Burt Prelutsky

Timing, as they say, is everything, and not just for baseball players trying to hit a 95-mph fastball. For example, if Hitler had come along 70 years later than he did, I have no doubt that he would have succeeded in conquering all of Europe. One only has to look at how close he came, and that was in spite of all those nations and the U.S. aligned against him. Today, much of Europe has no backbone, and I doubt that, in the wake of Iraq, Americans would have the collective will required to oppose Nazism. It bears remembering that when we went to war against the Axis powers, FDR was never asked if he had an exit strategy.

While it’s true that our presidents must deal with a great number of issues other than war, war and national defense are at the top of the list. Can anybody actually picture Barack Obama, a man born to be a left-wing social worker, as commander-in-chief? Keeping America safe is simply not on Obama’s to-do list. He has made that perfectly clear by several of his statements. For instance, he insisted that John Kennedy got Nikita Khrushchev to pull Soviet missiles out of Cuba by sitting down and reasoning with him. He obviously believes he will turn evil dictators into peaceful lambs by the sheer power of his personality. He seems to have confused Hugo Chavez, Robert Mugabe, Kim Jong-il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with Oprah Winfrey and three Vassar coeds. And whether he is or isn’t a Muslim, it’s obvious that he doesn’t take Iran seriously. After all, as he pointed out, Iran spends far less on its military than we do. I guess it slipped his mind that on 9/11, 3,000 lives were lost for the price of a few airplane tickets and a handful of box cutters.

Frankly, what I find even scarier than Iran’s getting its dirty little hands on a nuclear bomb is the fact that tens of millions of my fellow Americans are eager to elect this numbskull in November. As someone or other once observed, success doesn’t change people, it reveals them.

But, lest you think I’m just another right-wing partisan hack, let me assure you that I’m not too enamored of most Republican politicians, either. From 2000-2006, while the GOP controlled Congress, I watched those wimps waste six years trying to curry favor with the Democrats. What they needed was Newt Gingrich with a whip, what they had was Dennis Hastert with a very wet noodle.

The biggest question I have regarding the Republicans in Washington is deciding if their stupidity out-weighs their cowardice or whether it’s the other way around. On Monday, they seem to be worried about offending homosexuals. On Tuesday, they’re terrified of angering blacks. Wednesday, they’re scared stiff of alienating illegal aliens. By Thursday, they’ve taken to their beds, suffering from the vapors. The really nutty thing is that very few of those people are going to vote for them anyway. But of course if they dared come out against same-sex marriages, affirmative action or tax-funded social services for Hispanic scofflaws, they’d be scolded by the New York Times and the Washington Post, and that’s something they simply couldn’t bear.

The latest example of Republican goofiness is something called First Tee. The Justice Department oversees the Office of Juvenile Justice and delinquency, a federal boondoggle if I’ve ever heard of one. Recently, these bureaucrats decided to give 500,000 of your tax dollars to the World Golf Foundation to help get urban youngsters interested in, of all things, the game of golf.

Bill Clinton had his midnight basketball program, which gave inner-city teenagers a government-sanctioned reason to avoid doing their school work, but at least the youngsters only needed a basket and a ball. But golf?! Are we tax payers going to have to pony up greens fees, golf carts and those red-and-yellow knickers, for these kids?

Apparently, the Justice Department had 102 ideas on their list, and this one was green-lighted even though it was judged to be only the 47th best one. Perhaps the fact that George Herbert Walker Bush is the honorary chairman of First Tee had something to do with moving it to the top of the list or perhaps I’m merely being my usual cynical self.

But the thing that’s keeping me awake nights is trying to imagine, if First Tee was only in 47th place, what the heck was dead last? What could have possibly been in 102nd place? Getting our urban youths to take up the accordion or perhaps teaching them to polka?




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