A few caveats at the outset: I disdain conservatives' What If Bush Had Done It? line of media criticism as increasingly tired and stale. I also find the Right's Obama parties/golfs/travels too much critique of the president unfair and petty at times. That being said, the optics of this story are stupefyingly awful -- via Hot Air:
President Obama and his A-list pals danced barefoot in the East Room on Thursday night, after dining in the dramatically lit Rose Garden to celebrate his milestone 50th birthday. Obama Foodorama was told by guests who attended the "fabulous" but "casual" five-hour barbecue for more than 200 people that the President "let down his hair" and literally danced for hours, finally leaving his own party shortly before midnight. "'I'm going to challenge you all to dance,' the President said, and everyone did," said the guest.
That's when everyone's shoes came off, and things kicked into high gear with the barefoot jammin'--the President himself reportedly danced for three full hour. Among other dances, guests did the Electric Slide...The President also led a huge Conga line around the East Room, pulling in everyone in his path, according to one observer. "He was chill, and like, 'how you doin, man? Come dance!,'" reported one attendee.
Hours before the tunes started pumping and the booze started flowing at the White House, the Dow shed over 500 points, over fears of a Eurozone meltdown. Worries over a double-dip recession are reaching a fever pitch. Unemployment remains miserably high, even as hundreds of thousands of workers abandon the labor force. The national debt is pulling even with GDP. Growth has ground to a halt. And we may be on the brink of a wrenching national credit downgrade.
Despite this gruesome economic backdrop, the President of the United States decided it would be a wise move to host an extravagant, star-studded birthday party for himself -- during which he led a conga line of celebs and other revelers through the White House. As you conjure that mental image, try to imagine what the headlines would look like if Obama were a Republican. Let Allahpundit help get you started.
Look, everyone should be allowed to celebrate his birthday -- and every president has a right to occasionally blow off steam and indulge in the perks of the office. But the political tone-deafness of this blow-out, in this environment, is simply astonishing.