Bad Call


This past weekend, I sat in front of the television watching football and trying to ignore the headache I’d earned on New Year’s Eve. 2010 was a wild ride for me, but just like 2009, I managed to avoid committing any felonies. I deliberately complicated no criminal investigations. I did no time at any Federal penitentiaries. And for sport, I tortured and killed exactly zero dogs.

Despite this impressive year’s worth of credentials, I received no phone call from President Barack Obama. I didn’t even get a Christmas/Ramadan/Kwanzaa card.

Before the Obama apologists begin howling about his busy schedule or my lack of sufficient import, let me point out that the President DID make time to call Jeffrey Lurie, the owner of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. Obama didn’t ring up Lurie to discuss the multi-millionaire’s ideas to rescue the national economy Obama and the Democrats have driven into the same swamp Nancy Pelosi neglected to drain. He wasn’t looking for tickets to an Eagles game. He wasn’t seeking Lurie’s tips on where to get a great cheese steak. He wanted to applaud Lurie for offering employment to the convict, Michael Vick.

I’m well aware that any discussion of Vick is likely to inflame some passions. Some people are appalled by the idea of hanging, drowning and electrocuting puppies, and others are all right with it, as long as the perpetrator can run 40 yards in less than 4.5 seconds (and promises he’ll never, ever electrocute Fluffy for kicks again).

Evidently, we can count Obama amongst the latter. And maybe Vick should be back in the NFL. After all, it’s not like he’s Rush Limbaugh or anything.

According to Lurie, the President said of Lurie’s hiring of Vick: “So many people who serve time never get a fair second chance.”

That’s true. Of course, so many people who serve time can’t throw a football 65 yards without a counterweight trebuchet. In fact, I’m going to throw a flag on that play. The idea of Michael Vick serving as any kind of real-life example to his erstwhile Leavenworth huddle-mates is laughable. That’s presuming the remaining population of the nation’s penitentiaries isn’t as good as Vick is at reading blitz on third down.

Vick committed unspeakably ugly acts of barbarism for laughs and then did everything but hide in the locker room in an effort to avoid the sack by law enforcement. He went to a Federal prison, got out and immediately went back to a multi-million dollar job to which most prisoners — most EVERYONE — will never get closer than the TV.

Hey, I love a comeback as much as the next guy. I think it’s terrific that MSNBC gave Rachel Maddow a gig as Keith Olbermann’s Igor after that whole hate radio thing didn’t work out. And I certainly understand the appeal of the outlaw image. I can quote “The Godfather” like every American male. However, neither moronic television personalities nor mobsters tend to get sympathetic phone calls from the President of the United States. Well, at least mobsters don’t. I hope.

Of the many ex-cons who are actually leading productive, non-Snoopy murdering lives since their release, how many of their bosses will get a Presidential back-slap?

For that matter, a question for the President: Of the millions of Americans who haven’t electrocuted puppies, how many of their bosses is he planning to congratulate?

“Is this Sam Smith? Of Sam the Sham’s Shack O’Stuff? This is President Barack Obama. Sam, I just wanted to tell you how proud I am of you for letting Bob Jones come back to work each day after not committing multiple felonies and then lying to investigators about it. You’re an inspiration to the bosses of people who lead law-abiding lives everywhere.”

To be fair, being President is full-time work. America is facing tough times at home and turbulent conditions abroad. And two weeks of golf, surf and sun on the taxpayer’s nickel in a tropical paradise is a serious undertaking. He barely had enough time to call the owner of a sports team to offer congratulations for generosity toward Cruella De Vil’s dream date.

Never let it be said that Ben Crystal wasn’t there to support his President in a time of crisis. Tell you what, Mr. President: I’ll handle the back nine at Luana Hills. You need to start dialing.

Personal Liberty

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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