In February 1967 after hearing CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite’s editorial on why we had to get out of Vietnam, President Lyndon Johnson was supposed to have said, “That’s it. If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.”
Fast forward 43 years later. While there is no TV news anchorman with the weight of a Cronkite (unless you count Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” where a lot of people do get their “news.”)
Nowadays it’s the power of comics, like Stewart and David Letterman (Leno doesn’t count ‘cos he puckers up to whoever has the hot hand at the moment) who you don’t want on your bad side.
Letterman, who was giving President Obama the benefit of the doubt for a long time (he’d start out with what appeared to be a joke with Obama as the punchline, but would suddenly turn the joke on its ear and make it about Bill Clinton or George W. Bush) has appeared to have found the president’s weak spot. And it’s his inability to act swiftly during a crisis —- the General McChrystal debacle notwithstanding. Although Letterman did find a punchline about the president and the general by saying McChrystal’s blabbering to Rolling Stone was just another hole Obama couldn’t plug.
A sign of a good comedian (and his writers) is someone who can find humor in a president who is too methodical.
Comics have been waiting a long time to finally put a reoccuring punchline to Obama, and they may have finally found one. (At least Letterman has. Another example of his Obama jokes concerned that marathon tennis match at Wimbledon that lasted 11 hours over three days: “Just another thing Obama couldn’t stop.”)
So far it hasn’t been a good year for Obama, but a better one for comics — and that’s always good.
Obama is at his lowest point with his approval rating as president, so here are a few dramatic moves he could make to turn that ol’ negative into a positive:
1. Join the U.S. soccer team and score the winning goal against Ghana on Saturday.
2. Make a cameo appearance shirtless in the new “Twilight” movie as the character “Barackula.”
3. Breaking news: Biden is out —- new Vice President, Betty White!
4. Lead the G20 Summit leaders in a global moonwalk tribute to Michael Jackson.
5. Agree to more debates with John McCain to remind people who the alternative would’ve been.
6. Plug Glenn Beck’s pie hole.
7. Send National Guard into Yankee Stadium when Lady Gaga invades Yankee clubhouse.
8. Dump Kagan, nominate Judge Judy to the Supreme Court.
9. Create new Cabinet post, Secretary of Wonderfulness, name Oprah to it.
10. Five words: “OK, Hillary, it’s all yours.”