On Saturday night President Obama hosted the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Kim Kardashian as there; so was George Clooney, Lindsay Lohan, Reese Witherspoon, Charlize Theron, Dakota Fanning, Ivanka Trump, Kate Hudson, Claire Danes, Kevin Spacey and assorted celebrities.
Which brings me to a question; where were the journalists? Actually, I know the answer; they were at home, watching the event on TV. Like every working stiff in America, journalists are having a hard time. Whether they work in TV or in print, salaries are falling, and job security is non existent. Newspaper circulation figures are diving towards zero, and TV viewing habits are migrating to the internet.
In years past, the Correspondents dinner was an insider affair, where hacks met politicians on neutral ground. Today, no working journo could possibly afford the ticket price to this event. Their place has been taken by celebrities looking for another photo opportunity on a red carpet to promote a designer dress.
What is the impact of such an event, with its "A list" of Celebs, on Presidential approval ratings? Superficially, the mix of politics and celebrity looks powerful. However, it reminds me of that "Cool Britannia" theme that Blair worked over during his early years as PM. It looked good at the time, but as his premiership wound down, Cool Britannia was an embarrassment.
It could play out the same way for Obama. These celeb-heavy events make him look detached, flippant and elitist. Out in the heartland, it will play out badly. In electoral terms, hanging out with Kim Kardashian doesn't win votes.