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Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco
by Burt Prelutsky

America Alone
by Mark Steyn


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  A Few Words On The Goring Of Oxen
by Burt Prelutsky [scriptwriter] 11/20/06

Now that America’s favorite ogre, Jack Abramoff,  is safely behind bars, no longer in a position to lead innocent politicians astray, I know that I for one will certainly be sleeping better.  And perhaps in a few years, when he’s released, the authorities can monitor him as they do pedophiles to make certain that he’s never allowed to be alone with a congressman or to come within 2,000 feet of a political fundraiser.


Scriptwriter Burt Prelutsky has writing credits from some of television’s best known series as well as having been a humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine. [go to Prelutsky index]

If I don’t seem to be as outraged as some people over Abramoff’s crimes against humanity, I suppose it’s because I assume these political payoffs take place every day of the week, not just in Washington, D.C., but in Albany and Springfield, Austin, Salem and Sacramento, and every other state capital and city hall in America.

It takes money and plenty of it to run for public office in this country.  So how surprised can any of us be when we discover that those who wish to further their political ambitions will take bribes or, as they’re more commonly referred to, campaign contributions, from those wishing to further their business ambitions?  It’s like being shocked when the NCAA sanctions certain colleges for recruiting infractions.  After all, one doesn’t become a football or basketball super power by happy accident.

To me, the most shocking aspect of all this, speaking as an American who has often boasted that we have the best politicians that money can buy, is how cheaply so many of these public servants can be bought and sold.

What always surprises me is that politicians, whatever their party affiliation, seem unable to grasp the fact that their sins will inevitably come to light.  Are they just stupid or arrogant or possibly even naïve?  Perhaps it’s a combination of all three.  You might think it’s absurd to picture these aging veterans of the Beltway campaigns as innocent babes.  But you should keep in mind that they are all as carefully swaddled as newborns.  It’s perfectly reasonable if sometimes they happen to forget that they’re mere mortals.  Let’s face it – if everyone you came in contact with was a lobbyist looking to butter you up, a staff member looking for a raise or a fat cat looking to make a contribution to your war chest, you could easily get it into your over-inflated head that you’re the cat’s pajamas or at least the queen of the termites.  As a result of being pampered by one and all, they occasionally lose sight of the fact that the members of the opposition party, working in league with members of the media, are constantly looking to torpedo their careers.

Of late, we seem to be hip-deep in political scandals; some of them sexual, some merely financial.  In fact, some folks feel that a good part of the reason the GOP got clobbered on the 7th had less to do with Bush and Rumsfeld than it did with Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham and Mark Foley.

Which leads us to ask: Are Republicans simply more corrupt than their liberal counterparts?  (We’ll pause here until the laughter dies down.) The answer is, of course not.  There are, as I see it, two major differences between scandals involving members of the two parties.  The first involves media bias.  If a Republican finds himself in hot water,  the MSM can be counted on to dutifully turn up the heat.  If it’s a Democrat, they will not only toss him a life preserver, but pull him to safety and, if necessary, even provide mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.  For a recent example, you need only consider the Valerie Plame saga.  When it seemed like the entire mess could be laid at the feet of Karl Rove, you’d have thought it was the biggest scandal since the Dreyfuss affair.  Once it turned out otherwise, it quickly became a non-story.

The second major difference lies in the effect that scandals have on their respective constituencies.  So, while Republicans such as the aforementioned DeLay, Foley and Cunningham, not to mention Newt Gingrich and Richard Nixon, all saw their political careers go down in flames, when such Democrats as Bill Clinton, Barney Frank, Marion Berry, Gerry Studds, John Murtha, Harry Reid, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Robert Byrd and Sandy Berger, commit similar or even worse transgressions, they’re let off with the equivalent of a pat on the butt, a paternal chuckle and a good-natured, “Well, boys will be boys.”

Why there is this wide chasm separating the fates of these two groups is not exactly a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, to quote Winston Churchill.  The obvious fact is that whereas conservative voters  tend to have principles that trump party affiliation, and are therefore less forgiving of their representatives, the primary concern of Democrats is political expediency, and they will merrily rally around anyone, no matter how egregious his sins, so long as he carries their banner into partisan battle. CRO



Copyright 2006 Burt Prelutsky





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