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Michelle talks obesity, Obama talks gambling. Problem is not what they say, but that they’re talking about it at all

February 6, 2010 Leave a comment

The Paternalist in Chief and our First Nanny keep getting into trouble. President Obama says people who are worried about paying for their kids’ education probably shouldn’t be gambling, itself not only a defensible thing to say, but the right thing to say. The problem is that he’s the president of the United States and has more important things to say.

But I’ll play along. Let’s just focus on what he said. Critics of his Vegas comments haven’t stopped long enough to ask themselves whether him saying the opposite would have been worse: What if Obama had said, “Now let me be clear; what I’m about to say is unprecedented in American history: if you’re worried about whether you can pay for your kids’ education, you ought to go to Vegas and give it a whirl — doing so might deplete your savings, sure, but think of all the money you could win and also of all the jobs you’ll help create or save in Sin City. Gambling away your life’s savings, if you’re poor and worried about how to pay for your kids’ schooling, is the patriotic thing to do.”

How stupid does that sound, eh?

People like Hannity look for any and every opportunity to criticize our president, whether or not what he says makes good sense. The president is right: people worried about their money shouldn’t gamble. The problem isn’t what he said; the problem is that he’s the president of the free world and shouldn’t be worried about jobs or Americans’ budgets. He should be worried about protecting the homeland from outside threats and closing down the government and giving money back to the people who truly create meaningful work in the greatest economy this world has ever seen: private business. Expand personal and financial freedom, and the jobs will take care of themselves.

And then there’s our First Nanny. She’s spun up about childhood obesity, even though part of the problem there is also — you guessed it — the government. The Food Guide Pyramid was itself the result of a politically driven agenda, a giveaway to the agriculture industry, and has been proven time and again by science to be the primary driver of obesity, heart disease, and nearly every other disease of Western civilization (these diseases obviously existed prior to the Pyramid’s adoption; my point is that most diseases of Western civilization date back to the introduction of agriculture and the Pyramid relies on it heavily). Carbs are the enemy, folks. But that’s not my point; I digress. The point is that the First Nanny has no business here; she’s married to the man we elected president, not an elected official herself. Period. (Grammar question: When you use the word period like that, does it require a period at the end?)

Our president, his wife, and his party are the world’s most benevolent totalitarians. They’ve decided that no aspect of American life is too small or inconsequential for their meddling and tinkering — and outright defining and dictating. We’re entering a new era of do-gooder authoritarianism, and I’m really not looking forward to it. For Pete’s sake, the most powerful man in this dangerous world is talking about gambling and his wife is writing policy to fix fat kids. God help this nation.

Time to go out and enjoy the snow.

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Hannity didn’t need to stoop to take one last swipe at Edwards

February 4, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve never been a huge fan of Sean Hannity, so I don’t watch his show, and if I ever leave work before Mark Levin comes on, I listen to NPR and C-SPAN instead of Hannity’s regurgitation of the day’s RNC talking points. For the most part, he’s brain-freezingly humdrum (brain-freezingly is a degree or six worse than mind-numbingly, because while the latter leaves you with a blank stare, the former makes your face contort and writhe, as I did tonight when I watched him interview Andrew Young). I respect his role, though. Not everyone can be heady and philosophical like Prager or Medved or, hell, even Levin. Most people don’t think deeply, so I can respect Hannity’s role as the USA Today of conservative talk radio without ever learning anything from him myself.

Anyway. From time to time I’ll swing past Fox News on my way to something else and stop for a minute if it looks like Hannity has an interesting guest or is talking about something passably relevant with one of the channel’s ridiculously hot “contributors” (sarcastic quotes there). Tonight, it was the psychopathic Andrew Young fella — who is probably gay (you heard it here first!) and was at one point madly in love with his former boss (this has to explain all the why-why-whys behind his insanity), the dude who was pathetically and self-disrespectingly (I make up words. So?) loyal to one of the biggest snakes ever to waste $400 cutting his hair and not spend a dime doing something about that damn mole, John Edwards — who caught my attention.

Hannity shouldn’t have done this interview. The very idea of it is tabloid, prurient, gutter ball. No one likes John Edwards less than I, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone around who likes him more, and that’s my point. John Edwards is dead to both Americas, so what was the point of bringing Andrew Edwards on, who himself is no less a sleaze today than he was before Edwards betrayed him?

Andrew’s story is creepy, to be sure. (And for Pete’s sake, his wife. I hesitate to drag her into it, but I’m not sure she isn’t creepy, too, for her capacity to stand by while her freakshow husband devolved over the years into the wackiest of sycophantic disciples — and not even of Jesus or yoga or something at the lowest level of respectability like KISS, but of a damn politician! And a white one, at that!) No one, and I mean no one, in this country can relate to Young. But what’s equally as disturbing as his creepiness — and this is precisely how Hannity debased himself with this interview — is this growing disregard for loyalty. I wrote about this in one of my first posts, the one about Matt Latimer’s gratuitous tell-all about his days as a White House underling.

Obviously Edwards betrayed, manipulated, and used Young, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that Young was not a victim. He played along. Eagerly. The entire time, for the duration of his career. Former Edwards staffers have spoken openly and anonymously of his near-sociopathic devotion to raising Edwards to levels of power he clearly wasn’t worthy of. Young isn’t a victim of anyone or anything but his own bad bets. As Dr. Phil (who “analyzed” — sarcastic quotes again — Young after Hannity interviewed him) said, there’s no way this whole nasty affair was going to remain a secret, since dozens of staffers knew about it and, quoting Dr. Phil, that’s just “too many holes in the dike” for the truth not to have at some point been discovered.

A tell-all would have been respectable and even justified if this were an isolated incident, if Edwards had somehow blackmailed or otherwise coerced an all-along innocent but naive and otherwise honorable and upright Andrew Young into lying about fathering Edwards’ illegitimate lovechild. But that’s not what happened.

I’m not sure whose name Young thinks he’s clearing through his book, but it certainly isn’t his. He’d have been better off penning an op-ed for the New York Times in which he (a) admitted having been sucked into the wrong man’s orbit and (b) maybe offered advice on how not to compromise one’s principles in the face of raw political power and ambition. Then he could have licked his wounds and slinked back into the obscurity to which he undoubtedly will be ignominiously consigned anyway.

But he chose the low road and, having sold his soul to ascend the ranks of power (as this certainly was just as much about his own acquisition of power as a key player in Edwards’ might-have-been administration as it was about elevating Edwards), he snatched his soul back and then put it up on the market again to the highest bidder, which was obviously whoever published his book.

Young should have left well-enough alone. And shame on Sean Hannity for not doing the same.