McCain couldn't beat Obama by painting him as a celebrity. He is a celebrity, and people love it! But other celebrities are getting greedy now. They're trying to work their way into the Obama cabinet.
Quincy Jones, that perennial "music industry heavyweight" who does vague things, is rallying celebrities to his pet cause: convincing the new president to institute a cabinet-level "Secretary of Culture" position. European countries have them! And you know who might be a good pick for the position? Some celebrity! Like Quincy Jones, maybe. It's quite possible that this would be a great idea and the motives for supporting it are pure. But can Obama afford to be perceived as soft on art?
Artists of every genre were part of the new team's campaign, and are highly visible additions to the inaugural festivities. In a recent interview on "Meet the Press," Obama, a best-selling author who has Jay-Z on his iPod, said that his White House would have room for "jazz musicians and classical musicians and poetry readings."
Clearly this will not fly in times of crisis. It's not gonna happen. The more sinister dynamic is the idea that celebrities may become the new power lobby—the Halliburton execs of the Obama years. They supported him. Now they're coming to collect their payment. Culture in the cabinet! Pickup basketball games with Michael Jordan on the White House lawn! Private modeling sessions from ScarJo! Before you know it Jay-Z will agree to lead the president's council on Hip Hop in Schools but only if Obama agrees to a cameo in his new video, and the leader of the free world has no time for governing because he's off doing trifling unimportant things, like Bush, except with more black people.