Ed Driscoll

'Host Your Own Dear Leader Birthday Bash!'

A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times asked, with unemployment spiking to 9.2 percent in June, “What gives? And where, if anywhere, is the outrage?”

Grim number of the week: 14,087,000.

Fourteen million, in round numbers — that is how many Americans are now officially out of work.

Word came Friday from the Labor Department that, despite all the optimistic talk of an economic recovery, unemployment is going up, not down. The jobless rate rose to 9.2 percent in June.

What gives? And where, if anywhere, is the outrage?

The United States is in the grips of its gravest jobs crisis since Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the White House. Lose your job, and it will take roughly nine months to find a new one. That is off the charts. Many Americans have simply given up.

But unless you’re one of those unhappy 14 million, you might not even notice the problem. The budget deficit, not jobs, has been dominating the conversation in Washington. Unlike the hard-pressed in, say, Greece or Spain, the jobless in America seem, well, subdued. The old fire has gone out.


It wasn’t always so. During the Great Depression, riots erupted on the bread lines. Even in the 1980s and 1990s, angry workers descended on Washington by the busload.

Well up until recently, they didn’t have to worry about being declared racists en masse or fomenting murder via their protests, let alone their their clip art.

But presumably, if the Gray Lady wants outrage in times of high unemployment, they should be pretty unhappy with the latest example of poor optics emerging from the president’s perpetual campaign, as spotted by Jill at Pundit and Pundette:

This is not a joke:

While aides plan a glitzy Aug. 3 fundraiser-bash for Obama at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom, organizers are encouraging thousands of supporters who can’t attend to plan and host house parties of their own.

The campaign has rolled out a website dedicated to promoting the parties — and a glossy 4-page, step-by-step guide that instructs would-be hosts on everything from “recruiting” attendees to electronically relaying participants’ personal information back to headquarters.

Friends don’t relay friends’ personal info back to HQ. But we’re talking Obama drones here.

Who should be invited? “At least 50” friends and neighbors.

Good luck with that. 2008 is over.

Where should it be held? “A quiet and focused place to talk and organize.”

Par-tay! But the best is yet to come:

Aides say Obama will deliver a 50-minute video message to house party attendees that will stream over the internet on hosts’ computers once the events are underway.

50 minutes? The guy’s a wet blanket in more ways than one.

For a mere $150:

They’re also offering help with decorations, selling special “host packs” of birthday hats, buttons, balloons, stickers and signs, all emblazoned with a giant 5-0, “Happy Birthday,” and the campaign’s official logo.

And, don’t forget to snap a picture, they say.  “We’re collecting hundreds of photos from house parties across the country and will display them for President Obama at his house party in Chicago.”

And you were worried Obama would suspend his campaign because of the debt crisis. Never.

Back at the start of 2010, when the oxygen had pretty much been extinguished from Hopenchange, Ann Althouse noted that Obama’s supporters are blind to the poor optics of many of his gestures, if you’re not a True Believer. But perhaps the president’s birthday celebration could also be used to remind voters of the current unemployment rate, almost double that of the average under the previous two administrations:

As the Professor recently said, “Hey, I didn’t make the racial rules for political discourse. I’m just following their previous application.”