Leaders in Name Only

Posted on Wed 08/25/2010 by


Burt PrelutskyBy Burt Prelutsky

I suppose it’s only natural that politicians who wind up on Capitol Hill forget that they are mere mortals. After all, when everyone is vying for your attention and all the Sunday talk shows are eager to have you stop by and spout off, and you have as many flunkies at your beck and call as Marie Antoinette, it must be awfully easy to believe you have achieved royal status. In fact, all that you’ve really done is beat out some other schnook in a popularity contest.

As a result, these pettifoggers must be constantly plagued by the fear that the very next election can turn them back into the very same rodents they were before their Fairy Godmother touched them with her magic wand.

For the run-of-the-mill politician, it must be bad enough, but imagine being Harry Reid, king of the Senate one day, and just another old pickle puss the next.

In a way, it would be even worse for Nancy Pelosi, who, unlike Reid, will easily win re-election, but could still go from being the queen bee on November 2nd to losing her Speaker’s gavel and watching her jumbo jet turn into a pumpkin at midnight. How bleak her life will be if there are no more TV cameras tracking her as she strides down the House corridors in her Hillary Clinton pants suit, a dozen male courtiers trailing in her wake.

For that matter, who would want to be Barack Obama if the November elections go the way they appear headed? How bitter would it be to go from filibuster-proof majorities in the House and Senate to being the lamest of lame ducks? A while back, Obama, when asked his opinion of Kevin Rudd, the ex-prime minister of Australia, said he liked him. One of the qualities he liked best about him was his humility. “I find him smart but humble.” The way he said it suggested he might as well have been describing himself. And to think, some people are convinced Obama doesn’t have a sense of humor. The notion that Obama is a humble human being is so far-fetched that it might even strain Joy Behar’s credulity. As Winston Churchill once observed of his political nemesis, Clement Attlee, “He’s a modest man, and he’s got a lot to be modest about.”

Speaking of the president, I keep wondering why we never hear anything about his mother-in-law. Is Mrs. Robinson still hanging out in the White House and are we still footing the bill for her food and lodging?

And whatever happened to Bo? Is he happy? Is he house-broken and has he been neutered? Judging by the ease with which Obama has turned Benjamin Netanyahu into a lap dog, I assume the answer to both questions is a resounding yes.

People have observed that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. In much the same way, GM’s Volt is a car designed and manufactured by a federal bureaucracy. For one thing, it cost $50 billion in tax dollars to take it from Frankenstein’s cellar to a car dealership in your town. Now, for a mere $41,000, you can drive it home. At least so long as you don’t live more than 40 miles away. That’s how soon the batteries need to be recharged. Except for the rather steep price tag, the Volt reminds me of those tin cans the Soviet Union used to turn out for mass consumption. Instead of calling it the Volt, designer-in-chief Barack Obama should have called it the Shaft.

Finally, I wasn’t one of those spoilsports who took umbrage at the Clintons blowing $3 million on Chelsea’s wedding. She’s their only child, after all, and as we learned during the 2008 primaries, the Clintons are worth over $100 million.

Besides, it’s not as if they were holding a bonfire in Rhinebeck, N.Y., with the dough. It was going to florists and caterers, wine merchants and decorators, milliners and security firms.

In a way, the nuptials seemed as preordained as a happy ending in a fairy tale. After all, the father of the groom is Edward Mazvinsky, a former congressman and convicted felon who only got out of jail two years ago after spending five years behind bars for financial fraud. His nickname is Fast Eddie. Unlike some in-laws, I suspect he and Slick Willie will get along just fine.

While I wish Chelsea and Marc all the best, I can’t help wondering if the Clintons will ask the party faithful to reimburse them with fund raisers, as they did after Hillary’s ill-fated run in 2008. In spite of their personal fortune, I expect that will be the case. What’s more, I’m betting the DNC will pick up the tab for the centerpieces, gift bags and hors d’oeuvres.

When you’re Bill and Hillary, you see, party favors take on a whole different meaning.

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