- The Washington Times - Friday, August 5, 2011

For his 50th birthday, President Obama danced barefoot in the Rose Garden with a group of friends on Thursday. The stock market had just closed at a two-year low, so the posh White House shindig was kept off the schedule. No photographers were allowed to capture images of celebrities and wealthy Democratic Party leaders living it up while the economy sinks just outside double-dip territory.

The gathered stars provided more than just entertainment and adulation for the commander in chief.

“Just left the president's birthday party at the White House,” Chris Rock tweeted. “Herbie Hancock played, Stevie Wonder sang and yes they did the electric slide. A great night.” The comedian has given $20,400 to Mr. Obama and $28,500 to the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Movie star Tom Hanks - who ponied up $57,000 to the DNC in the past two cycles and $9,200 to the Obama campaigns - came to the festivities with wife Rita Wilson, who also maxed out to the DNC and gave $5,350 to Mr. Obama.

Other hard-left luminaries included singer Jay-Z, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Harvey and Oprah’s best friend Gayle King, who has given $4,600 so far to Mr. Obama. Actor Hill Harper, who gave $2,300 in the last cycle, tweeted, “Headed 2 the White House in a bit for the President’s 50th. Perfect day 4 a Rose Garden Birthday toast 4 someone who’s been working so hard!”

Basketball player Grant Hill, who has given $2,300, tweeted, “Fun times at the White House celebrating the POTUS BDay.” His wife, singer Tamia Hill, who gave the same amount, tweeted, “UNFORGETTABLE NIGHT!! Thank you Mr. President for inviting us to celebrate your 50th birthday with you tonight.”

A grill fired up behind the White House served up a barbecue of hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and ribs to the elite attendees. The White House said the first couple picked up the tab for the party, but it’s doubtful they got charged for much beside groceries.

A day earlier, Mr. Obama attended three fundraisers in his hometown of Chicago celebrating the big 5-0. These netted the Democrats an eye-popping $3,665,000. “I could not have a better early birthday present than spending tonight with all of you,” Mr. Obama said to the 1,700 people who paid $50 a ticket to get into one of the events.

Mr. Obama met separately with 100 of his most exclusive donors, each of whom forked over $35,800 per person to break bread with the birthday boy. Mr. Obama, who had added $3,938,093,118,800 to the national debt as of his birthday, told his rich friends that the government needs to spend more on everything from “wind turbine and electric cars” to “cures for cancer.”

Without any irony, he railed against “big money flooding the airwaves and slash-and-burn politics, sometimes I think that core belief in what is possible here in America gets lost.” Of course, Mr. Obama plans to flood those airwaves with $1 billion in campaign-funded commercials suggesting he is fighting for the average Joe.

One in 10 Americans can’t find a job and retirement funds are shrinking before their eyes. Voters ought to realize “the One” has far more in common with his wealthy Hollywood birthday pals.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.