This is really not the biggest deal in the world, but every year on August 4, I’m reminded of something kind of creepy in the Cult of Obama. That, my friends, is the obsession with his birthday.
I totally get that if you run a monarchy or are a dictator or if you’re a good president, your birthday might be cause for celebration. Oh, it’s the Queen’s birthday? Let’s celebrate. Oh, we’re going to be killed if we don’t pay honor to you, Kim Jong Un (not to be confused with his father who held the titles of “Dear Leader, who is a perfect incarnation of the appearance that a leader should have” and “Shining Star of Paektu Mountain” and “Ever-Victorious, Iron-Willed Commander” and “Bright Sun of Juche” and “Never rotting smiling corpse,” among many others)? Sure, let’s sing a song. Oh, you’re George “Opponents Beware” Washington? Yeah, we’ll celebrate that.
But that’s it. You have to be the Queen, a tyrannical dictator, or George Washington for the people in your country to get all celebratory about the occasion of your birth, mmm-kay?
I am willing to consider whether our celebration of birthdays should extend to other presidents. But wouldn’t that require, at a bare minimum, that the president not be cartoonishly bad at being president? I don’t feel like that’s too much to ask.
Which brings us to the Barack Obama Twitter feed and fundraising operation. Every time someone complains about the froshmoric (read: worse than sophomoric!) tweets coming from that @BarackObama handle, others say, “Hey, don’t forget that @BarackObama isn’t really @BarackObama but a political operation to advance @BarackObama unless it’s signed ‘bo’ in which case it is in fact actually @BarackObama.” Whatever. Let’s look at the Barack Obama political operation and fundraising operation’s tweets yesterday:
Send President Obama some love for his birthday: http://t.co/ZMfioaoHnt
Happy Birthday to the man who always makes me proud. Thank you for your friendship, honesty and compassion. I will love you always. -mo
— The First Lady (@FLOTUS) August 4, 2014
Happy birthday President @BarackObama! Lmk if you ever need someone to set a screen & free you up for a shot in your pickup basketball game.
— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins34) August 4, 2014
Happy Birthday, Mr. President @BarackObama
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) August 4, 2014
Happy Birthday, President Obama! pic.twitter.com/WCBp3eI1AE
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) August 4, 2014
Happy birthday to my good friend, President Obama. pic.twitter.com/9IwJm1gJrF
— Vice President Biden (@VP) August 4, 2014
“Some people prefer cake. I like pie.” —President Obama http://t.co/42tOiQ2ogf
Don’t forget to leave a personal note for President Obama’s birthday today: http://t.co/v0pSvUVNdG
LAST CHANCE: Sign OFA’s birthday card for President Obama. http://t.co/KJG9Gx59B9
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 5, 2014
Hey, guys, I think it was President Obama’s birthday yesterday.
This is not to be encouraged for two main reasons.
One, it’s childish. Birthdays are for kids. And even for kids, they should be restrained. Yes, it’s another year to be thankful for God’s provisions. Great. Do that with family and friends. Don’t make a big production. Don’t put on a My Super Sweet 16 type thing. Be a man and also recognize that all of us who are blessed to survive our mother’s wombs (ooh, awkward, President “punished with a baby” Obama!) have birthdays.
Two, I can not improve on this Volokh rant from four years ago, when Jim Lofgren received one of the now-trademarked Obama birthday fundraising emails:
I find it hard to say precisely why I find this email a bit creepy. At one level this seems innocuous enough–and it is definitely not a big thing. At another level, asking millions of Americans to sign a birthday card for the President suggests a tone-deafness about the cult of personality. If we lived in a dictatorship, getting millions of subjects to celebrate the Dear Leader’s birthday would be routine, but in a free republic this appeal to get millions of citizens to celebrate a current president’s birthday strikes a discordant note to my ear. No, I am not saying we are in a dictatorship; I am saying that because we are not, we should not be emulating the trappings characteristic of that fundamentally different sort of regime. Nor do I think this is particularly ominous, just a very small step in the wrong direction.
Exactly. Grow up and don’t emulate dictators.
UPDATE: If you can believe it, it’s even creepier than I presented.