Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Funny Thing Happened to Obama Last Night

The President's Daily Show drive-by was a sad reminder that comedy and colloquy don't always mix, but even worse for those who admire both Barack Obama and Jon Stewart, it reflected the country's mood swing over the past two years.

The Tea Party temper tantrum is the headline, but this encounter was a sour reminder of how far those who were high on Obama's coming have crashed and burned. Days before election, to persuade supporters to get out and vote against the likes of Rand Paul, Christine McConnell and Linda McMahon, he has to explain why he turned to Larry Summers for economic advice. Would they have preferred John McCain and Joe the Plumber?

Across the political spectrum, the grownups are gone, unwilling to give Obama credit for what he calls "making progress step by step and inch by inch."

Yet, there are good reasons to be disappointed in the President's performance, and his unequivocal defense of the health care reform mess as getting "90 percent" of what he wanted is one of them. But days before the election, on the Daily Show, are not the time and place for debating his shortcomings.

If Obama was in full professorial mode, Stewart seemed flummoxed in the role of inquisitor--polite deference is not his best move. But the point of the duet was to energize dispirited admirers to get out and vote.

If they want to pull the levers thinking "Yes, we can but--," the President will take gladly take it.

Update: If the doubles act disappointed the President, it didn't do Stewart much good, New York Times culture critic Alessandra Stanley points out:

"The country long ago stopped wondering whether a president demeans his office by appearing on a late-night comedy show. The more immediate question...is whether a political satirist loses credibility when hobnobbing with a sitting president...

"Mr. Stewart usually has no trouble interrupting or getting the better of his most celebrated guests, but even he didn’t want to push too far when face to face with the commander in chief.

"Access is everything in Washington, but it can be the death of political satire."

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Obama's appearance only reminded the American citizens that he has hardly accomplished anything he said he would "change." Americans are looking to move forward and hopefully come out of this recession, but Obama is dwelling on the fact that we still have to make "progress step by step inch by inch." This is not what he originally promised. He promised a drastic takeover, and I think Americans are just tired of the lies and his inability to actually make change.

Anonymous said...

Who the blazes is Christine McConnell?