01.11.09

The New D.C. Status Symbols

How can you tell if you’re an Obama insider? Follow these simple rules.

you tell if you're an Obama insider? Follow these simple rules.

Other towns may measure status by your address, your alma mater, your income, or your shoes, but in political Washington right now, there is only one barometer of anyone's importance: How close are you to Obama? Here's how to tell.

You don't return press calls. Before the election, the Obama team treated the media like a favored pet, doling out scraps of news on a regular basis. Even lowly bloggers could expect an uninformative but cheeky email from Gibbs. Now, the pets have been banished to the yard, where we howl loudly and get overexcited just when we hear the owner jangling his keys.

You have Axelrod's REAL instant message screen name. I am just assuming he doesn't still use the one I have.

Before the election, the Obama team treated the media like a favored pet. Now, the pets have been banished to the yard.

You have an ankle injury from playing basketball with Reggie Love. We understand if you keep the Ace bandage on long after it's healed.

You have something to do with the Center for American Progress. Founded by John Podesta in 2003, it started out as a kind of home for Clinton administration alumni. As Podesta's relationship with Obama has grown (he's now head of the transition), it's become one of the only local institutions with a direct line to the future residents and staff of the White House.

There is a picture on the Internet of you gesturing lewdly at a cutout of Hillary Clinton—and you had to apologize to her for it. Because, let's face it, who DOESN'T have a picture of themselves gesturing lewdly at a cutout of Hillary Clinton, but only Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau has had to make a formal apology.

Wonkette emerita, political junkie, self-hating journalist, and author of Dog Days, Ana Marie Cox has worked for Time, Mother Jones, Suck, and most recently, Radar. Follow her on Twitter.