EDITORIAL: No influence to peddle

The president isn’t the only lame duck of 2013

Not so long ago, Barack Obama could fill a stadium in Europe with people eager for the chance to hear him speak. He accepted a Nobel Prize for his achievements only weeks into his presidency. Now the arbiter of all things fashionable, GQ, finds Mr. Obama has gone out of style, landing the No. 17 spot in “The 25 Least Influential People of 2013.” GQ writer Drew Magary justified the ranking by describing how he has spent the Obama presidency “watching bad things happen, then hearing a thoughtful speech about how we gotta make sure the bad things never happen again, and then watching as nothing gets done.” For that, Mr. Obama is likened to “a very eloquent hat stand.”

That tough, but fair, assessment came in the Gentlemen’s Quarterly annual catalog of no-longer-relevant celebrities, noting that 2013 was “a bad year for important megalomaniacs.” GQ beat other newspaper and magazine lists of “best of” or “worst of” the year, which are usually reserved for the week between Christmas and the New Year. With a few weeks to go in 2013, there’s plenty of time in the era of Twitter for the narcissist in New York or Hollywood or on Capitol Hill to seize a spot on one of the other lists.

Twitter was what landed ex-Rep. Anthony D. Weiner the No. 3 spot on the GQ list, after his obsession with “selfies” sank his bid for a political comeback as New York City mayor. For being “willing to commit borderline treason” by cozying up to the dictator of a “nation-sized prison,” ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman secured the No. 1 ranking. Many of the other choices make sense, from New York Yankees third-baseman Alex Rodriguez (No. 15), cited for his unsuccessful efforts to muscle his way back into baseball’s good graces, to Lennay Kekua, “a.k.a. Manti Te’o’s fake dead girlfriend” (No. 21), and from Madonna wannabe Lady Gaga (No. 11) to Lady Gaga wannabe Miley Cyrus (No. 6). Anyone with the Kardashian surname was retired from the list “because making fun of them now bores us,” GQ says.

Despite its merits, the GQ list contained notable omissions. Certainly, Al Gore’s star has faded as evidence emerged that the global temperatures have been cooling, not warming, a fact he must now find inconvenient. Senate Republicans learned last week that the reward for reaching across the aisle and conceding everything on the budget was the Democratic detonation of the “nuclear option.”

Of course, no list of inconsequential celebrities can be considered complete without featuring everyone who appeared on a reality-TV show. An exception should also be made to recognize the least influential inanimate objects of 2013, the “red lines,” which are moving targets and can be crossed with impunity in No. 17’s foreign policy.

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