Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A FEW POLITICAL FACTS OF LIFE

by BurtPrelutsky

In presidential election years, everyone turns into a seer, a reader of tea leaves. People in the prediction business dust off their crystal balls and in a single year, pollsters like Rasmussen, Luntz and Zogby, fund their children’s college educations.

The obvious reason that elections are so hard to handicap is that unforeseen things happen. Wars break out, old girl friends come out of the woodwork, housing bubbles burst. A lot of people now forget, but in September of 2008, John McCain led Barack Obama in the polls.

To me, the amazing thing is that Republican candidates remain competitive. When you realize that as far back as a hundred years ago, progressives such as Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt were gaming the system, it’s a miracle that Republican presidents have been elected as often as they have. When you factor in the number of people who, thanks to FDR and LBJ, have been made dependents of the federal government, it’s a wonder that the GOP hasn’t been turned into a minor entity on the order of the Libertarian Party.

On top of all that, you have teachers and professors who have devoted their lives to convincing their young charges that people like Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and Hugo Chavez, are heroes, while the likes of George Washington, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, were nothing better than slave owners. Compounding their mischief has been a media so corrupt that the only news they can be trusted to report honestly are sports scores and yesterday’s weather.

The late Ben Hecht, playwright, screenwriter and newspaper reporter, once observed, “Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell time by watching the second hand of a clock.”

Mark Twain was even more cynical in his analysis, declaring that people who didn’t read newspapers were uninformed, whereas those who read them were misinformed. And back when those guys were “ink-stained wretches,” as reporters were affectionately labeled, newspapers were far better than they are today, if only because guys like Hecht and Twain were writing for them.

Lest anyone think that I don’t pay any attention to polls, let me assure you that I pay so much attention they have lost the ability to fool me. For instance, we keep seeing polls that indicate that Obama is running far ahead of Santorum, Gingrich, Romney and Paul, in head-to-head match-ups. That is intended to take the wind out of Republican sails, but it shouldn’t. For one thing, they tend to show Obama leading, say, Romney 48%-43% or Santorum 47% to 41%. But Obama’s actual opponent hasn’t yet been nominated. The GOP primaries are still pitting four guys against each other, so that Republicans haven’t yet had a chance to accept the fact that their favorite didn’t cop the trophy. Until that happens, they can’t possibly coalesce behind the party’s eventual standard bearer. Keep in mind that it wasn’t until June, 2008, that the Democrats finally saw Obama emerge victorious from his year-long cat fight with Mrs. Clinton.

The other reason that liberals can’t take too much satisfaction from these numbers is that when an incumbent isn’t scoring well over 50% in a head-to-head poll, the chances are he won’t win re-election. After all, he’s the known quantity. He’s the guy with an actual record to run on. But when your record includes Cash for Clunkers; a trillion dollar Stimulus that didn’t stimulate anything but the Federal Reserve printing presses; the universally dreaded ObamaCare; billions of tax dollars funneled to green energy companies that proceeded to go bankrupt; a Department of Justice that sold guns to Mexican gangsters, but refused to indict black thugs who intimidated white voters; that placed a couple of left-wing dingbats like Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court; that took a $10 trillion deficit and ran it up to $16 trillion in three short years; your only recourse is to cynically divide Americans and run a Hugo Chavez style campaign.

It’s one thing, after all, to try to keep your job. In this economy, most Americans can empathize with someone trying to do that. But when you’re in the Oval Office and you turn on the TV and see Greece going up in flames, the inevitable result of a country living beyond its means, and you decide that’s going to continue to be your economic role model, the best that can be said about you is that you’re stubborn, ignorant and irresponsible.

Normally that would be bad enough to warrant your eviction from the White House. However, when you decide that the best way to go about getting re-elected is by pitting Americans against each other on the basis of race, class and religion, cynically turning this noble nation into a banana republic, you go from being just another Chicago hack with a leftwing agenda to joining the putrid ranks of demagogues and dictators.

©2012 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com!
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