Cowboy Down

Raging Moderate, by Will Durst

The same way that crème brulée is unlike pork rinds, and a Lincoln Town Car is not a pickup truck, so is Barack Obama not George Bush. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons Barack Obama is currently president is because he’s SO not George Bush. He might just be the most UnBushish politician currently in possession of a Y chromosome with the possible exception of Jerry Brown, who doesn’t count because he’s an alien.

Cartoon by Cam Cardow - Ottawa Citize (click to reprint)

Cartoon by Cam Cardow - Ottawa Citize (click to reprint)

But the relentlessly dispiriting Gulf Coast Leakage has beaten America with Jimmy Carter’s feeble stick and we’re feeling as impotent as a eunuch watching Cinemax at 3 a.m. on a Saturday morning; trembling for Daddy to come to our rescue and punch the bad spill in the face. Hence, the media skies have been clouded with entreaties for the president to get his spurs on and Cowboy Up in front of we wee ones.

Calls have come from the left and the right in whispers and in shouts to do something bold and avoid becoming Mister Mission Unaccomplished. Never content to let a national crisis stand in the way of politics, the right has questioned the president’s manhood, suggesting the cold spring Gulf waters may have caused massive shriveling amongst the spillage. Even Spike Lee exhorted him to “one time, go off.” And what Spike Lee says, goes. Just ask the New York Knicks.

For good or for ill, Obama responded. First by intimating he was furious. And you could tell he really was upset because his face got all frowny-like. Less emphasis on hope and more on concerned contemplation. Then Press Secretary Robert Gibbs spoke of a clenched jaw. Which to be honest, could mean anything. Might have gotten a piece of tofu caught in his bridgework. Or perhaps he was trying to squeeze out the last bit of flavor in his Juicy Fruit. We don’t know.

Finally, Obama was heard to say, “We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose butt to kick.” Only he didn’t say butt. He said the A word that rhymes with big mouth bass. Whoa. Dude. Settle. Mister President. Sir. You are many things. But Butt Kicking Chief Executive is not why we hired you. Right now we need that calm and collected smartypants whose idea of wild and crazy is working till his deodorant nearly expires. Cooler than the other side of the pillow. Penguin-tail time.

Dubyah reminded us of an entitled, cackling jock giving geeks and nerds two-handed wedgies in the high school bathroom. You, however, are here to teach those dorks how to retire to a stall and rearrange themselves before reentering the hallway, studying hard and getting that job paying enough to turn the wedgie-giver’s dad’s GM dealership into a solar panel production facility.

You don’t need to answer Spike Lee’s outbursts. What, you going to base our foreign policy on an offhand remark by Delroy Lindo? America doesn’t need Harrison Ford or The Incredible Hulk flying out of the cargo door of Air Force One. Not even the Credible Hulk. Look at Congress. We got plenty of Hulks. Besides, you don’t wear the right kind of Butt Kicking Shoes. For that, you need cowboy boots. With those beautiful Italian loafers, a person runs the risk of spraining a foot. Or a midterm election.

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Will Durst is a San Francisco-based political comic who often writes. This being an egregious example. Catch his one-man show, “The Lieutenant Governor from the State of Confusion,” at a performing arts center near you. His new CD, “Raging Moderate” from Stand Up! Records, is now available on both iTunes and Amazon. Coming this fall: “Where the Rogue Things Go.”

Copyright ©2010, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate. Call Cari Dawson-Bartley at 800-696-7561 or e-mail [email protected]. Will Durst is a political comedian who has performed around the world. He is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at [email protected]. Check out willandwillie.com for the latest podcast. Will Durst’s book, “The All American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing,” is available from Amazon and better bookstores all over this great land of ours. Don’t forget to check out his rooftop comedy minutes at: http://www.rooftopcomedy.com/shows/BurstOfDurst.

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An Administration Adrift

Making Sense, by Michael Reagan

As we pass the 50-day mark of the terrible oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, it seems like the more things change the more they stay the same.

As I have previously discussed, sometimes terrible tragedies occur for which even the most diligent administrations cannot prepare. While it can and should be properly debated whether this tragedy is one of those events, our collective priority must be the well-being of our ecosystem and the many Gulf Coast residents who are being impacted. We must also continue to keep the family members of those lost during the initial accident in our thoughts and prayers.

But today we must also explore the attitude and focus of the Obama administration as this terrible tragedy unfolds — seemingly around them.

What President Obama must learn is that his job is more than chief executive — it is also chief communicator. And on that side of the equation, his administration has failed terribly, always seeming to play catch-up when it comes to the unfolding Gulf narrative. At times the president has seemed distant and even disinterested — publicly partying with musicians or welcoming victorious basketball squads to the White House. He has seems oblivious to the fact that many of the cable networks carry his appearances alongside a live box of oil flowing from an underground pipe — poisoning our environment each passing moment he addresses another subject.

In a purely defensive posture, the president has tried to counter such criticisms by saying that he is not in the business of the “theater” but rather the business of leading on behalf of the people. And in a perfect world he would be right. But this is reality — a reality the president himself came to just a few days later when he used his pre-planned zinger about finding the right asses to kick in order to hold people accountable on the spill.

Simply put, the administration is trying everything it can think of to get its arms around this issue. At times, they seem just as concerned with trying to stop the leak of public opinion as trying to figure out a way to stop the Gulf leak from spewing oil.

With poll after poll showing that the public feels that both the administration and BP are equally at fault in not doing enough to get this disaster under control, the Obama presidency finds itself staring at further erosion of the support of a nation that overwhelmingly supported their change agenda. If they don’t resolve this matter by figuring out how the get this leak under control, clean up the habitat and protect Gulf residents from further harm, they may find themselves looking at the kind of political changes reserved for one-term presidencies.

For the good of our nation, especially our neighbors down south, and for his own political viability, President Obama better find a plan and a message that puts an end to a tragedy that is running 24/7 on cable news.

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Mike Reagan, the elder son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is spokesperson for The Reagan PAC (www.thereaganpac.com) and chairman and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation (www.reaganlegacyfoundation.org). Look for Mike’s books and other information at www.Reagan.com. E-mail comments to [email protected].

©2010 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or Web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc., newspaper syndicate. For info contact Cari Dawson Bartley. E-mail [email protected], (800) 696-7561.

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Bright Side of the BP Oil Spill

Raging Moderate, by Will Durst

To say the news coming out of the Gulf is not what you call encouraging is like saying it’s been a rough week for Dennis Hopper. And it’s making people crazy. No. Really. Crazy. Louisiana native and Democratic strategist James Carville went off on the President like a string of overstuffed firecrackers in a pot-bellied stove. And for Carville to savage the leader of his own party either means he’s mad as hell and can’t take it anymore or his wife Mary Matalin’s naggingly oppressive monotonic brain-washing has achieved full saturation. I would hazard a bit of both.

Obama BP oil spill thinker

Cartoon by Taylor Jones - Cagle Cartoons (click to reprint)

You got Republicans calling for domestic government intervention. While on the other side of Loopyville, some Dems are screaming for the military to take over. What the hell do they expect the Army to be able to do that BP can’t, shoot it? Surround the mil- deep spill, capture and occupy it? Proceed to win its hearts and minds? Hey, Alice, which way out of this rabbit hole?

Outside of that stone plug that Jack used in “Lost,” BP appears to have tried everything: Top Hat. Top Kill. Top Cat. Top Chef. Topkapi. Topographical maps. Topol. Topamax. Topo Gigio. But thus far, the only thing they’ve managed to accomplish is to make the spill very, very angry. Not as angry as folks near the affected areas who just want to get back to their lives. Especially in the wake of the recent “We’re BP and we’re so sorry” ad campaign that’s costing millions to air in lieu of expediting financial claims. Destined to rank right up there with marrying a Kardashian, for worst PR move, EVER.

Now word comes down the plumey pike that the wound we opened in the lower epidermis of the Earth might not be closed until a relief well is finished sometime in August, so perhaps we should accept the fact that the Gulf is short-term doomed and start to seek out the bright sides of the BP Oil Spill.

America has always been the Imperial Wizard of the International Optimists League. And now is a perfect time for us to jump back into the silver lining business. Because when this country is handed lemons, we make lemonade. All we need is a couple of dump trucks full of sugar and, ironically, some clean water.

TOP 15 BRIGHT SIDES OF THE BP OIL SPILL:

“¢ Your shrimp dish comes pre-marinated.

“¢ Newly affordable waterfront properties.

“¢ Frolicsome beachside tar-ball fights.

“¢ Gulf Coast salad dressing: just add vinegar.

“¢ Jet Skis able to refuel mid-trip.

“¢ Lubricated Jelly Fish.

“¢ Mortared with oil and tar, sand castles now tide-proof.

“¢ Fewer silly election-year cries of “Drill, Baby, Drill.”

“¢ No more squeaky oysters.

“¢ Need an oil change? Wander down to water’s edge and squeegee a duck.

“¢ Hot enough day, and voila: the world’s largest fish fry.

“¢ Don’t bother drilling for oil, the oil is coming to us.

“¢ Romantic beach bonfires 24/7.

“¢Â  Wriggling out of your tight swimsuit is a breeze.

“¢ Every Gulf dock and pier instantly doubles as a Slip ‘n Slide.

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Will Durst is a San Francisco-based political comic who often writes. This being an evident example. Catch his one-man show, “The Lieutenant Governor from the State of Confusion,” at a performing arts center near you. His new CD, “Raging Moderate” from Stand Up! Records, is now available on both iTunes and Amazon.

Copyright ©2010, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate. Call Cari Dawson-Bartley at 800-696-7561 or e-mail [email protected]. Will Durst is a political comedian who has performed around the world. He is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at [email protected]. Check out willandwillie.com for the latest podcast. Will Durst’s book, “The All American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing,” is available from Amazon and better bookstores all over this great land of ours. Don’t forget to check out his rooftop comedy minutes at: http://www.rooftopcomedy.com/shows/BurstOfDurst.

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The Politics of the Gulf Oil Spill

Since last month’s oil-spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, two very different leadership styles have been on display. On the one hand we have President Obama, who took nine days before making a public statement on the spill. On the other, we have Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has been intensely and vocally involved from the beginning.

Gulf oil spill Obama Katrina

Cartoon by John Darkow - Columbia Daily Tribune (click to purchase)

Now, we must all recognize that during the course of a presidency unexpected and unprecedented events will occur that cannot be blamed on the administration. And this is one of those cases. However, it is not always the event itself that causes the most trouble — it is the response to the situation that usually gets you.

In the wake of recent criticism, President Obama has been forced to backtrack and step up his attention to the oil spill. The spill — which may have already released 90 million gallons of oil into the Gulf and has now reached the marshes of Louisiana, “oiling” some 84 miles of the coast —is undoubtedly the greatest national disaster of the Obama presidency. Yet despite intense Democratic criticism for President Bush’s response to a natural disaster, Hurricane Katrina, in this same state, President Obama’s response has been underwhelming, to say the least.

Under the justification of maintaining a regular schedule and demonstrating calm, President Obama has cavalierly gone about with casual events, even fundraisers, choosing to keep most of his disaster response effort private. So private, in fact, that those of us living far away from the slick might even be forgiven for forgetting about it.

This is not a superficial matter for a president. Even if President Obama’s administration were, in fact, exercising the highest level of competency in dealing with the catastrophe, it is the job of a president to handle not only the practical matters of government, but to also be the public face to encourage, motivate, and inform the public. This is a job he is failing.

Down in Louisiana, people have seen a very different story. Gov. Jindal has engaged completely in all aspects of disaster relief efforts. He has been a tireless advocate for his state, challenging mistaken federal approaches and pressuring BP to make every possible effort to quell this spill. And when the focus is fully switched to clean-up efforts, the people of Louisiana can have every confidence that Gov. Jindal will continue in the manner he has begun.

BP’s latest attempt to staunch the oil, their “top kill” tactic, is now underway. This effort will involve pumping an intense concentration of heavy mud and cement into the oil flow in an effort to staunch the flow. Initial results are promising, but only time will tell how effective this will be.

Right now, residents of the Gulf Coast need the administration to demonstrate the type of leadership being exercised by Gov. Bobby Jindal. President Obama is now talking about the future of off-shore drilling, placing additional restrictions and extending the moratorium on drilling. None of this, however, deals with the realities of the oil currently pouring into the ocean, and the livelihoods of Louisianans which are being destroyed.

Again we see a pattern of lackluster efforts from our president. Words and a veneer of calm are not a demonstration of leadership. They do not serve as action and progress. And coming from an administration whose party trounced President Bush for his conduct in the Gulf, such “leadership” is not only ineffective, but actually hypocritical.

I will be watching with the rest of the country to see where the President goes from here. I hope he will exceed the pattern he has shown us so far. And in the meantime, my prayers and support are with Gov. Jindal and the good people of Louisiana in the face of this tragedy.

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Mike Reagan, the elder son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is spokesperson for The Reagan PAC (www.thereaganpac.com) and chairman and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation (www.reaganlegacyfoundation.org). Look for Mike’s books and other information at www.Reagan.com. E-mail comments to [email protected]

©2010 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or Web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc., newspaper syndicate. For info contact Cari Dawson Bartley. E-mail [email protected], (800) 696-7561.

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