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Obama Taking Heat For Jonas Brothers/Predator Drone Joke

by @ 9:45 am on May 4, 2010. Filed under Barack Obama, Celebrities, Politicos & Pundits, Politics

President Obama is apparently taking some heat for a joke he told about the Jonas Brothers at Saturday’s White House Correspondent’s Dinner:

A famous British actor once observed that “dying is easy, comedy is hard.”

A corollary might be that comedy can be especially hard when it comes from commanders-in-chief joking about the deaths they’re responsible for at times of war.

At the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Saturday night, President Obama noted that in the audience were the Jonas brothers.

“Sasha and Malia are huge fans,” he said, “but boys, don’t get any ideas. Two words for you: predator drones. You will never see it coming.”

The audience laughed approvingly but in the following days the joke has been met with a rising chorus of criticism — mainly from the Left.

After all, unmanned predator drone strikes have killed innocent civilians in Pakistan.

How many civilians? Unclear. Since the CIA’s predator drone program is top secret, little is known about it.

But writing in Foreign Policy, Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann have estimated that their data shows that from 2008 until December 2009, drone strikes have killed between 384 and 578 individuals, with most of them militants but between 35 and 40 percent of them innocent civilians. Senior administration officials contend that the number of civilian casualties is far fewer than that.

As the New Yorker reported last year, “the embrace of the Predator program has occurred with remarkably little public discussion, given that it represents a radically new and geographically unbounded use of state-sanctioned lethal force. And, because of the C.I.A. program’s secrecy, there is no visible system of accountability in place, despite the fact that the agency has killed many civilians inside a politically fragile, nuclear-armed country with which the U.S. is not at war.”

So given all that, should President Obama have made a joke about this program?

“Let’s be honest, fellow progressives,” the Philadelphia Daily News’ Will Bunch tweeted, “we’d be all over Bush if he made the same ‘predator drone’ joke Obama told last night.”

Similar sentiments were expressed by writers at Salon and The American Prospect and, in fact, President Bush did receive some criticism for his WMD sketch at the 2004 dinner.

So is this justified outrage, or just a case of people being hyper-sensitive ? I

It’s obvious that Obama was using the presence of the tween-heartthrob boy band to make a joke about being the over-protective father. Personally, I thought it was funny.

Apparently, the Jonas Brothers felt otherwise:

Obama’s writers may have thought their quip about the Jonas Brothers during the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner was a nod to the boy band and their star power, but the brothers saw it as a jab.

Nick and Joe Jonas were spotted sulking in the corner at the Bloomberg/Vanity Fair after-party when Yeas & Nays asked what they thought of the joke.

“We’re not that old,” Nick Jonas told Yeas.

“Seriously, we’re not pedophiles,” Joe jumped in.


The Jonas crew was huffing over a joke the president made during his speech at the dinner.

“The Jonas Brothers are here … Sasha and Malia are huge fans,” the president started. “But, boys, don’t get any ideas, I have two words for you — predator drones,” he said.

The Jonas Brothers range in age from 17 to 22. Malia and Sasha are 12 and 9 respectively.

I still laughed at the joke.

18 Responses to “Obama Taking Heat For Jonas Brothers/Predator Drone Joke”

  1. Dan Collins says:

    They screwed them in the dugout during the 7th inning stretch. Ha ha ha.

  2. James Young says:

    There isn’t a father of a daughter who didn’t sympathize with the sentiments. And laugh at the joke.

    And no, I don’t think the Jonas Brothers are pedophiles. And I don’t think President Barry does, either.

    Perhaps we are witnessing the death of humor in America.

  3. Yea I a got to agree.

    And, honestly, who really cares what the Jonas Brothers think

  4. Joe Callan says:

    We’re a pretty incredible society.

    It’s all fine and well for Obama to sign unconstitutional bills into law and fall into the same ideological traps as his predecessor, but it’s time to take to arms when he makes light about the exact same things the public refuses to hold his administration responsible for?

    I was laughing for most of the address, actually. The Massa/Rahm Emanuel joke was priceless.

    I kept saying to myself: “I can’t wait until this man’s not writing laws anymore so that I can go back to feeling a respectful indifference about him.”

  5. David says:

    I’m of two minds of it. I can agree with the sentiment being the father of two girls. But I think it was below the office of the Presidency to make a joke like that.

    He should have hired better writers.

  6. tfr says:

    > the embrace of the Predator program has occurred with remarkably little public discussion, given that it represents a radically new and geographically unbounded use of state-sanctioned lethal force.

    Yup. These things creep me out big time. It’s only a matter of time before cops get a hold of them – they already have the unarmed ones. Given that President Peace Prize has already authorized the killing, without due process, of one US citizen, I wonder what it would take to authorize the use of a Predator on US civilians?

  7. Darren says:

    Seriously, plenty of real arguments against where he’s taking this country. This one is just silly. I too can not wait for the day I no longer have to worry about this guy.

    Indecently his use of drones is one of the only things he’s done in office that doesn’t really bother me. You don’t get due process in war, its war. Better than another one my buddies coming home with a missing limb.

    I honestly think this guy wouldn’t be using drones unless he was out of better options. Not exactly the most aggressive president as far as national security. Says allot for how difficult it is over there.

    It is a funny joke.

  8. Marvin says:

    It seems that Obama can’t do anything without being criticized. I’m getting a bit tired of it. Just let the man do his job. He’s doing extremely well.

  9. Marvin says:

    Also I invited all Obama haters to read this:

    Based on the _actual facts_ Obama is doing brilliantly as President. Don’t the facts matter anymore? You can’t just pretend that he’s doing poorly and have that be the truth. He’s doing absolutely amazing as President. He will go down in history as one of the greatest Presidents of all time.

  10. Darren says:

    The greatest president of all time? Clearly we don’t even live on the same planet. You may be sick of the haters but I’m over the fanboys.

    I read it. A few of those things I’d agree with you. Your right I didn’t get mad, I was completely and utterly asleep at the wheel. I can only ask for forgiveness on that. I should be thankful that progressives have taken it to such a high level I was forced out of my slumber.

    Although the article did remind me of one other thing he’s done that I like. Specifically being able to use a concealed carry in national parks.

  11. tfr says:

    Ok, I read it too. And it’s wrong, I did get mad at most of those things Bush/Cheney did. I still think Obama is way out of his league. Yah, congrats on healthcare. Massachusetts implemented it a few years ago, and it’s going badly there. They had to raise their sales tax from 5% to 6.5% to pay for it, and even that isn’t enough. If it weren’t for Federal funding, Mass. would be bankrupt. No reason to believe it will go any better at a national level. Did Obama, Pelosi & friends consider this in ramming it through? Still think the deficits will come down? Who will fund Uncle Sam? The greatest president of all time had better have an answer.

  12. Marvin says:

    Conservatives: the US lags far behind all Western European countries in every area of importance as far as life quality for everyday citizens. Why? Because they are socialist democracies. Socialism is good.

  13. Marvin says:

    Darren – and to be clear – I said “one of the..” not “the” .. but I do think he can rank up there with FDR for how he’s been able to turn this country around from the brink of destruction (thanks to George W) … that is seriously impressive. Obama is doing an absolutely fantastic job. That’s what’s so incredible about all of the conservative whiners… Imagine if Obama was actually doing a bad job? I don’t think it even matters to you guys. You don’t live in reality.

  14. Darren says:

    Marvin, I give you huge credit. This is root of our differences out in the open.

    Socialism is good.

    For the same reason I think FDR was one of the worst presidents I feel the same about Obama. I don’t think socialism is good. I think socialism and liberty are oil and water. We could go back and forth on that all day. You succinctly summed up the real conversation. I’d just assume have it out in the open.

  15. tfr says:

    FDR didn’t turn anything around, he made a bad situation worse. The New Deal was what dragged a deep recession over the brink into a drawn-out depression. It is likely Obama did the same, however we won’t know the full answer for many years. Bernanke and Co. might be able to blow another bubble in the economy before the next big collapse.

  16. Vast Variety says:

    I thought the joke was hilarious and I would be categorized as a lefty.

  17. Scot says:

    The contempt for life is disgusting, I know it’s supposed to be a joke, but think about Ed Geins making jokes about killing people. It’s not funny. I doubt the Pakistanis are laughing.

    And fuck the Jonas Brothers as well.

  18. Tom Burns says:

    The liberals are out in large numbers over this, it seems.

    Jonas Bros. = a phenomenon seen as “mainstream.”

    And no one who is interested in keeping the hearts of the mainstream is going to waste a minute in portraying themselves as “with” the mainstream.

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