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Jackie Gingrich Cushman
Jackie Gingrich Cushman
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LOL -- No Laughing Matter


My mother told me recently that the most important thing a person can have is a sense of humor. I thought this was funny because I didn't realize she had one. After she gave me this advice, I listened to her with a different filter and realized she does.

Driving to a meeting yesterday, I turned right and noticed a sticker on the back window of the car I was following.


The letters LOL (laugh out loud) were familiar, as were the colors and style of the O. They were evocative of the Barack Obama campaign logo.

The meaning was evident: The owner of the car believes the Obama administration is a joke. I chuckled for a minute at their cleverness (thinking of Mom and humor) but then felt a bit deflated.

When asked, "How much confidence do you have in Obama to make the right decisions for the country's future — a great deal of confidence, a good amount, just some or none at all?" almost a third of likely American voters (29 percent) said they have no faith in President Barack Obama, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Tuesday. Almost another third, 28 percent said they had "just some" confidence. Combined, almost 60 percent of American voters, a majority, have little or no confidence in our president.

After reviewing the poll, my friend Stuart Sheldon, president of the Atlanta division of Escalate: An Experiential & Word-of-Mouth marketing agency, said he has "the utmost faith that Obama will continue his effort to date. Not even halfway through a four-year term, and he's already made great positive contributions to America: exposed the liberal agenda, discredited the 'media' and set the stage for real change in our elected officials in midterm (2010) and, most likely, term (2012) elections."

Let's explore these one at a time:

Expose the Liberal Agenda:

Rather than working for a change we can believe in, Obama's agenda is to change what we, as a nation, have long believed. Instead of rewarding hard work, he rewards simply showing up. Instead of fostering entrepreneurship and creativity, he is moving the economy toward one of government control and equality of outcome. Instead of encouraging personal responsibility, he is moving the nation toward collective governmental responsibility.

Given Obama's record, likely voters have taken a fresh look at his administration. A recent poll by Democracy Corps asked likely voters if the word "socialist" "describes Barack Obama very well, well, not too well or not well at all." A third (33 percent) said it describes him "very well," and nearly a quarter (22 percent) said it describes him "well." When these two categories are combined, more than half (55 percent) think "socialist" accurately describes Obama.

Discredit the media:

Ever since MSNBC's Chris Matthews' comment regarding then-candidate Obama's speech in February 2008, most people have assumed that the media are biased. "My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often," the enthralled Matthews about the speech.

Helen Thomas, the longest-serving reporter in the White House press corps, resigned in June after saying she thought Israel should get out of Palestine. This month, Octavia Nasr, CNN's senior editor of Middle East affairs, was fired after expressing admiration for a Hezbollah leader in a Twitter posting.

Possibly the media should take a page from Supreme Court Judge Sonya Sotomayor, who said, "I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage ... but attempt, as the Supreme Court suggests, continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate."

Since I learned as an adolescent that untruths were not only printed, but also reprinted, I have been skeptical of what I read.

Set the stage for 2010 and possibly 2012 elections:

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs this past weekend told NBC's "Meet the Press" that "there's no doubt there are enough seats in play that could cause Republicans to gain control."

When asked, "Right now, are you inclined to vote to re-elect your representative in Congress in the next election or are you inclined to look around for someone else to vote for?" the Washington Post/ABC News poll cited above found that 60 percent of likely voters said they were inclined to look around.

Change is a coming, and this time, not a change we can believe in but a change in whom we believe.

A good sense of humor is important, but — for crying out loud — when it comes to the presidency, I am for serious business, and I am not laughing out loud.

To find out more about Jackie Gingrich Cushman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit




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