THE STUPID BOWL

I was wondering how many people paid thousands of dollars out-of-pocket to buy a ticket to attend what was probably the worst super bowl game in history. I realize that most everyone is comp’d when obtaining super bowl tickets; either as a bonus or reward by companies they work for, or by other organizations they may be associated with. And for movie stars in attendance such as Michael Douglas or Alec Baldwin, shelling out a few thousand is no big deal. But among the tens of thousands in attendance, I’m sure there are some that actually bought tickets they could ill afford; only to watch Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos humiliate themselves beyond credulity. The irony of watching Manning, who was awarded the National Football League’s MVP trophy the day before the game, along with his Denver teammates, so thoroughly embarrass themselves before a world-wide audience of billions, was certainly not lost on most football fans. You knew the game was going south in a hurry for Denver when 12 seconds after kick-off they incurred a safety, an occurrence that rarely happens in any football game. In any event, I feel that the several hours out of my life that I spent watching the game on TV will be time that I, unfortunately, will never be able to recoup.

I did notice that, in all the pre-game festivities, there was suddenly a political discussion injected into all the forced giddiness. It seemed so out-of-place, especially to all those multitudes that were trying so hard to convince themselves about what a swell time they were having during all the pre-game hoopla. But there it suddenly was, an interview that Bill O’Reilly from Fox News was having with President Obama. While the interview was contentious, a certain decorum was maintained. Since Fox News is certainly the biggest Obama basher and vilifier on TV, the interview primarily consisted of O’Reilly attacking the Obama Administration for all its supposed screw-ups and misdeeds; and Obama defending himself with the usual politician’s doublespeak and vagueness. One of O’Reilly’s main contentions was that Obama has been a divisive president who has failed to  accommodate Republicans in trying to push through major legislation. Obama didn’t defend himself all that well against this accusation so I thought I would do it for him. Here’s what he should have said in that interview.

Soon after Obama was elected President in 2008, but weeks before he was sworn into office, Rush Limbaugh, who claims a listenership in the millions, bellowed forth on his radio program that: “I WANT HIM TO FAIL.” I’m sure Rush was merely expressing the sentiments held by his fellow hard-core, right-wing lunatics.

Right after Obama took office, while he was still adjusting his chair behind his desk in the Oval Office for its comfort level, Mitch McConnell, leader of the Senate Republicans, publicly stated that the GOP’s number one priority was to defeat Barack Obama for re-election in 2012. Not to work for the American people who were facing the most serious economic crises this country had seen since the Great Depression, but to defeat Barack Obama’s re-election bid. Not to help the millions of workers that were suddenly thrown out of their jobs, or to assist the millions of home-owners whose mortgages went under-water, or who were having their homes foreclosed by the banks. Oh no, this was just incidental stuff. Defeating Obama the next time around was far more important. Of course, as we all know, that didn’t quite work out so well.

Shortly after finding his way to the Oval Office, President Obama invited Republican leaders to the White House and laid out his agenda for them. He told them that they could join with him in trying to resolve the dismal economic conditions that he had inherited, or they could become the party of Rush Limbaugh and oppose just about every one of his key initiatives. Sadly, as we know, the GOP chose the latter, and continues to do so to this day.

Again, right after Obama took office in 2009, the Tea Party movement was formed to oppose every single Obama initiative. If he was for it, they were against it. It was comprised primarily of extreme right-wing anarchists, racists, or those that were delusional enough to believe that Government spending could be slashed back to the levels that existed when Calvin Coolidge was president. (Read my piece on “Returning To The Days Of Silent Cal” for further info.) The Tea Party became a potent enough force of obstructionism, however, to give Republicans control of the House; but its mind-numbing political blindness did cost the GOP several Senate seats. Now the GOP is rather fractured in trying to appease Tea Party extremists while also trying to appear as a rational political entity. An oxymoron if there ever was one.

As a result of such crude and obvious Obama hatred and obstructionism, the President has understandably shied away from trying to engage Republicans in any form of compromise or togetherness on major issues. This has naturally led to a divided Government of gridlock, hyper-partisanship, dysfunction, and polarization. In short, a situation where nothing meaningful can be accomplished. Aren’t you happy to be living in such joyous times? Are we having fun yet?

Not that I’m saying that Obama has been any great shakes as President. He pretty well screwed up the health-care initiative, his foreign policy is beyond weakness, the economy is still limping along, and the employment picture, while improving, is still in the doldrums. If you want legitimate criticism, those are the areas that should be up for discussion. But its more fun for the GOP and Tea Party to engage in mindless Obama bashing and demonization.

One last item about the Super Bowl. We all saw former quarterback great Joe Namath flub something as simple as the coin toss. There’s a fascinating story about Broadway Joe as he was known in his heyday, and perhaps, next time around I’ll write about him.

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