[T]he Obamas have gone all out in decorating their house this year, including a nearly quarter-ton gingerbread White House. [...]
The extravagance of 2011's decorations, however, are striking given the widespread joblessness, pale economic growth, home foreclosures and grim outlook for 2012, not to mention the incumbent president's historically low approval rating heading into his reelection bid.
How simple, politically astute, symbolically helpful and cost-effective it would have been for the Obamas this year to say that in sympathy with so many struggling countrymen, they were curtailing holiday decorations to match the sacrifices of others.
Yep. You heard the man. Now the problem with Obama is that he's celebrating Christmas too much. So many Christmas trees! A big gingerbread house! Decorations, everywhere!
Can you imagine? Let's just suppose the First Family said that in the name of government austerity, they were going to cut back on Christmas. The traditional White House Christmas extravaganza would be no more; it would be replaced with perhaps a modest tree, a ribbon around the dog, and, instead of the usual gingerbread mansion, just two little gingerbread men warming themselves around a little gingerbread trash can.
I am fairly sure that the resulting bursting of Fox News pundit heads could be seen from space. The Obamas, downgrading Christmas? Sure, the White House could announce it was for reasons of fiscal austerity, but it would be all but given that the real reason they had done it was as a plot to diminish Christmas itself. Was it because they were secretly Muslim? Was it a liberal plot to destroy Christmas, one missing bauble at a time? Was it encouraging others to similarly downsize their Christmases, and if so, would it lead to a deepening of the recession because the Obama's were telling people, sinfully, not to buy things? Was it evidence of false piety on the part of the White House, meaning they were secretly Mu—wait, we already covered that one.
The answers would all be "yes," of course. As president or first lady of the United States, one does not downgrade a Christmas tradition unless one hates Christmas and wishes it dead. Screw austerity, and screw budgets: This is Christmas we're talking about. This is when people of all faiths and backgrounds come together to admit that Christianity is the one true religion and that we're just humoring all the others, that precious season when we all gather 'round to give to the baby Jesus the traditional gifts of gold, frankensteins, and a four hundred pound gingerbread house.
Yet again, it doesn't matter what Obama does. To conservatives, it will always either prove him to be out of touch, a liberal radical, or (nearly always) both. But have some sympathy for Andrew Malcolm here, for he is just celebrating Christmas in the traditional manner of conservatives everywhere: seeking something to be outraged about, and getting outraged by it. Happy holidays!