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Burt Prelutsky / Mar. 19, 2012

Will $4-a-Gallon Gas Do the Trick?

I keep hearing people insist that Obama will win re-election in a cake walk. Frankly, I don’t believe it. According to the polls in September, 2008, he would have lost to John McCain, who ran as lousy a presidential campaign as Bob Dole and Michael Dukakis, if the economy hadn’t suddenly tanked. So what has Obama done since then that would give him an edge in 2012? ObamaCare? Cash for Clunkers? Fast and Furious? Solyndra? A $16 trillion dollar deficit? Nixing the Keystone pipeline that would have brought us thousands of jobs and oil from a friendly source? Turning the likes of Van Jones, Valerie Jarrett, Jacob Lew and Kathleen Sebilius, into czars? Kowtowing to the Saudis, George Soros and the unions?

I keep hearing people insist that Obama will win re-election in a cake walk. Frankly, I don’t believe it. According to the polls in September, 2008, he would have lost to John McCain, who ran as lousy a presidential campaign as Bob Dole and Michael Dukakis, if the economy hadn’t suddenly tanked. So what has Obama done since then that would give him an edge in 2012? ObamaCare? Cash for Clunkers? Fast and Furious? Solyndra? A $16 trillion dollar deficit? Nixing the Keystone pipeline that would have brought us thousands of jobs and oil from a friendly source? Turning the likes of Van Jones, Valerie Jarrett, Jacob Lew and Kathleen Sebilius, into czars? Kowtowing to the Saudis, George Soros and the unions?

He demands civility from conservatives and then keeps his yap shut when the likes of Maxine Waters, Henry Waxman, Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, vilify and demonize not only political opponents like John Boehner and Eric Cantor, but Republicans in general and Tea Party patriots specifically.

It has been apparent for months that Obama, who ran as a man who would unite all of us, intends to drop the camouflage this time around and run a presidential campaign that divides Americans by race, religion and income. The question that comes to mind is why, with a Republican House and what is expected to be a Republican Senate, Obama even seeks a second term. Can it be that he and Michelle are so enamored of the presidential perks of free travel, paid vacations to exotic locales, galas with celebrities at the White House and never having to stand in line to shoot a round of golf, that nothing else counts?

There is also the matter of being in the spotlight. Some people just can’t get enough of it. Although most of us would weary of being the focus of so much attention, being constantly eyeballed by the media, the public and the Secret Service, there are certain strange creatures who crave it the way normal human beings crave oxygen.

If the cost of gasoline is what it takes for voters to wake up and smell the fire and brimstone emanating from the Oval Office, I can only hope that the price keeps rising through Election Day.

Speaking of those in the public eye, what is it that makes so many people lose all sense of perspective when it comes to the death of a celebrity? Over the past 15 years, we’ve seen millions of seemingly normal people take leave of their senses simply because Lady Di, Michael Jackson and now Whitney Houston, have died. Why is it that we make so much of the passing of a one-time English royal; an entertainer who managed to give plastic surgery almost as bad a name as pedophilia; and a singer who destroyed her life with alcohol and cocaine? What is it in our collective DNA that inflates their passing to such an enormous degree?

Why, when we barely notice the death of medical researchers who cure our most dreaded diseases; of writers and composers whose creativity revives our culture; of military warriors who sacrifice their lives to ensure our liberty; do we carry on like those poor souls in North Korea who are severely disciplined if their public grieving doesn’t quite hit the mark?

For that matter, why does Governor Chris Christie order the lowering of flags throughout New Jersey just because Whitney Houston happened to have been born in Newark? I mean, if you lower it for a drug addict, how will you not lower it when people such as Buzz Aldrin, Andrew Napolitano, Shaquille O'Neal, John Travolta, Sam Alito, Bill Parcells, Bruce Springsteen, Eva Marie Saint, Michael Douglas, Al Leiter, Jerry Lewis, Meryl Streep, Joe Thiesmann, Frankie Valli, Joe Pantoliano, Bebe Neuwirth, Bret Baier, Jason Alexander, Joe Pesci and Antonin Scalia, eventually cast off their mortal coil? And what about Nathan Lane, Martha MacCallum and even Pia Zadora?

And if Whitney Houston deserves such recognition, what about Barney Frank? I mean, you and I might regard him as a national embarrassment, but when he retires at the end of his current term, in order, I assume, to devote more time to perfecting his Elmer Fudd impression, he will have spent 32 long years in Congress.

Believe me, I know how utterly preposterous honoring Rep. Frank sounds to most people.

Still, if Governor Christie isn’t going to have any standards for such state tributes beyond the ability to carry a tune while stoned out of one’s gourd, he might consider just leaving those flags permanently at half-mast.

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