Barack Obama made himself a laughingstock at a few points points during his appearance on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show this week. Video of Obama’s appearance on the Daily Show is here; a transcript of Obama’s appearance is here.
Obama became a laughingstock as Stewart played on the distance between the fantasy of Obama’s messianic campaign rhetoric and the reality of Obama in power. This could be potent stuff if you bought the messianic rhetoric, and it should certainly be the grist for all-American comedy that cuts a pretentious politician down to size.
If Stewart and his audience bought Obama’s messianic campaign shtick, however, they might want to get a clue and grow up. Coming at Obama from the left, Stewart et al. aren’t inclined to meditate on the limits of politics. They prefer to take their disillusionment as a sign of their superiority.
Did you really believe that Obama’s ascent was the moment that the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal? Did he let you down? Obama was taking advantage of your credulity, dude. Deal with it.
Stewart cited Obama’s campaign oratory against Obama’s appointment of Clinton administration retread Larry Summers to serve in Obama’s administration. Stewart recalled Obama saying during the campaign that one couldn’t expect different results from the same people. “I remember when you hired Larry Summers,” Stewart said:
I remember thinking, “Well, that seems like the exact same person,” and why would you — so, in some respects, I get your frustration with this idea that, “Well, geez, are you never satisfied?” but again, the expectation, I think, was Audacity, going in there and really rooting out a corrupt system. And so the sense is, has reality of what hit you in the face when you first stepped in, caused you to back down from some of the more visionary — like bringing in a guy like Larry Summers, like —
Unconsciously echoing a comment George Bush has not yet lived down, Obama responded that in fairness, “Larry Summers did a heckuva job trying to figure out how to…”
“You don’t want to use that phrase, dude,” Stewart pointed out.
Trying to indicate he was in on the joke, Obama lamely responded: “Pun intended.”
“Pun intended”? Now that’s funny. That’s not a pun, dude. Among this crowd, that’s a gaffe, a faux pas. And it’s the stuff of comedy when a guy who thinks extraordinarily highly of himself sticks his foot in his mouth and tries to recover with a retort that demonstrates he’s not as smart as he thinks he is. John Podhoretz comments on the “dude” moment, as does Jonah Goldberg.
Obama also made himself a laughingstock when Stewart invited him to amend his “Yes, we can” shtick. Stewart asked him: “You wouldn’t say you’d run this time as a pragmatist — it wouldn’t be, ‘Yes, we can — given certain conditions…?'”
Obama responded: “No, I think what I would say is, ‘Yes, we can, but — [audience laughs] — it is not gonna happen overnight.” Thanks for clearing that up, dude.
In all seriousness, however, Obama was right to proclaim how well he has done by the faithful among Stewart’s flock, especially with respect to Obamacare. Obama vaguely suggested that Obamacare would unfold in a highly satisfying manner:
[T]he history of this country — let me make this point, because I think it’s really important. Look: when Social Security was passed, it applied to widows and orphans, and it was a very restricted program, and over time, that structure that was built ended up developing into the most important social safety net that we have in our country. The same is true on every piece of progressive legislation, every bit of progress that we’ve made. When the Civil Rights Act passed, there were still a bunch of folks down South who couldn’t vote. And you know, I’m sure there were a bunch of commentators out there who said, “You know what? This law’s not doing the job. There’s still folks who aren’t able to exercise their franchise.” But the point was that we had created a structure, we had put a framework in place, that allowed us then to continue to make progress. That’s what we’ve done over the last 18 months. That’s what I expect we’re gonna keep on doin’ as long as I’ve got the capacity to do it, as long as I’m President of the United States.
Actually, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 addressed the omission of the franchise from the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but we get the point. Obamacare is perversely designed to squeeze out private health insurance and create the fully socialized medicine that is the dream of the left. Unless we do something about it, it will in short order “end up developing” into the monster that devoured our freedom.