Saturday, January 24, 2009

He's Funny, and He Listens, Too

It's nice to have people with a sense of humor in the White House. Not the passive-aggressive kind like calling Vladimir Putin "Pootie-Poot" or using "Turd Blossom" for political advisor Karl Rove, but something resembling wit.

An article in today's New York Times titled "Partisan, Playful and Profane, Obama Aide Tries to Hold It In" talks about the good-natured relationship between President Obama (I love typing that!) and Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff.

For instance, at a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers, the article says that Rahm Emanuel "began nervously cracking a knuckle. Mr. Obama then turned to complain to Mr. Emanuel about his noisy habit. At which point, Mr. Emanuel held the offending knuckle up to Mr. Obama’s left ear and — like an annoying little brother — snapped off a few special cracks."

Or at a 2005 roast for Mr. Emanuel, "who is a former ballet dancer, during which Mr. Obama credited him with being 'the first to adopt Machiavelli’s The Prince for dance' (a number that included 'a lot of kicks below the waist'). When Mr. Emanuel lost part of his middle finger while cutting meat at an Arby's as a teenager, Mr. Obama joked, the accident 'rendered him practically mute.'"

It's a different White House. Like when I heard on NPR this morning that, unlike his predecessor, who routinely left the Democrats out of the process, Obama invited the Republicans to share their opinions and concerns about the upcoming budget package. We can only hope the humor, and the willingness to listen, continue.


Mark Bitterman said...

That is hilarious!

Kathleen Bauer said...

And how long has it been since you've said that without it dripping with irony?