He pretends that he’s sneaking out but makes a point of telling everyone. They, in turn, are instructed to relay this “news” to the fawning White House press reporters.
It’s supposed to be great theater. Think of Yogi the Bear, but skinny with big ears and mom jeans.
But Bear-ack Obama and his keepers don’t lumber off to Jellystone Park. Instead, they typically helicopter to the first tee, where he’s been sighted 208 times since becoming president. The closest this bear gets to the woods is the rough, where he and his pack of Secret Service agents are often seen foraging for his lost balls. (His proficiency at golf is apparently uncorrelated to his practice at it.)
Meanwhile, back at the Capitol, there’s an annual tradition for the president to tell the three branches of government about the state of the union. Never one to pass up a show where he’s the star, the bear last month ambled over for the three-branch circus with his trusty but rusty teleprompter prop and his economic policy named Boo-Boo.
The required attendees attended. The bear stood, smiled and entertained everyone with his apparent ability to read aloud. Or, he at least occupied the stage for a solid hour.
A Supreme Court justice — one that’s a friend of the bear — literally fell asleep in her chair.
The spectacle nonetheless amused the bear’s base — the loyal circus audience that will show up for anything the bear tells them to. Except the past midterm elections.
The bear’s base this year was smaller than last year because of, well, those midterm elections. And the midterm elections before that. This bad-news bear has now presided over his party’s greatest loss of congressional and state legislature seats in history. Pundits predicted in 2008 that Dems were atop the food chain and would rule the roost till the cows came home, but now they’re practically an endangered species.
The bear read his favorite line yet again: “There are no red states and no blue states.” This time around, he’s partly right. A few more midterms like the past two and there will be no blue states.
In the spirit of no-red-no-blue, the bear promised to “work with” the red bears. But then he growled that he’ll send straight to the Jellystone Park dump any of their work that he doesn’t like.
Hmm, that no-red-no-blue routine was nice for the 23 seconds that it lasted.
As for what the bear does like, he said he’d like to give free stuff to people who want it. By taking it away from people who earned it.
In other words, “Heeey, Boo-Boo, let’s go steal some pic-a-nic baskets!”
His pic-a-nic basket is overflowing with free stuff. Like free tuition at community colleges so that people can buy a community college degree that will get them a job at, well, at the businesses that want employees with a free community college degree.
But the free tuition is “not a free lunch,” the bear warns us. Seems this pic-a-nic basket includes everything except lunch. Let me be clear: you have to bring your own lunch.
Before returning to hibernation in front of the TV where he says he spends most of his mornings watching ESPN, the bear offered some sage advice. He advised that you can’t raise a family of four on a minimum-wage job — the kind of job that a free community college degree will get you.
Duh. Who knew? For his next act, will he show us what bears do in the woods?
OK, cartoons are over. Regardless of how he refers to himself, the president is not actually a bear.
He’s a duck. A lame one. (The next time he and his flock of Secret Service agents fly the coop for another shot at birdies, forgive him if he fails to shout, “The lame duck is on the loose!”)
This Daffy Duck’s proposals stand zero chance of being enacted by the Congress that the American people elected in those midterm elections, and he knows it. Most of his proposals won’t even be introduced as legislation, and the ones that are will be voted down because the people and their representatives don’t like them.
And now, six years in, the people don’t like him either. They were promised hope and change, and all they got were reruns of Yogi and Boo-Boo.
So, you might ask, what was all the fuss at the big annual show? That’s just show biz.
Published in The Aspen Times on Feb.1, 2015 at http://www.aspentimes.com/opinion/14812321-113/beaton-lame-duck-on-the-loose