How about: You know, I heard Obama was the 20th hijacker but missed his flight because Larry Sinclair just "couldn't seem to finish."
What? Too much? You know you're laughing in your head.
Let me tell you something I've observed in comedy. When a comedian follows a harsh joke with a comment about going too far, it is normally because it's being delivered into an awkward quiet, marked by scattered nervous laughs. You know, the kind of quiet that happens when you make a joke about Obama. The kind of quiet that says "can he ... do they ... is that allowed?!"
It is also true that normally, when a comedian follows a joke with such a comment, it's because the comedian expected or intended that awkward silence. And when Wanda Sykes, this weekend, joked that she thinks "Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker but he was just so strung out on Oxycontin he missed his flight," she obviously expected that discomfort. But as anyone who saw the video knows, the audience didn't deliver.
Sure there was some groaning, but there was raucous laughter as well. And what do you expect? The courtiers and courtesans know when to laugh and when not to by viewing their king's reaction. And the king was indeed amused. Wanda Sykes did what a million comedians before her have done: she made a joke that was intended to be "too far" so she could follow up with the "you're laughing in your head" comment. It's a bit. It seems, though, Obama has no "too far" for Limbaugh nor even, it seems, joking about 9-11.
In fact "there is no too far" should have been the theme of the evening. How many celebrities and secondary balls and galas is too far? When you have a red carpet to make the Oscars blush and a constellation of after-parties and "galas" that would put Marie Antoinette to shame, is that too far?
How about ego? If you take what is traditionally a roast of the President and pals, and instead turn it into a roast of the prior President and pals, is that too far? When you not only presume to be above a roasting, but cast your haughty gaze about your sea of adoring glitterati and expect them to agree; When sycophantic comedians use their roast time to lavish you with praise while attacking your favorite bad guys like your own personal attack dog, is that too far?
What about the media? Is the gushing coverage of the President's bash at last a reason to question their objectivity? That they gloss over "Limbaugh is a terrorist" jokes that would have seen someone stoned to death had they been about a democrat; that they report the event like Teen Beat fans given backstage passes to the Jonas Brothers ... is that not too far?
But of course, none of these will be considered too far. For the left, in this game of political struggle, the embrace of Machiavelli is total. Or let us say Alinksy. And there is no outcry, no pushback (yet) in the public at large.
Janeane Garofalo and Keith Olbermann conjecture that conservatives are suffering brain disfunction and there is nary a peep. But Michael Savage titled a book "Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder" and is banned from Britain, to the cheers of the American left.
They call Tea Party protesters racists by rote. The Huffington Post paints the Tea Partiers as scary and dangerous despite their long silence over the left's destructive protests. Will the hypocrisy be noted on a Sunday morning talk show? Is there any assault too far? No.
The President and all the king's men have set this new tone quite effectively. It is common and unexciting to sound the death knell of conservatives and Republicans. There is no shame in rejoicing and shouting good riddance to political diversity or the two party system. Far from it, there are galas and celebrity hugging to be had in such triumphalism, for it's the President's stock in trade. From bashing Rush via the bully pulpit to pretending the Tea Party protesters don't even exist; from "I Won" to grinning regally when kept comedians obsequiously do his bidding. This is his new tone.
And it's a new tone that isn't that new. It is the roaring left, seeking whom they may devour. It is who they have been for some time now, and he is one of them. The One of them. Perhaps not always in practice or policy, but in spirit and in tone.
Like everything the President does, this weekend's dinner was focused on three things. 1. Extreme partisan rancor. 2. Hollywood glitz. 3. Glory to The One. These are the items exemplary of this administration. Like on spending, porkulus and expansion of government, like with ego and partisan hate, like in every non-gift-giving activity Obama undertakes, excess is the rule. The sum of his strategy is what will no doubt be the theme of his legacy: Too Far.