A rare presidential foray into “cringe humor.” If it were anyone else I’d assume this was done under duress, knowing that young adults aren’t signing up on the exchanges at the rate needed for a healthy risk pool. He’s got just three weeks to grab their attention and get them interested before the enrollment deadline passes (unless it’s extended by kingly proclamation, of course). If mugging with Galifianakis for five minutes in a sure-to-be-viral vid boosts the number of twentysomethings who surf over to Healthcare.gov, oh well.
You can tell Obamacare is working great because plugging it on Funny or Die doesn't smack of desperation at all
— John Tabin (@johntabin) March 11, 2014
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Still, I doubt anyone had to twist his arm. Spock-ish though he is, it must pain him that the cultural electricity of Hopenchange circa 2008 has shorted out as much as it has. No one respects him abroad anymore and his biggest moves domestically lately are sporadic ad hoc “tweaks” to undo O-Care rules that he himself signed into law. It’s only natural that a man going through hard times would want to recapture the excitement of youth. Here’s one way to bring a little currency back.
But there appears to be no place that Mr. Obama is unwilling to go in his search for young people, which the image makers of his predecessors have noticed.
“We have to worry about the dignity of the presidency,” said Mike McCurry, who served as Mr. Clinton’s press secretary in the 1990s. “There’s a limit to how much you can do.” Still, he said, “the shifts in the popular culture and the way people are entertained and get information almost mandate new strategies.”
Nicolle Wallace, who was Mr. Bush’s communications director, said she suspects there are some lines that even Mr. Pfeiffer and his current team will not cross.
“You can’t put a president on ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians,’” she said, perhaps hopefully.
We’ll see about that.
Galifianakis is a natural choice for this role, by the way. He and the rest of the “Hangover” gang cut an impromptu campaign ad for Obama in 2012. Galifianakis himself has said of the left’s Emmanuel Goldstein, the Koch brothers, that “It’s not freedom what they are doing,” whatever that means. Sonny Bunch is disappointed that comedy in the age of Obama seems to have moved from challenging the powerful and telling uncomfortable truths to acting as emcee during a presidential insurance seminar, but don’t worry. Things will be back to normal once a Republican’s back in the White House.
As for the clip itself, let’s put it this way: It’s funnier than any of “The Hangover” movies. Make of that what you will.
Update: There is a method to this madness:
Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Barack Obama from President Barack Obama
— T. McGuinness (NARA) (@Tara44) March 11, 2014