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Jumping The Shark

May 21, 2013 by  

Jumping The Shark
PHOTOS.COM

In the television business, they call it “jumping the shark.” The phrase was inspired by a rather infamous episode of “Happy Days” during which Fonzie — inexplicably still wearing his signature leather jacket — accepts a dare to don water skis and jump over a tiger shark. Although “Happy Days” managed seven more seasons after Fonzie’s stunt, the shark-jumping moment signified the end of the long-running sitcom staple’s considerable cultural influence and the beginning of its creative descent. In the years that followed, “jumping the shark” entered the lexicon as a phrase that identifies the subject — whether a television program or a politician — as having passed the point of value on the path to self-parody.

Even those few men who have inhabited the highest office in the land have leaped over the proverbial predator. President Richard Nixon did so the day he claimed: “When the President does it, that means that it’s not illegal.” President Jimmy Carter jumped his shark the day he fought and lost the Battle of the Chattahoochee Bunny. President Bill Clinton met his in the form of a chubby intern in a blue dress. President George W. Bush stood in front of his and declared “Mission Accomplished.” And President Barack Hussein Obama sent his on a press tour this past weekend.

With multiple scandals dominating the headlines (each borne of either gross incompetence or the sort of insidious corruption that hasn’t been seen in the White House since President Warren Harding jumped his own shark near the Teapot Dome), Obama gambled like a sitcom character on water skis. While he sent a junior varsity mouthpiece named Dan Pfeiffer to make an absolute fool of himself on the Sunday talk show rounds, his Administration leaked the almost dumbfounding news: Disgraced U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice is not only not headed for a teaching position at one of those sad places where old liberals are put out to pasture, but she’s a sure bet to become the next National Security Adviser.

Pfeiffer’s performance puts the Obama Administration’s usual sideshow antics to shame. Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Pfeiffer said Obama’s whereabouts during the Benghazi, Libya, massacre were an “irrelevant fact.” In an appearance of ABC News’ “This Week,” Pfeiffer jumped over Jaws on the topic of the Internal Revenue Service attacks on Obama’s perceived enemies, claiming, “The law is irrelevant.” There were more stunts on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” where Pfeiffer said the identity of those who altered Benghazi talking points was (of course) “largely irrelevant.” And then, the showstopper: Pfeiffer said, “And, frankly, I think that many of the Republicans… owe Ambassador Rice an apology for the things they said about her.”  And he didn’t even don the leather for that one.

Even while their attempts to bury Benghazi under a mountain of mendacity fail like Congressman Hank Johnson taking an oceanography exam, Obama and his coterie of thugs continue to amaze. The woman who falsely blamed the deaths of four Americans on some crappy YouTube video is slated to take up the mantle of the senior adviser to the President on matters of people who kill Americans. Rice’s shocking disregard for basic honesty cost her the big office at the Department of State. So instead of shuffling her off to the wacky world of the speakers’ circuit, Obama has decided to put her in charge of telling him which amateur auteurs to imprison.

Obama and his accomplices have told tall tales about so many of their various assaults on life, liberty and even common sense that they’re struggling to keep their stories straight. From Newtown, Conn., to Benghazi, from an IRS outpost in Cincinnati to the White House itself, and from Obamacare (the implementation of which will be overseen by Sarah Hall Ingram, the same pencil-pusher responsible for turning the IRS into Obama’s personal political goon squad) to the transcripts of illegal wiretaps, the web of lies that will define Obama’s disastrous tenure has grown more tangled than Hillary Clinton’s Congressional testimony.

At this point, Obama and his henchmen have given up even a pretense of honesty. I suppose they think the low-information types upon whom their authority rests will give them the same get-out-of-disgrace-free card they’ve abused since 2009. Someone ought to remind them: Fonzie may have successfully jumped the shark, but he still got canceled.

–Ben Crystal

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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