Obama’s Partisan Self-Deprecation

by Jonah Goldberg

I don’t begrudge Obama taking partisan shots at his critics. He’s a politician. That’s what they do. But I am vexed and befuddled by the longstanding tendency of some in the press corps to interpret such shots as self-deprecating. Here’s the latest in a long line of examples, from Politico’s write-up of last night’s White House Correspondent’s Dinner:

But most of all, the president joked about the safest subject possible: himself.

He laughed at accusations that he was a Muslim and born in Kenya and seemed confident enough to poke fun at his solidifying presidential legacy.

“Michele Bachmann actually predicted that I would bring about the biblical end of days,” the president said.

“Now, that’s a legacy. That’s big. I mean, Lincoln, Washington, they didn’t do that.”


Obama is not the punchline here, he’s the set up. The joke is on Bachmann. Fair enough, but please don’t suggest Obama’s humbly mocking himself.