In a moment the media missed or chose to ignore, Obama used classical reference to make a point.
Graphic from Obama's routine during the White House Correspondents' Dinner
By Liam Miller
May 12, 2016
I will deeply miss President Obama.
His will be remembered as one of the finest intellects ever to occupy the office.
He’s also hilarious; his performance at his final White House Correspondents' Dinner was funnier than the vast majority of stand-up routines I’ve seen. He got more laughs than Nightly Show host Larry Wilmore (who, to be fair, seemed more interested in making jokes that made everyone in the room feel awkward, or awkward about feeling amused.)
He roasted every guest he mentioned except Helen Mirren - perhaps he was hoping she’d plant one on him, as she did to Stephen Colbert earlier this year.
He was gracious, relaxed, entertaining, and entertained. He’s not above using a little classical reference to throw shade, however.
“Trudge up the Hill.” The graphic featured Clinton’s logo behind a large, round boulder on a steep incline.
That was Obama’s humorous take on Hillary Clinton’s campaign slogan - in contrast to Bernie Sanders’ catchy “Feel the Bern”, which the President repeated with seeming gusto.
He introduced Sanders as “the bright, new face of the Democratic Party”; and had done enough math to know that he should tell Sanders that he looked like “37,000 donations of $27 each.”
He compared Clinton’s attempt to reach young people to a confused, older relative confronted with Facebook - “Did you get my ‘poke’?” He got big laughs.
One thing Democrats agree on: Obama is truly funny.
He is also smart, clever, and extremely well-educated - well enough to know this:
The boulder and the hill refer to the myth of Sisyphus. An ancient Greek king, he was forced to spend eternity pushing a boulder up a hill, that always rolled back down to the bottom just as he reached the top.
Sisyphus was given this punishment for his “self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness.”
I don’t think anyone could seriously suppose Obama didn’t know it.
I think we also know what President Obama - who eight years ago was the object of the same kind of campaign Clinton now runs against Bernie Sanders - thinks of Clinton’s tactics.
We’ll miss you, Mr. President.