Gallows Humor

Conservative bloggers are blasting the president today for his laughter during a discussion of the economy in his "60 Minutes" interview with Steve Kroft, which aired last night, while a some liberals defend. It's hardly unusual for conservatives to blast Obama while liberal commentators support him, but today's criticisms accompany a growing perception--in the blogosphere and media at least--that the president is struggling as a communicator. Several bloggers and outlets made that claim last week, and complaints reached a crescendo with Obama's "Special Olympics" joke on Leno. So today's round of criticism seems to continue that trend.

Here are some excerpts:

Streiff, Redstate: "at a time when the world financial markets are reading utterances by the President and Secretary of the Treasury Geithner the way a fortune teller would read the entrails of a goat, Obama seems to think it is pretty funny that he has a job and a lot of people have lost theirs and that our financial system could be turned into a steaming heap of ordure by any unwise action."

Ed Morrissey, Hot Air: "It made Obama look unserious, although I actually think Obama is right and that someone with those responsibilities does need to keep a sense of humor.  It's probably a bad idea to demonstrate it by giggling through a prime-time interview while answering questions about the economy."

Little Green Footballs: "Here's a transcript from President Obama's appearance on 60 Minutes tonight, in which Obama kept breaking into laughter so much while discussing the total collapse of the US economic system..."

John Cole, Balloon Juice: "If you watched the 60 Minutes interview and you think the most important part of it was the 'punch drunk' portion, you are part of the problem."

Steve Benen, Political Animal: "But then I saw the interview and realized the Politico's piece [link here] didn't exactly capture the context.

For most of the interview, Obama is dead serious. Occasionally, he'd chuckle at some absurdity -- hardly an unusual reaction for, you know, humans -- but for the most part, the president was hardly jocular."