Everyone, I think, understands why President Obama is enlisting pop personalities in his effort to get younger Americans to sign up for Obamacare. I doubt that the president relishes being mocked, however mildly, by a bratty comedian. But desperate times call for desperate measures and, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, Obama must go to war using the culture we have.
But relying on an idiot culture means mingling with idiots, which in turn can make a politician appear diminished, even to those who participate in that culture. Tevi Troy discusses this risk in his excellent book What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted.
Today, Team Obama invited former boy band member Lance Bass to the White House to discuss health care reform. Naturally, Bass decided to tweet this experience. The result was an explosion of mockery on social media. Even the Washington Post joined in:
Former boy-bander Lance Bass is in town to talk health-care reform at the White House. But perhaps Team Obama should have briefed the ‘N Sync singer before his visit to 1600 Pennsylvania: Bass got the health-care Web site wrong in a pre-meeting tweet, which he quickly deleted and corrected (it’s HealthCare.gov, not healthcare.org, Lance!).
Bass didn’t take the ensuing ridicule well. He tweeted:
Grow up people! A handful of private citizens were invited to talk about Health Care. I have questions just like you- and I brought in several that my fans have brought up. I’m not writing any laws here. Don’t hate because I’m trying to get educated. And I friggin messed up the website! Ugh. It’s healthcare.gov !!
Pajama Boy wasn’t such a good sport either, but he was better than Bass.
Bass was operating under duress, however, having engaged in a dispute with the fancy W Hotel over his hotel reservation. The Post had some fun with this too:
Bass called the W Hotel out on Twitter, claiming they lost his reservation and tried to send him to alternate lodgings 40 minutes away. He continued on his online anti-W rant, saying the hotel staff was “treating me like it’s my fault they gave my room away. So fn rude!”
Bass tweeted, but later deleted, this:
Screw you @whotels!! I get to DC and they gave my room away! They say I have to drive 40 mins to the nearest available room!
It’s difficult to take his claim at face value. Did the W try to send Bass to Baltimore? He must have really irritated the front desk.
Only the most diehard Lance Bass fan, if any, could be inspired to sign up for Obamacare by this guy.
The Heritage Foundation’s blog puts the White House’s Obamacare outreach in proper perspective:
Can the youth of America file a class action “false light” defamation suit against Obama for portraying it as incurably shallow?