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Opinion: Columnists

Dinner at 8

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Who on earth thought it was a great idea to urge people to stop giving wedding presents to others, and give donations in their names to the campaign of Barack Obama instead? Possibly the same people who thought "The Life of Julia" would be irresistible to America's voters. Or the ones who thought it was a winner to have Vogue "dominatrix" Anna Wintour make a video urging the unwashed to bid for $40,000-a-head tickets to a fundraiser in an ultra-posh townhouse in lower Manhattan, held by a former co-player in "Sex and the City" and her wonderful, ultra-chic self.

With this, we stand on the brink of a culture implosion, in which the line between excess and self-immolation is crossed. Since 1972, when George McGovern's campaign gave us both Warren Beatty and identity politics, the Democratic Party has run on a combination of glitter and grievance. It taps the film, rock and fashion worlds for glamour and money, and meanwhile feigns concern for the victims of race and gender bias, paying them off with a system of quotas, while stoking their long-standing fears. Now, its 40-year run may be facing extinction, killed off by its lack of self-knowledge and balance, and done in by its excess at last.

Glitz in some measure has always been with us: before this, there was the Rat Pack and brother-in-law Peter Lawford, Lauren Bacall lounging on Harry Truman's piano, and Ronald Reagan himself was a left-wing Hollywood activist, back when he graced the big screen. But since then, this fringe has become the big picture: Obama has ditched the white working classes while doubling down on the glamour connection, and has made its boutique agenda its own. Gay marriage? No problem. Green energy? Wonderful. Killing the Keystone pipeline, and its thousands and thousands of jobs lost in Middle America? Of course. And this makes him still more dependent on glitzies, as it drives off his backers elsewhere. "Having alienated practically all of business and Wall Street, the president has come to rely on film, fashion, and music donors," Matt Continetti informs us. "The most recent list of contributors ... resembles a promo for a bad episode of 'Hollywood Squares.' " No invitations to dinner at Occupy Wall Street. And this curtails the "equality" message, as the Washington Post tries to tell us: "Obama's glamorous elbow-rubbing carries significant risks as he struggles to convince voters that he is focused single-mindedly on their economic concerns."

No kidding. And at the same time, the back half of this odd coalition also is falling apart. One can understand the concern of those in the mid-l960s to create a black middle class quickly, and to atone for segregation and other disasters, yet still feel that the "remedy" has gotten a bit out of hand if it allows a blond, blue-eyed woman paler than 90 percent of the populace to advance at Harvard as a nonwhite and "minority" hire on the grounds that she is 1/32 Cherokee Indian.

Meanwhile, the flacks spin without stopping, claiming all and any critiques of Obama represent mere racism rerearing its head. "Last time there just weren't enough reasons for enough white voters to vote against the black guy, as much as they wanted to," Mike Lupica tells us. "This time there are."

So the "Bigots for Obama" are now going back to their GOP leanings? He needs to unwind with a cool glass of something. He needs to have dinner with Anna Wintour.

Examiner Columnist Noemie Emery is contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families."

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Noemie Emery

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The Washington Examiner