What happened to No-Drama Obama? As the blithe candidate of hope, he led a leakproof, gaffe-resistant campaign. Ever since the election, he's been exploding with scandal and gossip. Fantastic!
To think, there was a time when late-night comedians fretted that there wasn't anything funny about Barack Hussein Obama. (You couldn't even joke about his middle name without people accusing you of stirring up Islamophobia!)
That was before he became 44. The tightly controlled team which got him elected gave way to the usual cast of Washington goofballs, including some veterans of Clinton's leak-loving administration. Obama plays the straight man to these clowns, always frowning dourly and apologizing for their failings. Completists that we are, let's go through all the fun stories Obama has already given us:
Rod Blagojevich's corrupt attempts to pawn Obama's Senate seat didn't directly involve Obama. But they did remind everyone that Obama and his chief of staff, hunky ex-ballerina Rahm Emanuel, are Chicago politicians.
Bill Richardson withdrew from consideration for the job of Commerce Secretary after a financial scandal in New Mexico erupted. You'd think this would have come up somewhere between the start of the vetting process and Richardson shaving his postcampaign beard.
Speechwriter Jon Favreau groped a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton, raising questions of whether the boy wonder wordsmith was really just an eloquent frat boy.
Then it turned out he was dating Ali Campoverdi, a Maxim model turned White House assistant. Yes, he can act like the 27-year-old male he is.
The First Uterus became fodder for celebrity-magazine pages. Is Michelle Obama pregnant? Doesn't matter. The salient fact here is that America at last has a President and First Lady whom they like to imagine having sex.
Democrats returning from an eight-year exile gave an easy through line to revive all the scandals of the Clinton era. For example: Attorney General Eric Holder turned out to be the one who gave the nod for Bill Clinton's pardon of sleazy financier Marc Rich.
Tim Geithner didn't pay $34,000 in taxes, thanks to a tax loophole about which he delivered detailed testimony to Congress. They appointed him Treasury Secretary anyway. Why? Obama and the Senate both needed to move quickly to appoint someone whose job is to look like he's saving the economy.
Geithner was the last tax cheat Obama could afford, though. Would-be "performance czar" Nancy Killefer withdrew her name over a $946.69 tax lien for employment taxes she didn't pay for her household help.
It had already been revealed that Tom Daschle, who was up for Secretary of Health and Human Services had hadn't paid nearly $140,000 for a car and driver a lobbyist had lent him after he left office. Still, with Killefer gone, he lost his Cabinet job The real scandal here? Daschle and Killefer had tax problems endemic to the wealthy and powerful, reminding the public how out-of-touch Washington insiders run the show.
Save for an Esquire profile, this Barack-inspired office romance never made the national press. But the legal world has been atitter about Obama advisors Cass Sunstein and Samantha Power who romanced on the campaign trail. Not long before they became an item, Sunstein split with longtime girlfriend Martha Nussbaum. (Nussbaum and Sunstein were a power couple on campus at the University of Chicago Law School, where Obama also taught.) Power is now pregnant, gossip has it! Work-obsessed people falling in love on the job are always funny, precisely because they're pathetic and they know it.
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's Capitol Hill basement apartment (rented to him by Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro and pollster Stanley Greenberg turned out to be an illegal rental unit. Honestly, isn't breaking the law supposed to pay off more than that?
And we're aren't even three weeks into Obama's term! For the wagging tongues of Washington, Barack Obama really is That One — the president who brought hope and change to the once-moribund business of political comedy.
(Photos by AP and Getty Images; photo of Sunstein and Power by bettina_n)