By Jonathan Greenberg, Originally posted in American Spectator
st week, Secretary of State John Kerry tweeted out a request for “your toughest #foreignpolicy questions” as a part of “Big Block of Cheese Day.”
If you weren’t a fan of Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing, the NBC drama that ran from 1999-2005 and focused on the administration of fictional President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet and his White House staff, you maybe were confused by the Secretary’s tweet. “Big Block of Cheese Day” occurs in season 1, episode 5 of West Wing and again in season 2, episode 16. On this auspicious day, White House staffers grant meetings to groups that normally wouldn’t merit the time of our busy rulers.
Unlike television, this latest “Big Block of Cheese Day” didn’t involve actual meetings, but rather questions submitted on social media. Still, it’s a nice idea. And it has the added bonus of fitting in with the style-over-substance mise-en-scène of this White House.
For some time, I’ve had the nagging suspicion that many in the Obama foreign policy sphere are playacting at governing. The most glaring example is Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting. Rhodes was a wordsmith on the 2008 Obama campaign and before that worked for former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton at the Woodrow Wilson Center. He helped Hamilton craft the Iraq Study Report and the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. His Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing comes in handy for a speechwriter, but it doesn’t help much in policymaking. Rhodes is believed responsible for the administration’s dazzlingly awful decision to sell out Egyptian leader and longtime U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak during the so-called Arab Spring in 2011.
And if “Big Block of Cheese Day” weren’t enough, President Obama decided to cure cancer — and to announce it in his State of the Union address. Which is also from an episode ofThe West Wing (season 3, episode 12).
But it wasn’t until this weekend that the extent to which the Obama administration has gone full-Sorkin came into glorious relief.