while New Orleans drowned.

    I actually toook the trouble to make a screen-shot of the article, in case they took it down, and nobody would ever believe me that headlines like "Obama's Katrina?" and ""The new president seems dangerously out of touch" were sitting on top of an article about three small receptions in the East Room.


    You're forgetting (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 09:53:39 AM EST
    The Super Bowl party he had, he's had at least one restful weekend (as much as a POTUS can have) at Camp David, he went back home to Chicago, so he and Michelle could have a special Valentine's Day, etc.

    I don't necessarily begrudge him these things, but it's been 6 weeks.  No wonder he's so tired.

    Well, (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by jbindc on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 09:56:52 AM EST
    The first thing I would do is have the Chief Protocol Officer to hog tie Barack and Michelle and tell them the Chicago-way just won't cut it on an international scene.

    Then someone (I'm looking at you Hillary Clinton) needs to make clear to the State Department employee who said, "There's nothing special about Britain. You're just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn't expect special treatment,"  that this is not the kind of comment one makes to the press, especially in the early stages of a new presidency.

    See, part of the problem is that everything he did up to this point was wonderful and hailed by the media, but he and his minions still haven't realized that governing is different than campaigning, and yes, his and Michelle's sh!t really does stink like everyone else's (pardon the crassness). I think it will be a rude awakening the day they fully realize this - and that will be a day the press really slams them for something and won't let the story go.

    This was a blip on the radar, and hopefully the WH will learn from this, but it's a small crack in the Teflon veneer he's enjoyed so far.

    If he's going to diss our strongest ally (even if not intentionally), what will he do when he sits down with the terrorist organization known as the Taliban (which several commenters here apparently have no problem with)?

    I hadn't seen the quote from State. (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by Jacob Freeze on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 11:06:25 AM EST
    Personally, I think Tony Blair was wrong to put British troops in Basra, and all the rest of it,  but among our putative allies, like Poland and Indonesia, the British presence in Afghanistan and Iraq is a demonstration of extraordinary authenticity. A significant number of British soldiers have died in those countries!

    All in all, the quote isn't just a matter of incompetence; it looks positively deranged.


    Gordon Brown (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jacob Freeze on Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 04:09:37 PM EST
    "Tired" is probably about the best spin they can put on that bizarre interlude, which featured the Obamas giving Brown, wife, and kiddies a collection of gifts that would have been pathetic at a suburban birthday party.

    Brown gave Obama an artefact made out of wood from a ship that helped destroy the slave trade, and Obama gave Brown some DVDs from Wal-Mart, or wherever, and the Brown kiddies got model helicopters from the White House gift shop...

    I don't have a clue about how this gaffe occurred, unless Obama somehow bypassed all the usual protocol officials in the White House.

    What do you think, jb?

    Obama has always been the recipient of people's generosities, not the giver. He's so out of touch with people and common courtesies.

    I'd be willing to bet they didn't even think of giving a gift to the Brown's until they found out the Brown's were giving something to them. They must have sent out one of the teens on the valet parking detail to personally select those gems.


    I basically agree, but still... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Jacob Freeze on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 11:15:28 AM EST
    Selecting gifts for visiting heads of government isn't really the sort of thing that Presidents do for themselves. There's a well-established protocol apparatus for all those details, and it isn't much different from seating arrangements at a state dinner. If somebody decided to seat Gordon Brown at the foot of the table, it probably wouldn't be Michelle Obama, but whoever was actually in charge of the formalities completely messed it up.

    One of the many weird elements of this peculiar little story is how little info about it we have. The White House press corps is full of people who have been there for decades, and know the drill right down to the ground, but there's nothing anywhere about exactly who screwed up the protocol with Brown, as far as I know.


    Bingo (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by jbindc on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 12:34:55 PM EST
    The White House press corps is full of people who have been there for decades, and know the drill right down to the ground, but there's nothing anywhere about exactly who screwed up the protocol with Brown, as far as I know.

    Kinda is starting to remind of the JFK era - the press all knew about his pain killers and many affairs and said nothing. I'm hoping the press corps nowadays is also not going to turn a blind eye to this administration because of their love for him (and because companies like GE gave most of their money to Obama during the primaries and general election - no wonder MSNBC became the Obama network!)


    Someone under the Entertainment Head (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 08:37:47 PM EST
    should have that task, I would think. Or the PR office? Of course it has to be someone other than Obama, but Obama has to be the one issuing the expectation to the person at the top of the pyramid in charge.

    This is the office of the POTUS. Even last minute, I cannot believe that the decision would be to head for the WH gift shop rather than use all that clout that exists in the Oval Office. Artists and manufacturers of fine items would fall all over themselves to have the opportunity to fly in some fantastic item even if they had to buy a special seat on an airplane to get it there in time.

    We'll see if the next visiting dignitary gets the same dirty carpet treatment, or if the gift selection begins the instant they have the glint of an idea to issue an invitation to the WH.


    How fragile is Obama? (none / 0) (#11)
    by Jacob Freeze on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 01:32:43 AM EST
    I supported Kucinich, and never believed a word Obama uttered during the primaries or Presidential campaign, but now I'm worried about him. For the last couple of weeks I have a weird impression of something erratic in his  performance, and the stories about Axelrod and the rest of Team Obama surrounding the President with teleprompters every time he opens his mouth... There's some sort of resonance in it that makes me very nervous.

    What happens if the wheels really start to fall off?

    But Obama's personality is so masked that it's virtually impossible to get a reading, and I'm probably imagining the whole thing.

    Anyway, there was something unfocused about his interaction with Gordon Brown, and I hope it's just recession fatigue, or some other passing indisposition.


    From the get-go (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:24:11 PM EST
    I thought the potential for going straight into a state of overwhelmed was pretty much a given. My thinking has always been that he wants to be a former POTUS for the high price he can charge for the two things he believes he is greater than all at doing: writing books, and speaking.

    Considering his history, both personal and career, now that he's accomplished rising above his emotionally dysfunctional life on the career front, he is left to the task of proving he deserves to be there. I fear he has a difficult time separating the serious functions of the job from the personal image he wants to create for and of himself. I also had my support on another candidate, and when it came to the general, all I could do was hope beyond hope that either one would have the passion and the energy to pull the necessary "all nighters" to start turning things around.

    The teleprompter thing is unbelievable. Even a little uh-ing and um-ing would be more natural and appealing than the robotic motioning and reading of things that should come so easily. Gives me zero confidence to see these simple things take such a toll on him.

    Axelrod was the single-most external reason I could not support Obama. It was obvious this underhanded person would be Obama's "Rove" if they got the nod to go to the WH.


    We're on the same page here. (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jacob Freeze on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 04:33:59 PM EST
    Nevertheless, I wish I could bake Obama a batch of cookies, or make him a nice cup of chamomile tea, or whatever. If he's just tired, that's okay... But if there's some sort of idiopathic stress involved, how bad can it get? I don't want to find out!

    And that's more than enough of my paranoid rambling!


    Hey (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 05:18:44 PM EST
    He did need something like 4 vacations during the primary because he was tired.  Interesting that he ran against 1) a 61 year-old woman who didn't need a vacation (and in fact, was out campaigning for him while he was on one of his Hawaiian jaunts), and 2)a 72 year old man with a broken body, who never took a vacation - one who people actually expressed that they were worried about voting for him because he was old and decrepit and might die (or at least need naps in the afternoon).

    Jacob (none / 0) (#15)
    by jbindc on Wed Mar 18, 2009 at 06:28:38 PM EST
    Eagerly awaiting your next diary - when's it coming?  :)