Getting Down to Brass Tacks

As usual, I did not make any noble-sounding New Year’s resolutions. I am a realist who knows his limitations. Like the fellow who resolves to gain weight or read even less in the ensuing 12 months, I know who I am and where my good intentions are likely to lead. The best I can do is promise to keep needling liberals. That is my calling and my pleasure.

When, after the midterm elections, Obama resolved to work hand-in-hand with Republicans, I had to laugh. For two years, he showed nothing but contempt for those on the right side of the aisle. Now that the GOP controls the House and the nation’s purse strings, his sudden attempt to appear reasonable is a classic case of necessity being the mother of re-invention.

This is, let us not forget, the same boorish oaf who hosted a so-called bi-partisan summit at the White House, but as soon as Sen. McCain opened his mouth, the President glowered at him and then, sounding like the most churlish authority figure since Nurse Ratchet, barked, “The election’s over, John!”

Obama has all the graciousness of a polecat. If he had his way, he would facilitate the travel plans for every Republican in Washington by riding them out of town on a rail.

One thing you have to say about Obama is that he’s consistent. Even after all this time, he continues to blame George Bush for everything wrong with America, up to and including his Teleprompter malfunctioning. The thing is, if he didn’t want to inherit any of the problems that beset his predecessor, a privilege denied to all except George Washington, he could have easily written himself out of the will. I have it on good authority that Hillary Clinton would have been happy to relieve him of the burden. What’s more, she still is.

The fact of the matter is that it’s not just Obama who tries to employ obfuscation in order to conceal his actual motives. For instance, Osama bin Laden never gave a moment’s notice to the Palestinians until late in the game. It was only after he realized how well it would play in the streets of Cairo, Baghdad and Teheran, that he thought to add their absurd demands to his own primary objective, which was to remove the United States first from the Middle East and, ultimately, from the face of the earth.

Another example of disguised motives took place during the Vietnam War when thousands of young leftists who had never even heard of Mahatma Gandhi suddenly turned into ardent pacifists. All it took was the thought of having to take orders from NCOs who didn’t see their role in life babysitting spoiled young punks who were accustomed to having their every whim catered to by mommy and daddy.

Honest Abe

Also, by pretending that they objected to the War on moral grounds, they looked far sexier to coeds, who were equally shallow and clueless, than if they’d admitted that their overriding concerns were getting laid, getting stoned and remaining a civilian.

Heck, even Abe Lincoln knew how to best play the hand fate dealt him. While it’s true that he was personally anti-slavery, he cared far more about preserving the Union. It’s true that in 1841, as a lawyer, he had argued the case of a freed black woman who was resisting being sold back into bondage. On the other hand, in 1847, he fought just as hard while representing a slave owner who was demanding the return of runaway slaves. There’s a lawyer for you.

Some people are under the impression that, one, Lincoln kicked off the Civil War by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation and, two, that he thereby freed all the slaves. Actually, the Emancipation came along two years into the War, in 1863, and it only emancipated the slaves held in the states of the Confederacy. It did not include the 800,000 residing in the Border States of Missouri, Maryland, Kentucky, West Virginia and Delaware. It also didn’t free those living in Tennessee, the city of New Orleans or 13 other parishes in Louisiana. In fact, Lincoln regularly over-ruled Union generals who took it upon themselves to liberate slaves following those battles fought and won in the excluded territories.

It was to preserve the Union, not to free Uncle Tom or anyone else, that the Great Emancipator waged a war in which 10% of Northern males, ages 20-45, and 30% of Southern males, ages 18-40, were killed. One can argue the merits and historical importance of the four-year blood bath, but facts are facts.

This isn’t meant to slander Lincoln, but only to suggest that we shouldn’t be too quick to swallow undiluted hogwash. Perhaps preserving the Union was worth the deaths of over 600,000 Americans, but Lincoln was merely a lawyer and a politician. He was not a god and we’d be wise not to regard him or any other public official as the hero of some absurd fairy tale. Which is exactly what we’ve done with Lincoln, FDR, Kennedy and now Obama. We’ve taken mere mortals and turned them into the stuff of legends.

In Obama’s case, we took a community organizer — which, translated, meant a left-wing activist with political ambitions — whose baggage included questionable beliefs, repulsive associates and a totally undocumented background, and we carried on as if he were the Second Coming. We heard his empty slogans and we swooned as if they were rife with profound truths. As orchestrated by the media pimps, we gushed over his platitudes as if his self-serving orations were the equivalent of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. All over America, atheists saw Obama and found religion.

We were, as many of us have discovered over the past couple of years, royally hoodwinked, and we have only ourselves to blame for it. Used car dealers watched Obama pull off the scam and could only shake their heads and marvel as his audacity. Why, they wondered, did nobody ever kick his tires?

How much longer are we going to carry on like children where politicians are concerned? There are, when you get right down to it, only two kinds — those who vote the way we like and those who don’t.

They are not heroic or self-sacrificial. They are quite the opposite. By and large, they’re not even terribly bright.

In fact, they remind me of those processionary caterpillars I wrote about recently. The major difference between the two species is that whereas the caterpillars follow one another endlessly with their little furry heads stuck up one another’s fanny, politicians have theirs stuck up their own.

©2011 Burt Prelutsky

Write to: BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.
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Author Bio:

Burt Prelutsky, a very nice person once you get to know him, has been a humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine. As a freelancer, he has written for the New York Times, Washington Times, TV Guide, Modern Maturity, Emmy, Holiday, American Film, and Sports Illustrated. For television, he has written for Dragnet, McMillan & Wife, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Bob Newhart, Family Ties, Dr. Quinn and Diagnosis Murder. In addition, he has written a batch of terrific TV movies. View Burt’s IMDB profile. Talk about being well-rounded, he plays tennis and poker... and rarely cheats at either. He lives in the San Fernando Valley, where he takes his marching orders from a wife named Yvonne and a dog named Angel.
Author website: http://www.burtprelutsky.com/
  • http://happyharry Harold Jaffe

    Great article Burt. Be patient for 2012