Less than three weeks after hosting a $4 million fundraiser for President Obama, hip-hop mogul Jay-Z is touting the benefits of smaller government. “I don’t even like the word ‘politics.’ It implies something underhanded and I think we need less government,” said the hip-hop mogul at a recent launch party.
Although the rapper’s trademark style includes opportune political comments, his recent thoughts on smaller government serve as synecdoche for the real problem. Perhaps what Jay-Z and the President actually agree on is less governing.
While Benghazi burned, President Obama chose to attend the aforementioned $40,000 per plate fundraiser. Recent data shows that failing to govern is not an isolated incident-it’s more of a paradigm. According to the Government Accountability Institute, the President has only attended half of his intelligence briefings while in office.
Intelligence briefings and handling international crisis don’t seem to have the same curb appeal as mingling with the rich and famous. There’s something about tough decision-making that just doesn’t translate over $300 per bottle champagne.
This is where Jay-Z and President Obama’s interests intersect. When asked why he supports President Obama, the rapper retreated to an old standby: “I support Barack because I gotta respect that sort of vision. I gotta respect a man who is the first black president ever.”
Jay-Z and his wife Beyoncé have built a reputation as powerhouse supporters of the President and that support stems all the way back to the 2008 election. The rapper’s relationship with the President grew to such an extent that Jay-z quipped “I can’t figure it out, like how this happened,” and ultimately settled on hip-hop as the root cause.
In 2012, it is evident that both the President and his supporters must still hopefully cling to the novelty of his presidency. The cult of celebrity image is a matter of photo-ops, soirées and keeping up appearances.
Coupled with a horrendous track record, governing does not package President Obama in the same palatable way that rendezvousing around Las Vegas does.