Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Not Laughing With You

Here's some news: "President" Trump will be the first commander in chief to skip the annual White House Correspondents Dinner in thirty-six years. If you're not great with dates and history, let me refresh: The last president who missed attending this function was Ronald Reagan. Ronnie had a pretty good excuse, however: He was recovering after being shot in the chest by John Hinckley Jr. And still Mister Reagan managed to call in from Camp David to participate, It was a pretty funny bit. Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon also declined the invitation. Tricky Dick and Dumpy Trump have something in common. They both have named the press as their enemy. As for President Carter, I believe both times he missed the dinner he was bailing his brother  Billy out of jail. Rim shot!
And so we have this new world in which our "President" has no discernible sense of humor. Couple this for his disdain for a Free Press, and you have the makings of a truly anarchistic experience. When certain members of the press corps are barred from attending informal briefings, it leaves them with little recourse other than  to make things up. Reports began to surface about "President" Trump having elective surgery to have his ulnar nerve removed completely. Doctors insist that he can continue to function normally with his foot stuck squarely in his mouth for some time.
All of this comedy aside, it should now be noted for historical purposes that George W. Bush did not miss a White House Correspondents Dinner in his eight year term. This includes the 2006 edition when Stephen Colbert stood at the podium, and arm's length away from W as he mocked him mercilessly for twenty-four minutes. Including this bon mot: "But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works. The President makes decisions. He's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration? You know, fiction!"
That's the way it was, way back when. There were some hurt feelings and some confused looks, but the show went on. As it will this week. With or without the brunt of most of the jokes, the show will go on. There won't be any points made for being a good sport, even Nixon got those for saying "Sock it to me" on Laugh-In. Gerald Ford got it. He sent his press secretary, Ron Nessen, to host an episode of Saturday Night Live.  These days, we have Alec Baldwin and Melissa McCarthy to take over for them, and it's a hoot.
If laughter is truly the best medicine, maybe there is some way we can get these chuckleheads to hold still long  enough to force feed it to them. Wouldn't that be funny?

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