I’m outraged that President Obama apparently had a party where he did the Electric Slide with Chris Rock...and I wasn’t there.
I’ll bet that party was epic! Obama, Rock, Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Whoopi Goldberg, Grant Hill, Charles Barkley, key Democrats...Oprah Winfrey would have been there too, but she apparently had something better to do. Which sounds snide and sarcastic, but given that she’s Oprah, she probably did.
But as The Onion so aptly reported, many critics are protesting Obama turning 50 during such dark economic days. Peruse any comments section on any article about this party and you’ll see I’m not joking. How dare the President of the United States have the audacity to throw a birthday party! The average American is struggling, and would never have a party at a time like this!
Yes, I remember that all through George W. Bush’s presidency, I criticized him for often fiddling while Rome burned. But there is a difference between Obama and Bush in this regard. Bush would say things like, “Now watch this drive,” while being pressed about global terrorism. When asked what he gave up in wartime — wars he started — his answer was, “Golf.” On his frequent vacations, he made a production of clearing brush at his Crawford ranch, image-making not unlike Ronald Reagan’s ranch persona.
President Obama actually shows up to work. Whether or not you like what he’s saying and doing, he’s actually at the White House and front-and-center addressing huge national problems — much of which he inherited from past administrations and Congresses. He gets hell enough for that, so one can only imagine how much more grief he’d get if he were ducking into some hideaway in Chicago or Long Island for a third of his presidency. When we do hear about his leisurely functions — and it’s usually secondhand — it involves him going out to a show with Michelle or this sort of event that, as independently wealthy people, they pay for themselves. And by the way, those are the only two objections I remember anyone having about Obama allegedly being personally frivolous.
People in any high-stress job — scratch that, everybody — needs and deserves a release from time to time. Anyone who follows a workout regimen knows that it isn’t just about the running, squats, thrusts and crunches — it’s also about taking days off so your body can repair itself. Muscles don’t get built during exercise; they rebuild during downtime. Just as resting your body is as important as working out, so is stress relief integral to ensuring top form.
I’m sure lots of people wished Obama wouldn’t smile or even sleep until he frees the world from all our problems, but that’s not productive, nor is it realistic. It’s not as if Obama had “rescue the Dow Jones industrial average” blocked off on his planner for Sunday night, but Chris Rock showed up, so that went to hell.
I don’t begrudge the president for letting loose. It’s one thing when one does it with alarming frequency (and publicly) while electively entering into war and into massive deficits. It’s another when a hardworking leader is trying to contain those wars and monster deficits, with fire from both sides, and lets loose twice in a two-year span.
Maybe we should all take a cue from the president and take time to party instead of being so partisan.
I’m here all week.