In the middle of decrying the misdeeds of the financial firm AIG, President Obama cracked a joke. “Excuse me,” he said Monday, after coughing into the microphone. “I am choked up with anger here.” There were laughs all around the gilded East Room of the White House, because he didn’t sound angry at all.
By MICHAEL SCHERER / WASHINGTON
The laughter, of course, did not fit the occasion, the latest in a seemingly endless stream of public events at which Washington’s political leaders work themselves into high dudgeon over the sins of financial wizards who, we are told over and over again, have messed up the world for everyone else. But then, you can only act outraged about the same thing so many times before it all starts to sound stale. These spectacles, the public rhetorical floggings, have become teleplays, as predictable as a daytime soap opera, as comforting as a wet rock.