Too often in life when someone insults your intelligence or levels some other stinging verbal attack, the best responses present themselves hours, even days, too late to be useful. The French have a term for it: L'esprit de l'escalier (staircase wit).
One of the benefits of being president of the free world is you can deploy a team of speechwriters to help you think of the perfect comebacks, and whenever you're ready to dish your witty retorts, the national press will line up to broadcast your zingers.
That was precisely the situation Wednesday night, when President Obama, speaking at the annual dinner of the League of Conservation Voters, lit into GOP climate skeptics with a barrage of funny put-downs.
"It's pretty rare that you encounter people who say that the problem of carbon pollution is not a problem," Obama told an audience of several hundred gathered in Washington's Ronald Reagan building. "In most communities and workplaces, they may not know how big a problem it is, they may not know exactly how it works, they may doubt they can do something about it. Generally they don't just say, 'No I don't believe anything scientists say.' Except, where? Congress!"
"In Congress," he added, "folks will tell you climate change is hoax or a fad or a plot. A liberal plot."