Conservatives see switch to 'hero worship'
By Christian Toto | Tuesday, May 5, 2009
That's what some comics - citing the scarcity of satire directed at President Obama and his administration - want to know.
Claiming that his peers are "panicky" about "being called a racist," stand-up legend Jackie Mason said too many once-fearless satirists are settling for "hero worship" of the new U.S. president.
The Great Presidential Comedy Drought of 2009 can't be chalked off to a lack of satirical fodder, said comic Jeffrey Jena, founder of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy blog. ("Looking at politics and life from the right side," proclaims its motto.)
"Letterman used to do a 'Bushism of the Week.' " Why hasn't he started one with Obama?" Mr. Jena said. "There's plenty of those moments, the 'Ohs, and 'Umms' or 'I don't speak Austrian.' "
"Late Show" host David Letterman was scathing in his mockery of President George W. Bush. But on his show recently, he scolded those who would mock the new president's reliance on the teleprompter for "political nitpicking," saying Mr. Obama is "at least out there trying" to cope with "impossible" political challenges.
"What really can you say wrong" about the determined new president, Mr. Letterman asked rhetorically while introducing a short film called "Teleprompter vs. No Teleprompter." The segment contrasted a clip of a fluent passage of rhetoric from a formal Obama address to Congress with one of a tongue-tied Mr. Bush trying to extemporize in a televised informal question-and-answer format.
Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show," another erstwhile scourge of presidential foibles during the Bush years, has morphed into a political loyalist, rising to the defense of Mr. Obama with angry rants against critics of the president such as CNBC's Jim Cramer and Internet news aggregator (and Washington Times columnist) Andrew Breitbart.
To some, like self-identified Christian comic Brad Stine, the kid-gloves treatment of Mr. Obama is blatant political cheerleading.
"Because their candidate was elected, they're hesitant to mock that thing which they approve of," Mr. Stine said
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