Published July 30, 2010
He knows Lindsay Lohan’s a jailbird.
He’s chagrined at Mel Gibson’s anger mismanagement.
Appearing on “The View,” the pop-savvy president drew an uncharacteristic blank at the mention of the overtanned dimwit from MTV’s “Jersey Shore”: “I’ve got to admit, I don’t know who Snooki is. I'm sorry.”
Are health care, immigration and Afghanistan really so all-encompassing?
What possible excuse could Obama have?
That he’s been busy?
It’s tempting to say this kind of banter is somehow beneath a sitting president of the United States. In fact, Ed Rendell, Pat Buchanan and a few other humorless commentators scolded the president this week for accepting the invitation from Barbara and the girls. The stick-in-the-muds — Buchanan especially — have a notion of presidential decorum stuck in the sands of four decades ago when Richard Nixon was strolling the beach in a dark wool suit.
Sorry, finger-waggers, that ship sailed long ago.
There’s a sharply sloping cultural line from Nixon’s stodgy beach stroll to Bill Clinton on MTV being asked about his preference in underwear: “Boxers or briefs?”
“Usually briefs,” said America’s second-most pop-culture-savvy president.
After that, what’s a little gentle ribbing from a Gen-Y airhead like Elisabeth Hasselbeck?
If truth be told, even Nixon wasn’t all that Nixonian in his choice of television venues. He made one of his most memorable TV appearances ever on the “Laugh-In” variety show, deadpanning,
“Sock it to me!”
As long as we’ve had presidents, we’ve also had spoilsports complaining that the then-current office-holder was somehow degrading the standards of presidents past.
If cable news had been around back then, some host would have asked John Adams: “What were you doing on that drab gray horse? President Washington had a shiny white one.”
Amid the lowbrow chitchat, Obama did manage to praise the “resiliency” of the American people, decry the “phony controversy” over a black federal employee briefly fired and express disappointment with the BlackBerry he fought so hard to keep.
“Nobody wants to send me the real juicy stuff,” he said.
Like who Snooki is.
Ellis Henican is a columnist for Newsday and amNewYork and a Fox News contributor.
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