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.