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Inside the Beltway
Question of the Day
WHEN CLINTON TURNED 50
Will President Obama party like it’s 1996? Indeed, his big 50th-birthday bash in Chicago on Wednesday is lavish, crawling with celebrities and fawned over by a prattling press. And when former President Bill Clinton turned the big 5-0 just 15 years ago, his birthday bash also was lavish, crawling with celebrities and fawned over by a prattling press. Maybe even moreso. Let us compare the Democratic partyers.
With the distinct odor of the debt-ceiling standoff still lingering in the air, Mr. Obama will party at the $40,000-per-night Aragon Ballroom in the Windy City, serenaded by fabulous chanteuse Jennifer Hudson, jazz great Herbie Hancock and indie band OK GO. Tickets range from $50 to $38,500, to benefit the Obama Victory Fund 2012. The Democratic National Committee also has organized scores of local “house parties” for the occasion.
And Mr. Clinton? From Washington Times records, his 50th birthday — celebrated on Aug. 19, 1996 — was staged at Radio City Music Hall and included a 300-pound American-flag-shaped birthday cake and satellite TV hookup for fans around the nation. Whoopi Goldberg served as emcee, with entertainment from Tony Bennett, Jon Bon Jovi, Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, Carly Simon, Kenny Rogers and Jennifer Holliday.
The birthday fete also raised $10 million for the Democratic Party. In total, there were 20,000 participants, “in the largest political fundraiser ever staged,” noted Democratic spokesman Andy Solomon at the time. Incidentally, Mr. Clinton — aka the “first baby boomer president” — is turning 65. Will he party like it’s 1996?
THE BRAT FACTOR
“In general, do you think the elected officials in Washington who have dealt with the debt ceiling in the past few days have behaved mostly like responsible adults or mostly like spoiled children?” asked a CNN poll conducted Monday.
The answer: 77 percent of Americans said they are just a bunch of brats. Eighty percent of both Democrats and liberals, 73 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of conservatives and 73 percent of tea party supporters agreed.
The tea party seems to prompt big emotions. Everywhere. Indignant tea partyers and conservatives are waiting for both Vice President Joseph R. Biden and MSNBC host Chris Matthews to apologize for framing the grass-roots activists as “terrorists” this week. Such language is part of an unsavory tradition, though. Assorted pundits, activist groups, politicians and news organizations have called the tea party “an angry mob,” “irrelevant,” “racist,” “brown shirts” and “extreme right wing” since it emerged in 2009.
But there’s some drama within the ranks in a post-debt-debate world.
“Now is not the time for recriminations against tea-party-backed members of Congress who voted in the end for the debt deal,” says Richard A. Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com. “This is not the time to start fighting amongst ourselves. Nothing could make the Left happier than to see a splintering of the tea party movement.”
Mr. Viguerie adds, “President Obama used his bully pulpit to argue that the tea party was leading the nation to Armageddon, and the compliant media acted as a thousand megaphones for that line. … Let’s leave the recriminations to the liberals and stay united.”
AND IN ACADEMIA
“Adam & Eve and AdamAndEve.com, America’s most trusted source for adult products, are pleased to announce their involvement in helping fund the Joycelyn Elders Chair in Sexual Health Education at the University of Minnesota Medical School,” reports Chad Davis, spokesman for the North Carolina company.
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