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Burt Prelutsky / Oct. 18, 2019

An Evening in Purgatory

It's not as if there wasn't anything else to watch on TV. I had recorded the third game of the league series between the Houston Astros and my beloved New York Yankees, but there I was seated in front of my TV, tuned in to CNN, of all things, watching what was billed as a political debate, but was more like a three-hour commercial for the DNC.

It’s not as if there wasn’t anything else to watch on TV. I had recorded the third game of the league series between the Houston Astros and my beloved New York Yankees, but there I was seated in front of my TV, tuned in to CNN, of all things, watching what was billed as a political debate, but was more like a three-hour commercial for the DNC.

And, yes, I stuck around for the entire three hours, so don’t ever say I don’t do anything for your folks. I acknowledge it’s not quite the same as dying for your sins, but around the midway mark it sure began to feel that way.

Because there was no cohesion to the event, the best I can do is report the notes I jotted down along the way.

Things got off to a predictable start. I was about to write “when the first of the three straight men, Anderson Cooper…” but stopped because one of the three questioners was a woman and Cooper, who is an openly gay man, would balk at being referred to as straight.

In any case, the die was cast when Cooper began his first question to Joe Biden by saying “Mr. Vice-President, Donald Trump has falsely accused your son Hunter….”

Moving on, I got the first of my few chuckles when Kamala Harris, in referring to women’s reproductive rights, said: “People should keep their hands off women’s bodies.” Actually, if Sen. Harris could pass that particular piece of legislation, we wouldn’t have to spend so much time discussing women’s reproductive rights. (Have you ever noticed how reluctant the Left is to use the word “abortions”?)

Clearly, Harris wasn’t including the hands of Planned Parenthood abortionists in her comment, which, by the way, received a nice round of applause from the sheep in the audience.

Bernie Sanders waved his arms around a lot, signaling to the world that he had recovered from his recent heart attack as easily as most mere mortals get over a cold.

Besides giving himself a clean bill of health, he let us know that he is still at war with billionaires. He made a point of alerting us to the fact that three men have as much wealth as the bottom 50% of the population, and he, for one, isn’t afraid to call it a moral outrage. What I find a moral outrage is that Sen. Sanders has at least 20 times as much money as I do and that his books have out-sold mine by some obscene multiple.

And whereas Sanders neglected to identify the three wealthiest Americans, perhaps because they are all generous contributors to the Democratic party, I have no such compunction. The three are Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. In case you were wondering, Mark Zuckerberg is in eighth place, but he’s still young.

If Bernie Sanders wants to confiscate their wealth in order to finance his ludicrous plans to erase student debt and introduce Medicare for All, I’m happy to be his cheerleader. The money wouldn’t come close to covering the $3 trillion a year required to pay for his various wet dreams, but I’m for anything that stops this trio of left-wing nitwits from joining George Soros, Tom Steyer and their ilk in electing puppets and parrots pushing Socialism on the rest of us.

Speaking of Tom Steyer, a billionaire who was one of the 12 on stage, he seconded Bernie’s call for soaking the rich. I’m sure that will come as a surprise to his expensive accountants who earn their keep by making certain that Steyer doesn’t pay even a dollar more than he can get away with when April 15th rolls around.

Kamala Harris always implies that she was brought up by a poor black mother in the ghetto who, after putting Kamala and her sister to bed, “would sit at the kitchen table trying to figure out how to make it work.”

In fact, her Haitian-born father was a professor of economics at Stanford and her mother, who was born a Brahmin, the highest caste in India, was a researcher in oncology, who, after divorcing the professor, moved herself and the kids to Montreal, where she worked as a well-paid researcher at Jewish General Hospital.

The theme song to Kamala’s life would not have been a Billie Holiday dirge, as she pretends, but something more along the lines of “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.”

Most mistresses of powerful older men are lucky to get a mink coat out of the deal. But, Kamala, who took up with the speaker of the California Assembly, 60 year old Willie Brown in her 20s, wound up the beneficiary of a well-funded political career.

Although Anderson Cooper, who was joined by fellow CNN host Erin Burnett and NY Times national editor Marc Lacey, warned the 12 contenders that if they spoke over their allotted 75 seconds, the time would be deducted later on, it never happened. What’s more, they all knew that would never happen.

The candidates spent the better part of 45 minutes attacking assault weapons, and only once, very briefly, did Cooper mention that most murders in America are conducted with pistols.

But they quickly moved back to picking on the AR-47 and the AK-47 because that allowed them all to suggest that the NRA is the source of violence in America and to avoid pointing out that black and brown gangbangers, armed with handguns, living in eight or nine major cities, are responsible for 95% of the homicides in the nation.

Most embarrassing of all, although all 12 of the participants called for a ban on assault weapons, neither Anderson Cooper nor his two fellow moderators reminded them that in 1994, the Senate voted 52-48 to ban the weapons for 10 years and Bill Clinton signed the bill that same day. But in 2004, there had been no decrease in gun-related murders, and the ban was not extended.

It wasn’t just the event that was a debacle. We also had to sit through skin-crawling ads for the New York Times (“The truth is worth it”), the Washington Post (“Democracy dies in darkness”) and commercials for a couple of California-based personal injury firms (Jacoby & Meyers and Knightline).

Worst of all were a couple of spots on behalf of the Freedom from Religion group that boasts it’s the world’s largest and most effective association of Atheists and Agnostics. And wouldn’t you love to be invited to their Christmas bash?

The punchline in the commercials, delivered by none other than Ron Reagan, is “Working to keep church and state separate just like our founding fathers intended.”

Reagan, who gives new meaning to black sheep of the family, proudly boasted that he was an unabashed, life-long Atheist who, with a smirk, claimed he was “Not afraid of burning in Hell.”

Suddenly, Hunter Biden didn’t seem all that bad.

You might think that, not being religious myself, I might be more sympathetic to Ron Reagan and his fellow Atheists. But it has never made the slightest bit of sense to me that anyone would make a religion out of being a non-believer.

And whereas I have no problem with those who actually are religious, every time I’ve seen someone as smug and cocksure about the non-existence of God, someone like Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, Christopher Hitchens and Ron Reagan, I find myself mentally reaching for a Louisville Slugger.

Frankly, I was surprised at how nicely the dozen contenders got along. For the most part, they were like a group of preschoolers playing pattycake.

Nobody slammed Joe Biden about his son, not even asking what the heck Hunter was doing aboard Air Force Two when his father was allegedly on official business in Ukraine and China or even whether Joe picked up the tab.

They all, including Biden, applauded Bernie Sanders for his pluck in showing up for a 3-hour talkathon just days after suffering a heart attack. It left me wondering if on his death bed, Sanders will regret having spent four of his last years on earth campaigning to become president.

There were some brief spurts of antagonism when Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar took a few swipes at Elizabeth Warren’s multi-trillion dollar proposals, challenging her to explain if she has a secret orchard filled with money trees.

I suppose there isn’t a lot that people can do about their voices, but am I the only person wondering if Kamala Harris suffers from a perpetual head cold? I keep waiting in vain for her to hawk up a loogie and clear her throat once and for all.

Besides wasting three hours I can ill-afford to waste at my age, I did find myself wishing that someone had asked certain questions. For instance, when Elizabeth Warren claimed that she and Bernie had agreed not to accept money from big tech companies, why didn’t Bernie point out that she has already accepted millions from Amazon. Google and Facebook? Was it out of fear that she might ask him the same question?

When Kamala Harris argued that women’s bodies were created to ensure the perpetuation of the human race, why did nobody challenge her support of Planned Parenthood? Was she perhaps hoping for the end of the human race?

And when she said that women are the final authority when it comes to their body, how was it that nobody on stage pointed out that an abortion kills a second body, not the woman’s, although it does arguably destroy her soul.

I wondered if 78 year old Bernie Sanders actually heard himself when he said that “the American people don’t want the same old same old.”

When Joe Biden bragged about being instrumental in keeping Robert Bork off the Supreme Court, it occurred to me that when a man is in politics for 50 years and has accomplished nothing of lasting value, he has to use whatever he has, no matter how pathetic.

When one of the moderators pointed out that, if elected, Joe Biden would be 80 when he took office, Biden countered by claiming his age and experience made him an ideal president. Naturally, nobody asked him if that meant he thought that Barack Obama, who was 47 years old with only three years in the Senate in 2008, had been in over his head.

There’s not much to say about Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, Beto O'Rourke, Tulsi Gabbard, Peter Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer, Cory Booker and Julián Castro, except that most of them will be absent from the next debate. They’ll be home waiting for next summer to roll around, hoping that the eventual Democratic nominee invites him or her to join him or her on the ticket as his or her running mate.

Making the evening complete, the Yankees lost the game to Houston 4-1.

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