Streetwise Professor

May 3, 2010

Hey, I’m the President, You Hockey Pucks

Filed under: Politics — The Professor @ 7:25 pm

Oliver Wendell Holmes famously observed that FDR had a “second rate intellect but a first rate personality.”  If only Obama were FDR.  His vaunted intelligence has proved pedestrian.  On a good day.  And that cool demeanor that millions swooned over has been shown to be a sham as well.  People are awakening to the fact that he is, in fact, like that really cool guy in high school that you found out was just a condescending, stuck up, a@@h*le who couldn’t give a rat’s rump about you when you got to know him.

Even the Washington Post notices.  Yes, the Washington Post fer crissakes:

Breaking with presidential punch line tradition for the second consecutive year, Obama dropped zinger after zinger on his opponents and allies alike at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. Obama went all Don Rickles on a broad range of topics and individuals: Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, presidential advisers David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel, the news media, Jay Leno, and Republicans Michael SteeleScott BrownJohn McCain and  Sarah Palin.

Except for a mild joke pegged to his falling approval ratings, Obama mostly spared Obama during his 14-minute stand-up routine.

Take a minute to absorb that: “Obama went all Don Rickles.”  How presidential.  It is true, as the WSJ editorialized, that  Obama relishes being his own Spiro Agnew.

What makes this even more amazing is that this insult humor routine was delivered within hours of his delivering at the University of Michigan graduation a homily on bipartisanship and the necessity of elevating our civil discourse.  No, seriously.   He did.  Really.  I wouldn’t lie about something like that.

FDR was a SOB in private, but a charmer in public.  Obama is an SOB in public.  And people are noticing.

But Obama doesn’t.  Jennifer Rubin hits the nail square and true:

Frankly, this gets back to a lack of self-awareness. This is a president who derides political opponents, fails to engage them on the merits, and has perfected the straw-man and ad hominem attacks. It was his White House that declared war on Fox News. So it is the height of hypocrisy for him to now tell the rest of us to up the tolerance and intellectual diversity quotient in our lives. It’s sort of like Tom Friedman telling us to consume less and reduce our carbon footprint. [A Twofer!  Slamming Obama and Tom Tool Time Friedman in the same paragraph.  Way to go, Jennifer.]

This lack of self-awareness is disturbing.  His preternatural (and largely unwarranted) cockiness became even more pronounced after the health care vote, even though George W. Bush had far more to do with getting health care “reform” foist upon us than Obama; in fact, the health care vote was deeply damaging politically to Obama and especially his party.  The disconnect between self-image and reality bodes for yet more conflict.  The Era of Bad Feelings has only just begun.

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  1. I thought Obama’s jokes were excellent and my opinion of him was only improved. A self-deriding President is pathetic.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — May 4, 2010 @ 1:34 am

  2. PS. Bipartisanship is a failed card. The Republicans want him to fail and have humiliated Obama whenever he tried to reach out to them. So screw them.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — May 4, 2010 @ 1:37 am

  3. Self-deprecating humor is a sign of superior intelligence and courage. Mediocre minds fail to see the difference between that and self-humiliation.

    Comment by Kacha — May 4, 2010 @ 6:50 am

  4. Damn! Tell it like you see it, Professor!

    Self depricating humor by the President during his White House Correspondent’s dinner presentation is a long standing tradition. For a President to use such humor is hardly “pathetic.”

    At the height of the Whitewater scandal, President Clinton told the corresponding audience: “I am delighted to be here tonight, and if you believe that, I have some land in northwest Arkansas I’d like to sell you.” President George W. Bush poked fun at himself in various ways over the years: by explaining what he really wanted to say on those occasions when he mangled his words; by using a Bush look-alike to exchange banter with him; and by having Laura Bush interrupt his remarks to offer her a comic take on her husband.

    The fact that Obama failed to extend a gesture of humility during the Correspondents dinner is hardly a surprise. As a wise man recently said of Obama, he is “just a condescending, stuck up, a@@h*le who couldn’t give a rat’s rump about you when you got to know him.”

    Comment by Charles — May 4, 2010 @ 9:51 am

  5. There’s hope yet.

    For whatever it’s worth, Bill O’Reilly said he likes Obama.

    Comment by Kvech — May 4, 2010 @ 11:47 pm

  6. “And what the hell can Obama do about the spill, anyway? Say the Word and make it stop?” One could have said the same about Bush for Katrina, a disaster thirty five years in the making that was eminently predictable. Bush’s chief sins historians will recall will be of ommission rather than commission, and there will be endless debate as to whether he decisively pushed for the invasion of Iraq or was moved along by his advisors led by Dick Cheney (‘Darth Cheney’ incidentally, also was the one demanding to know what military options the U.S. had to halt the Russian forces responding to Misha the Tie Eater’s attack on South Ossetia, as if the cabinet seriously wanted to consider a Second Cuban Missile Crisis escalating into a nuclear war).

    “Bush INVADED A SOVEREIGN COUNTRY. There is no question about who is the warmonger, who is the mere policeman (albeit true, a brutal one).” Clinton led NATO into bombing the hell out of Serbia, allowed his advisors (before they covered their asses post-9/11) to allege all sorts of shady links between Al-Qaeda and Saddam (remember the VX lab that turned out to be an aspirin factory?) and in general paved the way for the invasion of Iraq by bombing that country for eight years to enforce the ‘No Fly Zones’. I never objected to people opposing the war in Iraq, I have severe doubts about its necessity too, just trying to use it as a cheap partisan issue when Dems had to own up to their part in it too. Ken Pollack after all was a Clinton guy.

    I like Bush as a man, but think he was a lousy President, and Obama the same.

    Comment by Mr. X — May 6, 2010 @ 2:37 pm

  7. […] (to quote Oliver Wendell Holmes) FDR had a second rate intellect and a first rate personality, Obama rates a tie at best in the first category and  is out of the running altogether in the second.  In another, I compared Obama to Woodrow Wilson, with words that resonate today in light of the […]

    Pingback by Streetwise Professor » Steven Hayward Channels SWP — July 15, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

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