January 4, 2014

Obama's annual reunion with the group that still calls itself "The Choom Gang."

The NYT reports:
For a reputed loner, Mr. Obama has remained remarkably close to a trio he met as a teenager at Honolulu’s prestigious Punahou School — boys of Hawaii’s year-round summer with whom he played basketball, bodysurfed, drank beer and, like so many other young islanders in the 1970s, smoked pot, the “choom” of that long-ago nickname....

The annual gatherings perhaps speak to Mr. Obama’s greater need for their connection now that he has what is called the loneliest job in the world...

That first year, [Mike] Ramos said, “I remember coming home from a golf outing and literally starting to cry,” so emotional was the contrast he felt between their friendships and the “transactional” ones he said he had since formed as a businessman. “For me it’s the unconditional love, it’s the nontransactional nature of the relationship — that enduring quality — that is something that I really value,” he said.
Are your friendships so transactional you could cry?

IN THE COMMENTS: MayBee said:
They didn't start meeting annually unti 2004, when Obama decided to run for Senate and he needed a fresh group of friends for his biography....

It says something pretty funny about politics when an article about the Presidents's friends has a quote about the importance of friends from the "long time" political strategist. And yes, Axelrod was Obama's strategist when Obama decided to start the annual get together with them.

Doesn't that just scream "these friends are part of a political strategy! This article is part of that strategy!" 
The transactionality of nontransactional friends.

12 comments:

Terry said...

"Prestigious" Punahou? Not "Private"? Not "Expensive"? Not "Exclusive"?

rhhardin said...

The school has black lava ashtrays.

I don't know what they sell in Honolulu these days now that smoking is out.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

So a POTUS is never on vacation, they are able to work from anywhere using video conferencing after all, yet our Obama is rarely around anyone but his buddies when in Hawaii.

I read a while back Obama was a check-the-box POTUS; give him three options so he can choose the pragmatic, middle option since he is a pragmatic, non-ideological Chief Executive willing to take the best ideas no matter where they originate.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

"As is usual when on the island, the president has been far from political advisers and hangers-on..."

Hangars-on refers to military advisors I presume. And Obamacare implementers. And State or Justice personnel.

rhhardin said...

Obama learned shell games from the shells on the beach.

Larry J said...

Some people claim that Obama has no private sector job experience. I have no trouble believing that he sold drugs while a member of the Choom Gang.

MayBee said...

They didn't start meeting annually unti 2004, when Obama decided to run for Senate and he needed a fresh group of friends for his biography.

St. George said...

Odd article.

It does not say what any of the men do for a living. We do learn that one of them frequents prostitutes and has been arrested for doing so. Another, Ramos, who says he "broods," is in the midst of divorce.

His friends' occupations is a very basic and obvious fact to omit from such an article.

By contrast, while president, Truman played poker weekly in D.C. with senior level politicians (and the occasional reporter) and back home with old friends, many of whom were Jewish.

"Truman loved poker for some of the same reasons that he loved politics. There was a vitality in the game that let him share in the lives of people he liked and see them as they really were, underneath whatever formalities they usually had to adopt when they dealt with a judge, senator, President, or former President. Poker also gave him a chance to make his friends happy in some small ways, which was very important to him. "I've tried all my life," he wrote to Bess in 1937, "to be thoughtful and to make every person I come in contact with happier for having seen me." There's no record of anyone ever leaving a poker game with Harry Truman feeling unhappy."

And Obama is a "reputed" loner? "Reputed"?

MayBee said...

It says something pretty funny about politics when an article about the Presidents's friends has a quote about the importance of friends from the "long time" political strategist. And yes, Axelrod was Obama's strategist when Obama decided to start the annual get together with them.

Doesn't that just scream "these friends are part of a political strategy! This article is part of that strategy!"

Rocketeer said...

Somebody needs to read Nicomachean Ethics, which covers the various forms of friendship nicely. FWIW, I was inspired to read it for the first time since college after seeing a former president have a copy tucked under his arm.

bbkingfish said...

Some choom chum from our hostess. And don't ignore that Amazon portal!

Jason said...

I'm sure the people his Justice Department have had thrown in prison for doing exactly the same thing that Obama and his Choom Gang did must feel just peachy for them.