Written by Daniel Greenfield
Summer is traditionally a weak shopping season, but lately the bargains just keep on coming. First there was an offer to have dinner with Obama and now a chance to have him there in your family photo. You can bid on an opportunity to wish Obama a happy birthday in person with the present that he likes best... money.
The prices are reasonable, and there are so many ways to buy Obama. You can play the dinner lottery or ask your wedding guests to gift to Obama. The Barack Obama website accepts all payments, Visa, Discover, Master Card, foreign donations and stolen credit cards.
The opportunities are endless. Birthdays, wedding anniversaries, major disasters; everything is just another reminder to give till it hurts. All you have to do is click one of the many buttons beneath the color-tuned hues of Instagram photos of Obama or his worse half smiling while the country slides deeper into poverty and debt.
There's a reason that they call America, "The Land of Opportunity". Sure it's gotten a lot harder to come here and make a fortune with your own business, but buying time with the man at the top has just gotten a lot more affordable. You may not have the big wallet of a Warren Buffett or a George Soros and you won't cash in to the tune of a few billion dollars like they did; but for 25 bucks you might end up briefly exchanging pleasantries with the man who is slowly sending you to the poorhouse.
The designers are working overtime digging up retro fonts that summon up the image of a more prosperous America. There are so many Obama portrait shirts that they will be filling up landfills for generations. More likely, they'll be shipped over to the Third World, along with all the other surplus clothes that people donate once the trend has passed or they no longer fit, and, somewhere in an African village, children in the year 2021 will run around playing in "Obama 2012" t-shirts and Islamic terrorists in the Sahara will execute rebellious women while wearing "Forward" shirts.
You can get a "This is Change" shirt that lists all the things that Obama has done on the back, but the text is too small to read on the website, so, like ObamaCare and Obama 2012, you will have to buy it to find out what's in it and on it.
There's a collar for cats that says, "I Meow for Michelle" and an 85-dollar Vera Wang tote bag with Obama inside a scrawled heart. There's an Obama-themed dog collar, to express the relationship between the administration and its lapdogs, and a t-shirt with an all-red American flag that has a distinctly Soviet feel to it. There's a 65-dollar polo shirt designed by rapper and Farrakhan supporter Russell Simmons; which is just a generic polo shirt with a small Obama logo.
A Joe Biden cup holder sits next to a knit Obama dog sweater, a silver Obama brooch, an Obama basketball jersey, an Obama University hoodie, which has a seal but no motto, along with beanies, keychains, more dog collars, water bottles, tumblers, lanyards, cuff links, duffel bags, tube socks and a dog bowl with the Obama logo inside for your dog to drink out of.
Obama isn't just a politician; he is a Walmart of useless crap. A one-man Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie and Fitch and Ed Hardy with enough t-shirts, polo shirts and bandanas to outfit a small army of young men and women with more credit card limits than taste. And upstairs on the third floor of his cyberspace Target, you can find a plethora of 90-dollar reusable canvas bags from major designers that have become the stamp of consciously responsible consumption.
You can buy Obama and wear Obama all over your body. You can read Obama at the beach, stick him on your toddler, your dog and your cat. You can cover your car, your house and your barn with his stickers. And, if you are truly lucky, you may even win a chance to spend 72 seconds in his presence before you are firmly ushered out to go back to your Obama 2012 car and drive back to your Obama 2012 yard sign where your dog is barking for food in his "Obama Best Friend" collar and then sit down to read through the Help Wanted ads in the paper while wearing an Obama Hope Lapel Pin.
The price of meat has risen sharply, going up by a dollar to a dollar fifty a pound since last summer, and beef consumption has fallen to an all-time low. But that's okay, because you can still grill your burger in an Obama 2012 apron while using an Obama grill spatula to embed the Obama 2012 logo into the meat that your family eats. At 40 bucks, the grill spatula isn't exactly cheap, but it's a bargain compared to what another four years of Obama will cost you. And the burgers with Obama 2012 on them are a date stamped in time, reminding you that, if Obama wins in 2012, pretty soon you won't be able to afford meat at all.
There's an old joke about an honest politician being a man who stays bought. And while you can buy hundreds of dollars worth of ObamaCrap 2012, you don't have the money it takes to buy Obama. That's reserved for the bundlers and the billionaires, who get their payoff in the form of bailouts and stimulus packages. Al Gore gets a 500-million dollar loan to build cars in Finland, Solyndra executives get another 500-million for their 100 thou worth of donations and Warren Buffett gets billions in bailout profits. But you get to take home a 15-dollar dog collar with your master's name on it.
But don't worry, it's only money, your money, and they have to give it away to somebody. Paul Holland, a venture capitalist who sucked up some of that sweet money, described a DOE official walking into the room and announcing, "I’m Matt Rogers I am the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Energy, and I have $134 billion that I have to disperse between now and the end of December.”
"So upon hearing that," Holland said, "I sent an email to my partners that said Matt Rogers is about to get treated like a hooker dropped into a prison exercise yard. And I had the lack of judgment to go up and share that with him and the other people who were all standing around him…Fortunately for me they all laughed and thought it was funny.”
Of course Rogers thought it was funny, because Matt Rogers wasn't the one getting treated like a hooker dropped into a prison exercise yard. The American taxpayer was the one being treated like a hooker in that crony capitalism exercise yard. Rogers, a longtime employee of energy consulting firm McKinsey & Company, who went back there after his brief term dispensing hundreds of billions of dollars, was just the assistant to the pimp-in-chief.
In Hollywood there's a big difference between the movie producer and the guy who buys a ticket. Holland, like Buffett and Soros, is a producer, and, like producers, he shares in the profit of the trillion-dollar production of Obama 2008 and is hoping to share in the boffo box office of Obama 2012. That's a world away from the chumps buying Obama spatulas and dog dishes who can bask in the historicity of a national debt that is so big it might as well come with a dog collar around their necks.
Obama's supporters can buy tickets to the inauguration, buy lottery tickets to win a dinner with Obama or a chance to feel Obama's sweaty arm on their necks for 3.5 seconds in an Instagram photo. They can buy Obama merchandise, share Obama on social media and do all the other free promotional grunt work that fans are tasked with in the social media age, but all they are ever going to be are spectators.
No matter how many shirts reading, "We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For" get lugged around an impoverished country by tired UPS men in brown; there has never been a "We" here. Obama is an "I" guy and whatever "We" there is, is strictly limited to the kind of people who don't buy t-shirts, but who buy energy companies and banks.
Obama is for sale, but like the 100-dollar reusable tote bags, you really can't afford him. And unlike the bags, you won't be able to afford him even if you skip a lot of meals this summer. The "Win a Dinner with Obama" and "Win a Family Photo with Obama" and "Win a Lock of Obama's Hair" entries are meant to create the illusion that Obama is affordable. That you can buy access to him the way that you can buy his t-shirt.
While his website pitches branded bangles, running shorts, baby bibs, golf divots, blankets and a "Michelle 2012" gold pin, the real action is happening where the big men and women are being pitched more tangible benefits of another four years from a guy who spent 5 billion dollars a day. An administration which in its first term compelled every American to buy health insurance as a penalty for breathing has a lot to offer its crony capitalist billionaires. And the benefits don't have anything to do with "history"; only with "profitability."
The best con artist makes you pay for the privilege of being robbed. He doesn't just take your money, he convinces you to buy his t-shirt too.