Make no mistake, Lou Dobbs has long credentials as a reporter. It's just that watching him has morphed from journalism into a video game, to see when his head will explode. And hope it happens before yours does.
Yet there is something to be said for being in the presence of a true artist. And that is why Lou Dobbs is the gift that keeps on giving.
On Tuesday, for instance, Mr. Dobbs pulled out of the hat one of his more virtuosic tirades against, of all things, St. Patrick's Day. Hey, anyone can rant against AIG. But it takes a maestro to have a diatribe against one of the world's most favorite fun holidays.
That's right! I'm against St. Patrick's Day. I'm against St. Columbus Day. St. Joseph's Day. I'm against all of those things. Is there, by the way, is there a Jewish, a Jewish ethnic holiday? Is there one? No? Okay. The Jews have disappointed me. I mean, is there a St. Mauritius? No? A Belize? I don't know...How about an Asian ethnic holiday? Is there one? You know, a St. Jin Tao Wow? Chinese New Year? All right, we can do that - I mean, what is with all of these ethnic holidays? I mean how about an American Day? How about "we're all the same" kind of day?
Come on, admit it. When it comes to bombast, this is the work of a Picasso. And just like that seigneur's finest abstract works, I don't have a clue what Lou Dobbs is actually railing about.
Since he's against ethnic holidays, why is Chinese New Year okay? And if celebrating holy Catholics are out, that should also include Christmas and Easter, right? (Question: if "St. Jin Tao Wow" isn't allowed, does that mean all fake holidays with funny-sounding Asian names to ridicule are verbotensplunked?)
By the way, one argument against "We're All the Same" American Day is that I'm not sure if I want to be considered the same as Lou Dobbs.
But mainly, what's most comforting about Lou Dobbs is his consistency:
For all those thinking that his whole Abolish St. Paddy's Day outrage is just the latest of Mr. Dobbs's screeds - nay, not so! Lou Dobbs has been on this creaky bandwagon for years. Indeed, hearing his rant reminded me of something I wrote a full three years ago! Just to show that you can count on Lou Dobbs, because the great ones come through every time, here is an edited-down version of what I wrote way back then.
Return with me to the land of Dobbysylvania. Where time and small minds stand still:
"But let's be clear. I don't think there should be a St. Patrick's Day."
Honest, Lou Dobbs actually did say it.
Here it is - in full - on CNN, March 28, 2006.
"I don't think that we should have any flag flying in this country except the flag of the United States. And let me tell you something else, since we're talking about double standards and I think you're right about people who would believe that.
"But let's be clear. I don't think there should be a St. Patrick's Day. I don't care who you are. I think we ought to be celebrating what is common about this country, what we enjoy as similarities as people."
Impressively, in full, it's even worse.
Being conflicted over illegal immigration is understandable. But St. Patrick's Day is hardly even about heritage: tens of millions are simply pretending to be Irish for the pure fun of it, or the chance to get a free beer.
To be fair, Lou Dobbs' concept of We Should Only Fly the U.S. Flag does sound incredibly patriotic - except it's not even fake-patriotic. (Before anyone in a patriotic state of mind leaps to argue, those with Confederate flags should put them away first, because the visual wouldn't work for you.)
The problem with celebrating "what is common about this country" is that what is common about this country is that we all came from someplace else. Except Native American Indians, of course.
(Quick question: can Native American Indians fly flags of their tribe? They were here first.)
Here's the reality. as patriotic as it might sound that only the American flag can be waved on U.S. soil, and that no Americans should ever celebrate your families' heritage - it's, in fact, petty, ill-conceived, arrogant, stupid, mean-spirited, thoughtless and contrary to everything America is about.
The lesson is simple: use punctuation correctly. Yes, Lou Dobbs said, "I don't think there should be a St. Patrick's Day." But all he had to do was add a period. "I don't think. There should be a St. Patrick's Day."
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go prepare for St. Jin Tao Wow Day. I have 30 people coming over and haven't even wrapped the presents yet.