President Bush used to tell jokes about his weaknesses, the most salient of these being his tragic struggle with grammar, itself quite possibly rooted in dyslexia. Many of President Obama’s jokes, his speechwriters should take note, were at the expense of his strengths—”I might lose my cool”—and were thus bordering on the narcissistic. (If I have a fault, and I’m the first to admit it, it’s probably this: I am too sweet and too patient and too tolerant of the mistakes of others.)
Any tendency to narcissism doubles the need for a follow-up speaker who can make the president wince, not smirk. This we did not get. And Limbaugh’s dependence, like Bush’s dyslexia, is actually a disability. Can you easily picture any jokes from the Sable Sapphist that would in any other way breach the protocols of the Americans With Disabilities Act? Any other person of whom she would dare say, “I hope his kidneys fail”? Any other context in which torture would be funny enough for her to yell, “He needs a water-boarding, that’s what he needs”? Reality and comedy check here: Would she even say this about Osama Bin Laden?
When comedians flatter the president, they become court jesters, and the country becomes a banana republic.