December 12, 2011
NYC Letter: The Common Man Presidency XI -- Merry Excess!
Day 1,055 of CHOPE
The Obamas are celebrating Christmas at the White House with 37 Christmas trees. [Pause.] Good thing Team Barry killed its Christmas tree tax.
AS AMERICANS STRUGGLE,
THE OBAMAS MAKE DO WITH
37 CHRISTMAS TREES
By Andrew Malcolm
December 12, 2011 (IBD) - The economy may be weak, unemployment strong and the first family soon to vacate the White House for another half-month of vacation in Hawaii.
But the Obamas have gone all out in decorating their house this year, including a nearly quarter-ton gingerbread White House.
They have also installed 37 different Christmas trees. Thirty of the trees are live, or were, including one nearly 19-feet tall from Wisconsin. Seven of the three dozen Christmas trees are artificial or homemade including, of course, one from recyclables.
"We have 37 Christmas trees here at the White House--37!" Michelle Obama excitedly told a recent group of visitors. "That's a lot, right? Yes, that's a lot of trees. And we also have a 400-pound White House gingerbread house."
... The theme the first lady chose for the decorations was "Share, Give, Shine."
... The extravagance of 2011's decorations, however, are striking given the widespread joblessness, pale economic growth, home foreclosures and grim outlook for 2012, not to mention the incumbent president's historically low approval rating heading into his reelection bid.
How simple, politically astute, symbolically helpful and cost-effective it would have been for the Obamas this year to say that in sympathy with so many struggling countrymen, they were curtailing holiday decorations to match the sacrifices of others.
Mrs. Obama took another tack, however. She said the massive holiday displays in her White House are designed to make others feel better, especially military families.
We are not entirely of two minds about this. We recognize that the season is festive. The Obamas slogged their way to the presidency and as the First Family are free to present themselves to the world as they see fit. Mrs. Obama's intent may be sweet, but it rings false.
The one thing we, and perhaps you, dear Krampus, do not feel much from the Obamas is empathy. After three unrelenting months of sour partisan populism, the Obamas will be jetting on the taxpayer dime to Hawaii, possibly in a relay at twice the expense.
Unemployment in the teeth of Mr. Obama's remedies has worsened. The Obamas, husband and wife, pay lip service to straiten Americans yet continue to live high -- all the while soliciting money from the rich and the not-rich alike.
Missing from Mr. Obama's class-warfare posturing is any real or symbolic sharing in the distress of the nation. Mr. Obama makes noises about his willingness to "pay a little more" in the abstract, but unless compelled by law he apparently has no intention of forgoing any of the amenities and ostentation his office and wealth afford him. We don't begrudge him all that. It's his to flaunt.
But, please, stop with the phony fellow feeling.
(A) Because I didn't come from privilege. I've said before and I mean this -- this is the only country on Earth where my story is possible. ... I want to make sure that that continues to be true for every child born in this country. And I don't think there's gonna be anybody out there who feels that more passionately or more personally, and who's gonna fight harder for those families, because they're my family. And they're my family's family. And they're Michelle's family. And ultimately, I think that the American people, as frustrated as they are, are gonna say to themselves, "You know what? This guy's on our side. He's fighting for us." Because I am.
(B) We're just not that far removed from what most Americans are going through.
millionaire, employed with perks,
and living large, stooping to empathize
(A) 60 MINUTES INTERVIEW
WASHINGTON December 9, 2011 (CBS News)
(B) GOOD MORNING AMERICA INTERVIEW
WASHINGTON July 23, 2010 (ABC News)
Thirty-seven trees are meretricious, a meaning here closer to its Latin derivative than the polite disparagement indicated.
A bit much.Posted by Damian at December 12, 2011 11:00 PM