Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark

Something is definitely rotten in the state of Denmark, but it’s important that those of us outraged express our outrage for the correct reasons.

When House Minority Leader John Boehner came out strongly on Wednesday against the president’s decision to personally lobby the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen on behalf of Chicago to host of the 2016 Olympic Games, he did so for the wrong reasons, and to be completely honest I’ve shuddered a bit as I’ve seen and heard too many people take his sentiment and run with it on their own.

Essentially, Boehner’s outrage was centered on the idea that Barack Obama should not be traveling overseas when there is so much work to be done at home. The problem with such an argument is that it ignores the fact that George W. Bush spent 487 days at Camp David and another 490 days at his Crawford, Texas ranch during his presidency, and that Republicans did their level best to spurn outrage from the left by pointing out that, as president, he could essentially work everywhere. If that flexibility and capability applies to Bush as president, it should similarly apply to Obama.

Yes, the health care debate rages on, and yes, American servicemen and servicewomen continue to be endangered and killed in Afghanistan while the president considers the political consequences of authorizing reinforcements, but both of those issues can be handled on the fly. Considering the capabilities of Air Force One, “on the fly” can in fact be taken quite literally.

As I mentioned before, though, the president should by no means get a free pass. For me, the affair in Copenhagen is particularly offensive for two reasons:

  1. The overt show of corruption and self-dealing.
  2. The full display of Michelle Obama’s rampant solipsism.

This president and this administration does nothing by accident, and rarely if ever has anybody’s well-being in mind other than itself. Therefore, it should be assumed that he and those close to him understand the ramifications, political and otherwise — making my two reasons for outrage above seem even more egregious.

Corruption and Self-Dealing

First, when considering the president’s motivation for traveling so far and taking time away from the business of the president of the United States to masquerade as the honorary mayor of Chicago, it’s important to remember the vicious outcry from the left with regard to ties between Bush, Dick Cheney and the oil industry, and keep in mind the lack of empirical evidence of any financial favoritism. To the left, everything was about President Bush funneling money to his oil tycoon buddies, from the Iraq War to his relationship with Saudi Arabia to the decision to lift the ban on offshore oil drilling, yet I’ve never seen anything showing specific people or amounts.

Contrast that with Barack Obama’s decision to lobby for Chicago as host of the 2016 Olympic Games. As Michelle Malkin has spelled out beautifully, it’s all about political payback. For the details, spend a few hours at Malkin’s Web site — for now, though, here are a few highlights:

  • Chicago Mayor Richard Daley was a prominent backer of Barack Obama. To reward him with the Olympic Games, considering the pay-to-play nature of Windy City politics and the union-heavy construction needed in advance of 2016, would be the ultimate return of favor.
  • Patrick Ryan was co-chair of Barack Obama’s presidential inaugural committee. He currently serves at the head of the Chicago 2016 bid committee.
  • David Axelrod, senior adviser to the president, still is owed $2 million by AKPD Message and Media, a public relations firm he founded and still the employer of his son. AKPD’s services have been retained by the nonprofit organization established to lure the Games to the Windy City.
  • Valerie Jarrett, so close to the president and First Lady that she describes them as “family,” served as vice chair of the bid committee until she was tapped for a position in the White House. Jarrett is the former president and CEO of The Habitat Company, a real estate firm which stands to clean up financially considering its holdings in Olympic-relevant properties. Jarrett, along with another bid committee member, also met with folks at HUD about financing the billion-dollar Olympic Village housing project.
  • Penny Pritzker is another close friend of Barack and Michelle Obama, and her Pritzker Realty Group could, like Jarrett’s Habitat, reap financial benefit from Olympics-relevant development.

Yes, it’s always an honor for any nation to host the Olympic Games. Considering how little Barack Obama cares for the honor, dignity, mission and strength of the United States of America, could his decision to lobby for the Olympic Games have been made for any other reason than to funnel billions of dollars to his friends, confidantes and deep-pocketed campaign partners through Chicago’s corrupt political machine? If Barack Obama is so concerned about American honor and so aware of America’s greatness, he wouldn’t be blaming his own nation for the world’s ills and apologizing for her with every chance he gets.

Solipsism Gone Wild

In the same Merriam-Webster dictionary which ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos used to define “tax” for the benefit of a clueless president of the United States, “solipsism” is defined as “a theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and that the self is the only existent thing.” Also, reads the dictionary, see “extreme egocentrism.”

It is any wonder that “solipsistic” is my single favorite adjective to use when describing Barack and Michelle Obama? On Wednesday, that trait in the First Lady was on full display, and all day yesterday–because of a great piece by Byron York in the Washington Examiner–Americans got to see it for themselves. Having fallen victim to some time constraints, I took slightly longer than that to weigh in. (Sorry!)

For those who haven’t heard, Michelle Obama arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark a day ahead of her husband in order to pitch the International Olympic Committee and encourage the body to name Chicago the host of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Also with her was television host Oprah Winfrey.

The First Lady traveling to Copenhagen is fine by me. Enjoying the city with Oprah? That’s okay, too. Of course, I wonder what the carbon footprint of Oprah, Michelle and Barack’s trips to Copenhagen in three separate private jets looked like, but that’s neither here nor there — my problem with Michelle’s visit stems from her conduct, in particular a single statement noted in York’s commentary:

In her speech in Copenhagen today, First Lady Michelle Obama said her trip to Denmark, along with the travel of her “dear friend” and “chit-chat buddy” Oprah Winfrey, as well as tomorrow’s visit by President Obama, is a “sacrifice” on behalf of the children of Chicago and the United States. “As much of a sacrifice as people say this is for me or Oprah or the president to come for these few days,” the first lady told a crowd of people involved in the Chicago project, “so many of you in this room have been working for years to bring this bid home.”

If this isn’t proof enough of Michelle Obama’s solipsism, that she is absolutely incapable of knowing anything beyond her own bubble, I don’t know what is.

Sacrifice? Sacrifice? While I was able to get a link to Byron York’s piece up in the [Somewhat] Fresh-Picked Assigned Reading section yesterday morning, all day yesterday and into the wee hours of this morning, this has been driving me absolutely crazy. Sacrifice?

Someone should gently take Mrs. Obama by the hand, lead her to the hospital at Walter Reed and introduce her to a brave soldier who lost his legs in the explosion of an improvised explosive device. Someone should suggest that Mrs. Obama sit down with a recently widowed Army wife whose husband gave his life in Afghanistan or Iraq and never had the chance to meet the eight-month-old baby girl she holds in her arms.

Of course, this shouldn’t surprise anybody. This is the same woman who sported a pair of $540 sneakers while serving food at a soup kitchen. Now, I’ve argued before that, as a grown woman, Mrs. Obama can do as she pleases with her own money, but methinks a pattern is beginning to emerge here.

Not convinced? Consider Dana Milbank’s September 18, 2009 story in the Washington Post on the grand opening of the First Lady’s farm market project in the shadow of the White House:

There’s nothing like the simple pleasures of a farm stand to return us to our agrarian roots.

The first lady had encouraged Freshfarm Markets, the group that runs popular farmers markets in Dupont Circle and elsewhere, to set up near the White House, and she helped get the approvals to shut down Vermont Avenue during rush hour on Thursdays. But the result was quite the opposite of a quaint farmers market. Considering all the logistics, each tomato she purchased had a carbon footprint of several tons.

The promotion of organic and locally grown food, though an admirable cause, is a risky one for the Obamas, because there’s a fine line between promoting healthful eating and sounding like a snob. The president, when he was a candidate in 2007, got in trouble in Iowa when he asked a crowd, “Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?” Iowans didn’t have a Whole Foods.

For that reason, it’s probably just as well that the first lady didn’t stop by the Endless Summer Harvest tent yesterday. The Virginia farm had a sign offering “tender baby arugula” — hydroponically grown, pesticide free — and $5 for four ounces, which is $20 a pound.

Obama, in her brief speech to the vendors and patrons, handled the affordability issue by pointing out that people who pay with food stamps would get double the coupon value at the market. Even then, though, it’s hard to imagine somebody using food stamps to buy what the market offered: $19 bison steak from Gunpowder Bison, organic dandelion greens for $12 per pound from Blueberry Hill Vegetables, the Piedmont Reserve cheese from Everson Dairy at $29 a pound. Rounding out the potential shopping cart: $4 for a piece of “walnut dacquoise” from the Praline Bakery, $9 for a jumbo crab cake at Chris’s Marketplace, $8 for a loaf of cranberry-walnut bread and $32 for a bolt of yarn.

The first lady said the market would particularly appeal to federal employees in nearby buildings to “pick up some good stuff for dinner.” Yet even they might think twice about spending $3 for a pint of potatoes when potatoes are on sale for 40 cents a pound at Giant. They could get nearly five dozen eggs at Giant for the $5 Obama spent for her dozen.

At worst, it’s complete arrogance. At best, it’s utter ignorance. Somewhere in between, however, lies solipsism. $20 per pound for arugula is fine, and don’t worry if you’re on food stamps — you’ll get twice the value of the coupons at Mrs. Obama’s farm stand. Ladling out chicken soup can do wonders for a person’s soul, and the $540 sneakers are sure comfortable for someone standing for a long period of time — never mind that, for many of the people standing in line with bowl in hand, $540 could be life-changing. And, oh my goodness, traveling across the Atlantic in a plush private jet at taxpayer expense, staying in a plush hotel suite at taxpayer expense, and eating at the finest restaurants with Oprah Winfrey . . . how positively exhausting. What a sacrifice.

Solipsism. A theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and that the self is the only existent thing. Sound about right?

Regardless of the proper adjective used to describe the president or First Lady, the important thing to take away when it comes to the first family’s excursion to Copenhagen is that focus should be on the issues which are most indicative of this president’s personality and idea of governance. Perpetuating a double standard regarding when and where a president can work seems like the easy way out; the far more effective approach is to highlight aspects of this president and this presidency which will leave a lasting impressions on voters in this country who are just now starting to look at Barack Obama in a different light.

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Comments

  1. CAL says:
  2. CAL says:

    Jeff,
    Comparing George W. Bush's getaways to Camp David and to his own private home do not compare to Obama's jet setting here and there for self aggrandizing photo ops. George W. Bush spoke with his commanders on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan daily. Obama has spoken with McChrystal once in 71 days! This is outrageous especially for a new president who has never handled these type of issues before. You'd think he would be extra attentive to ensure he was doing the right thing. Our men in Afghanistan are waiting for reinforcements and Obama is postponing his review while he is jetsetting to Copenhagen for what we all know is a pre-determined outcome – otherwise he would never risk political capital on this trip. Obama also found time to fly to visit with the idiot David Letterman and I even saw him on a commerical with George Lopez for Lopez's new show! I do not know about you, but I do not want our commander-in-chief doing TV spots for comedy shows!

  3. John Feeny says:

    Maybe it's just me, but with each passing day – perhaps it's my background in British literature that colors my perspective – all I can see is Grendel and his mother having taken over Hrothgar's hall.

  4. CAL says:

    Jeff,
    One final comment…on Michelle and the fresh market…I am so sick of these people acting like none of us know how to eat. Heck, I read that when the Obamas first moved into the White House she told the chef that her girls do not eat anything green so it sounds like she needs to practice what she preaches at home! Also, I do not know who in their right mind would shop in this market at those prices!! What is sad is that there are a lot of farmers' markets across America where you can buy fresh, home grown produce at much lower prices than the super market and support your local farmer at the same time. Michelle has no interest in shining the spotlight on this long standing, real American tradition!! Probably because the people who own these farms would never vote for them!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Good morning, Jeff.

    I shouldn't read such stuff before breakfast. I've kind of lost my appitite for food. I think that I'm more in need of a mental and emotional enema to rid myself of the loathing that I feel towards the actions of the First Family.

    Solipsism, self-absorbtion – what ever. They act like some kids who have stolen a neighbor's car and are showing it off to their fellow gang members. They got bling! But in this case it's Airforce One and all the perks that come with the Presidency that they're "playing" with.

    Other than that, it's another great article from the master writer.

    Randy

  6. Anonymous says:

    Enough about me ! Now you talk about me. Sheesh Al Capone had nuthin on these guys.

  7. Gail B says:

    CAL –
    Thanks for that link!

    Ooooh, can you hear the key turning in the lock?!

  8. Ian Thorpe says:

    Jeff,
    Having worked, towards the end of my career, as a senior consultant on international telecomms projects I must express a little sympathy with Michelle here. I know what that sacrifice cost her, I know what it is like to stay in five star hotels, dine on wild salmon, lobster or line caught bass, fillet steaks or lamb grazed on the salt marshes of The Carmargue. I know what it is like to have to force fine wines down one's throat night after night in the company of witty and sophisticated colleagues, to be surrounded by beautiful and friendly women and be exeptionally well paid for it all. It is more than a sacrifice, it is hell, absolute hell.

    Oh how we yearned to throw off our expensivew suits and wear sweatshirts and jeans, to drink tea from a cracked mug and eat bacon sandwiches at the local greasy spoon.

    You just don't know what some of us have to sacrifice so the rest of you can live in relative poverty.

    Full Marx to Michelle Obama for persevering with her life of ostentatious luxury. She is marching shoulder to shoulder with the great Champagne socialists of the past.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Solipsism, Crony-ism, Nepotism, Exploitation, Corruption, Malfeasance

    …… "It's not rape-rape."

    Aye Carumba !

  10. Bodenzee says:

    Michelle made a real "sacrifice" to fly to Denmark in luxury with her friends at our expense? I'm glad she's so impressed with herself…because I don't think any thinking person is.

    What could she be doing that's so important, that she had to sacrifice? Perhaps she's working hard on her Enimies List.

    What this nation does not need is to be represented by an attorney, no longer licensed to practice law whose license "…is on court ordered inactive status."

    http://www.iardc.org/ldetail.asp?id=692155897

  11. Anonymous says:

    The Chicago THUGS have been eliminated from the Olympics competition!! They were accused of DOPING or maybe it was acting Dopey, whatever, corruption did not win in this instance!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I forgot to add….SOMETHING IS ROTTEN IN CHICAGO!!! Who knew??

  13. Boston Blackie says:

    Thank you – there is a God, Chicago was the first city to be booted from contention.
    By the way, what is the difference between God and Obama?
    God doesn't think he is Obama!

  14. Gail B says:

    This email from JB Williams:

    Despite Obama's multi-million dollar taxpayer funded trip to Copenhagen to make a "presidential" pitch for his Chicago mob family and their bid for 2016 Olympic Games….

    Immediately following Obama and Oprah's glitz blitz on Copenhagen, Chicago was the FIRST to be given the boot by the international Olympic Committee….

    Why don't American citizens take a hint and follow their lead….?

    Time for America to give the Chicago Cabal the boot!

  15. Gail B says:

    An earlier try with this info did not "take" so here it is again, in part, from NBC First Read:

    "…it was the meeting the president held just before takeoff FROM Copenhagen BACK to the states that served as the reminder: the commander on the ground in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McCrystal, hopped over a mere 600 miles from London to Copenhagen, to meet face-to-face with his Commander-in-Chief. The 25-minute meeting aboard Air Force One…."

    So, Gen. McCrystal has his first meeting since JULY with Obama/Soetoro about more troops or whatever they discussed.

    Thank You, Lord–Obama/Soetoro has to bring home an appropriate failure to Chicago! (Read: No money for Valerie Jarrett's pockets!)

  16. Anonymous says:

    I am absolutely thrilled that Chicago lost its bid for the 2016 Olympics. Aside from the obvious that the city can't afford it and nearly half its citizens didn't want it, I relish the fact that somebody actually said "No" to the Obamas.

    Can the taxpayers be reimbursed for the frivolous travel expenses incurred by the Obamas and their traveling companions?

    jeano

  17. Rix says:

    Jeff, how long do you plan to stay in denial? We are ruled by a couple who behave like a typical pair of 'hood ones-whose-race-should-not-be-named who are still dizzy from scoring a major lottery jackpot but already know that the lottery organizers are in for a cut.

    "You can take 'em out of the ghetto but you cannot take the ghetto out of 'em."

  18. Anonymous says:

    Apparently the Olympic Committee didn't fully appreciate the depth of the intensely personal and selfless sacrifice put forth by Michelle Obama.

    (sarcasm off)

    Two great pieces of news in one week, I couldn't be happier today!!

  19. RIX 2012 says:

    Rix is right.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Jeff, no offense or harshness meant here, but why are you having such a hard time grasping the fact that appearances are important as well? It was cold, indifferent, arrogant, and embarrassing to this country. Yes, that matters. The fact that he would take off with Oprah, in two different tax-payers paid for planes…at times such as this…(and why couldn't billionairess Oprah fund the trip on her private jet?), have his wife claim it was a sacrifice, rush through a one-time meeting with our general before he went, and shirk off, AGAIN, the feelings of the American ppl about doing this, are you not getting?
    It matters. Yes, it makes me mad that all three of these arrogant jerks felt that their personality, celebrity, influence, and inflated personas were more important. The corruption matters, too, but the fact that it was even considered in the first place is just as vital to the point.

  21. Anonymous says:

    John Feeny…
    What? Huh?

  22. provoked into temper tantrums... says:

    Jeff, quit picking on Boehner. It isn't a big enough issue for you to be devoting two articles on his comments. Gracious…I would've never thought any more about what he said about Obama taking off other than…"Hey! Thanks, Boehner! You're speaking the minds of the people"!
    IT'S NOT THE SAME AS BUSH GOING TO CRAWFORD OR CAMP DAVID. IT'S NOT. IT'S NOT. IT'S NOT!!!
    Now, stop provoking me into stomping my foot…for the first time since kindergarten!

  23. Gail B says:

    "Chicago is OUT? Chicago is OUT?"

    Things in Copenhagen just improved!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Even with all the copious drugs and degenerate sex in Copenhagen they seem to make a better decisions than most administrators (and voters) in the USA.

  25. whats_up says:

    I am sorry but I have never seen conservatives so happy that an AMERICAN city was rejected. Four years ago had a group of people done this they would have been called traitors by the right, would have been called unAmerican. Interesting that now you actually CELEBRATE an AMERICAN city losing the Olympic bid, disgusting!

  26. JEFF SCHREIBER says:

    Whats up —

    I definitely understand where you're coming from. I love my country. I would much rather see the Olympic Games in Chicago than Rio. However, if it takes this sacrifice for the world to discover that this president is tied to corruption and that he's not the savior the world thinks he is, so be it.

    He peddles untruths here in the States, and disparages the United States abroad.

    Had this president, after disparaging this country so often, not gotten involved in an endeavor where he was required to extol its virtues (and thus appear perceptibly empty), I would be behind Chicago 100 percent.

    But he wasn't there for the right reasons, Whats up, and it's important for you to see it that way to understand that we weren't cheering against America — but rather FOR her.

  27. CRIME UNLIMITED says:

    Nothing belongs in Chicago. Chicago doesn't belong in Chicago. Any other US city, yes!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Great response to "whats_up", Jeff! Actually, it was awesome! I couldn't have said it better myself. Oh, wait…that's why I come here to begin with"! ha

  29. PSYDOG says:

    Yes the world has spoken and said a great big fat resounding "NO" to the anointed one. Yes, the world gets it – President O you are a jerk and you can take your wife and her friend back to your land of make believe.

  30. Anonymous says:

    The problem with such an argument is that it ignores the fact that George W. Bush spent 487 days at Camp David and another 490 days at his Crawford, Texas ranch during his presidency, and that Republicans did their level best to spurn outrage from the left by pointing out that, as president, he could essentially work everywhere. If that flexibility and capability applies to Bush as president, it should similarly apply to Obama
    —————————–

    Jeff, i feel the problem with that is that obama doesnt WORK from anywhere and that he was shamed into meeting with McChrystal as he has been with many things.

    what makes obama's situation a more glaring one is that he is NOT DOING the things hes expected to do while simultaneously appearing to goof off. one might argue he pushed healthcare on david letterman but who needs to get their healthcare update from david letterman where you go for your comedy.

    meeting with Cmmdr. in Denmark only highlighted the whispers that obama is not doing his job, furthering another minus for the U.S. – - another mismanagement and bad call by obama whom i am sure thought it would PROVE he was on top of things…. bad timeing, imo.

  31. Anonymous says:

    imo obama continues to miss each opportunity that presents itself to confirm he is as capable as he was hyped to be.

    namely, this latest Chicago incident. HIS HOME TOWN… HIS BEAT… where was he???????

    even if he didnt care he could have given the perception of caring by hopping that plane he likes to jump on to dinner in New York and give one of those speeches he likes to give at the drop of a hat.

    where's obama's ability to inspire, lead? where is his unique craftiness to reshape the minds of others in a positive way? how about him showing us some stuff of being able to turn lives around?

    wanna impress us and show us that you at last have a little mustard? COMMUNICATE with the social workers and community leaders on the streets of chicago in an effort to change the mentality of the misguided youth there. HAVE A FORMER GANG MEMBER ACTAULLY STAND UP AND SAY, "I CHANGED MY LIFE AROUND BECAUSE BARACK OBAMA SAID THIS TO ME…. OR CREATED THIS PROGRAM… OR "I NOW GO INTO OTHER GANGS AND SHOW OTHERS THAT A LIFE OF CRIME IS WRONG AND POINTLESS."

    instead of cleaning up his home before inviting guests, he hopped a plane to invite strangers(olymics) to a filth home(chicago)

  32. Anonymous says:

    barack and michelle.
    where are the advisers for these people?
    they both seem stuck in campaign mode ALL THE TIME.

  33. Anonymous says:

    gifts come in all kinds of packages – - we just have to see it from the right angle – - even bad gifts are gifts.

    take this obama as president thing.
    imo, obama was elected to teach us all a lesson. most especially the ones who voted for him….. TREAT YOUR VOTE WITH RESPECT… LEARN ABOUT A CANDIDATE, and when there's a pattern without satisfactory answers there is need for concern.

    obama came with all the question marks hanging on him. we never got answers, but elected(?) him anyway.

    did i say ELECTED? i have my own theory about that and it begins with an ACORN.

  34. Anonymous says:

    CAL, tks… great catch by Donofrio. now will our Courts abide by it or will they find an excuse to side with the usurper?

    ps: imo michelle saw something on pbs and thinks she will be admired like the African woman who did a tremendous job of bringing vegetables to a much needed environment.

    imo, what distinguishes a person evern moreso is to do something uncharted or at the very least fill a real need. HOW ABOUT MICHELLE TAKING ON THE YOUTH OF CHICAGO AND TURN THAT STATE FROM A GANG-INFESTED GANG stronghold to meaningful futures for otherwise misguided people? PUT SOME FIGURES ON THE MAP… MKE A REAL DIFFEERENCE.

  35. goddessdivine says:

    Michelle wouldn't know sacrifice if it smacked her in the face. Unreal.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Hey Barry, stay home and try to do your job.

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