Never has a president so effortlessly dispatched an adversary as President Obama did last Saturday night, with his single-word “Whassup?” dismissal of RNC Chair Michael Steele and his self-proclaimed “hip-hop makeover.” By the time Steele jumped out of his seat to be “recognized,” the only thing missing from the scene at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner was a Punk’d camera crew. Ashton Kutcher was, as they say, already “in the heezy.”
Does Steele really want to play this game with the president? Obama grew up black in a white household, went to school overseas, his middle name is “Hussein,” and he plays pick-up basketball in his free time—he’s been training for that monologue his whole life.
So another week passes in the life of Barack Obama. He’s still cool, calm and debonair—a regular “Barry” Grant—and he’s already brought a lot of change to the White House. But some things won’t ever change: Like Rémy in the liquor cabinet, Frankie Beverly on the iPod and Y&R on the tube at your auntie’s house, there are some things about the Obama flow that are just, well, black…
Monday—Leader of the Af-Pak
Obama was back to work after Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai left town. Nothing says “I’ve got the Taliban on lockdown” like an e-mail auto-reply that reads: “As-salaam alaikum. I’m out of the office this week, with limited access to e-mail and voicemail. Doing lunch at Ben’s Chili Bowl with President Obama and then headlining Meet the Press.”
Your dad doesn’t have to be Kenyan to know that the half-smoke at Ben’s is delicious—and also haram. Make sure you get the all-beef hotdog, dog. Wa-alaikum salaam.
It’s not quite the Beatles playing a command performance for Queen Elizabeth, but keeping things updated for the ’09, the Obamas hosted the first-ever White House free-form, poetry-jazz jam-odyssey. The revolution might not be televised, but the recital will take place in the Rose Garden.
We hear that next year, Theo and Rudy will cap off the evening with a Ray Charles number.
Wednesday—The War on Errorism
Did Liz Cheney really go “siding with the terrorists” on Obama? Uh, Liz—“Whassup?”
It’s unfortunate, but not uncommon, for black folks to break a barrier, and then the rules of the game change. Tiger took over golf, and suddenly the course at Augusta National needed an upgrade (but not the membership policy…). Malia and Sasha showed up in D.C. and suddenly people are up in arms because the president sends his kids to the same school that graduated Chelsea Clinton. And now it’s apparently OK for a disgraced former vice president—or his daughter—to put a sitting president on blast 24/7/365.
It’s enough to make the president say: “I’m trying to get some work done here, Dick.”
Michelle Obama’s sleeveless, one-woman “gun show” made history and brought sexy back in a major way when her celebrated biceps and general whip appeal landed her at No. 93 in the just-announced 2009 Maxim magazine “Hot 100.”
It’s an Obama-heavy list, with the first lady joined by Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau’s reported girlfriend, Alejandra Campoverdi (No. 86), and Maria Menounos (No. 70), who did the Access Hollywood interview during the campaign that got the press banned from talking to Malia and Sasha.
Mrs. Obama placed very respectably—two spots up from Top Chef bacon aficionado and Salman Rushdie ex, Padma Lakshmi (No. 95), and 11 spots down from Minka Kelly (No. 84), one of the (count ‘em) six of Derek Jeter’s girlfriends who made the lineup—the audacity of taupe, indeed…
Go ahead and pencil in Dr. Jill “Boots” Biden for the 2010 Maxim roster.
And that’s about it…
Obama’s got some homework over the weekend—studying his short list of potential Supreme Court nominees. His assignment should be code named “LL Cool J”: Latina Lesbian equals Cool Justice. But none of the leading candidates fits all those criteria, so the president, pressed to add another woman to the court, will pour over the résumés, legal opinions, and empathy indices and pick the Supremes’ next dream girl.
America remains charmed by the smooth, chocolaty lifestyle of the POTUS, the FLOTUS, the Lil’ LOTUS’ and even their dog (the BO-TUS?), and yet there’s still quite a few holdouts who won’t let themselves be baptized by the unbearable lightness of blackness. For those still not feeling it, next week, try to remember the words of CNN’s Kyra Phillips: At the end of the day, the Obamas are just like any other first family, but with just “a little more flava.”
David Swerdlick is a regular contributor to The Root.
David Swerdlick is an associate editor at The Root. Follow him on Twitter.