In the wake of this weekend's annual White House Correspondents' Dinner (ably chronicled here by Mollie), President Obama is getting media props for his deft touch with humor behind the podium. I'm not sure what the big deal is; we know the president doesn't need a packed house to get off a zinger. After all, here he is, as reported in Jodi Kantor's book, The Obamas (h/t to Jim Geraghty at NRO):
The president had been taking questions for almost an hour. He had apologetically told the mostly liberal crowd that he had been forced to take a centrist point of view in his presidency because of divided government. (Never mind that Obama had told conservative Democrats in Congress that he was one of them, too: “I’m a Blue Dog at heart,” he had said in more than one meeting.)
Ah yes, our president: the centrist misunderstood by liberals, and the liberal misunderstood by centrists. The guy who cites Ronald Reagan to push for tax increases and channels his inner Teddy Roosevelt on the stump in Kansas. Who can fathom the mysteries of his post-partisan ideology, the man himself being a riddle wrapped inside an enigma wrapped inside a press release?
Well, I can. I took up this topic recently in my weekly column for the Center for Individual Freedom. In "Barack Obama, America's Most Radical Moderate," I wrote:
So who is this man now attempting to convince us that he’s a judicious centrist unmoored from ideology? Well, he’s the fellow whose first major legislative accomplishment was a $787 billion spending bill, the largest in American history. He’s the guy who said that under his preferred energy policies, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” He’s the man who racked up more federal debt in three years than George W. Bush did in eight. And he’s the only president in American history to ram through a major, bank-busting entitlement (ObamaCare) over widespread public opposition.
How about his thoughtful generosity towards those who disagree with him? In an interview on Univision, Obama encouraged Latino voters to head to the polls with the attitude that, “We’re gonna punish our enemies.” He compared Republican opponents of his alternative energy policies (which included the infamous $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra, the California solar power firm that eventually went bankrupt) to “founding members of the Flat Earth Society.” And he accused the GOP of practicing “thinly veiled Social Darwinism” for proposing a budget that actually had the temerity to propose taming the federal government’s spendthrift fiscal habits.
Sorry, but there's nothing here to unify those who occupy the country's ideological poles. Except perhaps for this: that Barack Obama sure can tell a joke.