Burt Prelutsky

One of the worst things about finding ourselves in the midst of a presidential race is that it distracts us from baseball. Perhaps if I lived in Boston or New York, I could find people who’d care to discuss the relative merits of Mariano Rivera and Jonathan Papelbon, but, unfortunately, I live in L.A., where large numbers of so-called fans regularly leave Dodger Stadium during the seventh or eighth inning in order to beat the traffic.

But it’s not just baseball that tends to get short shrift every four years. For instance, somebody told me that the U.S. recently forgave a loan we had made to Mexico. I’ve been unable to confirm the rumor, but I know we’ve done it in the past, so I have no good reason to doubt it. It does seem to me we’re awfully darn generous to a country that sells us oil at retail prices, but supplies us with their chronically unemployed at a wholesale rate.

Just in case you happened to miss it, China was found to have been supplying one of our pharmaceutical companies with an ingredient used in Heparin that caused hundreds of people to suffer adverse reactions, killing a number of them. It’s almost enough to make one long for the good old days when China seemed satisfied to just ship us toys that were potentially lethal.

What I’d like to know is when was it exactly that we adopted China and Mexico, or, for that matter, decided it was a good idea to blow billions of dollars combating AIDS in Africa, billions that could have better been spent trying to find cures for cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Much attention was given to Jenna Bush’s apparent decision to turn her back on John McCain in favor of the current left-wing heartthrob, Barack Obama. Some pundits wondered whether that might impact other young voters. My own reaction was that it might indeed influence the likes of Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, assuming they had any idea there was an election taking place.

Still, the question of endorsements has long intrigued me. The media always makes a big deal out of them, but, then, as you may have noticed, the media makes a big deal out of everything. But, really, does anyone, aside from perhaps Mrs. Robert Reich, care which Democrat the token Munchkin from Bill Clinton’s cabinet is backing? And if Gov. Bill Richardson, for instance, had the power to influence voters, how was it he could persuade so few to vote for him when he, himself, was actually in the race?