Past performance is no guarantee of future results:
Obama’s finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don’t even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. The other great leaders I’ve heard guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence.
He warmed up with some jokes about the first lady’s appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show. “Michelle outdoes me in pushups as well,” he said, after saying that she’s taken some criticism on her technique “because she doesn’t go all the way down” – a line that he let hang, naughtily, provoking laughter from the crowd [attending Obama’s gay and lesbian fundraiser at L.A.’s Beverly Wilshire tonight].
— “Did President Obama Just Make A Blowjob Joke?” Buzzfeed.com, late today.
Update: Jimmie Bise adds, “So which is it: inartful remark or crass sexual joke about his wife? Either way, it reflect poorly on the man who holds the highest office in the land. I suppose we should be thankful they didn’t have lunch at the YMCA before the speech. It could have been worse.”
Hey, it’s fun to stay at the YMCA — or at least, so I hear.