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Jumping The Shark

May 21, 2013 by  

Jumping The Shark

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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  • Ron r

    And you guys get paid to write this garbage. What a country… Always wanting to be Paul Revere , only with chicken little facts. Join the military or sign one of your kids up, then come back and write about how you love this great nation. Right now you just write reich wing lies and profit from it

    • jeff

      RON ,You dont know all the facts what we hear about, it’s only the tip of the ice berg, because a lot of the facts are TOP SECRET and how do you not know what people do or don’t have a child In the military , I was ? I still want this country to be as free as possible, Not ran by a dictator wether it be Bush jr or Obama or the next guy , people are just trying to fight for their homes and way of life, so to get angry means you must want the United States to go down the road it’s headed to a more socialist/communist place , is that what you want ?

      • Ron r

        And Jeff you do not know all the facts. For that matter facts are what the right wing call conspiracy. In the reichs mind Obama could not win without either manufacturing a crisis or covering up one.

        Just how far some will take this amazes me. Hell you guys elected bush for a second term despite the fact he lied us into war, his father was in business with the Bin Ladin family,and he has a draft dodger as his vice. Yeah you guys have all the facts.

      • Ron r

        BTW Jeff , how is this country becoming socialist??? What business has been nationalized and what farms have been co-opted???? How are the rich not getting richer, and when was the last time you tuned into Fox/Fixed news??if Obama is a socialist he’s sure not a very good one at all.
        What should worry you is idiots like M.Bachman,who actually think they are helping the country by being bat s::t crazy,or Ran Paul who is just as bad but thinks he’s not. Or John Bohener the drunkard of the house.

  • Brad n TX

    Amazingly true Ben, that’s what makes so Amazing

  • Raj Dwivedi

    You are a great writer and I can agree with some of what you say here, specifically, that there are problems with government and corruption that low information types don’t see. But I believe that the govt is made up of people just like you and me who generally act in the best interest of keeping their jobs like most people in the world. Why would anyone risk their careers over lying about Benghazi on purpose unless ordered to do so? Is it possible that we did not wish to disclose for human intelligence gathering reasons that we have operators on the ground pretending to be diplomats, reporters, etc., and even acknowledging the existence of CIA outposts like Benghazi from where operations of gathering intelligence occur? Why would discussing such things publicly help our cause? Wouldnt it be damaging to our collection efforts and hamper our abilities to continue to operate in theaters of conflict?
    To espouse doom and downfall of democracy seems a little far-fetched since we still have elected representation, free speech and a bill of rights which are not in danger of being swept away any time soon.

  • Donald love

    You are right on in your assessment of the chief goon in charge of the not so free world

  • Don miller

    The truth will probably never get out cause that’s how governments operate they lie cheat steal and deceive


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