Political Humor

President Obama Makes Historic Visit to Ohio University

President Obama waves to Ohio University students on College Green in Athens, Ohio

In 1994, when I was a freshman at Ohio University, if you would have told me that someday I would stand on College Green while the black President of the United States congratulated the Ohio Bobcat football team on its 7-0 undefeated season, I would have said that there is no way in our lifetime we will ever see a 7-0 undefeated Ohio Bobcat football team. But it happened, and I was there, and it was pretty cool.

On Wednesday evening President Obama addressed thousands of Ohio University students and Athens residents in front of the pillars of Memorial Auditorium. He spoke for half an hour, and he acknowledged Ohio University directly at the top of the speech by praising Frank Solich’s AP Top 25 program, saying, “I heard your football team is fun to watch. They’re undefeated. They might win the MAC. They might go to the BCS.” Obama then took credit for pushing for a college football playoff system and said if it was up to his opponent, Mitt Romney, there wouldn’t even be college football; the only sport would be “The Hunger Games.”

OK, he didn’t really say that. But Obama did use his speech, which came less than 24 hours after their town hall meeting clash in New York, to repeatedly paint Romney as this guy:



Some advice for President Obama on His Visit to Athens, Ohio

Hi, President Obama. American citizen Joe Donatelli here. I heard you’re coming to Athens, Ohio to give a campaign speech at Ohio University. My wife and I are living here this semester, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you about Athens, from one non-college-student to another.

Athens, as you will discover when you fly in on Marine One, is a small city in Southeast Ohio. It is located along the Hocking River, which the Army Corps of Engineers moved four decades ago to 1.) Prevent the annual flooding that wreaked havoc on the campus  2.) Make space for an indoor recreational climbing wall. (I’m still not sure why anyone even came to school here before we got it.)

The rungs of the city are lined with residential houses, apartments, schools, businesses, churches and Beer Pong tables. Nature is on display here every fall with the changing of the leaves. A bike path provides an excellent view of surrounding area’s bucolic splendor, including the Hocking River, which occasionally contains water.

The pulse of Athens, though, is Court Street, which is known for its impressive 17:1 bar-to-Chipotle ratio. Court Street is one way, so make sure the motorcade is heading north or the Athens Police Department will be all over you. If you should decide to jaywalk (we all do — it’s a town of scofflaws, sir) then make sure you only look south, as looking both ways before crossing Court Street indicates to all passersby that you are freshman.

Should you decide to have lunch on Court Street, you will find that you have many options. Professors and townies tend to favor Jackie O’s, which serves craft beer and cheese plates, or Tony’s, a dive that has a drink called Hot Nuts, which Vice President Biden can probably tell you all about.

Last weekend was Homecoming, so my wife and a friend spent some time enjoying Athens’ Uptown (that’s what we call downtown Athens, and if you make reference to it in your stump speech by saying something like, “Mitt Romney, he wants to take our economy out-of-town. I want to take it Uptown!” then you can probably expect about 20 minutes of wild cheering and applause.) If I was you, I’d hit Lucky’s for cheese sticks (it’s a Steelers bar, so any photos taken there might resonate with Pennsylvania voters), The Union for a Schlitz (shore up the local working-class/hipster vote) and Casa Nueva for a sit-down meal. Now, I have to warn you, Casa is worker-owned, so the Republicans might use that against you, because it’s quasi-socialist. When they do, you are welcome to remind them, “Hey, they built that.”

College Green in Athens in the fall

Athens is best known around the state for its beautiful campus. Ohio University was founded here in 1804. The school has graduated successful politicians, business leaders, journalists and NFL punters. The Georgian architecture is consistent throughout most the campus, which is lined with trees and a squirrel population that, as long as it remains spread out over campus’s 2,000 acres, is in no way intimidating.

Baker Center, which is the student center, is the heart of Ohio University, and College Green, where you will speak, is its soul. College Green is used by students to walk to class, but is also popular for napping, eating, Frisbee, walking small dogs that you hope sophomore girls will notice, reading, photography and, of course, the Kissing Circle. Located near Chubb Hall (stop snickering, Mr. President) the Kissing Circle is a small space on College Green where any man used to be able to kiss any woman. (It was established before the advent of lawyers.)

Ohio’s rival is Miami. Paul Ryan went to school there. You know what to do with this information.

Normally I live in Los Angeles, which you visit often, so I understand how these presidential campaign stops work. You will probably only have time to arrive, shake hands with a few important locals and officials, give your speech and then take off for the big city (Chillicothe.) So if you only have time to do one thing in Athens before your speech, I would advise you to do this: buy a large burrito from The Burrito Buggy. It’s located right across the street from College Green.

You’re here to win votes. When Ohio University students go into the voting booth on November 6, they are going to have a choice: they can vote for Mitt Romney, a man whom America imagines eating a mayo-on-white-bread sandwich with water every day at lunch, or you, the guy who grabbed a burrito at The Burrito Buggy. Elections have been won and lost on stupider questions than, “Which candidate would I rather have an oversized burrito with?”

Good luck.

Enjoy your stay.

And remember to only look one way when (legally, wink-wink) crossing Court Street.

Joe Donatelli is a journalist who currently lives in Athens, Ohio. Follow him on Twitter @joedonatelli.

UPDATE: Getting messages from people who have seen cars and bikes going the wrong way down Court Street. I have never seen this, but I’ll take their word for it. Mr. President, please do look both ways. Or have your people look both ways for you.

More OU stories:

What a 2012 Ohio University football game looks like to someone who watched OU lose 5-0 to Utah State in 1994

The Worst College House Ever

The Junction: A Eulogy

Bobcat Fans Brave Tornado to Witness First Bowl Game Since 1968


Guy pees on hill behind President Obama…for freedom!

A man answers the call of nature on a hill behind President Obama

A man peed on a hill while President Obama gave a speech in Cincinnati. So…caption time!

Man, Obama voters are pissed.

Here is yet another leak from the Obama administration.

Hey, where’s Biden?

Time to redistribute that Mountain Dew!

No, he didn’t make that. Someone made that for him. No, wait, he definitely made that.

Someone get Joe the Plumber down here.

Hey, look, there’s a metaphor for our foreign policy over on that hill.

Call in the drones!

This man’s private sector is doing just fine.

Photo via Twitchy


Another great generic election column

Great minds really do think alike. On August 19 A. Barton Hinkle penned an intentionally boilerplate partisan election column entitled “The wrong side absolutely must not win.

It starts:

“The past several weeks have made one thing crystal-clear: Our country faces unmitigated disaster if the Other Side wins. No reasonably intelligent person can deny this. All you have to do is look at the way the Other Side has been running its campaign. Instead of focusing on the big issues that are important to the American People, it has fired a relentlessly negative barrage of distortions, misrepresentations and flat-out lies.”

Then on August 20 Ramesh Ponnuru wrote an intentionally boilerplate partisan election column titled, “I’m Right, You’re Wrong and Other Political Truths.”

After a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville, it starts:

“I can’t stand the people on your side. Not you, particularly. You’re fine. It’s your side that’s ruining everything great about this country. Your side lies shamelessly. Your leaders just make things up. And you just follow them blindly, like sheep — like blind sheep. You hang out with people who think just like you, and listen only to shows where you’ll hear your own views repeated. It’s an echo chamber of lies!”

Ponnuru called the timing “an odd coincidence,” which is what it appears to be.

Both pieces are good, and if you read them, you won’t have to read E.J. Dionne, Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, Charles Krauthammer or David Brooks between now and the election.

You’re very welcome.

Image via Jane Ballback



Every political election column ever: Ramesh Ponnuru’s ‘I’m Right, You’re Wrong and Other Political Truths’

Ramesh Ponnuru’s ‘I’m Right, You’re Wrong and Other Political Truths’ is what every partisan election column, Internet article comment and dumb Facebook post from both Democrats and Republicans sounds like to Americans who think the Republicans and Democrats should not be entrusted with any position more important than Detroit horseshoer.

Read it and you pretty much won’t have to read another word about the 2012 presidential election between now and November.

Thank you for this excellent piece of 2012 election humor, Ramesh Ponnuru.

More 2012 presidential election humor:

Finally, a political party for me

Democrats’ election spam tastes familiar

Rick Santorum’s email inbox



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