Friday, October 24, 2014

Invitation To A Tea Party

Recently, my wife told me to stop picking on the Tea Party. Frankly, I was taken aback that after six books and 1500 articles espousing my conservative beliefs, not to mention 29 years of marriage, I would be accused of attacking those with whom I tended to agree.

But Yvonne’s words gave me pause and made me think about it. I had to admit that on a couple of occasions I had admitted that I couldn’t stand listening to Sarah Palin’s voice, and that the recurring “You betchas” had begun wearing on me like an Alaskan water torture.

I had also taken Ted Cruz to task because his carefully engineered, but ill-timed, shutdown of the federal government, had allowed Clinton bagman Terry McAuliffe to defeat Republican Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia’s 2013 gubernatorial race. To be fair, Cruz wasn’t entirely responsible. If the Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis hadn’t sucked off roughly seven percent of the votes, Cuccinelli would today be ensconced in the governor’s mansion.

But that hardly makes me an archenemy of the Tea Party. From my perspective, the major problem with it is that it is composed in great part of true believers who are unwilling to settle for half a loaf when in most parts of America the only choice is between half a loaf or no bread at all. In all but a small handful of states, a real conservative couldn’t be elected dog catcher if that job were ever made an elective office.

From the email I receive from the Tea Party faithful, it seems to me that they despise those they dismiss as RINOs ( Republicans in Name Only), far more than they do Democrats. By doing so, they ignore the fact that America is not a conservative nation, much as some of us might wish it were. Outside of places like Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah, people like John Cornyn, Trey Gowdy, Mike Lee, Jason Chaffetz and Ted Cruz, couldn’t even win a GOP primary. An unfortunate fact of life is that geography generally determines which politicians are electable, but it’s an unpleasant fact that the Tea Party faithful often choose to ignore.

I know that a lot of Tea Partiers didn’t care for Scott Brown when he was the senator from Massachusetts and aren’t rooting for him to trounce Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire next month. But the fact remains that in New England, only a moderate Republican has even the slightest chance of winning a statewide election. Do they really prefer to have Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren in the Senate?

In other words, the Tea Party motto seems to be “All or Nothing” when it should be “51 or Bust.” Any number less than 51 means that Harry Reid retains total control of the Senate and means that if there’s an opening or two on the Supreme Court over the next couple of years, there will be no way to stop someone like Eric Holder from joining his soul mates Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor on the bench.

So, as much as I love my wife, I will not accept her charge that I’m an enemy of the Tea Party. Inasmuch as I am not merely a conservative when it comes to the economy, but would eliminate or at least slash the funding of nearly every department and agency in Washington, including Energy, Education, Commerce, Labor, Health & Human Resources, and the EPA; would do away with federal funding of the arts; am opposed to same sex marriages, the current tax laws, abortion on demand and legalized drugs; but would expand capital punishment to include such crimes as rape, child molestation and computer hacking; and would erect a 25-foot high, 2000 mile wall, at our southern border; I am probably to the right of Attila the Hun, who for some reason or other seems to be the yardstick by which conservatives are measured.

What I mainly dislike about the Tea Party is the way they often ignore William F. Buckley’s wise counsel to vote for the most conservative candidate… who can win. In other words, feel free to support any Republican you like in the primary, but don’t then stay home sulking on Election Day if a more moderate candidate wins the nomination. Also, Karl Rove is not the enemy, Barack Obama is.

Keep in mind that these days any Republican is better than any Democrat because every Democrat would toss out James Madison’s Constitution and replace it with Saul Alinsky’s manifesto.

That doesn’t mean they don’t lie about their true nature. As we’ve seen this election season, Democrats who are forced to fight for their political lives will lie about being rubberstamps for Obama; that, in spite of voting for his policies 99% of the time and voting 100% of the time for ObamaCare, insist they have often parted company with the President and Harry Reid on issues vital to the nation.

Of course they lie, but they feel they’re lying in a good cause; namely, getting themselves re-elected so they can go back to Congress and reattach their lips to the President’s rump.

In conclusion, it’s not I who am at war with the Tea Party, but the Tea Party which, far too often, seems to be at war with the GOP. It’s okay to be sick and tired of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell just so long as you are still rational enough to recognize that they are preferable to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

There is nothing to prevent the Tea Party from going its own way, to cutting itself off from what it dismisses as the Republican establishment, which includes roughly 80% of the registered Republicans in the nation. But if they do, they will end up playing the same spoiler role in American politics as the Libertarians, who can’t actually get anyone elected, but can occasionally garner enough votes to deny, for instance, Virginia’s governorship to a worthy Republican.

Let me just conclude my remarks by saying that I think the Tea Party serves a good purpose in that it encourages Republican candidates to be as conservative as they can be without serving themselves up as martyrs to the cause. But they should also keep in mind what I say to all minority groups – be they racial, religious or political – you have every right to be heard, but you are not entitled to have the final word.

It is always and should always be the dog that wags the tail, and not the other way around.

©2014 Burt Prelutsky. Comments?


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Ice Buckets & Oracles" and "Christmas Might Come Early"

Let me confess that, aside from donating time or money, I rarely understand the odd things done on behalf of charities. For instance, even decades ago when I was an advertising copywriter, my fellow workers would often ask me to donate money based on how far they walked or ran on the weekend. I understood the part about donating, but I couldn’t fathom why the distance they covered should have anything to do with the amount.

These days, a great many people are allowing themselves to be doused with a large bucket of ice water as a way to help finance one cause or another. Although I admit to experiencing a certain joie de vivre each and every time I see some left-wing show biz celebrity being given an ice bath, I fail to see the connection to charity.

Am I to assume that some people have added being assaulted with ice cubes to such bucket list items as enjoying the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower, wind-surfing in Hawaii and helping the Obamas pack up and move out of the White House?

That reminds me that I have some good news to pass along. It seems that two Hawaiian councilmen decided to name a local beach in Barack Obama’s honor, but backed down in the face of public outrage. So it seems that contrary to the popular notion that everyone in Hawaii is a stoned, leftist, slacker, there are still some stoned slackers who haven’t entirely lost their minds in the Aloha State.

One poor soul who must still be addicted to marijuana, even if he may have kicked the nicotine habit, is Obama. How else to explain that in an election year when every Democratic candidate is trying his or her best to distance themselves from the White House, he decides to sabotage their campaigns by announcing, “I’m not on the ballot this time, but my policies are”? What’s next? Will he begin funneling the loot he collects at his endless fund-raisers to the Republican National Committee?

Moving on, I have never understood the objection many people have to capital punishment. I mean, assuming that they themselves are not residing on Death Row, why would anyone object to justice being meted out to cold-blooded killers?

I know that some folks claim that the state should not be engaged in the taking of life. To me, that means they’re so morally dysfunctional that they equate the taking of an innocent life with the taking of a guilty one.

In order to be consistent, would these self-righteous schmucks also object to executing the jihadists beheading Americans, Brits and Kurds, over in Iraq? If not, why not? And if so, what difference does it make to them where the butchery takes place, and what possible reason can they have for punishing murderers in the Middle East more harshly than murderers in, say, the Midwest?

Something else I can’t figure out is why it’s expected to take an entire year to train the Free Syrian Army so they can fight ISIL on our behalf. After all, these are the very same people who have been doing a decent job of fighting Assad’s far more formidable army for the past three years!

Finally, when I ridicule Warren Buffet, it’s not because I’m envious of his enormous wealth. The truth is I would like to be a little richer than I am, but not as rich as Buffet. For one thing, I would never want to devote that much of my life to the accumulation of money. For another thing, I would never want to be 84 years old and have to spend so much time keeping track of it and making sure nobody is stealing it while I’m distracted, busy sleeping or having a tuna fish sandwich.

But when the so-called “Oracle of Omaha” states that Hillary Clinton will win in 2016, I find myself wondering why anyone takes him seriously. I have no problem with his making a prediction, even one with which I happen to disagree. The problem is because he’s very wealthy, a great many people actually think he knows what he’s talking about. It even explains why he’s called the Oracle of Omaha, instead of the Rich Old Coot from Nebraska.

It will obviously come as a thunder bolt to some, but being rich only means that some individuals have the knack for making money, just as some have an ear for music and others have a knack for wiggling their ears.

Bill Gates knows a lot about computers, Donald Trump knows a lot about real estate and Ted Turner knows a lot about sailboats and bourbon, but grown-ups are being childish when they take them seriously when they prattle on about matters outside their expertise. It’s like those young dopes who take to heart every dire warning uttered by Matt Damon about global warming or accept as gospel the nonsense Sean Penn spews forth on the evils of capitalism.

In short, rich people know how to make money in the same way that beavers know how to build dams.
But only a schnook would ask a beaver to predict the outcome of a presidential election or refer to one as an oracle.


I understand that many conservatives have come to believe that there is no difference between the two major parties. Some of them even stayed home on Election Day in 2012 and bragged about it to me, as if their refusal to vote for Mitt Romney, thus making it easier for Obama to win a second term, somehow reflected well on them.

If the GOP wins back the Senate and banishes Harry Reid from his current position as the second most powerful politician in Washington, I swear I wouldn’t ask Santa for anything more.

I believe that so many people have repeated the lie about Republican politicians being indistinguishable from Democrats that a lot of people who should know better have swallowed the bilge. One party voted 100% for the Affordable Care Act, the other party opposed it. One party has tried to sweep every scandal from Operation Fast & Furious to Benghazi and the IRS under the carpet, while the other party has tried to get to the bottom of them because, contrary to Hillary’s self-serving lie, the truth always makes a difference. And a lie that is repeated a thousand times isn’t magically transformed into the truth, even though demagogues and those involved in advertising might wish it were otherwise.

More than one person has written to me with the expectation that even if the GOP only gains five Senate seats in the midterm elections, there is a good chance that Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia might agree to switch his party affiliation, especially if he were to be promised an important committee chairmanship.

My advice to Sen. Manchin is that he should make the switch before Nov. 4th. After all, the GOP stands a very good chance of winning the Senate without him. In which case, he loses his bargaining power and merely looks like the worst sort of political opportunist, sort of like that weasel Jim Jeffords, who switched in the other direction and was thereafter regarded with contempt by those on both sides of the aisle.
Speaking of weasels, no politician should ever have his name attached to anything – be it a bridge, a highway or a post office – unless he personally built it or paid for it. The only exception is his tombstone.

In what has come to be known as American diplomacy, Joe Biden just announced that we are giving Gaza an additional $212 million to help them rebuild everything the Israelis knocked down in retaliation for unending missile attacks. The truth is that most of the money will be spent, not on apartment houses, but to construct new tunnels and buy more Katyushas. So, once again, this administration tries, like so many past ones, to buy the friendship of terrorists. It’s bad enough that it adds to our national debt, but the practice also adds to our national shame.
Interestingly enough, those who have campaigned to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day believe that the white race has a great deal to be ashamed of when it comes to the way that Indigenous People, otherwise known as Indians, have been treated in this country.

According to the lunkheads, the natives were a kind and peaceful people who lived on loving terms with Mother Nature until Caucasians landed on Plymouth Rock. When you realize that all the tribes were basically Stone Age savages who would inevitably have been overtaken by the modern world, it makes you wonder if these dunces also believe that the blacks in Africa were residing in the Garden of Eden until the Europeans came along.

At least Columbus Day pays tribute to a superb seaman and reminds people to visit an Italian restaurant in the near future. What would a celebration of the Indigenous People look like? Inasmuch as they were notorious for scalping their enemies and devouring their internal organs, I’m sure the menu would leave something to be desired.

As for their creative heritage, when you get past blankets, trinkets, totem poles and wickiups, it hardly measures up to that of the European transplants whose heritage, even in the 1600s, already included Butler, Milton, Moliere, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Velasquez, Donne, Cervantes, Purcell, Bach and Shakespeare. Of course not everyone would agree with me. I’m sure that those whose religion is multiculturalism, and whose devotion to political correctness forever dooms them to be fatuous lunkheads, prefer cave paintings to Rembrandt.

Speak of the Devil, have you heard that in Nebraska, school kids are being told to call each other Purple Penguins because terms such as “boys” and “girls” might be offensive to transgendered eight year olds? It’s all part of an agenda prepared by an organization calling itself Gender Spectrum, which seeks to make bathrooms accessible to one and all, no matter the nature of the individual’s plumbing. Funny, one used to be able to assume a certain level of commonsense from Midwesterners, but that was before the Purple Penguin crowd moved in and took control of school boards and city councils, forcing normal people to park their brains at the curb.

But the lunacy unfortunately isn’t limited to Nebraska, Iowa or any of those other flat rectangular states. In Washington, D.C., the resident space aliens refuse to stop incoming flights from West Africa, even though France and England have done so in an attempt to keep Ebola from taking root in their countries. The only reason we don’t follow suit is because most of those flights are carrying black passengers, and no politician wants to risk being labeled racist, even though their cowardice might lead to an epidemic of terrifying proportions.

By deciding not to rule on the constitutionality of same-sex marriages, the Supreme Court allowed lower court rulings to stand, thus pretty much making it the law of the land.

In just about every state that has placed the issue on the ballot, the people have voted against it. Nevertheless, we’re told that polls indicate that Americans have changed their minds. That may well be true. But I’d hate to think that most Americans don’t share my objection to unelected federal judges assuming the authority to override the laws of Congress and the stated will of the people, which in 1996 led the House and Senate to overwhelmingly enact the Defense of Marriage Act.

We appear to be trying very hard to turn ourselves into a Third World nation brimming over with indigenous knuckleheads of the sort who lack the most basic skills and have to import even our blankets and cheap trinkets from China.
I’m beginning to think I may have been a tad too hasty when I hopped off Santa’s lap.

©2014 Burt Prelutsky. Comments?