One of the side stories today is that Obama will be the first president in over 150 years not to attend the annual Gridiron Club dinner.
Since its members are all “well-known and respected” journalists, one would think BO would see this as friendly territory. I guess not. Now, I’ve not got much sympathy for disappointed Gridiron members. This kind of spat, after all, is so much like watching professional athletes fight team owners. No underdog to cheer for and it’s nauseating no matter who wins. Still, this story is interesting because the press loved them some Obama.
Mediabistro had a blurb.
A Gridiron Club member tells FBDC first that President Obama will not attend this year’s dinner next Saturday, March 21st. He will be the first president since Grover Cleveland not to attend the first Gridiron Club Dinner of his presidency.
This year’s date coincides with the spring break of President Obama’s daughters’ school and club members have been informed the Obama family will be out of town, likely in Chicago.
He did find time to attend in 2005 though.
Each year the dinner includes satirical musical skits choreographed by the members, and remarks by the president and various members of each party. President Obama spoke as a Senator at the March 2006 dinner.
Here’s how townhall saw it. Townhall is a conservative outfit, but I think they called it right here.
Although it seems like a minor thing for people outside the beltway, the dinner is a social highlight for many of the Beltway’s most prominent journalists. The President’s decision to ignore it carries with it a faint whiff of ingratitude, given that he’s received over-the-top adoring press coverage — but then again, it’s just part of a time-honored pattern of Obama stiff-arming his sycophants in the media, as he did during the campaign.
Occasions like the Gridiron Dinner represent opportunities to shore up relationships with people who can (at least on the margins) help or hurt a president. The fact that Obama isn’t taking advantage of such an opportunity demonstrates one of two things: Either he doesn’t realize the importance of such seemingly small gestures, or else, his self-confidence is such that he doesn’t believe that he needs the help of the press to succeed.
Which reason sounds right to you? Or do you think they’re headed to Lauderdale? Maybe Disney World?