Since I'm the only lady on the "staff" here at Why I Hate DC, I thought I'd talk a bit about the New York Times Style Section. While I would love to wax functionally retarded on how much I would like to see our elected officials trade in their Men's Warehouse get-ups for some of the space-themed outfits on this season's runways, we all know the topic of fashion is not one most of DC will ever understand. So, instead, the article I'll expound all-too-verbosely upon is this one, which focuses on the really original topic (NOT!) of how the Obamas are making this city as trendy a place to be as retro-futurism apparently is to wear (see previous link).
In modern times, said Michael Beschloss, a presidential historian, the notion of presidential engagement with Washington has typically meant "going to parties in Georgetown or making friends on Capitol Hill, in other words, engaging with the permanent political establishment here."
Oh Beschloss, you repetitive genius! Tell us more stuff we already know!
"This is really different," said Mr. Beschloss of the Obamas forays into casual restaurants and working-class neighborhoods."
OK, we get it. The President went to Ben's Chili Bowl once. That's fantastic. Maybe even cool.
As per usual, however, I'm exaggerating about just how pointless this article is, but that's mainly because of my limited literacy level. To help with this, I had my helper tortoise, Vladimir, explain to me the point of the article, which apparently wasn't simply to retread old territory about how cool Obama is (although Vladimir actually used the word "boss" instead of "cool"). Finally, after several hours of Vladimir tapping out Morse code on his shell by repeatedly running into the bottle of Shiraz we happened to be sharing, I realized the article had been trying to analyze what effect the Obamas' relatively active social schedule had on our President's public image. (Vladimir emphasized the word "trying," as the two sources the Times chose to interview on the subject were either staunch Democrats or strict Republicans, two sources that never make for interesting discussion.)
Dee Dee Myers, a former press secretary for President Clinton, said the outings allow Mr. Obama to project "an accessible glamour" and to convey a message of hope during bleak economic times. (She said that even the gregarious Clintons never got out this much.)
"It's very humanizing and very encouraging to people," Ms. Myers said. "And it's valuable for him politically."
Is it Ms. Myers? Really? Could your opinion perhaps be slightly skewed? Because I'm pretty sure a former press secretary for President Clinton would probably use those same words to describe President Obama had he decided to throw a bag full of flaming dog doo-doo at a bunch of disabled kids rather than eat a meal of food at Ben's Chili Bowl.
Speaking of biased, let's get the the other side of the story, and who better to ask than a former aide to President George W. Bush? Certainly, he'll say something fair and balanced!
"Every once in a while it's great, but there’s a chance of overexposing yourself socially," said Bradley A. Blakeman, a former aide to President George W. Bush. "People scratch their heads and say, 'Doesn’t the president have other things to do, especially in a crisis?'"
Well, hot damn. How unexpected! Democrats like Obama and Republicans hate him! Sometimes you feel like a nut! Sometimes you don't!
And while this article proved largely useless (although thanks to my helper tortoise, a little less useless than I originally thought), it wasn't a complete waste of time. Vladimir had to tap out Morse code to the very last paragraph, but what I heard left me with what I believe to be "thoughts" in my head. (It also left me quite amused, as my helper tortoise looked mighty silly ramming repeatedly into an empty bottle of wine.)
"Mrs. Obama and her staff also visited Miriam’s Kitchen, a soup kitchen, where the first lady bumped into Bill Richardson, a 46-year-old homeless man. Mr. Richardson was so stunned that he could barely stammer thank you as Mrs. Obama scooped a helping of mushroom risotto onto his plate this month.
"I was expecting some lunch, but this is the president's wife; this is her right here," said Mr. Richardson, who said he planned to get to a phone as soon as he could. "I'm going to be like, 'Mom, you’re never going to guess who I've seen.'"
First off, being unemployed and on my way to homelessness myself (unless Vladimir allows me to duck under his shell at night), I was slightly awestruck to find out soup kitchens in DC serve meals too complicated for me to understand. Mushroom risotto?! That sounds delicious. And it certainly beats my daily can of beans! At the same time, however, I'm left a little confused about Mr. Richardson's status as a "homeless man," because unless his mom is rolling strictly wireless, it would seem to me that she had a home to which he could call. Which means, in addition to telling her he just ate a gourmet soup kitchen meal served up to him by America's First Lady, could he maybe ask her if he could sleep on the couch for a few days?
Vladimir just informed me that I'm an ignorant asshole.