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Paul Hayden

Et tu, Andy?

August 9, 2010

Not many sitcoms make it to half a century in reruns. I Love Lucy, Leave it to Beaver and just a few others. It is a short list, indeed. Perhaps newer "classics" like M*A*S*H, WKRP in Cincinnati, Newhart, Seinfeld or Everybody Loves Raymond will eventually make it that far on TV Land or TBS or some other cable channel, but right now the list of shows still running after fifty years can be counted on one hand. The Andy Griffith Show is one of those programs. From 1960 to 1968, this program provided some of the most wholesome entertainment ever delivered to the American public.

As everyone who has channel-surfed during these last fifty years knows, actor Andy Griffith starred as Andy Taylor, the good-natured sheriff of the imaginary southern town of Mayberry. A youngish widower, Andy did his best to raise his precocious son, Opie, with the help of his ever-hovering Aunt Bea. Providing comic relief were Gomer Pyle, Floyd the barber and everyone's favorite bumbling deputy, Barney Fife, who became one of the most enduring characters ever to warm the hearts of the Baby Boom Generation.

Andy Griffith had spent most of the 1950s as a stage and movie actor before trying his hand at television. The Mayberry scenario came about as a spin-off from an episode of Danny Thomas's old Make Room for Daddy show. If memory serves, city-boy Thomas gets stopped for a traffic infraction on his way through the "hick town" of Mayberry and has the dubious pleasure of ending up in Andy Taylor's jail. The public loved the episode so much The Andy Griffith Show was born.

In the entire history of television, there have been only three sitcoms finish their final season as the number one most watched program on TV: Seinfeld, I Love Lucy and The Andy Griffith Show.

For those of us who grew up watching Andy teach Opie the solid values of independence and family structure that are the unique backbone of American strength, and who have continued to think fondly of Andy Griffith as he aged gracefully into the dear old grandpa who would never waver in the important things, it is a bitter disappointment to see this man, now 84, being conned into selling out to the lies of the Obama administration.

I refer to the new ad campaign, paid for by our tax dollars, selling senior citizens on Obamacare. In the spot, Griffith intones reassuringly, as only he can, that "good things are coming," for seniors, including free check-ups and cheap prescription drugs.

Yes, Andy, and so is health care rationing, which will mean a death sentence for many of your fellow seniors. Barack Obama is doing everything in his power to make sure of that, including his latest bit of treachery: he has nominated as the new head of Medicare and Medicaid (in a recess appointment to avoid congressional scrutiny) Dr. Donald Berwick, a health care bureaucrat who has praised rationing and who adores the British National Health System. (This, despite the fact that the Brits have announced that they intend to privatize portions of their failed system.)

I have few doubts that Andy Griffith has been unduly influenced by his old cast mate and on-screen son, Ron Howard, now a successful Hollywood director who nonetheless has about as much understanding of the world of public policy as the rest of the leftist pinheads in Lalaland. During the 2008 campaign, Howard reportedly convinced Griffith to do a tongue-in-cheek campaign spot reprising their father-son roles as Andy and Opie. In the spot, Opie asks "pa" why people don't like Mr. Obama. It was a pathetic misuse of both men's talent.

Polls show that the senior citizens whom we revere as "the Greatest Generation" are the most skeptical about Obamacare and rightly so. After all, Obama and his toadies in Congress have scheduled half a trillion dollars to be stolen from their Medicare benefits in order to finance this scheme. How sad that an admired American icon, who once stood for all that was good and innocent about America, should be convinced, knowingly or not, to be used as a mouthpiece for government propaganda.

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Copyright ©2010 Doug Patton

Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself more often than not. His weekly columns are syndicated by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Readers are encouraged to email him at dpatton@cagle.comand/or to follow him on Twitter at @Doug_Patton.