Monday, February 16, 2015

Barack Obama, Meet King Canute


Over the past six years, Obama has left us with a slew of memorable moments. There was that occasion when he called together a group of Democrats and Republicans, and took the opportunity to tell John McCain to sit down and shut up because one of them had won a presidential election, and that someone wasn’t Sen. McCain.

Then there were the many times that Obama swore that we could all keep our doctors and our health insurance, hoping nobody would notice he had his fingers crossed.

Then there was the speech at the U.N. when Obama claimed that the Benghazi massacre was the direct result of a video nobody had seen or the debate with Mitt Romney when he denied that he had shut down oil production on federal land and got moderator Candy Crowley to back him up.

But perhaps the most telling of all his unforgettable moments took place on the White House basketball court at the annual egg roll in 2013, an Easter that coincided with April Fool’s Day and will live on in infamy. It was the day he missed 20 of the 22 shots he took.

If you recall, nobody was playing defense. There were no hands waving in his face. He took 22 shots, including lay-ups, and only got the ball through the hoop twice.

What bewildered everyone was that he never changed his approach. He didn’t alter his grip or the arc on the ball. He just kept throwing up clunkers.

The reason I mentioned Canute, the 11th century king of Denmark, England, Norway and parts of Sweden, is because his major claim to fame is that he once sat in a chair at the beach and commanded the tide to stop rolling in. Although there are those who believe he did it because he regarded himself as all-powerful. I don’t buy it. Nothing I’ve read about Canute suggests he was an idiot. Instead, I believe he did it because he wanted to remind his most ardent followers that he was merely a king; he was not God. And that is the difference between that king and our own.

When Obama continued missing shot after shot, it was because he believes he is God, and that eventually the planets would re-align themselves and his shots would all start swishing through the net without his having to make even the slightest adjustment.

There has been a furor in recent weeks swirling around vaccinations. Frankly, I am astonished and after suffering through six years of Obama, there is hardly anything that still has the ability to shock me. But I hadn’t counted on the ability of a moron like Jenny McCarthy to persuade thousands, if not millions, of people that vaccinations cause autism among children.

But I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that liberals who allow a former Vice President to pass himself off as a professional climatologist should readily accept a former Playboy centerfold posing as a medical authority.

I suppose we can only sit and wait for the announcement that, like Al Gore, Jenny has won a Nobel Prize, although in both their cases a more fitting award would have been the Chicken Little Prize for false alarms.

I realize that Joy Behar, who, like Bill Maher, indulges in false advertising by calling herself a comedian, has already announced that only stupid, religious, conservatives believe vaccinations are dangerous to our children’s health. However, those who actually did the research have concluded that, aside from the Amish, those who are the most reluctant to have their children vaccinated are those brie-noshing twits living in such left-wing enclaves as Marin County, West L.A. and Santa Monica.

The truth is that getting vaccinations makes sense, both for those getting them and for those who would otherwise be placed in danger. Grown-ups do have the option of living as hermits, limiting their contact with other living things to befriending squirrels and hugging trees. Otherwise, they have a social contract to abide by reasonable rules of health and hygiene. As John Donne pointed out, no man is an island, at least not unless he buys one and moves there.

A reader sent me a note that points out that there are 1,500 newspapers, 1,100 magazines, 9,000 radio stations, 1,500 TV stations and 2,400 publishers, in the U.S. and that the majority of them are owned by a half dozen corporations; namely GE, NewsCorp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS. Making it all even more claustrophobic, not to mention incestuous, is that most of the people running these outfits are married to members of the Obama administration.

Perhaps now you understand why I get so annoyed with the likes of Sheldon Adelson, Donald Trump and the Koch brothers, conservatives who seem to think it’s beneath them to sink some of their billions into buying up or starting up media outlets.

At least Adelson does own a newspaper. Unfortunately it’s in Israel.

If I had even half their money, I would start up a network in competition with Fox. Simply by promising conservative viewers that they would no longer be forced to put up with Bob Beckel, Juan Williams, Kirsten Powers, Bill O’Reilly, Geraldo Rivera and Alan Colmes, they’d draw off millions of Fox viewers.

And as a motto, I would offer “Honest and Conservative,” which would make for a welcome change from the banal “Fair and Balanced.”

Not only is the motto hackneyed, but it’s a lie. After all, you wouldn’t put a flyweight in the ring with Joe Louis. So how is it fair or balanced to put Juan Williams in the ring with Charles Krauthammer, Steve Hayes, George Will, Jonah Goldberg or Bret Baier? Fish being shot at in the proverbial barrel have a better chance of success than poor Juan.

In the movies of the 30s and 40s, we had the cartoony likes of Stepin Fetchit, Willie Best, Mantan Moreland and Butterfly McQueen, serving as comical counterpoint to Charlie Chan and all the smart white guys.

Today, Mr. Williams plays the same role, although he is better dressed and nobody rubs his head for good luck. On occasion, Juan even gets to roll his eyes like Willie Best when one of the other Fox panelists is voicing an intelligent opinion.

I suppose a fat paycheck is compensation enough for some people to serve themselves up for a daily dose of ridicule. But, speaking for myself, I long for the day when I can watch a news show without having to fast-forward, not only through a score of commercials, but through an endless parade of liberal lunkheads.

©2015 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? BurtPrelutsky@fastmail.com.