President Obama decided to appear on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, the better to fire up his youthful but enervated base. Almost immediately, Obama displayed a well-known characteristic of his—or rather, two—complaining and historical ignorance:
“We’ve gone through the two toughest years of any time since The Great Depression.”
Oh yeah, the combined recession/inflation of the Carter 70s and the Iran hostage crisis was a piece of cake. And I recall the Vietnam War and the late 60s—with demonstrations, assassinations, and the inner cities burning—as a veritable breeze, not to mention a couple of more recent years that included 9/11, the Afghan War, and the invasion of Iraq. Oh, and I hear tell that WWII wasn’t nearly as bad as the hype we’ve heard all these years. Blah blah blah; bunch of old folks carping.
Obama’s usual grandiose and ahistorical narcissism was on display again when he spoke of the HCR bill:
“I think most people would say this is the most significant piece of legislation in this country’s history.
Perhaps by “most people,” Obama means most people who surround him and know how to stroke his ego. Or perhaps he only means most people who listen to the Stewart show.
Stewart did manage to get in this funny bit:
Obama suggested that his administration did so much that “we have done things that some folks don’t even know about.”
The comment seemed to catch Stewart by surprise.
“What have you done that we don’t know about?” he asked. “Are you planning a surprise party for us, filled with jobs and health care?”
Stewart’s joke somewhat obscures how surpassingly strange Obama’s comment was. I’m getting tired of saying it, but it’s true: I’ve never heard this sort of thing from any previous president, left or right, good or bad, like him or not. It’s another expression of an attitude Obama displays fairly often: the idea that people are not paying attention to him and not appreciating him enough, whether through laziness or distraction or stupidity he doesn’t say.
It reminds me of one of his wife Michelle’s most shockingly arrogant pre-election utterances, offered before she started censoring herself more effectively:
Barack is one of the smartest people you will ever encounter who will deign to enter this messy thing called politics,” his wife said a few weeks ago, adding that Americans will get only one chance to elect him.
To have gone into the presidential race with such an attitude, and to now be faced with the ungratefulness of the not-nearly-as-smart-as-Obama American people—ouch, how that must rankle.
[NOTE: That "two toughest years since the Great Depression" quote was so out of line that I kept thinking that Obama had qualified it in some way. But then I saw the tape (it occurs towards the very beginning of the Stewart interview), and he did not:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Barack Obama Pt. 1|
Quite astounding, I think. But I'm not sure why I retain my capacity to be surprised by this man.]