Oh boy, this is going to look bad.
The Republicans may not realize it, but they have an extra point of leverage in the debt ceiling talks: Barack Obama's birthday.
It's on Aug. 4. The president is turning 50. He's decided to have a quiet celebration with family and a few close friends.
Instead, the president is planning an extravagant fundraising bash Aug. 3 at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, including a birthday concert teeming with celebrities and – for couples contributing $35,800 – a private dinner with the president. All this just one day after the government is scheduled to run out of cash!
Undoubtably, the sight of so much money getting thrown around and dissolute stars crooning to Obama will make a stirring contrast with a federal government bankruptcy featuring unpaid government workers, seniors and soldiers wondering how they'll afford the groceries, shuttered national parks, and angry investors trying to cash out their Treasury Bills.
If the government defaults, you can be sure the birthday bacchanal will do much more to harm Obama's reelection prospects than help them. Maybe House GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who has been refusing to back down while needling Obama to the extent that the president stomped out of a White House meeting yesterday, already knows this.
The excitement kicks off at 4 pm with a concert that may feature singer Jennifer Hudson and other A-List stars, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
To show that hope and change is for everyone, a pauper section will be included for those contributing a measly $50. But the general admission ticket is $200, and the more you give, the more you get.
For $1,000, you can sit in the rich people's area with easy access to alcohol. And for $10,000 you not only get a great seat, but a photo with The Birthday Boy.
Perhaps Timothy Geithner will be doing stand up comedy at a smaller room elsewhere in Chicago the same night, with all proceeds going to fund the federal government.