United States President Barack Obama is singing the blues when he is home at the White House. Facing a tough re-election bid in 2012, he’s been making the most of his time spent in residence in the most famous home in America. He’s been entertaining celebrities and political officials with regularity in the hopes that famous faces will support him when it comes time to rock the vote. But is his wife Michelle Obama the real reason the famous husband is singing the blues at home?
Knowing what a famous place he’s living in now, President Barack Obama invited blues legend B.B. King to perform with an all-star cast at a White House [fund-raising] event titled “In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues.” Rolling Stone magazine was the lucky mag that got to share exclusive pics of the event after a video of Barack singing “Sweet Home Chicago” leaked on the internet.
When looking at the pics, don’t just look at the artists — notice the art on the walls behind where the performers have their makeshift stage set up and you quickly realize they are playing their songs in the world-famous home.
Rolling Stone writes:
As part of the In Performance series, music legends and contemporary artists were invited to perform at the White House for a celebration of blues music and in recognition of Black History Month. The program featured appearances by B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Gary Clark, Jr., Shemekia Copeland, Buddy Guy, Warren Haynes, Mick Jagger, Keb’ Mo’, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, with Taraji P. Henson as the program host and Booker T. Jones as music director and bandleader. The event took place on February 21st, 2012.
But why is the president singing the blues at home rather than keeping performers playing in smoky night clubs where they really belong?
The answer to that question might put a portion of the responsibility on the shoulder of his famous wife Michelle Obama — as her choices as first lady have put him in the position of needing to generate lots of Hollywood support.
Although she’s been a crusader for health and fitness while trying to battle the childhood obesity academic (which we here at GCN find admirable), she’s made some questionable judgement calls in the past with regard to her family’s presidential abode.
The White House has been the traditional family home for presidents and is a constant work in progress. Each of the presidents wives have been in charge of either updating decor or planning new additions on the home to help add a historical element to the structure while making families more comfortable.
While Barack Obama added a basketball court so he could play pick up games with visiting celebs, politicians, and foreign dignitaries, the contributions his wife has made to the house have been less than well received by the general public. For instance, it is rumored that she allowed the folks at Extreme Home Makeover (the reality TV show) to help her update the interior of her famous home.
Talk about your way to make Americans with respect for the house and office of the President feel blue!
[The White House staff has not openly refuted the gossip, but instead opted to promote Michelle Obama as a celebrity figure who participated in building a home for a 15 year military veteran, "who has dedicated her life to combating homelessness among female veterans." Were their remarks good enough to save face for the first lady? With charitable and patriotic democrats, yes... but with right-wing republican critics? I believe the phrase that would most accurately describe the conservative response from the people I interviewed about the potent publicity gaff was, "Hells, NO!" ]
While Michelle Obama might think it is fun and funny to disrespect the traditions created by past First Ladies by making herself more famous than her role as the wife of a president, it’s not. Her choice to allow the home make-over team to even feature her on one of their specials leaves a cloud of gray over her contribution to the American home [as critics of the family wonder whether she really allowed the design team to influence her decorating thoughts]. And that’s unfortunate because it creates just one more problem for the president to overcome when elections 2012 happen.
Her choice to make so many foolish looking special guest appearances on trendy shows like Extreme Home Makeover seem a bit tacky (even though she was trying to help build a home for the wife of a soldier), while his choice to have house parties at the White House seems to be a more tasteful (albeit ostentatious and bold) political move. Granted, she looked more silly in the video clip of her competing in an athletic competition with late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon or beating green celebrity Ellen Degeneres (the famous LGBT activist) in a push up competition while trying to get kids moving and adults laughing, but still.
Extreme Home Makeover Edition and the White House should never be tied by SEO in the same sentence. And first ladies are meant to be seen at political functions — not hanging drywall or exercising in their spandex yoga pants.
Will hosting so many celebrity bashes at the White House and treating the house more like a pop culture icon [than a famous place with historical significance] hurt Barack Obama’s chance at re-election? If it does, he and the family will most likely be heading back to Sweet Home Chicago far more able to connect with people who (for good reason) really do sing the blues.
Let readers know your thoughts about the president acting more like a rock star throwing house parties than being the leader of the free world in the comments section below.