by Burt Prelutsky | Los Angeles
I guess it’s because I never thought that Barack Obama was charismatic or a particularly effective orator that I’m at a loss when it comes to other people’s reaction to him.
I readily confess to being something of an odd duckling. For one thing, I don’t even regard charisma as a good thing when it comes to politicians, let alone presidents. Frankly, when I hear the word applied to a public figure, the people who leap to mind are Mussolini, Hitler and Castro, men in love with the sound of their own voices, men accustomed to making long-winded harangues, full of sound and fury signifying nothing more than the self-aggrandizement of demagogues.
I acknowledge that the president of the United States isn’t just another politician, but is also during his time in office, for better or worse, the symbol of our nation. I just happen to prefer symbols that remind me why America is not only great, but good — people like Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan.
I also don’t like double standards. I don’t appreciate it when left-wingers accuse other people of being racists for no other reason than that they happen to oppose Obama’s policies, while turning a blind eye to those who call people the caliber of Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell and Condoleezza Rice, oreos or Uncle Toms.
When those on the Left label Tea Party participants extremists, fascists, hooligans and screwballs, but take umbrage when those on the Right suggest that a president whose first order of business is the redistribution of wealth is a socialist, I have to wonder if, one, they are even aware of their own hypocrisy and, two, what they think socialism actually entails.
Something else that puzzles me is that the polls indicate that the vast majority of Americans oppose the closing of Gitmo, oppose trying Islamic terrorists in civilian courts and are in favor of water-boarding terrorists. Mind you, they don’t want them water-boarded just for the sake of causing them pain, but in order to garner whatever intelligence they might be able to supply. That’s where I differ from most decent Americans; I’m happy to see them tortured simply because I believe they have it coming.
But something else that separates me from most of my fellow citizens is that, in the main, even though he disagrees with them about Gitmo, water-boarding and using military tribunals to try terrorists, polls indicate a majority approve of Obama in that one particular area.
That is so weird that I can only assume that they think that Robert Gibbs, John Brennan, Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano, are all independent contractors who somehow got their jobs and kept them in spite of Obama’s disagreeing with everything they’ve said and done with regard to Islamic terrorism.
Perhaps the explanation for this obvious disconnect from reality is the good nature and basic fair-mindedness of the American public. Maybe they figure they’ve hurt Obama’s feelings so much by speaking out against his stimulus bill; his lying about transparency; his gobbling up car companies and lending institutions; his loony health plan; his buying into the global warming hoax; his affiliation with ACORN and the SEIU; and his turning the NEA into his own personal PR firm; that they figured enough was enough, and they decided to cut him some slack and not give him an F in this one particular area.
I hope that’s not the case. Islamic terrorism isn’t the class in which I ever want to see America’s commander-in-chief being allowed to pass with a gentleman’s C.
copyright 2010 Burt Prelutsky
Television scriptwriter, former humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine.