The most recent example came this past weekend when Fred Armisen, as President Obama, chided "those on the right" for saying that he was "turning this great country into something that resembles the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany."
Not true, said Armisen as Obama."When you look at my record," he said, "it's very clear what I've done so far -- and that is nothing."
The sketch has caused a rumble among the inside-the-Beltway chattering classes and New York news nabobs. Wrote Washington Post blogger Jonathan Capehart, "When your 'friends' start talking about you like this -- and friends with a huge megaphone and a feel for the national mood -- the White House should listen."
"Humor with some truth in it is always dangerous. Make no mistake, a drumbeat of belittlement can damage a president," added CNN political contributor Ed Rollins in a column.
Of course, the CNN article claims that there's a reason why this unusual detente between the president and Comic-Americans has lasted so long, but I'm not so sure:
Right, because it's not like Obama ever does anything funny. Like rely far too heavily on the teleprompter, or give wildly inappropriate gifts to foreign heads of state, or make expensive and pointless burger runs to popular DC snack joints with a captive media in tow, or say "Um," with astonishing frequency, or...well, you get the idea.
In general, "SNL" mocked previous presidents' personal characteristics, such as Clinton's outsized appetites or George W. Bush's struggles with spoken English. With Obama -- who lacks the same kind of easily caricatured traits, Thompson says -- the show went after his record."In some ways," Thompson said, "he's vulnerable to more serious damage."
I think there are two main reasons why our nation's witizens haven't been all over the Obama joke potential: one, because they voted for the guy, and two, because they're afraid of being called "racist" for cracking any jokes at the president's expense. The first, of course, is partisan; the second is craven--because in the end it would be much more racist to avoid kidding Obama because of his race than to kid him because he is the president, and is thus a fit subject for our national late-night kidding pastime.