The president as pointed out by critics on the right, was full of 'others-deprecating' humor as usual at the latest iteration of the WHCD (White House Correspondents Dinner). The tradition of self-deprecating humor was paid an ever-so-brief nod before the president started skewering everyone else, particularly his political foes. There are plenty of examples to choose from, but there is more reason to not care.
Politico had a couple of articles about the WHCD, one of which points out the partisan opportunity the president sees the dinner as presenting. Keeping in mind he's playing to a predominantly liberal media gathering, the receptive crowd would play into the notion that the direction the president is taking the dinner is okay.
Obama is much more likely to reserve his sharpest flashes of wit for his adversaries, antagonists and even (in a kind of throwback Henny Youngmanesque style) for the wife he invariably portrays as hectoring...Obama generally eschews the kind of deadly self-directed stinger George W. Bush delivered at his first Gridiron Club dinner in 2001, when he allowed: “Those stories about my intellectual capacity do get under my skin. You know for a while I even thought my staff believed it. There on my schedule first thing every morning it said, ‘Intelligence Briefing.’” And near the end of his tenure, Bush said he was considering “something really fun and creative” for his memoirs, “You know, maybe a pop-up book.”
The other Politico article, even goes so far as to bring up New York Times Magazine National Correspondent Mark Leibovich, who complains about the WHCD as an abomination.
"I think that it’s morphed into this extravaganza of more than two dozen pre-parties and after parties, and we have to ask ourselves, what are we celebrating exactly?" he said on ABC's "This Week.""This is a classic case of the bubble world and the unselfawareness of spending however millions of dollars over a number of days to celebrate ourselves and again I ask, why?" he said.
Leibovich makes a valid point, particularly when it comes to the bubble world. That bubble is the inside the beltway political class and the media cabal that lives in it`s own atmosphere, unaware of how they look from the outside. Therein lies the reason to not care. The more into the bubble the beltway folks go, the further the disconnect, and the less relevant their opinions become to America at large.
CNN, which recently made it clear it would like to become less of a news channel and more of a news magazine style channel played the WHCD like it was the Oscars. Whether it was part of that re-branding effort, an attempt by the liberal media to allow the president the opportunity to skewer the right in a seemingly lighthearted manner or a bit of both is not clear. But the red-carpeting of the event was clearly a disconnect with the mean-spirited monologue of the president.
Even those who seemed to appreciate the dinner itself were down on CNN's SuperBowlesque dedication to the event.
CNN dedicated no less than six hours to its White House Correspondents’ Dinner coverage on Saturday night, and the reviews weren’t a whole lot better than the network’s widely-panned MH370 coverage. Primetime anchor Don Lemon led the coverage with important anecdotes about how he had a hard time recognizing who was who at the event, showing off the cue cards he was using to identify celebrities during CNN’s extensive red-carpet coverage. The network bizarrely brought on actor Michael Torpey, most recognizable from Chase Freedom’s ads, and former conservative speechwriter (and current boring curmudgeon) Ben Stein to help interpret the evening’s best jokes. (Spoiler: Stein thought they were mean, unfunny, and uncomfortable. We’d mostly disagree.)
That`s why it does not matter. The inadvertently us-and-them event has been paraded out as an in-your-face-America spectacle. Should those within an industry be allowed to celebrate their achievements? Of course. But what is the harm in keeping that celebration private? This is NOT the Oscars (despite all the stars in attendance, another problem with the event). The pomp and circumstance is especially inappropriate given the high unemployment rate, the historically terrible labor participation rate and the declining median income in America.
More importantly, this is not going to going to make anyone like president Obama any more or any less. Those opinions have already been set and are already firmed up. The WHCD comes across as more mean-spirited than it would in good times. So the sniping at the GOP is irrelevant. There's no reason to care because the disconnect of these people with the rest of the country makes their case that much harder to make.
For those of you on the left, particularly those who identify with the 99% movement, how do you reconcile your agenda with this? When the likes of Van Jones are in attendance, clearly there is a big disconnect between the liberal elite agenda and your own.