(This post has been updated and clarified.)
When a citizen jokes about killing the president, he’s committing a felony. When the president jokes about killing a citizen, we’re supposed to pretend to be charmed by his puckish wit. Child-killer Barack Obama, who decanted a drone-killing joke at the expense of the Jonas Brothers a few years ago, performed a variation on that riff during a recent appearance on the absurdist on-line sketch program “Between Two Ferns.”
“I have to know – what is it like to be the last black president?” inquired alleged comedian Zack Galifianakis, playing the host of an achingly awkward public access program.
“Seriously? What’s it like for this to be the last time you ever talk to a president?” replied Obama, his face essaying an unconvincing tough-guy smirk as he recited the carefully scripted line. Sure, this could simply mean that Galifianakis would be deprived of the blessing of a royal audience as punishment for his impudence. A more sinister construction — one justified by Obama’s official behavior — would make this punchline an oblique threat to “disappear” the offending host. It’s worth recalling that Obama has the power to kill people at whim and routinely does so.
This installment of “Between Two Ferns” was released on the same day that a West Virginia man named Robert Dale Tasker was charged with making threats against the life of Barack Obama and his family – threats that he could not possibly carry out, because his current residence is the Tygart Valley Regional Jail. For making an empty threat against the life of another human being – which is precisely what Obama has done at least twice, albeit for “comic” purposes — Tasker faces the prospect of fifteen years in prison.
Today (March 11), an Arizona resident Nicholas Savino pleaded guilty to a threatening the life of Mr. Obama. The branch of the Regime that calls itself the “Justice” Department concedes that there is no evidence that Savino was planning to carry out that threat, which was brought to their attention by geographically displaced East German resident living in Arizona who saw an e-mail from Savino and contacted the secret police.
News accounts make ominous mention of the fact that Savino had an “assault rifle” and “11,000 rounds of ammunition in his home” – inviting the public to believe that he somehow posed a plausible danger to a ruler who is ringed by armed bodyguards and accompanied by a military aide who carries the device that can be used to unleash apocalyptic nuclear destruction. Savino now confronts a potential five-year prison sentence, but because of what his captors call “serious mental health issues” will most likely be sent to the psihuska – something that may become quite commonplace for dissidents under Obamacare.
Flogging “enrollment” in Obamacare was the purpose of the Child Killer-in-Chief’s appearance on “Between Two Ferns.” White House propagandist Dan Pfeiffer said that this was “an extension of the code we have been trying to crack for seven years now.” This is a significant admission of failure on the part of the administration: The online sketch comedy show’s audience skews toward Obama’s chief constituency, and apparently the White House isn’t being successful even when it preaches to the converted.
Obama’s conservative critics will probably complain that this gesture undermines what we are supposed to regard as the “majesty” of the office. They will quite likely contrast Obama’s effete comic jousting with a third-tier comic actor with the stage-managed “alpha-male” antics of Russian President Vladimir Putin, an authoritarian ruler who is both their enemy du jour and the model of a Dear Leader they would serve. Matters of personal style aside, Obama is the more prolific killer of the two rulers, and Putin clearly doesn’t consider murder to be the subject of mirth.
Obama’s “comedic” threat offered an opening a genuinely witty person would have exploited. If Galifianakis had been an heir to George Carlin – an insightful man who used comedy to dissect official lies – rather than a court jester for the Regime, he would have asked Obama if the family of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki — a 16-year-old US citizen murdered by a drone strike ordered by Obama — would find his performance amusing, not that they would have the opportunity to tell him in person.
*The original version of this post misrepresented Obama’s statement by quoting him as saying “What’s it like for this to be the last time you ever talk to a person?” My thanks to several LRC readers who corrected my error.11:10 am on March 11, 2014 Email William Norman Grigg