The State Dinner in honor of newly unattached President François Hollande is over, and a magnifique time was had by all.
The outdoor tents erected in 20-degree weather and heated with taxpayer money are taken down; the president is back to ignoring Iranian warships trawling American waters; and Mrs. Obama’s oversized black and liberty blue silk Carolina Herrera dress – the one with the “French aesthetic…lace and the velvet sash” that Sally Quinn guesstimated cost about $12,000 – is probably tucked away in the vault by now.
While the French-themed festivities were being planned, here in America, thanks to being thrown off her health insurance, a young mother of four recently died of sepsis. Elsewhere, amidst warnings by the CBO of an impending fiscal crisis and in anticipation of a devastating ice storm headed south, panicked shoppers stampeded food stores.
In light of these and other hardships, not to mention the exorbitant cost of State Dinners, it probably would have been more appropriate to skip the public pomp and circumstance and instead of caviar and quail eggs serve committed socialist Mr. Hollande a humble meal of croissants and café au lait. But the chance of that happening was zero to none.
In fact, the insensitivity tone was set early on when Mrs. Obama, so enthralled with the adorableness of her two Portuguese water dogs sitting at a table set with china, prior to the State Dinner tweeted out a picture of Bo and Sunny. The “Bone Appétit” doggy tweet appeared to show the Obama pets waiting to eat cake that Michelle could have otherwise tossed from the balcony for lowly humans to eat off paper plates.
Anyway, despite the historic ice storm looming large, preparations carried on: Mary J. Blige did a sound check while “Winter Garden Salads” were being stuffed into terrarium bowls and “cheese artisans” worked their magic.
When the event finally got underway, in honor of Paris, a city which, according to White House curator Bill Allman, was the “center of high-style culture,” arriving guests met the Obamas and Hollande in the Blue Room. Accordingly, the reception area was “decorated with Parisian-made gilded sofas and chairs ordered for the room in 1817 by then-President James Monroe. [Reuters]”
After dispensing with all the pretentious bowing and hand-kissing, the politicians, media moguls, big-money bundlers, Hollywood notables, and train aficionado Joe Biden were all shuttled in small heated trolleys from the White House to the tent, which was decorated with “deconstructed” arrangements that depicted a “spring-like scene inspired by Claude Monet’s Water Lilies paintings, with quince branches in full bloom, irises, blue agapanthus and lilies.”
Meanwhile, as frustrated Americans sat on hold for hours on end with canceled health insurance policies and still unable to access healthcare.gov, the French president cozied up between his date for the night, Michelle and her husband, Barack ‘l’état, c’est moi’ Obama.
Cordial host and hostess that they are, Shelly and Barry joined their dinner guests by indulging in a 2,500-calorie meal that included dry-aged rib eye beef from Colorado and $65-a-bottle wine.
In a tent on the South Lawn, Obama, the man who truly believes the words, “As president, I can do whatever I want,” wasn’t the slightest bit preoccupied with his autonomous decision to kill yet another American citizen with a drone strike. How could he be? Hawaiian chocolate-malted ganache cakes decorated by White House chefs with a paint sprayer were being served to glittering Hollywood types like Bradley Cooper, Cicely Tyson, and Stephen Colbert, who copped a seat right beside the first lady.
Surrounded by sweets, some served on a dish made entirely of sugar, that were fit for an 18th-century French Dauphine, in addition to chocolate ganache the dessert menu also included fudge made from Vermont maple syrup , lavender shortbread cookies, and cotton candy dusted with orange zest.
Enjoying the cotton candy were radicals like anti-Israel/Palestinian embracer Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. When asked about the designer of her gown, Powers “nudged” her husband Cass Sunstein, who dislikes “paranoid libertarianism,” and asked him to check the label because she was supposedly unaware that she was wearing “red-carpet-destined evening wear” by Badgley Mischka.
Reverend Al Sharpton added his usual zaniness to the affair as he attempted to speak French by oinking his way through multiple “Oui, oui, ouis.” And from the world of glossy “slutty” magazines was Cosmopolitan editor Joanna Coles, who shared that she hoped her Kaufman Franco dress with the leather bodice “wasn’t too slutty.”
Word has it that, after the president effusively complimented the French president (almost as much as he slobbered over the French wine) and Joe Biden attempted to rub shoulders with Seinfeld star Elaine, aka Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Mary J. Blige got the Obamas jamming to “Ain’t Nobody.”
What isn’t known is whether at any time during the lavish banquet the short-statured socialist from France had one Morlet “La Proportion Doree” 2011 too many and lost his way under the yards and yards of the blue silk skirt of Mrs. Obama’s voluminous gown.
But in the end, what was the most disturbing takeaway of this insensitive display of outrageous opulence?
It’s this: Americans desperate for someone, anyone, to save this country from disaster now know for sure they cannot count on being rescued by the opposing party. Why? Because also in attendance were a couple of Republican representatives – one from Virginia, Eric Cantor, as well as Cantor’s colleague Paul Ryan from Wisconsin.
Shamefully, instead of declining the invitation and choosing to spend the evening addressing the Constitutional crisis the president is fomenting, Ryan and Cantor, all toasty inside that warm Monet-inspired tent, spent the evening sampling 12 varieties of fingerling potatoes.
Image: Courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/crespoluigi/4532860751/
Jeannie also hosts a blog at www.jeannie-ology.com