Thursday, May 10, 2012

L.A. Times' Steve Lopez: Obama's 'Hollywood Hypocrites'

EDITOR'S NOTE: There are times when an MSM columnist really "gets it." This one by Steve Lopez about Obama's $40,000 a ticket fundraiser in the San Fernando Valley gets it right on the money

Posted on the Los Angeles Times Web Page, May 10, 2012
Clooney's Obama Party Full of 'Hollywood Hypocrites'
By Steve Lopez

They say tonight's soiree for President Obama at George Clooney's house in Studio City is supposed to gross $15 million, and the operative word is "gross."

Yeah, pardon me for being such a party pooper, but isn't it a little offensive that 150 of L.A.'s high rollers would shell out $40,000 to kiss Clooney's ring and get maybe 10 seconds of face time with Obama?

And what about the thousands of saps who pumped an average of $23 into Obama's campaign coffers for the chance to be one of the two peons chosen to break bread with the VIPs?

I'd rather watch the Lakers game from a bar stool, which in fact is what I may do.

I haven't seen Clooney's guest list, but I'd bet $2 -– and not a penny more –- that his house will be full of that particularly unctuous strain of liberals who live for events like this that make them feel good about themselves but don't really give a toss for their own community. Los Angeles could end up declaring bankruptcy and these posers will be telling friends about their big night at George's house.

Fifteen million dollars -– a third of it raised by the local big shots -– is peanuts to Obama, really. Another drop in a bucket the size of Santa Monica Bay. And isn't money the root of all evil in politics, whether it's from out-of-control "super PACs" or wanna-be-seen moguls who might be expecting something in return for ponying up?

Los Angeles is shutting school libraries, laying off teachers and shutting down fire houses. And VIPs are paying $40,000 for a Wolfgang Puck hors d'oeuvre and a silly photo with a president who only now has come to think it might be OK for gay people to have the same rights as straight people.

Open your eyes, Hollywood hypocrites!

If there's any justice, the traffic jam on Ventura Boulevard will be so horrific that you'll miss the party and end up crying over a Du-par's short stack.

[Updated at 5:26 p.m. Oh come on, give me a break, all you defenders of obscene excess.

The problem is money and the way in which it undercuts democracy. Money from the right. Money from the left.

Money, money, money.

Yeah, sure, Obama’s got to raise all he can to fend off Mitt Romney and hold onto his seat. But is that a race to the top or a race to the bottom?

If money buys victory and access, what about the masses who can’t afford a $40 fundraiser let alone a $40,000 party?

When do they get the president’s ear?

I suspect some of the self-congratulatory high-rollers at Clooney's house are paying more for two hours with the President than they pay their nannies, housekeepers and gardeners in a year.

I’m sure George Clooney and some of his pals are good people who want to save the world and even toss a crumb to a local charity now and again. But if they’re so desperate to celebrate their wonderful ways and important causes, why not a Hollywood fundraising party to save the libraries, rec centers or the parks. Or better yet, might Wolfgang Puck and all the beautiful people be available to stage a fundraiser for campaign finance reform?]


Columnist Steve Lopez joined the staff of the Los Angeles Times in May 2001 after four years at Time Inc., where he wrote for Time, Sports Illustrated, Life and Entertainment Weekly.

Prior to Time Inc., Lopez was a columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Jose Mercury News and the Oakland Tribune. His work has won numerous national journalism awards for column writing and magazine reporting.

A California native, Lopez is the author of three novels and a book of non-fiction, "The Soloist: A Lost Dream, An Unlikely Friendship, And The Redemptive Power of Music."


Tian said...

Spending $40,000 on an evening is just weird to me. I feel like a guilty spendthrift fool when I spend $100. Don't do that often at all. Those contributors seem like they are on another planet to me.

Barbara Leon said...

Yes, I think the writer really put his finger on the problem - money, and how it makes a mockery of democracy. Thanks for posting it Alex. I can appreciate how gay people - including within my extended family - can feel exhilarated at Obama's final "evolution" to support of gay marriage. But the obscenity of this star-studded fundraiser alongside the crumbling of all forms of social support, in LA and worldwide, is stunning.

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