by Burt Prelutsky | Los Angeles

For a long time, I was a member of the chorus that faulted Barack Obama for not carrying through with his campaign pledge of transparency.  But now that he’s been in the Oval Office for well over a year, I realize how wrong I was.  I actually owe the man an apology.  He is the most transparent president we have ever had, and by now even a blind man can see through him.

Furthermore, even those people who disagreed with his politics, but regarded him as a good guy, must have surely had second thoughts when, during the health care summit, Obama turned to John McCain and curtly reminded him that the election was over.  Talk about your sore winners!  Being the sort of imp I am, if I had been Sen. McCain, I might have asked the president if he was referring to the one that recently took place in Massachusetts.

Speaking of the health care summit, the highlight of the seven hour snooze fest for me was when Rep. Louise Slaughter (D, NY), shared the anecdote about the woman who wound up wearing her dead sister’s dentures.  My initial reaction was to wonder why a liberal would object to the practice; after all, they’ve made recycling a major tenet of their religion.  My second reaction was the realization that Henry Waxman (D, the Moon) might be a terrible congressman, but he’s a first-rate straight man.  I was watching Waxman, who was sitting next to Slaughter, and when she related her tale of woe, he not only didn’t begin to cackle the way I did, he didn’t even crack a smile.  But I guess after sitting in Congress for 40 years, you stop reacting to idiocy.

It’s almost as if Obama and Tiger Woods have been competing to see which of them can lose the greatest amount of goodwill in the shortest amount of time.  There is, of course, a major difference between the two look-alikes.  Tiger’s precipitous plummet in popularity affects only his fortunes and those of his sponsors and agents.  Obama, on the other hand, has wasted his political capital as recklessly as he’s wasted America’s financial capital, thus bringing the entire nation to the brink of bankruptcy.

It’s at times like these that I wish America had followed Britain’s example to a greater extent.  If Obama, Pelosi and Reid, were forced to call for a vote of confidence, I can guarantee they’d have a lot more time to devote to their kids, their grandkids and their various hobbies.

While watching Obama chair the summit, it occurred to me that he really does believe he’s the smartest man in America.  But, then, I suspect that if any of us spent a lot of time hanging around with the likes of Joe Biden, Robert Byrd, Charley Rangel and Barbara Boxer, we, too, would wind up with an inflated ego.  Of course, Obama was equally infatuated with himself when he was still in college.  I mean, why else would someone write his memoirs when he was barely out of law school?  The truth is, I have a 27″ TV in the bedroom and the two things that don’t fit on its relatively small screen are CinemaScope movies from the 1950s and Barack Obama’s ego.

Some of my readers, I must confess, have accused me of having an over-inflated ego.  But I demur.  I’d readily agree that, as egos go, mine is healthy, even robust, but surely not over-sized.  After all, when people refer to me as a political pundit, I vehemently deny it.  I know pundits when I see them, and I am definitely not one.  Rush Limbaugh is a pundit.  Sean Hannity is a pundit, and so are Karl Rove, Juan Williams and Dick Morris.  So far as I can tell, the one thing they all have in common is that day in and day out, they devote the same time and attention to reading the New York Times that an orthodox rabbi devotes to the Torah.  That means that on a regular basis, they are reading and apparently memorizing every insipid thing that such highly respected lunkheads as Frank Rich, Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman, write.

Personally, I would prefer reading the telephone book.  For one thing, it’s factual.  For another, it’s better written.


copyright 2010 Burt Prelutsky

Television scriptwriter, former humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine.

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