Anna_Wintour.jpg

The Devil Votes Obama

It’s a good rule of thumb that if a word or phrase is only used by political consultants then its value to the English language is near zero. One such word is “optics,” a term of art for how a bit of news will be perceived by the public at large, which is only used by people who bill by the hour.

Now, it just so happens that Barack Obama has a lot of those people on payroll, which is why they should be telling the president that the “optics” of

  1. David Williamson
    Troy Senik, Ed.

    This is what political decline looks like. In four years, President Obama has gone from being the candidate who would bring the red states and the blue states together to being the one most likely to unite the Upper East Side of Manhattan and the Westside of Los Angeles. 

    Mr Obama hasn’t changed – only his rhetoric has – and it’s hollowness has been exposed so that even the blind can see.

  2. James Gawron

    Troy,

    MEMO:  Obama has united the Upper East Side of Manhattan with the West Side of L.A.   The West Wing meets Madmen at a Pink Cosmopolitan Summit.

    Hmmm…..GOVERNMENT FOR THE REST OF US!

    FROM THE DESK OF JG:  Troy you’re on to something.  It’s got a ring to it.  Let’s run it up the flag pole and see who salutes. 

    Does it get any more genuine than this?

    Regards,

    Jim

  3. KC Mulville

    Well, if I see Mitt sitting on a country porch in a rocking chair, wearing a frayed straw hat and a flannel shirt (in June), and chewing on … something … I’m telling you, I’m bringing the Mulvilles back to Ireland.

  4. Johnny Dubya

    Does anyone know if Wintour is a U.S. citizen?  I am disgusted by non-citizens who interject themselves into U.S. politics.  It’s bad manners.

    Then again, even if Wintour is a citizen, I still find her persona and behavior disgusting.  Affecting an imperious manner, wielding power over an absurd industry, and being cruel to underlings while wearing giant sunglasses–these aren’t the kinds of things that win my admiration.  She’s like a private-sector dictator.

    This is the kind of person the president wants to associate himself with?

  5. Songwriter
    Troy Senik, Ed.

    This is what political decline looks like. In four years, President Obama has gone from being the candidate who would bring the red states and the blue states together to being the one most likely to unite the Upper East Side of Manhattan and the Westside of Los Angeles. 

    I suspect that all along, it was just these Manhattanites that Obama truly cared about. But he couldn’t get elected by them alone.  So he had to pretend to care about the little people. Looks like the pretending is coming to an end.

  6. Colin B Lane

    Oh, but won’t they have fun talking about the gun and religion clingers at that dinner! Certainly, there are a lot more of us “frustrated, betrayed by government” types now than there were four years ago.

  7. Peter Meza
    Troy Senik, Ed.

    It’s a good rule of thumb that if a word or phrase is only used by political consultants then its value to the English language is near zero.

    Optics has a perfectly good definition as the scientific study of light and vision, or the lenses in your camera.  Its use by those on the left, right, and middle to mean how news is perceived is extremely grating.

  8. Sisyphus

    So what you are saying is, at the end of the day, to put a period on it, that optics has bad optics.

  9. Troy Senik, Ed.
    C

    Peter Meza is right, of course, about the appropriate use of “optics.”Here’s the general rule — if a political consultant is using the words or phrases “optics”, “narrative”, “amplify”, “put legs on it”, or “reach out to…”, you are in the process of being swindled.

  10. Concretevol

    Wish I had written this first!

    “So, do you want to hang out with Anna Wintour, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Michelle Obama? Then defy God and break all his Commandments, because I’m pretty sure that’s what hell is like.”   – Frank J.

  11. flownover

    While I am waiting for the Tina Brown and Meryl Streep raffle (transfat-free , conflict-free seabass luncheon with O and Michelle at Four Seasons)     sitting with Sarah Jessica Parker splitting a 64 ounce grape slurpee with chili dogs .  She informs me that the raffle thing is rigged and they are pretty sure that it will be won by the employment lawyer for the Sofitel Hotel. 

    How messed up is that ? 

  12. tabula rasa
    Wylee Coyote

    Aaron Miller: President Obama is, in other words, like any other wannabe dictator.

    Well, Anna Wintour has kind of a thing for dictators, apparently.  Must admire their management style. · 2 hours ago

    Isn’t it odd that Vogue’s puff piece on Mrs. Assad has been flushed down the memory hole.

    They can have Wintour as long as we get to keep James Delingpole, David Pryce-Jones, Melanie Phillips, Roger Scruton, and Theodore Dalrymple.  I like the right’s Brits way better than the left’s.

  13. Mollie Hemingway
    C

    My husband kept playing the original video invite to this dinner over and over and over and guffawing. It’s hilarious.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAlnKHctMYs

  14. James Lileks
    C

    I’ll take political advice from a botoxed albino mantis when I take fashion advice from a politician. 

  15. tabula rasa

    Here’s another question that someone needs to answer.  Will there be donated baked goods at this dinner party? If there will,  the police should shut it down. Can’t be having non-compliant baked goods served to the winner of this little lottery.

  16. tabula rasa
    James Lileks: I’ll take political advice from a botoxed albino mantis when I take fashion advice from a politician.  · 2 minutes ago

    That sounds an awful lot like hate speech; or is truth a defense?

  17. Palaeologus
    Troy Senik, Ed.

    Now, it just so happens that Barack Obama has a lot of those people on payroll, which is why they should be telling the president that the “optics” of this are extraordinarily bad, particularly in light of Friday’s dismal jobs report. From Nikki Schwab and Jenny Rogers at theWashington Examiner:

    What? You don’t think Cruella de Vil backing the dog eater will play?

    There’s just no pleasing some people, Troy.

  18. Astonishing
    Troy Senik, Ed. . . . In four years, President Obama has gone from being the candidate who would bring the red states and the blue states together to being the one most likely to unite the Upper East Side of Manhattan and the Westside of Los Angeles. . . .

    Actually, it’s smart for Obama to play to the fashionista and fashionista wannabe demographic because nowadays everybody, except me, wants to be cool.

    Obama’s national political success has always been grounded in celebrity, not in anything essentially political. In that sense, he truly is trans-political or supra-political or extra-political.

    Obama makes a big mistake if tries to base his campaign on ideology, his governance record, or anything political. 

    If he wants to win, Obama absolutely must re-establish his credibility as a celebrity.

    Yes, Obama knows he must mumble some predictable nonsense about things political, but “witty, sharp, cool, gay marriage-approving, clean, articulate, man of color, who toked and snorted (and maybe still would if he could)” versus “boring, straightlaced, Mormon, near-beer-drinking, white guy.” That’s the contest Obama wants.

  19. EThompson

    Truly flabbergasting this woman can keep her chicly coiffed head up after this one : Asma_Assad_Vogue_February_2011 – Bashar Al Assad

  20. Paul Erickson
    Troy Senik, Ed.: Peter Meza is right, of course, about the appropriate use of “optics.”Here’s the general rule — if a political consultant is using the words or phrases “optics”, “narrative”, “amplify”, “put legs on it”, or “reach out to…”, you are in the process of being swindled. · 4 hours ago

    “Here’s the general rule — if a political consultant is using words, grunts, semaphores, hand gestures, eye contact or communication media of any sort, you are in the process of being swindled.”

    Fixed it for you.

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