FILE - Barack Obama, left, joined by his wife Michelle, takes the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts to become the 44th president of the United States at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, in this Jan. 20, 2009 file photo. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
The grunts who worked 16-hour days for blood money in order to re-elect President Obama are now complaining that they’re being shut out of the inaugural festivities.
Hey, you idealistic kids, you may not be getting a ticket to one of the inaugural balls, but you’re getting a valuable lesson in politics. Politicians do not give a care what you did for them two months ago. They only care about what you can do for them today, or two months from now. And now that Obama never has to run for office again, Obama don’t need you anymore.
In a sour footnote to President Barack Obama's sweeping electoral victory last November, many of his campaign staffers have been shut out of the inaugural festivities, more than a dozen of them complained to BuzzFeed Monday.
"We worked our butts off, and I'm going to watch it on TV instead of being there," said one former staffer. "It's a huge bummer."
Former staffers — who spoke to BuzzFeed on the condition of anonymity to preserve their relationships, and possible jobs, in Obama's second term — say they have grown frustrated by what they see as inadequate communication from the Presidential Inaugural Committee, the group responsible for the inaugural balls, and in particular by its restrictions on access to the official events.
More than 35,000 attendees are expected at Obama's consolidated formal Inaugural Ball Monday night, which replaces nearly a dozen separate balls. Many staffers complain that after the hard work of getting Obama re-elected they still couldn't snag tickets to the event — only a small number were made available to staffers. PIC outsourced the ticketing to Ticketmaster, whose system bungled the public distribution earlier this month.
Even more than most politicians, Obama has shown a disregard for people who helped him climb to the top. In 2008, one of his oldest allies, a woman who worked with him as a community organizer, appeared in an ad for his presidential campaign. After Obama won, she called the campaign office to request a ticket to the inauguration. Her calls were not returned.
Loyalty to old allies is not one of Barack Obama’s qualities. Unlike Bill Clinton, whose White House Chief of Staff was a kindergarten classmate, or Lyndon Johnson, who was served for three decades by a high school debate student from Houston, Obama has no deep native ties to the state where he made his political career. The relationships he formed during his rise were mainly expedient: once Obama had no more use for supporters, he dropped them from his circle, often telling a perplexed functionary to stop calling his cell phone and start calling his people.
There’s no one in Chicago he can point to and say, “We’ve been tight for twenty years.” It’s the unflattering side of Obama’s detached intellectualism. Johnnie Owens, his closest friend during his community organizing days, and best man at his wedding, rarely saw Obama once he started moving among lawyers, politicians and professors. Obama lost touch with Jerry Kellman, who hired him as a community organizer, until a reporter re-connected them during his Senate run. Carole Anne Harwell, Obama’s first campaign manager, had no significant role in his subsequent races.
“There were a number of people who worked for Barack in the early days, then found Barack was working with a different group of people,” one old supporter would put it. “They felt kind of squeezed out.”
And now a new group of Obama allies is feeling the same squeeze.
This month, Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland’s Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President will be available on Kindle for $9.99. Tracing Obama’s career in Chicago from his arrival as a community organizer to his election to the U.S. Senate, Young Mr. Obama tells the story of how a callow, presumptuous young man became a master politician, and of why only Chicago could have produced our first black president.