Had you been standing nearby and armed with a feather you could have easily knocked us over when we read President Barack Obama’s claim that he shoots skeet “all the time.”
What we know of the activity seems so startlingly incongruous with what we know of the president’s personality, after all. Old movies indicate that skeet shooting can be an upper-crusty pastime, and is even a favorite sport of super-rich arch-villains, but out here on the prairie we associate it with that bitterly gun-and-God-clinging segment of the rural working class commonly known as the good ol’ boy. This is not to imply that Obama isn’t good, old, or a boy, but he does seem to possess a certain metrosexuality that defies the description.
Our own experiences of skeet shooting date back to our boyhood days of hurtling “clay pigeons” for the old man, an erstwhile country boy who had retained a keen eye even after moving to the suburbs and an executive office. He would occasionally haul us out to a remote field on the outskirts of Wichita, now the site of a gargantuan Home Depot store, and have us wear out our arm flinging disks from a primitive spring-loaded device as he knocked down one after another. The old man tried his best to impart the skill to the next generation, but we had no knack for it, and we sadly confess that if the country is ever invaded by skeet we will contribute little to the national defense. We did gain an appreciation of the art, however, and try as we might we just can’t envision Obama shooting skeet.
Still, the story comes from The Telegraph, which is pugnaciously British and generally reliable. Lending further plausibility is the detail that Obama does his shooting while at Camp David, where a skeet shooting course has almost surely been installed by one or another of those past Republican presidents, presumably with one of those fancy-schmantzy machines that will spare the presidential daughters the onerous chore of hurtling the skeet, and we were also convinced by the lack of any extravagant claims about the president’s skill. The Telegraph’s correspondent slyly insinuates that Obama might merely be attempting to reassure gun-owners as he pushes an unprecedented gun control regime, but we would never be so cynical as to suggest such a thing.
Learning of Obama’s gun-toting exploits did get us to wondering what other unknown proclivities he’s been keeping private, however, so we consulted with a source close to the president. Those readers who are unaware of satire should be forewarned that our source is entirely fictional, and his information completely made up, but we felt his observations worth passing along nonetheless.
It turns out that the president is also partial to pickup trucks. “He has a special fondness for Ford F-150s,” our source said. “Get him out in one of those babies on a muddy road with a tree stump that needs pulling, and he’s a happy man.” The presidential pickup is apparently well stocked with cassette recordings of country-and-western music, as well. “Obama’s favorite is probably Buck Owens and his Buckeroos, especially from the era when Don Rich was adding that great high-lonesome harmony,” our source told us. “But he pretty much likes anything with that Bakersfield sound — Merle Haggard, Wynn Stewart, the Maddox Brothers and Rose, you name it. He’ll play Tommy Collins’ ‘Opal, You Asked Me’ over and over, and it always cracks him up. Says it reminds him of Michelle.”
Our source also reports that the White House chefs have been required to master the preparation of chicken fried steaks and fried okra, that a room near the Oval Office has been re-decorated as an exact replica of Elvis Presley’s jungle room at Graceland, and that Obama has complained to friends about Bill Clinton already laying claim to nickname “Bubba.” All those unwashed yokels in flyover country who didn’t vote for Obama should be reassured to know that he’s such a regular skeet-shooting kind of guy, but we suggest they take a long hard look at his gun control proposals anyway.
— Bud Norman