Sunday, March 22, 2009

Madoff And Obama: Partners In Crime

by Burt Prelutsky

First, let me make it clear that I despise Bernard Madoff and wanted to see him fry. Still, I must confess that when I first heard that they were sending this elderly rat to jail for a hundred years, it struck me as absurd. But if it’s true that the good die young, I suppose it’s possible that Madoff just might walk out of prison a free man in 2109.

On the other hand, I kept asking myself why anyone would invest with this schmuck. When I was a kid, I used to watch a TV show called “Racket Squad.” Every week they would dramatize a different con game. (Obviously, while young Burt was just sitting home watching, young Bernie was busily taking notes.) As varied as the cons were, the moral was always the same. As the show’s narrator, Reed Hadley, patiently pointed out week after week, if something sounds too good to be true, turn around and run, don’t walk.

The con artist doesn’t use a gun, he merely appeals to people’s greed and the innate human desire to get something for nothing. So, while Obama’s adoring fans want their mortgages, their health care and their college tuition paid for by other people, so Madoff’s suckers wanted to gobble up preposterous profits on their investments. The money aside, I’m certain, knowing human nature, that it fed their insatiable egos to be able to boast to envious friends and associates how much better they were doing than the sluggards with their boring treasury bills and money market accounts. I guess some of us weren’t paying attention to Reed Hadley.

Never having met Mr. Madoff, I don’t know how much he lied and how much he merely left to the investor’s overwrought imagination. But I suspect that he didn’t tell as many fibs during his entire criminal career than President Obama rattles off before lunch.

For instance, didn’t he tell us that Joe Biden was going to be in charge of overseeing the so-called stimulus package? I could swear I heard it. I even recall waiting for the punch line, but it never came. Perhaps the TelePrompter malfunctioned and the president simply said the first name that popped into his head.

It now turns out that Earl V. Devaney will be Chairman of the Recovery Act Transparency Accountability Board. And wouldn’t you love to be the person who answers their phone and has to say that three or four hundred times a day?

I suppose Biden could always make himself useful by getting coffee and Danish for Devaney and the members of the Board or perhaps he could make better use of his vast experience by simply telling them the best places to go for teeth whitening and hair plugs.

To give Obama his due, he did carefully select his appointees, making certain that most of them owed back taxes. He even got Tom Daschle to pay up before letting him slink back to South Dakota. Unfortunately, the tax money only came to a few hundred thousand dollars, not close to the two trillion Obama had in mind. Alas, he had a backup plan to make up the difference.

A lot of people, including Alan Keyes, keep insisting that Obama was born in Kenya and is therefore not, according to the Constitution, legally entitled to be president. For several months, people have been saying that nobody has laid eyes on his actual birth certificate. Some folks have even suggested that state officials in Hawaii, a place only slightly less left-wing than San Francisco, have lied about the existence of the elusive document.

But I say, “Bosh!” I say, “Piffle!” Conservatives, a notorious bunch of nitpickers, are always asking for proof of one thing or another. One day, it’s John Kerry’s military records; the next, it’s Al Gore’s credentials as a meteorologist; and now it’s this damn birth certificate. What’s the big deal? I say, as Obama very well might, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

Besides, as the mighty media keeps telling us, Barack Obama is more than just another corrupt Chicago politician; he’s royalty.

And the way I remember all those swashbuckling movies of my childhood, kings and princes never had to show no stinking birth certificates. Instead, I say, he should just flash us the royal birthmark, and be done with it!