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Burt Prelutsky / Sep. 19, 2020

Counting Down to November 3rd

I suppose it's like this every four years, but every presidential campaign seems to go on longer than the last. This one is the most peculiar, though, thanks to the politically motivated shutdown, because we've been denied a full-blown convention and the typical rallies.

I suppose it’s like this every four years, but every presidential campaign seems to go on longer than the last. This one is the most peculiar, though, thanks to the politically motivated shutdown, because we’ve been denied a full-blown convention and the typical rallies.

Even the four debates are in question because so many people in both camps think the election is Biden’s to lose, and that the only way he has of fumbling the ball is if Trump rolls over him in a debate and, possibly, if Pence’s basic decency shines through when compared to the shrew who owes her entire career to having been Willie Brown’s doxy a quarter of a century ago.

If you’re a stranger to California politics, Brown was the Democratic Speaker of the State Assembly who made his fortune running a law firm whose clients were made up almost exclusively of San Francisco’s pimps and prostitutes.


Inasmuch as the Democrats require hypocrisy in much the same way that the rest of us require oxygen to survive, it’s not too surprising that they’ve glommed onto the unsubstantiated claims that President Trump has bad-mouthed members of the military.

There are negative things I believe are true of Trump, such as the rumor that he was a serial adulterer, and then there are things I don’t. The notion that he has contempt for the nation’s warriors strikes me as absurd.

I can see him faulting the politicians who got us into wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, wars where we had no national interest. But I can’t even imagine his ever insulting those who died fighting on behalf of this country.

The mere fact that Atlantic magazine printed a story that quotes four unnamed sources but apparently never even spoke to those who were in France with the President when he allegedly made the remarks suggests this was nothing more than a hatchet job.

You would have thought the person who wrote the story would at least have questioned John Bolton who was there and has been very vocal in his criticism of his fellow boss. The fact that Bolton wasn’t even questioned suggests that either the author of the piece made up the quotes or was told by one of the four liars that not even John Bolton would go along with such an obvious piece of fiction.

But what I find most contemptible about the media’s reaction to the story is that those who are taking the greatest umbrage at Trump’s alleged remarks are the same creeps who have spent their entire lives contemptuously dismissing those fallen warriors whose bodies fill military cemeteries as “suckers” and “losers” and worse.


We all know that 95% of the media is pulling for and even financially supporting the Biden-Harris ticket. But you would think they’d at least try to conceal their bias better than they do. I suppose because they’re nearly all on the same side, they feel they won’t be called out on it, so there’s no need for pretense.

Still, are the Democratic voters so besotted that they’re not even embarrassed when Biden, granting his first press conference in weeks, was tossed the softest of softball questions in Wilmington, Delaware?

I mean, how are people allowed to identify themselves as reporters on their income tax returns when they asked the man who would be president “What does it tell you about President Trump’s soul and the life he leads [when he denigrates the military]?” and “What do you think about Donald Trump’s telling his voters to vote twice? What do you make of it?”

Those cream puff questions gave Biden the opportunity to look appropriately somber and utter a heart-felt “Deplorable,” and sometimes even an anguished “Deplorable….deplorable.”

The deplorables asked Biden nothing about the proposed four trillion dollar budget he plans to call for when he’s elected. Not a word about why he, an alleged moderate, is calling for gun confiscation, federally-funded third-term abortions and an end to fossil fuels. The Fifth Columnists who populate the Fourth Estate didn’t ask him why he would select as his running mate the woman with the most left-wing voting record in the U.S. Senate. They also neglected to ask why Bernie Sanders, a man who should know, foresees in Biden’s victory the most progressive administration since FDR’s.


I have always insisted that people who hate other people merely because of their skin color are just lazy because if they gave it the slightest thought, I was sure they’d find a much better reason to hate them.

The late Senator George Aiken (R, VT) once put it this way: “If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed and color, we would find some other cause for prejudice by noon.”


Some people who, over the years, have gotten into prolonged exchanges with me over some issue dear to my heart have generally concluded, not that I’m right, but that I am very stubborn.

It is true that if, after considering an issue from all sides, I’m convinced I’m right, I will not budge an inch.

But that’s not the half of it. I am so stubborn that I will hold fast even when it’s not in my own self-interest.

We will board a magic carpet and fly back to a day in 1967. I had recently begun writing a weekly humor column for the L.A. Times. I wasn’t an employee of the Times. I was called an independent contractor, meaning they didn’t have to offer me health insurance, take deductions from my weekly paycheck or put me on the path to a pension.

One day, the managing editor, Jim Bellows, called me into his office and told me I had to stop writing movie reviews for Los Angeles magazine if I wanted to continue writing for the Times. He said I wouldn’t be allowed to write for the competition.

By 1967, I had been reviewing movies for the city magazine for eight years. And frankly, I was sick and tired of sitting through all those terrible movies.

But Bellows had no business telling me who I could and couldn’t write for.

I pointed out that the magazine had a circulation of about 50,000. The Sunday Times for which I wrote had a circulation of about 1.4 million. I added the obvious: I was writing a humor column for the paper, reviews for the magazine.

He backed off and I never heard another word about it.

The irony, the sad, pathetic, irony is that I was on the verge of letting the magazine know that I was burned out. There are only so many Jerry Lewis, Sandra Dee and Robert Stack movies you can sit through before you wave the white flag and plead for mercy.

But rather than give Bellows the satisfaction of thinking he could boss me around, I kept reviewing the damn things for another four years!


A few people sprang to Chevy Chase’s defense when I insisted that he was born to play the guy who loses the girl in the last reel.

Which got me thinking about the way those roles were cast in the old days. It was, after all, a standard convention in a great many movies, ranging from “It Happened One Night” to “The Philadelphia Story,” that the girl — often a spoiled heiress — would start off engaged to some sap before she’d wind up with Cary Grant, Clark Gable or William Powell.

But I would always sit there trying to figure out what was wrong with the dames that they’d hook up with some phony European count or someone like Grady Sutton, who obviously played for the other team, as they used to say.

But at least sometimes, the other guy at least had money or, in the case of such also-rans as Franchot Tone, Robert Cummings or Ralph Bellamy, charm and good looks.

But an arrogant lunkhead like Chase, armed only with a cleft chin, always got the girl in the end. Which is how I measure the beginning of the end of civilization.

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