Inside the Beltway

OBAMA THE SEQUEL

In a week — come rain, shine or recession — President Obama journeys to the land of Hollywood for a pair of glittering fundraisers for his re-election campaign. But alas, the mighty stars and producers apparently are not very thrilled with Hope and Change, Part Deux. New headlines from the Hollywood Reporter say all: “Disappointed Hollywood Giving Obama Cold Shoulder … the onetime darling is finding far less enthusiasm from the showbiz donors … .”

Tinseltown is getting petulant as residents discover that the onetime liberal heartthrob has faced a reality check with plot twists not in the original script: twin wars, terrorism, persistent unemployment, health care trauma, public despair, energy woes and re-energized Republicans in a comeback role. But face it all, he must. Not easy, as Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign made a very basic showbiz error. With its fancy logo, big sets and lyric dialogue, the campaign offered too much, too soon. It was not a showcase for the optimistic promise of an earnest candidate with compelling story, but a big, fat finale. And that, fellow Americans, is a hard act to follow.

But follow it he must. On Sept. 26, Mr. Obama arrives at the House of Blues on Sunset Boulevard for event No. 1 with a $250 admission, though $10,000 gets a personal photo with the president. Then it’s on to the Fig & Olive restaurant; entrance for one: $17,900. Entrance for one, plus date: $35,800. Despite all the “disenchantment,” the events are sold out. And among Hollywood Democrats who’ve already donated the 30K-plus to the Obama Victory Fund: George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Will Ferrell and Steven Spielberg.

“I want Obama to get re-elected, and I will help him, but I will do it the way I like to do it and not the D.C. way,” longtime producer Norman Lear told the Reporter. “The Republicans running for president are a bunch of clowns. We may be disappointed in a lot of things that are going on in the Obama administration, but whatever we say about him, he’s not a clown.”

S’MITTEN

“Rick Perry is the bad boy they dream about, but Mitt Romney is the one they marry.” (HBO host Bill Maher on voter sentiment, and who he thinks will ultimately win the Republican presidential candidacy.)

MITCH DANIELS REINVENTED

Yes, he dropped out of the presidential race in midstride. By Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is not done with the national arena. Mr. Daniels has written a new book that sports an introduction by George Will and a vow from the author that he won’t “pick your pocket by writing a book about myself” or devolve into finger-pointing partisanship.

“Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans” will be published on Tuesday by Sentinel, the conservative arm of the mighty Penguin Group, heralded by a whistle-stop tour of CBS, Fox News, CNN and Comedy Central and a three-day visit to the nation’s capital at week’s end. His D.C. appearances include the American Enterprise Institute and the National Press Club, to be followed by a book tour of 10 cities in six states. Mr. Daniels urges folks to stand fast in the face of the national debt, disunity and the rumored erosion of America.

“I urge great care not to drift into a loss of faith in the American people,” Mr. Daniels observes. “We must never yield to the self-fulfilling despair that these problems are immutable or insurmountable. Americans are still a people born to liberty.”

BUMPER PATROL

“I’ll keep my guns, freedom and money. You keep the ‘change’ “

Bumper sticker spotted by Inside the Beltway reader John Stodola, in Bethesda

PEARLS OF WISDOM

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