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Bobby Kelly

A Letter to the President

Well, President Obama, you are a dozen days past the halfway point in your first term as President. The halfway point is always a telling one, especially during a steep task. If you were, say, an elementary skier going down a black diamond, the halfway point is where one wipes the tears from one’s eyes, convince oneself that the wetness in the pants is nary but snow and shakily braces oneself for further descent.When imbibing, the halfway point is marked by a burp, followed by a string of non-sequiturs that one will surely regret come sunrise. For a President, the mid-term is a festival that begins in October with the electorate selecting representatives that ride into office either on the heels of your successes, or by being the heels walking over your failures.It continues with the pardoning of an overweight, flightless bird that would make an enticing dinner, but lacks the wherewithal to thank you for your benevolence. The happy season ends with addressing a Congress that is not quite as receptive and curious as they were the first time around. All the while, you strive to avoid pictures of yourself or looking at the mirror in general, so as to avoid the realization that you, in step with all the predecessors to your highly esteemed office, have aged eleven years over the past two.Think that part is crazy? You have codes that can destroy the world. I think that’s crazier than your rapid wrinkling and graying. In short, I’m sure the last few months have been a gas.However, the end of the halfway season is also the unofficial end of the period of expectation tempering. As such, I urge you for your own sake to avoid turning your television to any cable news channel.Yes, Mr. President, all and any.… Read More

Republican candidates’ misplaced priorities

The word stagnation, in its various applications, has gained a fair amount of currency during the last three years, and rightly so.The manufacturing base, or what remains of it, has “stagnated.” Job growth is “stagnant.” In broad discussions about the economy, whatever has not already reached the point of “stagnation” is thought to be rapidly “stagnating.” The word does fit. Stagnant is literally used to reference a sitting body of water. Water, when it sits, grows bacteria. It becomes putrid, and is rendered unusable.If you have whiled away any recent evenings watching the Republican Presidential Debates, you would have heard “Obamacare” (in some cases, “Obamneycare”) about as frequently as “social security,” “failure,” “I have a huge family,” “my state created jobs,” “your state did not create jobs,” and, curiously, “HPV vaccine.” Repealing “Obamacare” is a marching order for anybody in the Republican nomination race. The candidates show a united front in their opposition to the perceived overreach of the federal government, their belief in the unconstitutionality of the measure and in their feeling of collective insult. They only differ in their opinion of who would do the best job at repealing it. When Governor Romney reiterated his intent to grant fifty waivers to opt out of the constitutional mandate on his first day, Rep. Bachmann chastised him for his supposed naïveté. Repealing this bill, an important task, as she reminded us, would take work. It would be a monumental mission. What the other candidates are lacking, from her partial view, is a fundamental ability to push the legislation through Congress.The Affordable Care Act was dragged through mud even before it was ready for the President’s signature. It was said to have ballooned like the housing market, trying to do too much for too many. It was lambasted with vitriolic denunciations… Read More

Show President Obama some respect

A few weeks ago, during an appearance on FOX’s Fox and Friends, country music figure Hank Williams, Jr. compared President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler. Specifically, he referenced a golf game between Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner and President Obama as being akin to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu playing a round of golf with the Nazi leader. A few things are clearly at fault in this hideous analogy:The most obvious: the flippant reference alone is almost indescribably offensive to any sensible, educated person.The inane: Hank attempted to rationalize his inexcusable diatribe by saying how difficult it was for him to watch the Speaker of the House and the President “high fivin’” and “jukin’” on the golf course. For one thing, there is no “jukin’” in golf. Furthermore, do you know what I find difficult to watch? Hank Williams’s introduction to Monday Night Football. But I digress.The element of premeditation: perhaps it is the elitist in me, but I find it unlikely that Hank Williams, Jr. knows much about Benjamin Netanyahu. Maybe so, but, regardless, the analogy was not plucked out of thin air. It was rehearsed, it was prepared and, somehow, it was deemed acceptable to say on live television.It is this last observation that is the most troubling. Had this been an isolated incident, it could have been dismissed with a raise of an eyebrow, a shake of the head and a few pointed questions about what Hank Williams, Jr. was doing on a cable news channel in the first place. Alas, while this latest insult was among the most outrageous of offenses, it is indicative of a pervasive trend: the office of the President of the United States is no longer treated with respect.Throughout history, sitting Presidents, no matter the scale of their accomplishments, have… Read More

Sarah Palin is Smarter than Us

Sarah Palin. If one were to engage in a word association exercise with the average university student, that name would prompt a stream of derisive digs. “Stupid.” “Uninformed.” “Ditzy.” “Psycho.” “Attractive, but absolutely nuts.” In short: should she be brought up in conversation, Palin is likely to be rapidly dismissed — if not for being irrelevant to a sophisticated political debate, then dismissed because everybody in the room agrees on what she is: an idiot. There is, however, an inherent problem with dispensing with Palin on the assumption that she is foolish:She isn’t.I implore you to venture into the recesses of memory and draw out every instance in which “Sarah” came across as hilariously shallow, inept, incompetent, and/or less-informed than a middle-school student failing civics class.Didn’t she write basic talking points on her hand? Yes.Didn’t she struggle to name a single major newspaper or news source that she consulted? She did.Is it true that she couldn’t name any Supreme Court decisions that she disagreed with other than Roe v. Wade? So I’m told.Hasn’t she done a lot of other things very similar, but I just can’t think of them right now? You betcha.However, is it also true that Palin has benefited from the indignant backlash to every one of the aforementioned and overplayed scandals? Without exception. We cannot know with certainty, but there is the possibility that when Palin behaves in a manner that appears overtly cartoonish, it is to some extent deliberate.Palin knows the broadcasters at MSNBC and CNN and bloggers everywhere better than they know themselves. To these presumably “educated” and “intellectual” communities, the idea of Palin knowing them better than they know themselves is sure to cause a destabilizing existential crisis. Perhaps that is why Keith Olbermann left MSNBC.Recall the instance in which Palin wrote several simple ideas on her hand:… Read More

Kelly: Sarah Palin is Smarter than Us

Sarah Palin. If one were to engage in a word association exercise with the average university student, that name would prompt a stream of derisive digs. “Stupid.” “Uninformed.” “Ditzy.” “Psycho.” “Attractive, but absolutely nuts.” In short: should she be brought up in conversation, Palin is likely to be rapidly dismissed — if not for being irrelevant to a sophisticated political debate, then dismissed because everybody in the room agrees on what she is: an idiot. There is, however, an inherent problem with dispensing with Palin on the assumption that she is foolish:She isn’t.I implore you to venture into the recesses of memory and draw out every instance in which “Sarah” came across as hilariously shallow, inept, incompetent, and/or less-informed than a middle-school student failing civics class.Didn’t she write basic talking points on her hand? Yes.Didn’t she struggle to name a single major newspaper or news source that she consulted? She did.Is it true that she couldn’t name any Supreme Court decisions that she disagreed with other than Roe v. Wade? So I’m told.Hasn’t she done a lot of other things very similar, but I just can’t think of them right now? You betcha.However, is it also true that Palin has benefited from the indignant backlash to every one of the aforementioned and overplayed scandals? Without exception. We cannot know with certainty, but there is the possibility that when Palin behaves in a manner that appears overtly cartoonish, it is to some extent deliberate.Palin knows the broadcasters at MSNBC and CNN and bloggers everywhere better than they know themselves. To these presumably “educated” and “intellectual” communities, the idea of Palin knowing them better than they know themselves is sure to cause a destabilizing existential crisis. Perhaps that is why Keith Olbermann left MSNBC.Recall the instance in which Palin wrote several simple ideas on her hand:… Read More