On June 5, 2012, my south Florida neighbor, Rush Limbaugh, told me (and millions of other people) that his new nickname for our current president is Barack Kardashian. Before using the nickname for the first time, Rush, probably while smoking a cigar and drinking some Two If By Tea, was detailing how the president was spending quite of bit of time fundraising among the Hollywood A-list celebrities. To Rush's highly trained eye, our president is evolving from the president of the United States into the celebrity of the United States. This observation led the half of Rush's brain not tied behind his back to say:
He's becoming Barack Kardashian. I'll tell you that's what's becoming. He is becoming the male Kim Kardashian with this stuff, and it's been building.
Had Rush used the nickname for a day or two, I would have forgotten all about it. But he hasn't stopped. It seems he can't stop. I'm starting to think he's getting paid for each time he says "Kardashian." Whatever you do, don't let anyone talk you into a drinking game based on Rush's use of Kardashian. If you do, you will likely pass out before the end of the first hour.
If I were a Kardashian, the association of my last name with one of the most unsuccessful presidents in American history would mortify me. I'd be talking to my lawyers trying to figure out a way to get Rush to stop. Kardashian is not just Kim's last name; it's the last name used by her three siblings and her mother. Working together, they have turned the name into a money-making franchise. Beginning in 2007 with the first season of the reality TV show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, they have successfully parlayed their various talents into multiple financial successes including modeling, movie and TV acting roles, singing, authoring, TV production, clothing design, fragrance creation, jewelry design, and the founding and running of a small chain of boutique clothing stores called D-A-S-H. In addition, Kardashian designs are sold on QVC and in Sears stores.
Beneath the glamor, the Kardashians are (evil) entrepreneurs doing business under the names of corporations and other legal entities. They work hard. Sure, they enjoy themselves while at work, but isn't that what Rush tells his listeners to do -- find something you are passionate about, something you love, and be the best that you can be?
Most amazing, perhaps, is that the Kardashians got their start in 2007 and have continued to succeed through the recession and the barely breathing economy of the Obama years. Taking a cue from Rush, they refused to participate in the recession. The Kardashians are unabashed, unashamed, self-motivated, self-interested capitalists. The Kardashians are everything that Obama is not, while the Kardashians and the Limbaughs have more in common than either side would be likely to realize. If Kim, Barack, and Rush were sitting in a room discussing capitalism, Barack would be counting the minutes 'til his next tee time while Kim and Rush tried to figure out a way to make Rush's Club Gitmo line of clothing more profitable, perhaps adding a Club Gitmo line of jewelry and a new Club Gitmo cologne. Rush might also try to get a price from Kim for the cost of Two if by Tea product placement on the upcoming season of the Kardashian reality show.
Kim Kardashian, like Rush, appears to judge people as individuals, not as members of arbitrary, contrived, monolithic demographic groups. While Obama clearly supported the Occupy movement, Kim did not. (She agreed that people have a right to protest but did not support the movement.) As a result, she is a target of the Occupy movement. There are petition drives to get her reality shows canceled, to get her Facebook page boycotted, and to get her fired from a role in an upcoming movie. Rush could certainly share with Kim the many times that different groups came after him -- groups that Barack would have organized if given the chance -- and how he was able to not only survive, but thrive each time he became a target.
Obama would be the likely recipient of support from people that support PETA. Kim Kardashian would not be considered a PETA supporter, as evidenced by this flour-bombing episode. It occurred when Kim was arriving at a charitable event for Dress for Success, an organization with a mission to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Apparently the women of PETA have joined the War on Women, against other women. Kim's sister, Khloe, who had previously posed for a PETA ad, withdrew her support for PETA and stated, "Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and opinions -- I personally don't wear fur but that doesn't mean I am going to force my views on anyone else, especially by violating them." Hmmm. Sounds a lot like something Rush might say.
As a senator, Obama promised that if elected president he would recognize the Armenian Genocide. Kim, being of Armenian descent, has taken the time to learn about this period during which 1.5 million Armenians were massacred by the Ottoman Turks. Kim is part of a worldwide movement that puts pressure on Turkey to take responsibility for the Armenian Genocide of 1915. She is determined to use her celebrity status to raise awareness and, as with the Holocaust, ensure that it never happens again. Upon becoming president, Obama has had multiple opportunities to make good on his promise, but he has chosen his words carefully to avoid using "genocide" to describe the events that took place.
Obama wrote in his autobiography that he tried drugs enthusiastically and was a habitual drug user. Kim Kardashian has not used illegal drugs, and Kim does not drink alcohol (which takes her off any beer summit guest list).
Hard as I try, I can find nothing Kardashian about Obama. If anything, Barack is the anti-Kardashian. Kim Kardashian is far from perfect, but she is a hardworking, successful, job-creating capitalist who treats people as individuals, goes and gives to church, supports various meaningful charitable causes, is close with her extended family, doesn't use drugs or drink alcohol, and has no friends who are admitted terrorists. Obama doesn't want to work other than on the campaign trail. He is a man who leads from behind. He starts his workday late and ends his workday early, unless there's a party at the White House or a fundraiser somewhere. Obama wants to golf, vacation, bike-ride, and read off of a teleprompter from time to time. If Obama and Kim were on Donald Trump's The Celebrity Apprentice, I have little doubt which would be the earlier recipient of the infamous "You're fired!"
Marc Hopin is the author of a the children's book The Tooth Fairy Needs Your Teeth!