A Humorless President?

Maureen Dowd looks askance at the apparent lack of humor in Obama’s persona.

At first blush, it would seem to be a positive for Obama that he is hard to mock. But on second thought, is it another sign that he’s trying so hard to be perfect that it’s stultifying? Or that eight years of W. and Cheney have robbed Democratic voters of their sense of humor?. . . . .

If Obama offers only eat-your-arugula chiding and chilly earnestness, he becomes an otherworldly type, not the regular guy he needs to be.

Contrast Ronald Reagan, whose immense popularity with the people — and even his effectiveness among fellow politicians — was directly related to his self-deprecating sense of humor.

In my experience, people who can’t laugh at themselves usually have serious self-identity issues. And those issues usually affect their ability to deal wisely with others. If tough times are ahead for the American people, what kind of President do we want leading us — a Reagan, or an Obama?

As Dowd concludes, “if Obama gets elected and there is nothing funny about him, it won’t be the economy that’s depressed. It will be the rest of us.”

UPDATE: Neo-neocon agrees, and adds this thought:

There is some humility involved in mocking oneself successfully, and although all Presidents (and virtually all politicians) have to have a rather large ego to run for office in the first place, the presence of a genuine sense of humor acts as reassurance that their egos are not too massively swollen.

UPDATE: Obama may be a stuffed shirt, but that only provides more fodder for the late-night comedians. You’ll find a great collection of Obama jokes here. My personal favorite (via Jay Leno):

Well, the Democrats are now preparing for their convention in Denver, and they have hired the first ever director of greening. They say that this year that everything about their convention will be green, including nominating a candidate who’s only been a senator for a couple of years.


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