There used to be a popular radio show, followed by an equally popular TV show, called “The Amateur Hour.” Singers, comedians and musicians, including even accordion players, would seek fame and fortune by competing on the show. These days, that notion has morphed into any number of similar shows, the most successful of which is “American Idol.”
What led me to think about all this is the realization that by the time the next president is inaugurated, Barack Obama will have held office for 2,922 days. (Don’t forget to count leap years before writing to question my math.) Or in other words, we will have suffered through the equivalent of 70,128 amateur hours.
In his book “Presidential Power,” Richard Neustadt wisely wrote: “The Presidency is no place for amateurs. It requires politicians of extraordinary temperament. That sort of experience can hardly be acquired without deep experience in political office. The Presidency is a place for men of politics. But by no means is it a place for every politician.”
I happen to agree with his analysis, which is why I opposed Herman Cain’s candidacy in 2012 and oppose Dr. Ben Carson’s today. Both men seem to be intelligent and decent fellows, and while I consider both qualities essential in a Chief Executive, I don’t see how that qualifies them to sit in the Oval Office. Heck, I’m intelligent and decent, and have devoted far more time to politics than either of them, and even I wouldn’t vote for me. Well, not unless I was the only thing standing between Hillary Clinton and a return trip to the White House.
In the same way, I tend not to support senators or congressmen. Their jobs don’t provide them with executive experience. What it does provide them with is a megaphone, so they are able to capture people’s attention.
For instance, I very much like Paul Ryan, but except for his expertise when it comes to budgetary matters and a very pleasant personality, I have no idea how he would govern. I am also taken with Trey Gowdy, and the way he cuts through the crapola when questioning the smarmy likes of IRS chief John Koskinen. But I can’t help feeling that the country might be better served if they either stayed where they are or were promoted to Cabinet positions as Secretary of the Treasury and Attorney General, respectively.
Speaking of the IRS, I always thought I had a great way to lessen the annual pain of writing a check to the Treasury. It would take advantage of people’s addiction to lotteries. Don’t you think that people would be somewhat more anxious to pay what they owe if the IRS instituted a lottery that would pay out a first prize of, say, a hundred times the amount you paid in? I would also have runner-up prizes that would return 75-1, 50-1, 25-1, 10-1 to a handful of lucky taxpayers, and perhaps a thousand additional payouts to those whose prize would be the return of their checks torn into several pieces.
Because the Senate Democrats who are up for re-election this November are understandably nervous, Obama has decided to hold off fines on those of us who haven’t signed up for ObamaCare by extending exemptions for anyone who has recently been evicted or faced foreclosure; received a utility shut-off notice; experienced a death in the family; experienced fire, flood or other disaster; had their hometown baseball team eliminated from the playoffs; lost their cat; suffered a case of hiccups lasting more than 15 seconds; or misplaced their eyeglasses. Okay, I made up a few of those, but I’ll leave it to you to figure out which ones.
Those of you who defend Putin’s takeover of Crimea and possible invasion of Ukraine simply because a lot of Ukrainians speak Russian should keep in mind that was Hitler’s rationale for invading Danzig and the Sudetenland and could serve to justify Mexico’s officially invading the American Southwest next week.
The obvious solution for those pigheaded Ukrainians who long to live under Putin’s KGB-bloodied thumb is to pack up their samovars and move to Russia.
While announcing a new day at the VA, Obama recently declared that “If you engage in an unethical practice, if you cover up a serious problem, you should be fired.” I then expected him to say, “That is why I have demanded that Lois Lerner return to Washington and answer every question Congress puts to her regarding the IRS’s unlawful targeting of Tea Party conservatives in 2012.” But, alas, I woke up before he had the chance.
In the musical “Finian’s Rainbow,” a bigoted U.S. senator is magically transformed into a black man. There are many times when I wish that those hypocrites who hate Israel, yet insist they’re not anti-Semites, but simply oppose Israeli policies, would wake up as the sons and daughters of Abraham.
I can’t help suspecting that if the likes of Penelope Cruz, Vanessa Redgrave, Javier Bardem, Emma Thompson, Russell Brand, Stevie Wonder, Rosie O’Donnell, Selena Gomez and Danny Glover, discovered they were Jewish, they wouldn’t be quite so quick to condemn Israel and to side with Islamic terrorists.
On the other hand, I am Jewish, but that doesn’t prevent me from being critical of Israel on occasion. For instance, I have no problem taking Israel to task for repeatedly going through the “peace process,” a long-running farce in which the Israelis are cast as fools whose role it is to sit across the table pretending to negotiate in good faith with people who have sworn to complete the job left half-finished by Hitler.
LIBERTARIANS + LIBERALS = LUNACY
I keep hearing that libertarian candidates are just about the only things standing between the GOP taking control of the Senate and Harry Reid’s continuing to run it as his own private fiefdom.
What is wrong with these people? Libertarians know they can’t possibly win any Senate seats and yet they don’t mind acting as spoilers on behalf of Obama and his leftist henchmen. Just how arrogant and self-absorbed can people be? Perhaps if he weren’t his father’s son, Rand Paul would consider speaking some sense to his base. Unfortunately, he of the eternal smirk appears to be almost as goofy as his old man.
Speaking of loons, a recent poll found that 74% of people think Obama isn’t tough enough with Putin, 6% think he’s too tough and 16% think he’s handling the pride of the KGB just right. Inasmuch as that only adds up to 96%, I can only assume that 4% of those polled had never heard of Putin or Obama. But it’s that pesky 6% that grabbed my attention. Obama has been too tough with Putin? Either those dopes think Putin is the name of Obama’s dog or I now know what percentage of the vote Rand Paul would receive if he managed to get on the ballot in 2016.
The other day, I heard a radio talk show host talking about all the ways that the middle class has it better now than, say, 40 years ago. I agreed with him when he mentioned medical and dental science, and certain technological advances, but then he pointed out that in 1965, only 6% of those in the middle class, had college degrees, while today that number is 35%. Inasmuch as he is a conservative commentator, I assumed he would qualify that statement. But he didn’t, so I will.
This is a time, after all, when many of those sheepskins are going to people who major in Black, Hispanic or Lesbian studies, and when a great many others are being handed out to teachers, who have been indoctrinated on leftist theology and will spend the rest of their lives regurgitating the claptrap to their young charges.
I mean, does anyone really want to make the case that most college degrees today are anything more than dolled-up high school diplomas? The main difference between them is that you can still graduate from high school without finding yourself a hundred grand in debt.
I keep hearing that Obama has played 200 rounds of golf since he moved into the White House, and that he’s constantly playing basketball on the court in the basement. But none of that comes close to the amount of exercise he’s had running victory laps since pulling the troops out of Iraq.
How many times have we had to listen to him brag about how peaceful and tranquil Iraq is, all thanks to him? It would, I believe, rival the number of stars in the heavens, grains of sand in the Sahara and perhaps even the number of fund-raisers he’s attended. Unfortunately, the only folks who apparently didn’t hear the good news are the butchers currently over-running Iraq and Syria, and who, if they have anything to say about it, will soon be appearing in your own neighborhood.
The Middle East has long been a cesspool, but now that beheadings have become commonplace and genocide is always just a day away, it’s worse than ever.
Still, we must find our laughs where we can. And fortunately, Obama, who is often good for a chuckle, has announced that it wasn’t his idea to remove our troops from Iraq. If I know anything about comedy and the rule of three, he will follow up that knee-slapper by telling us it’s not his idea to pull our troops out of Afghanistan at the end of the year, and have us rolling in the aisles with a punchline that suggests we can keep our doctors and our insurance plans if we’re happy with them.
Speaking of which, as bad as ObamaCare is, it will only get worse if a recent major survey is to be believed. It seems that a large percentage of doctors plan to take early retirement over the next few years for no other reason than that they have no wish to practice in a post-ObamaCare world. My own physician told me that his son, presently in medical school, has now decided to pursue a career in research, and will never treat a single patient.
Still, the Democrats continue to sing the praises of Obama’s Frankenstinian creation, choosing to ignore the ugly scars, the mumbled speech and those two handlebars sticking out of its head.
Someday, I swear, the liberals will outlaw logic and commonsense once and for all, and every conservative in America will end up in a gulag.
Finally, the other day, I watched a bunch of pigeons waddling around in a parking lot. Frankly, I found it unnerving how close they came to being run over. It struck me as totally bizarre. I mean, pigeons are still birds, even if they are commonly referred to as rats with wings. Their death-defying behavior made no sense until I concluded that pigeons are like those numbskulls that show up every year in Pamplona, Spain, for the running of the bulls.
I know it sounds absurd. But I find it more believable that at the end of a long day, male pigeons sit around some avian saloon bragging about how close they came to being flattened by a ’98 Chevy or KFCed by a 2007 Range Rover than that they’ve simply forgotten how to fly.
©2014 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.
In the 2 1/2 years I've been requesting donations from readers who might feel guilty about reading my hundreds of essays for free, I have yet to receive even a single response from the following 13 states: Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Unlike Abe Lincoln, I'm not looking to provoke some unseemly competition between the states, but I'd hate to think that these 13 states are so lacking in pride and patriotism that they'd sit idly by and be outdone by Puerto Rico, Canada and even Thailand!