The aftermath of Barack Obama’s posh 60th birthday party on Martha’s Vineyard is causing some dismay among the party crowd haunting the nation’s capital. One of the favorite bits of living in the Swamp is the never-ending supply of social events and networking opportunities. Now, the sting of the backlash against the Obama gala is harshing the beltway buzz.
Politico reported on August 20 that the reaction to the former president’s birthday bash is having a chilling effect on the D.C. social scene.
When media leaks revealed how large the August 7 Obama party was expected to be, COVID concerns led to reports that the party was significantly scaled back. However, even more leaks after the party revealed that the event was still huge. Social distancing and mask-wearing turned out to not be part of the final plan, either.
Just a week after the party, COVID case numbers on Martha’s Vineyard shot up, and the week after that, the local hospital was reported to be bursting at the seams with new in-patient cases.
The attention the party has drawn has had an immediate effect on the party scene down the coast in Washington. Democratic strategist Adrienne Elrod told Politico that what we could do just six weeks before was now on hold. She added that Democrats had to be careful because Republicans are looking for any reason to call Democrats hypocrites and liars.
A Washington publisher, John Arundel, said a “stigma” attached to throwing a party in Washington now can be chilling. He expressed concern about who would check for vaccinations or COVID tests and still be shamed for it.
Politico noted that lavish parties at the French embassy and other diplomatic residences in Washington had been rescheduled from September to November. Other events are going forward in the city this fall, but some require proof of vaccination and at least a nod toward social distancing.
As the elites in Washington have to be more discrete in their partying behavior, more and more ordinary Americans are becoming more exasperated by the day with restrictions and the threat of vaccine passports in an ever-shifting landscape of the science around COVID safety.