It’s Lou Holtz’s time of year. With college football kicking off, the former head coach — whose 1988 Notre Dame squad captured the mythical national championship – will be at his usual ESPN perch, offering sometimes whimiscal, sometimes combative views on various teams.
Holtz, 76, doubles as a motivational speaker, and he’s especially popular among Republican-leaning crowds. He also apparently favors red-meat rhetoric – according to what House Speaker John Boehner had to say earlier this week in Idaho, Holtz views President Barack Obama as a “communist.”
Boehner, an Ohio Republican, previously has recounted how he has found himself in the odd position of having to buck up the usually upbeat Holtz since Obama won re-election last November.
In a speech to the Ripon Society, a Washington-based Republican think tank, on Jan. 22 — the day after Obama took the public oath for his second term — a chortling Boehner related: “Last night, I got a three-page text from my good friend Lou Holtz, who must have watched the inaugural and then all that blabber on TV…: `I’m done, finished, the country’s over with — we’re not doing this again!’ Now, I had already had this conversation with Lou about nine or ten days after the election. He came in to speak to our 34 new members. And before he went over to talk to them, he came over to my office, and he was moaning and groaning. I said, `Lou, would you stop it? We’re Americans, we’ll figure this out!’ And I had to spend 15 minutes giving Lou Holtz a pep talk! I had to do it again last night!”
It’s a story Boehner clearly relishes telling. The Idaho Statesman reported that he repeated the gist of it as he made an Aug. 26 political stop in Boise. What was new, though, was Boehner’s recollection of the label Holtz applied to Obama.
From the paper’s story: “Imitating Holtz’s signature rasp, Boehner quoted him: `Our country’s going to hell in a hand basket. Obama got elected again. He’s a communist. What the hell’s gonna happen?”’
Boehner reiterated that he stressed the positive to Holtz, though apparently he didn’t offer a definition of communism that might have calmed the coach’s nerves. We consulted the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, and found this:
A) a theory advocating elimination of private property.
B) a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed.
Last time we checked, Obama’s agenda didn’t include those tenets.
Presumably, Holtz has a firmer grasp of gridiron terminology than political ones.