It’s official. With Tuesday’s press conference, the Obama Administration has become the longest running telethon in American history.
Just when you think the president couldn’t possibly go back on stage, there he is again, explaining all the wonderful things he can do with your money. In the best tradition of celebrity philanthropists, he’s giving his time, his face and his teleprompter skills to a cause that means a lot to him.
Oh, the cynics might say it’s what he does instead of governing, but the cynics don’t understand his sincerity. They don’t realize that he knows how blessed he is, and that he’s compelled to compel you to give back.
Press conferences, talk shows, town hall meetings – the president won’t rest until the poor little leviathan can get up and walk on its own. On “60 Minutes,” Steve Kroft had the audacity to ask if Obama was “punch drunk.” Well of course he’s punch drunk. Anybody who’d ever seen Jerry Lewis on Labor Day afternoon knows that telethons take it out of you. Don’t be surprised if he comes out for his next TV appearance (probably in a day or two) looking haggard but determined, with his bowtie undone and cigarette and glass of whisky in hand.
He’s out there, giving his all for “Barry’s kids.” “Ladies and gentlemen, I want to introduce you now to a very special young girl named Linda. All Linda wants is for someone to fill her gas tank and pay her mortgage. With your help, yes we can!”
Of course, there are a few big differences between this and traditional telethons. First, we’re going to pay up whether we change the channel or not. (“My friends Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann are over there manning the phones, right now, taking your pledges.”)
To ease the pain and give the host time for a bathroom break and a
The entertainment can be more than just a distraction, of course. The telethon got off to a roaring start when RINO recording stars Arlen Specter and the Arlettes helped bring in a stimulating $900 billion pledge.
The second difference is that Linda really isn’t very special. In this telethon, we’re all Barry’s kids. Sure enough, we’re going to pay up, but it’s not charity. In fact, he wants to adjust the tax code to do away with private charities, since they’ll no longer be needed. It’s not even the wealth-spreading we’ve heard so much about. It’s “investment.”
Obama’s $3 trillion budget is a down payment on universal healthcare. It’s going to fund the signing bonuses for those “green jobs” so many of us will have. It’s going to massively expand entitlements and make sure that every one of us has a stake in the welfare state. For the big telethon finale, when Barry, his voice blasted from months of nonstop talking, sings, “You’ll Never Walk Alone, Even if You Want To,” he’ll be sending it out to you and me.
Of course, that assumes there will be a finale. And there’s the last difference. Jerry Lewis limits his effort to Labor Day weekend. A real pro can keep it going indefinitely. And when you haven’t declared a goal, whether it be in dollars or percentage of GDP transferred from the private sector, nobody knows when it’s even close. The Congressional Budget Office, which is in charge of the tote board, can’t keep track of the sums flowing in.
Who’s going to ask him when it’ll be over? Certainly not the news media. Before and after his Tuesday press conference “The View” women, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Larry King and his special friends at MSNBC were worried that Obama might be “overexposed,” not about the cause for which he’s so selflessly overexposing himself. He’s doing Good Works. Did anybody ever tell Danny Thomas he’d raised too much cash for St. Jude’s?
And really, why should it end? As long as Obama’s got an audience, and there’s a dollar of private sector money out there, we’ve got a show.
Matt Philbin is managing editor of the Business and Media Institute.