Jonah Goldberg
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Anyway, Johnny Carson repeated Carter's ass-whipping remark in his opening monologue, without any punch line, explaining that he simply wanted to aggravate the network censors. After all, you can't get in trouble for quoting the president of the United States accurately.

Much like the ass-whipping Jimmy Carter, Obama is in danger of becoming a figure of ridicule, which is particularly ominous for a presidency that runs almost entirely on high-octane rhetoric.

For instance, Obama recently told high school students in Kalamazoo, Mich., "Don't make excuses. Take responsibility not just for your successes; take responsibility where you fall short as well." As many immediately noted, this was odd advice from a man who would put the blame for the hitch in his golf swing on eight years of George W. Bush.

In that same interview with Lauer, the president said he hadn't bothered talking to Tony Hayward, the CEO of BP, because he knew Hayward would "say all the right things to me. I'm not interested in words. I'm interested in actions." This from the man who swore that words were magical and thought it was worth sitting down to talk with the president of Iran?

The Washington Examiner's Chris Stirewalt says the president is caught in a "hypocrisy trap." Obama dug a massive rhetorical hole for himself, and now anything he says amounts to digging deeper. Among his promises: He'd end partisan bickering, make the world swoon, and convince the oceans to halt their attacks on the land of George W. Bush. Instead, he's made Washington more partisan. The world did swoon for a minute but quickly moved to shrugging and laughing. And as for the receding oceans, well, they're filling with light-sweet crude -- just one more thing the president blames Bush for.

But there is good news. Any day now, after thorough interagency review, the Standing Committee for Posterior Selection will have given provisional approval for a working list of asses for POTUS to kick with an OSHA-approved shoe. Alas, final environmental-impact statements are pending. But once that hurdle is cleared, the president will focus like a laser on ass-kicking.

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Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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