By Carter Clews
January 13th, 2010, Fairfax, VA -- Former Mardi Gras queen and current White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers has a favorite French saying originally attributed to the Cajuns who settled in pre-colonial Louisiana: "Laissez les bon temps rouler!"
It loosely translates into "Let the good times roll" – and roll they have at the Obama White House, while nearly 11% of the workforce remains unemployed, nearly four million Americans are losing their homes, and terrorists ride the open skies.
In fact, according to the Chicago Tribune, the stylish Ms. Rogers and the party-hearty First Couple hosted no less than 170 parties and social events through December 3 of 2009. And that does not even include the 17 parties and 11 open houses – feting more than 50,000 guests – ABC News reported the Obamas hosted throughout the Holiday Season.
For those not counting, that means by January, 2010, Ms. Rogers had staged one gala White House event every three days throughout the first year of the Obama Administration, making the once austere Executive Mansion look more like party central.
And it is all by design. As Politico recently reported, Social Secretary Rogers says the Obamas want to "replicate the same kind of environment they had in Chicago." In the Windy City, the paper reported an Obama friend as saying, "If there was a party or an event, they were there."
And how does this raucous, riotous atmosphere compare with the previous eight years when the "wealthy Republicans" ruled the roost? Not well, according to that good times arbiter, Vanity Fair. In a December, 2007, article entitled "When Washington Was Fun," chi-chi scribe Maureen Orth lamented:
"Today, people who remember those days [JFK's 'Camelot'] never cease to lament how the capital has changed. The cost of running for office, the proliferation of lobbyists, the intense preoccupation with security since 9/11, the increase in careers for women, the deaths or withdrawals of ruling society figures, and an unpopular president and an unpopular war have all converged to kill much of the fun and excitement once unique to Washington social life."
Apparently, with the Ragin' Cajun, Desiree Rogers, as the Obama White House charge de affaires, all such feelings of identifying with the hard times of the common herd is simply passé. As one pundit observed, "You almost expect Elliott Templeton [The Razor's Edge] to glide through the portico of the White House ballroom arm in arm with Desiree sniffishly proclaiming for all the world to hear, 'I do not like the propinquity of the hoi polloi.'"
But, then, who knows? Perhaps that's already happened. After all, "Laissez les bon temps rouler!"
Carter Clews is a contributing editor to the Washington News Alert.