"The dinner highlights the laughable disconnect between the people in Washington with the power to do something (the dinner attendees) and the rest of us mere mortals (people largely not watching the dinner at home on C-SPAN)," says Meredith Shiner of the annual dinner, which will featue a president in attendance for the first time since the Obama presidency in 2016. Shiner adds: "The presidency of Barack Obama transformed the Democratic Party in ways many pundits already have explored ad nauseum, from a revolution in data analytics to Obama’s creation of an entire political infrastructure outside of the Democratic National Committee. Yet, the White House Correspondents Dinner, now that it’s back from its hiatus in the two years we acknowledged the ongoing pandemic as real, is also a reminder of perhaps Obama’s worst contribution to modern politics: the marriage between actual Hollywood and the 'Hollywood for ugly people' known as Washington. When the A-List came to Washington and started treating formerly anonymous staffers as personalities on their level, it was an Icarus moment that transformed the possibility of what government service could do for any one individual staffer, as opposed to what service should do for the country. Celebrities being interested in Obama brought Hollywood to Washington in a way Washington had never seen previously, at least not without the barrier of a glass screen and the opening bars of The West Wing credits. It allowed political operatives who always saw the natural outgrowth of the their careers as cashing out on K Street to think differently about what politics could do for them as sentient, individual brands with Twitter accounts and proximity to celebrity instead of just power."
TOPICS: White House Correspondents’ Dinner, CNN+, Barack Obama, Steven Portnoy, Biden Presidency