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Han’s off

BY BEAU ELLIOT | APRIL 21, 2009 7:30 AM

I happened to run into Sean Hannity the other day, and after helping him up and dusting him off — and apologizing for unexpectedly veering to the right — we went off to have a beer and a nice time exchanging tales of our Irish lineages and other bits of blarney. (I, for instance, claimed to be descended from a long line of noble Irish horse thieves. Hannity, being the generous sort that he is, said he could tell.)

Well, OK — it didn’t exactly happen that way. In fact, if I’m being honest, I’d be forced to tell you that all I did was turn on the radio, and, through the mysterious magic of electrons or something, Sean Hannity popped up in my kitchen. (Well, OK — his voice did. This honesty is a tough taskmaster.)

Imagine my surprise.

Turns out the previous day, I had listened to the Cubs’ on the local radio station that carries the Cubs and hadn’t changed the radio back to NPR, which is where it lives most of its waking hours. So instead of sonorous coolness of the BBC, I got Sean the Han.

And the Han was quite interesting. I learned, for instance, that President Obama doesn’t like the American people, that he apologizes to America’s enemies, and that he cut the Defense budget.

I had no idea.

Of course, I had no idea because all those items exist only in Hannity’s brain, such as it is.

I mean, Obama doesn’t like the American people? A majority of those Americans who voted in 2008 voted for him. His approval ratings in the polls remain quite high. What’s not to like about the American people? — they seem to like him. As a general rule, people tend to like those who like them; why would the Han think that Obama would be any different?

And I don’t recall Obama apologizing to any of our enemies. Al Qaeda? Nope. North Korea (assuming North Korea is, indeed, an enemy and not just an annoying mosquito)? Nope.

True, Obama made nicey-nice with the British and the French and the Germans, but only a paranoid nut would consider the British and the French and the Germans to be enemies. Sheesh — I married a German. Am I guilty of fraternization? How did we suddenly wind up in 1943 Europe? Via a Monty Python skit?

And that bit about Obama cutting the Defense budget? That’s as much of a whopper as me and the noble Irish horse thieves. Obama’s proposed budget calls for a 4 percent increase in Defense spending. (You’ll note that Congress will actually set the budget.)

As Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” (our foremost political reporter) pointed out recently, what planet do you live on where a 4 percent increase is described as a budget slash?

Well, if women come from Venus and men come from Mars, as a popular work of fiction once posited, then Hannity obviously comes from Pluto.

But Pluto isn’t a planet anymore, you say. Hmm — that might be the point.

This, of course, is not the first time the Han has meandered into a parallel universe in which the Sun rises in the West. On April 9, as Media Matters for America notes, Hannity contended that Obama’s “tax plan is the antithesis of the Reagan economic model, which led us to 21 million new jobs, the longest period of peacetime economic growth in history, and the doubling of revenues to the government.”

Um, no. Reaganomics, as it was once known, created 16 million jobs during Reagan’s two terms. Federal revenue did not double, it increased 15 percent. And “the longest period of peacetime economic growth in history”? The National Bureau of Economic Research points out that occurred from March 1991 to March 2001 — and during most of that time, Bill Clinton was president.

Doesn’t Hannity get tired of being right all the time?

Oh, well. It was an interesting afternoon in my kitchen. Especially when a random girl passing through asked me, Say, did you notice that the Sun rose in the West this morning?


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