I think that, as a vehicle for satirical cartoons (think back to the "View of the World from 9th Avenue"), The New Yorker was perfectly within rights to print the cover. Regardless of whether the satirical attitude comes across to everyone who views the image, we cannot confine ourselves to those ideas only that will play in Peoria. I think, too, that there are similarities between the reaction to this image and to those twelve cartoons published in Jyllands-Posten. Granted, in that controversy the dialogue was never exactly on the same footing; free speech coming up against the religious ban on depicting the prophet in any image. However, I think there is a parallel in our negative reaction to any image or representation of Obama that is not, for lack of a better word, reverent. I am a proud Obama supporter, but I do not think we can elevate him to the status of a demigod. As Jon Stewart said, we need to be able to laugh at him or, in this case, ridiculous portrayals of him.
These are honest questions, and I am really just curious as to your opinions and reactions. I think the role of satire in society is an important question to consider; and, though we may not come to a definitive answer, we can consider it as rational human beings.