Burt the Plumber


by Burt Prelutsky [scriptwriter]

During last year’s presidential campaign, Joe Wurzelbacher raised a lot of hackles in liberal circles when he got Barack Obama to admit he was in favor of the federal government redistributing America’s wealth.

It was a landmark moment. For one thing, it led Helen Jones-Kelley, Director of Ohio’s Department of Job and Family Services, to doing her utmost to make the poor guy’s life miserable, thus conveying the message to Obama’s critics to keep their yaps shut if they knew what was good for them.  At the same time, it taught Obama to keep his radical agenda as vague and simple-minded as “hope and change,” leaving it to America’s most ignorant and gullible voters to fill in the blanks any way they liked.

Well, I think it’s high time that we all became plumbers and started plumbing for answers.  For instance, wouldn’t it have made more sense if the Democrats really wanted to stimulate the economy, and not just pass a lifetime’s worth of pork at one fell-swoop, to have given the trillion dollars back to those of us who coughed it up in the first place?

I mean, let us say, for the sake of argument, that a hundred million adults are in the U.S. legally and actually pay income taxes.  If you divide that number into a trillion dollars, each one would wind up with $10,000.  Now you can’t tell me that if every tax-paying adult in America suddenly received a check in that amount, it wouldn’t do more to cure America’s financial woes than paying for Harry Reid’s train or that tunnel that turtles are supposed to start using down in Florida.  What’s next?  An elevator for elderly alligators?

I would like to ask President Obama why the Trade and Cap bill that will double our energy bills while providing less and less energy for our industries?  Why all the sweet talk for our sworn enemies and harsh words for our allies?  Why the $250,000 date night in New York, not to mention the pricey sneakers and the $5,000 purse for the missus when most Americans are suffering through a financial malaise?  Is it any wonder that a lot of us look at the two of you gadding about and see Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI?

Before I get to my next question, I have a confession to make.  Henry Waxman and I have been friends for about 50 years, going back to our days at UCLA.  Now it’s true we haven’t seen all that much of each other in the three decades since he went to Washington, and that the last time we spoke, a few years ago, we got into an argument because he said he and some of his colleagues planned to investigate FOX regarding biased news reporting.  I told him I had no problem with that so long as they next investigated the NY Times, the Washington Post, the L.A. Times, CNN, MSNBC and the three major networks.  From the astonished look he gave me, you might have thought I had suddenly begun speaking Cantonese.  It was at that moment that I first became aware that because all left-wingers are in lock-step on every conceivable issue, they actually believe that the mainstream media is totally honest and objective, and not the slightest bit partisan.  It was an enlightening, albeit terrifying, insight.

All that being said, the question I would put to Henry is how he could possibly, with a straight face, say the following to Parade magazine: “President Obama recently said to us in a committee meeting that we could all lead better lives if we weren’t in public service; we could make more money, spend more time with our families.  But sometimes, he said, you have an opportunity to do things that are important and make life better for millions.  That’s why we’re all here.”

The fact of the matter is, the rest of us could lead better lives if those schmoes weren’t in public service.  Even calling it “public service” is an exercise in propaganda.  It makes it sound as if these weasels are busily washing the feet of lepers like Mother Teresa or housing the poor and crippled in their own homes.  These are over-paid egomaniacs who are provided with huge staffs at no cost to themselves, who are forever going off on junkets to exotic locales under the guise of being fact-finding missions, and spend even less time on the job than tenured college professors.

I mean, a joke’s a joke, but how could Obama and Waxman believe for a second that people like Barney Frank, Barbara Boxer, Charles Rangel, John Murtha, Nancy Pelosi, and the idiots on the Black Congressional Caucus could make a better living outside of politics?  Half of these people would be trolls living under bridges if they ever lost an election.  Who on earth would hire them?  There are, after all, only so many circuses in America, and only so many elephants in those circuses, and only so many brooms to go around.

Finally, speaking of trolls, my question to Al Franken would be, in response to his stating at Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing that she is the most qualified Supreme Court nominee in 100 years, who did he have in mind?  I checked, and back in 1909, the nine justices were David Brewer, William Day, Melville Fuller, John Harlan, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Joseph McKenna, William Moody, Rufus Peckham and Edward White.  The only one I had ever heard of was Justice Holmes and it turns out he was a confirmed racist.

If Ms. Sotomayor is the best since then, Franken must be convinced that she is superior to, say, Benjamin Cardozo, William O. Douglas, Felix Frankfurter, Thurgood Marshall, William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia and Earl Warren.  Even I, who can’t stand listening to his whiney voice, would certainly enjoy hearing the fatuous junior senator from Minnesota explain that remark.

If, as I suspect, the reason for Franken’s hyperbole is simply because of Sotomayor’s race and gender, the two things that make her so doggone extra special in her own eyes — at least up until the time she was being grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee — he shouldn’t have limited her greatness to a paltry hundred years.  In fact, it’s almost insulting.  After all, inasmuch as she’s the first female Hispanic nominee, he could have said she was the greatest in a billion or even, to use Obama’s favorite number, a trillion years. ExileStreet

copyright 2009 Burt Prelutsky

Television scriptwriter, former humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine.

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