If you go by what some folks are saying about this week's Super Tuesday Jr. primary, Barack Obama might wish the writers were still on strike.
In an effort to
explain how they screwed up predictions . . . uh, I mean, contextualize Sen. Hillary Clinton's surprisingly strong showing in Texas and Ohio, even prestigious outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and The Baltimore Sun are intimating that Saturday Night Live's skits the past two weeks parodying the recent Democratic debates and Clinton's appearance on last week's show helped drive her victories. In the skits, questioners from both MSNBC and CNN are portrayed as pampering Sen. Barack Obama and attacking Clinton. Then, last Saturday, Clinton appeared on SNL with Amy Poehler, who does a brilliant Clinton impression -- check the part in the video, above, where she talks about how she'll annoy special interest groups into bending to her will.
It's all been funny. But has it helped Clinton?
Did journalists get tougher on Obama after feeling shamed by the satire of them going easy on the Illinois Senator? Did Clinton's self-deprecating appearance help primary voters warm up to her?
Part of me wants to say that the fact this is even a story is further evidence we are watching the shallowest political coverage in history.
But the part of me that treasures satire loves the fact that people are paying attention to this. Good satire provokes thought and even affects change. So, if Will Forte's portrayal of John King asking Obama if he needs a pillow and Clinton demonstrating an ability to laugh at herself made some voters give her a second look, cool. That said, I sure hope the electorate isn't out there choosing candidates soley based on Saturday Night Live skits.
The bigger question may be for the FCC -- not that we really want to provoke the FCC to meddle in anything else -- and whether all these late night talk and sketch comedy show appearances by candidates violate any fairness rules. You've gotta believe Obama would like to be on SNL again (alert reader Kevin Hall reminded me he appeared before the strike, in that great Halloween party skit) sometime between now and April 22. They might also rally for a better Obama impersonator than Fred Armisen.