Burt Prelutsky

Lately, it seems every time I turn around I hear about some politician or bureaucrat who is absolutely indispensable. As often as not, these people are talking about themselves. And, frankly, if this keeps up, I’m going to have to stop turning around.

The first of these braggarts was New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In demanding that the city council do away with term limits, Bloomberg insisted that, thanks to the financial crisis, New York needed him, and him alone, at the helm.

When people say these kinds of things, we assume they’re either a Cuban dictator or an inmate at an asylum with his hand tucked in his jacket, claiming to be Napoleon.

In spite of the fact that he was a tax-cheat for several years, Tim Geithner, according to Barack Obama, was the only guy in America who could be trusted to be Secretary of the Treasury, the man whose duties include running the IRS. As I see it, after years of overlooking his own taxes, he will now be charged with overseeing everybody else’s. I guess this comes under the heading of “It Takes a Thief.”

Next we have William Lynn III, President Obama’s choice to be deputy Defense secretary, in spite of the fact that Obama had vowed to make his administration a lobbyist-free zone. Mr. Lynn just happened to have been a major lobbyist on behalf of defense contractor Raytheon Co.

Now I have nothing against Bloomberg, Geithner or Lynn. For all I know, they may be nice guys and maybe even competent. But the notion of being indispensable rubs me the wrong way. Americans such as, say, Aaron Copland, Andrew Wyeth and Tennessee Williams, can be called indispensable to a certain degree because if they’d never been born, “Rodeo” would never have been composed, “Christina’s World” never been painted and “The Glass Menagerie” never been written. But when it comes to mayors, cabinet members and deputy Defense secretaries, I refuse to believe that in a nation this large, we can’t find three other fellows who could do the job, and probably for less money.