After eight years of watching Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Michael Moore crack wise over the dunderheadedness of a Republican president, the arrival of a Democrat in the Oval Office means the Republican humorists get their turn.
But this campaign got off to a rocky, racist start. There was the Rush Limbaugh-approved Barack the Magic Negro, which had all the subtlety of a minstrel show. Our state of Florida made a few embarrassing contributions: A party official apologized in late October after circulating an e-mail that joked about Obama's assassination; and last month a Republican committeewoman from Hillsborough County e-mailed a joke that un-hilariously connected the Obama inauguration with the plight of black refugees from Hurricane Katrina.
Which brings us to our latest Republican effort at levity. David Kahane is the pseudonym of a Hollywood, Calif.-based writer who publishes a column in the G.O.P. house organ, National Review. Generally, Kahane spoon feeds his conservative readership its favorite Hollywood limousine liberal stereotypes. But when that gag gets stale, the Kahane character heads to South Broward for a visit with his father and uncle, a couple of oafish liberals.
The column begins:
I flew home to Florida for a visit this week and when I got to Lanskyland -- which is what we connoisseurs of organized crime call Hallandale -- I was amazed to find my father, the sainted "Che" Kahane, and my Uncle Joe both in tears in front of the television set. They were watching my president and yours, Barack Hussein Obama the Second, on a videotaped loop of his recent TV appearances on the Tonight Show, on 60 Minutes, and in the recent press conference. There he was, yukking it up with Jay Leno and Steve Kroft, flashing that Bobby Bonilla smile, and mesmerizing the media with his uncanny ability to read prepared remarks off the world's largest flat-screen TV. It really is amazing what a smile, a shoeshine, and a teleprompter can do when they're deployed properly in the East Room.
Ah, yes. The old "Hussein" line worked like a charm at those Sarah Palin rallies last fall -- and it's just as relevant today. Throw in a reference to an arrogant, black-looking athlete -- actually Bonilla is Puerto Rican. And then wrap it up with a crack about shoeshine. Good to see this writer isn't dwelling on Obama's race at a time when the guy's assigned the nearly impossible task of rescuing the country from the disasters of the Bush administration.
To his credit, Kahane admits to being one of Hollywood's struggling screenwriters, but the readers are encouraged to conclude it's because he's not willing to sell his soul by writing one of those Marxist propoganda fliks that Sean Penn forces upon us.
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One fault of Kahane's, however, is that he can't decide whether he's preaching in earnest about the sinister liberal agenda or preaching as the Colbert of the right -- which is to say, pretending to be a lefty, for satircal effect. In this passage, he assumes the latter.
For us modern progressives, everything Obama does and says and thinks is historic, even if it's just being the First Black President to conk his head while boarding Marine One, or mistaking a window for a door at the Oval Office, or running up trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, just for laughs.
The Hallandale characters, Che and Uncle Joe, rejoice in Obama's having turned America into "the world's largest socialist suicide cult." They celebrate his heroism along with that of murderous mobsters and communist dictators, while still remembering to thank the liberal media for doing its part in the Grand Conspiracy.
Basically, this Kahane fellow is giving away all the Democrats' most jealously guarded secrets. And the leak is coming from Hallandale. So pry yourself away from the Daily Kos, you America-hating liberals. Hop in your hybrids and let the manhunt begin!