Matt Towery
This time of year is traditionally about the start of school, the start of football and the end of summer. Labor Day is emblematic of the season, and with Labor Day comes the annual "Jerry Lewis Telethon" to raise money for muscular dystrophy research and treatment.

I need to confess at the outset that Jerry Lewis' comedy has brought me not much more than an occasional wry smile. I'll leave the belly laughs to the French, who are said to adore his slapstick antics.

I've long admired his work for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, comedy or no comedy. As a kid, I always watched the telethon and then dutifully shed a tear and phoned in to make my historic donation of $5 or so.

This year I hope Americans can find a way to simultaneously support muscular dystrophy research and to express their displeasure with the MDA for having let Lewis go. The organization's unceremonious and ungrateful treatment of Lewis has been shameful.

Admittedly, Lewis has serious health issues. But the best I can discern is that all he wanted to do at this year's telethon was to sing his trademark song at the conclusion, the one about finding hope in your heart.

It seems but a sour substitute to know that just a few days following Labor Day, many Americans will be tuning in to view President Barack Obama speak to the nation. He is supposed to be "singing" his own song of hope about boosting job growth and reinvigorating the American economy.

Look at it this way: The speech is bound to be funnier than even Lewis at the top of his game.

Think about it for a minute, and you'll realize there's only one policy avenue open to the president. He's going to have to announce initiatives that cost more government money. The man doesn't believe in cutting federal spending without raising taxes. So he can't very well offer any kind of job-creating tax cuts to businesses because that would create more federal debt. And Congress isn't going to allow him to raise taxes right now.

I'm not entirely sure why Obama blurted out that he'd soon have a new jobs program, only to put off the announcement of its details until after he finishes vacationing. That left his staff to scramble madly while he's away. They've doubtless been trying to fashion something made of smoke and mirrors, or something that just plain won't be acceptable to the public.


Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a former National Republican legislator of the year and author of Powerchicks: How Women Will Dominate America.
 
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