Everybody’s Got to Laugh Sometime

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  • One day after President Barack Obama appeared on the comedy show “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” conservatives blasted Obama, claiming that he demeaned the White House by gracing the stage with his presence.

    “I don’t know what Obama is gonna do,” said right-wing commentator Ann Coulter. “Is he gonna keep going on silly late night TV shows?”

    Fox News’ Gretchen Carlson – not known for her profound political insights — also felt a sudden compulsion to criticize the president.

    “Right now, a bunch of former presidents are, like, ‘Huh? That’s what we do now when we’re president of the United States?'” Carlson asked.

    “I personally do not agree with the highest office of the land, the most important figure in the world going on these comedy shows,” she said. “I think it lowers the status of the office.”

    Nonsense.

    Obama appeared with Jimmy Fallon to urge Congress not to double college student loans while also rallying young voters around his candidacy for re-election in November.

    If the president is trying to appeal to a younger demographic, it makes sense for Obama to take use Fallon’s show as a platform for his message – especially with his hilarious “slow-jam” music sketch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAFQIciWsF4

    It doesn’t shame the office of the presidency to bring some occasional levity to the campaign season. What’s wrong with a few laughs from time to time? Why shouldn’t Obama be allowed to loosen up?

    Truth be told, Obama can’t catch a break: Some critics complain that he’s too professorial, too aloof and too rigid; while others, like the right-wing fringe, chastise him for showing his comic side.

    Obama has a good sense of humor. True, he’s no Chris Rock, but who would elect a comedian for president? I’m glad Obama has decided to show a lighter side of his personality. It makes him more human, and perhaps more appealing to some voters.

    If the wildly enthusiastic response from Fallon’s audience is any indication of how much Obama is revered, then his appearance on the late-night talk show was a huge success.

    Still, some conservatives are taking their criticism of Obama’s comedic offerings way too seriously. One right-wing blogger has absurdly suggested that Obama’s appearance on Fallon’s show somehow violated campaign finance laws because the president used “a broadcast station” to push a campaign agenda.

    It’s a notion that will fall on deaf ears, but it’s also a classic example of how far Republicans will go to nitpick everything Obama.

    The president is one of the most politically savvy politicians in history. He understands how to market himself to an electorate and, even with a few missteps, he generally knows what works.

    This is a new day for elected leaders: in a fast-paced, 24-hour news cycle, politicians are constantly reinventing themselves and working on ways to remain relevant and likable to voters of all ages, racial and ethnic backgrounds and genders.

    Obama gets it – as did former president Bill Clinton who was widely praised after he played the saxophone during an appearance on the Arsenio Hall Show in 1992 when Clinton was running for president. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTkUeb6zQFA

    Clinton locked up the youth vote, in part, because he played the heck out of that sax on national television and became the first presidential candidate to perform in a musical segment on a late-night talk show.

    Just as a reminder, Bill Clinton was elected to the White House in 1992 after what was considered an unconventional campaign strategy. Perhaps Obama is hoping that history will repeat itself.

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