The good news is that the last days of Obama are approaching, and he’s planning his post-presidency.
Oh wait, my bad. That’s the bad news:
This effort began in November 2012, shortly after his reelection, when the president hosted filmmaker Steven Spielberg at the White House for a screening of Lincoln. President Obama was “spellbound,” the Times reports, as Spielberg held forth “about the use of technology to tell stories.”
Such technology, Spielberg went on, could also be used to tell Obama’s story — to somehow convince future Americans, against all evidence to the contrary, that his presidency was an experience they would like to repeat. “Ideally, one adviser said, a person in Kenya could put on a pair of virtual reality goggles and be transported to Mr. Obama’s 2008 speech on race in Philadelphia.” I’m sure they’ll be banging on the door to get into that exhibit.
The president has raised, to date, “just over $5.4 million from 12 donors,” which puts him $994.6 million from his goal.
Well, at $450,000 per donor, he needs only another 2,210 one-percenters to build his library, or headquarters, or Barack Obama Foundation for the Organizing of Communities and the Glorification of Himself. I’d say he’s got it in the bag. Gucci bag:
He’s happy because planning for his retirement allows Obama to corral large groups of extremely rich and powerful people for the express purpose of discussing his favorite subject: himself. People like Spielberg, with a net worth of $3.6 billion, who’s “helping to develop a ‘narrative’ for Mr. Obama in the years after he leaves office.” And people like Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, whose net worth is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and who dined with the creator of E.T. and President Obama “at a Beverly Hills hotel in California” — as opposed to a Beverly Hills hotel in Latvia — “in June.”
For an example of what these dinners with the president are like, the Times reported extensively on a bull session at the White House held last February. The president and first lady invited 13 guests to the residence, including:
Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, net worth $4.7 billion
John Doerr, ex-boyfriend of Ellen Pao, net worth $3.4 billion
Vinod Khosla, green energy crony, net worth $1.7 billion
Marc Lasry, former player at high-stakes poker games tied to the Russian mob, net worth $1.7 billion
Eva Longoria, failed steakhouse entrepreneur, net worth in tens of millions
Toni Morrison, who dubbed Bill Clinton our “first black president,” net worth in tens of millions
Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker journalist, net worth in tens of millions
Just your run-of-the-mill collection of everyday Americans. The combined net worth of the feted and privileged guests easily surpasses $10 billion. And this is to say nothing of the size of the accumulated egos, which when combined with those of the president and his wife becomes impossible to measure.
Stven Spielberg is crafting Obama’s narrative? Is that why Obama reprised Neville Chamberlain’s role in Munich? When can we give this guy the Hook?
Around midnight, we learn, Reed Hoffman said kindly to President Obama, “Feel free to kick us out.” And the president replied, snidely, “I’ll kick you out when it’s time.” And Hoffman sat down, like a disciplined child, because what could he do — even the co-founder of LinkedIn can’t walk out on the president of the United States. So the conversation went on, according to the Times, “well past 2 a.m.”
As another king, Lear, put it:
Tell me, my daughters,–
Since now we will divest us both of rule,
Interest of territory, cares of state,–
Which of you shall we say doth love us most?
If the rest of Obama’s days are spent in building a monument to himself, let him knock himself out. If, rather, he’s building a PAC for permanent relevence, dear God, spare us.