Humor and Obama

Humor about candidates is the staple of late night tv and other humor tv shows during an election season. However, this year there’s been a notable difference with regards to one candidate. As Byron York discusses in an essay at National Review Online, there’s been until very recently a clear dearth of jokes about Senator Obama.

And this was about a man who made up his own pretend presidential seal and motto, Vero Possumus; a man who, upon securing the Democratic nomination, said, “I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal”; a man who has on a number of occasions seemed to forget that he is not, or at least not yet, the President of the United States, who has misstated the number of states in his own country, who has forgotten on which committees he serves in the U.S. Senate. Professional comedians — and their audiences — couldn’t find anything funny about any of that?

Now, after Obama’s world tour, there are already cracks in the Times-imposed conventional wisdom.  Confronted with something of an official ban on Obama humor, there is emerging a new strain of Obama humor — zings at the candidate’s hauteur, his presumptuousness, and, especially, his most zealous admirers in the press.

York also notes that the one individual who has been bucking the trend all along:

Baker, whose paper was filled with friendly accounts of Obama’s trip, was making fun not just of the Obama phenomenon but of the man behind it as well. And by doing that, both he and Stewart ventured into territory where, so far, only one man has regularly traveled. Rush Limbaugh has not only been criticizing Obama’s politics but ridiculing his pretensions, his gaffes, and the excesses of his most passionate advocates in the press — in other words, treating him like a real, live, presidential candidate, subject to the same scrutiny as everyone else.


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