Editor's Note: This column was co-authored by Bob Morrison.
President Obama has made good use of his sense of humor. He has often used his wit to disarm his critics. He has, we admit, a sly sense of humor. And it serves him well. He loves to expose his critics to ridicule. He’s actually much more appealing—and politically more successful—when he deploys humor against his opponents.
He recently gained laughs at the expense of his embattled Attorney General. At the White House Correspondents Dinner, a must show event for Washington’s liberal elites, the president noted that he’d gotten in some trouble referring to a comely California lady as “America’s best-looking Attorney General.” “Who knew Eric Holder was so sensitive?” the president jabbed. He got a good laugh too.
Of course, at that time, few of the assembled journos realized that sensitive Eric may have been monitoring their own phone calls and email accounts. The joke may have turned on the jokers.
Our favorite presidential prod was when Mr. Obama spoke of his second-term blues. He poked fun at the passage of the years and the aging in his own presidential portrait. His hair is notably more gray than it was before, say, Obamacare was approved by the Supreme Court.
“I’m not “the strapping young Muslim socialist I used to be.” ” the president said, getting a huge laugh from the press. The very idea. Why, everyone knows that socialists and Muslims are mutually exclusive. Islam is a religion and Socialism is officially anti-religion.
Well, they’re right about that. Karl Marx called religion “the opiate of the masses.” He regarded it as an “epiphemenon.”
After the post-Reformation fragmentation of religion, where religion is no longer able to play the role even of a fake community of equals, the state fills this need by offering us the illusion of a community of citizens, all equal in the eyes of the law. But the state and religion will both be transcended when a genuine community of social and economic equals is created.
Lenin went even further. The original Bolshevik revolutionary said “any religious sentiment, however slight, is unutterably vile.” He went on to persecute the Orthodox churches in Russia, pulling down their great onion-domes and murdering their priests.
It would seem, therefore, that you can’t be both religious and a socialist. But that word failed to get to some of the leading Arab socialists of the last fifty years. The Middle East long hosted a list of local despots who claimed not only to be good Muslims, but also strapping young socialists.