Four Years Later, Do Words Matter Again?

Back in December of 2015, I wrote a piece on what I believed at the time to be a somewhat momentous Fox News exchange between Bill O’Reilly and the late Charles Krauthammer. The discussion took place on The O’Reilly Factor right after a GOP presidential primary debate, and the topic was the performance of Donald Trump (who was the GOP front-runner and already the odds-on favorite to win the Republican nomination).

Prior to the debate, in a soundbite that got a lot of attention, Trump suggested that he (if elected) would order the U.S. military to kill the families of ISIS terrorists. Such an action, of course, would amount to a war crime, but Trump didn’t really seem to care. By that point in the election, he had already put together a long list of outrageous campaign statements that were unshackled from such qualms as decency, legality, and even reality. And as with the others, he wasn’t going to walk back the statement.

So, on the debate stage that night, when fellow candidate Rand Paul called Trump out for the remark, Trump responded with, “So, they can kill us, but we can’t kill them?”

“I thought that was a pretty good comeback by Trump,” said O’Reilly to Krauthammer, commenting on the Trump/Paul exchange. “What do you think?”

Krauthammer was clearly taken back. “A pretty good comeback by Trump?” he asked. “On the killing of the brothers and the sisters and the children of terrorists?”

O’Reilly qualified his compliment by saying, “It’s designed to get votes. It’s designed to get people emotionally allied with him. That’s what it’s designed to do. You know that.”

It’s important to note that this was a significant departure from O’Reilly’s longstanding “no spin” mantra. The Fox News host, who’d built and maintained his hugely successful media brand on calling out reckless political demagoguery (and shaming those who employed it) suddenly seemed smitten and even impressed with its usage at the highest level of U.S. electoral politics.

O’Reilly explained to Krauthammer that Trump wouldn’t really murder terrorists’ families, and that he’d only said it because, “he wants votes. He’s doing all of this. It’s theater to get votes. That’s what he’s doing.”

“So you’re saying this is a candidate for the presidency of the United States, talking to the American people and the world, saying x, y, and z…and that the words he says are meaningless?” Krauthammer asked.

“He wants to win,” O’Reilly answered matter-of-factly. “And he’s going to say, like almost every other politician… He’s going to say whatever he thinks is going to put him over the top to win…He’s getting people whipped up so that they will like him because their emotion and his emotion coincide…It’s almost a brilliant strategy. It’s almost brilliant, if all you want to do is win. If all you want to do is win, it’s brilliant, because he marginalizes everybody else around him, because he’s so provocative, and tapping into the fear and anger that is pervasive among the Republican adherence. It’s brilliant.”

When Krauthammer directly asked O’Reilly if he “approved” of Trump’s “demagoguery, untethered to the meanings of the words being used,” O’Reilly (who wasn’t exactly known to pass on an opportunity to cast judgement on a political bomb-thrower) stunningly answered, “I can’t really say whether I approve of it or not.”

O’Reilly wasn’t the first Fox News personality to willfully forfeit long preached principles and standards of conduct for Trump (and he certainly wasn’t the last). But he may have been the first prominent conservative-media figure to attempt to mainstream a now widely accepted theme among the political right: Trump should be assessed not by his words, but by his actions.

Just as a lot of evangelicals have given Trump a “mulligan” on his moral indiscretions (as Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council once put it), the same has been true, on a larger scale, of his rhetorical ones.

This was an enormous capitulation from a political faction that, in addition to opposing nearly all of President Obama’s policies, loudly (and rightly) denounced Obama’s apology tour, knocks against American exceptionalism, dishonesty on everything from Obamacare to Benghazi, blanket criticisms of American law enforcement, racially provocative presumptions, class-warfare rhetoric, and other culturally detrimental oratory.

Yet, it’s a brand of hypocrisy that the right has willingly accepted in the interest of political expediency. An added benefit is that it has also alleviated the pressure on supporters who’ve felt inclined to try and rationalize every unhinged, offensive, or dishonest sentence that leaves Trump’s mouth (though there are clearly plenty who are still up for that task).

Now, four years later, we find ourselves at the next fork in the road: The 2020 election.

After insisting all this time that their guy’s zany ideas and extreme rhetoric are inconsequential when it comes to leadership, Trump supporters (including many media-conservatives) are now saying that the zany ideas and extreme rhetoric from the Democratic presidential candidates illustrate a catastrophic threat to the very fabric of our nation.

That is the prevailing pro-Trump case to undecided voters after all, isn’t it? Sure, Trump has problems, but are you listening to all of that crazy stuff the Democrats are saying?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am troubled by what I’ve been hearing from the Democratic field. Abortion without restrictions? Abolishing private health insurance? Eliminating border enforcement? Gun confiscation? Voting rights for felons? Free college tuition and student loan forgiveness? Each of these ideas is very scary, whether it be economically, constitutionally, morally, or culturally.

It should be noted that not all of these candidates are running on every one of these positions, but there’s been enough overlap (including among the top tier of the field) that I think we absolutely should be more than a little worried.

I felt the same way when listening to Donald Trump put forth policy ideas in 2015 and 2016.

Some of you may recall that in addition to ordering our soldiers to target and kill terrorists’ children, Trump campaigned on “bombing the s—” out of oil fields in Iraq and Syria and claiming those nations’ oil for America. He also supported re-instituting waterboarding, not as an interrogation method, but as a punitive measure to teach the bad guys a lesson. Other highlights included a mandatory national tracking registry for Muslims living in America, banning all Muslims from entering our country, and potentially closing down American mosques. On healthcare, Trump praised single-payer and ran on universal, government-paid coverage (which is indistinguishable from what several Democratic candidates are currently running on). On illegal immigration, he promised mass deportations — over 11 million people booted out of our country, and the construction of a nearly 2,000 mile-long border wall — a totally free one, paid for by the Mexican government (who Trump claimed had been dumping their rapists on our side of the border).

That was some pretty nutty stuff (none of which was ever going to come to fruition), and it doesn’t even include the much longer list of character, temperament, and competency concerns that all stemmed from Trump’s rhetoric.

But let’s focus purely on policy for now. How should voters digest what the 2020 Democratic candidates are saying? Does any of it matter? Is their wildest rhetoric in any way an accurate preview of the America they could and would leave us with?

Or should we use the standard for political rhetoric that O’Reilly and so many others among the Trump faithful have set…in that it’s all just harmless, emotionally charged, unimplementable bombast brilliantly designed to appeal to a frightened and angry political base?

If it’s the latter, why should we be the slightest bit worried? And why should we be listening to the warnings of those who’d previously claimed that none of this stuff matters? I mean… they’re just words after all. Just a mechanism for stirring up emotions. Right?

Well, personally, I’m not buying it. My tent is still pitched in the “words matter” camp. Because you never know when even a largely dismissed campaign mantra about “trade deficits” or “endless wars” is going to lead to a self-mutilating trade war or the willful betrayal and slaughter of one of our most loyal and helpful Middle Eastern allies.

Megyn Kelly, on John A. Daly’s new novel, Safeguard.




Krauthammer’s Legacy Deserves More Than Just Remembrance

Last week was the one-year anniversary of the passing of conservative commentator, Charles Krauthammer. To mark the occasion, several of Krauthammer’s former colleagues and conservative media figures paid homage to his memory, both on-air and online. The sentiment was good, thoughtful, and certainly deserved.

Those who’ve followed my work for a while know that I (along with many other conservatives) idolized Dr. Krauthammer and deeply admired his intellect and contributions to the world of political commentary. He was, and still is, an inspiration to my writing. Still, I have to admit that the anniversary caught me off guard.

It’s not that I had trouble reconciling that an entire year had passed. On the contrary. To me, it feels like much longer. And as I was vacationing with my family in South Carolina, and scrolling through some tribute tweets on my phone (as we waited for an alligator boat-tour to begin), I was reminded of exactly why.

Some of the deepest praise of Krauthammer’s legacy, and the admirable qualities that made him a valued voice of integrity, came from commentators who’ve pretty much taken the exact opposite approach in how they’ve chosen to perform the job.

I noticed this same thing last year, right after he had died, and wrote about it in a column:

“Krauthammer had little patience for hypocrisy. He didn’t defend or shrug off dishonesty. He rejected straw-man arguments. He rejected demagoguery and conspiracy theories. He didn’t use whataboutism to excuse conduct he had previously denounced, or to denounce conduct he had previously excused. He unflinchingly retained his character, even as he watched so many of his colleagues relinquish theirs in order to maintain personal and professional relevance in this radically altered political landscape.”

Krauthammer was indeed the gold standard by which political commentary should be evaluated, yet that legacy is nearly the antithesis of today’s prominent conservative-media creed. Thus it sure would be nice if many of those who’ve been expressing their deep admiration and gratitude for Krauthammer’s contribution would take a step back and recognize all that they’ve done to undermine it. And if they could manage to do that, perhaps they could even take steps to help rectify the situation.”

But they haven’t rectified the situation. Not even close. Not the commentators and not their bosses. The conservative media, by and large, has only gotten worse. Thoughtful, intellectually consistent voices are now quite hard to come by — most notably on Fox News where there used to be a plethora of such.

In the era of Trump, most of these people have either been cast aside or successfully pressured into reducing their commentary to entirely predictable Trump-fawning narratives and folklore-esque framings of our president’s greatness that would make the school teacher from Snowpiercer proud:

In this case, however, it’s not so much done in the interest of indoctrination as it is satisfying the network’s most intensely partisan viewers. Ratings drive everything, and if the audience hadn’t dragged Fox News and other conservative outlets in this direction, it would have never come to be.

But this is where we’re at, and if you ever have doubts as to just how much different the conservative-media has become, I would invite you to take part in a fun little exercise: listen to what some of today’s most prominent, self-described conservative commentators are saying about a particular political issue or ethical standard, and then search for YouTube videos (or even tweets) of what they were saying about the same topic three or four years ago. Far more often than not, you’ll find them taking the opposite position.

Even more amusing (sad is the better word) are those instances when President Trump alters his stance on a particular issue or policy multiple times within just days or weeks, and the same Trump-accommodating commentators reliably describe each reversal as the correct (and often brilliant) decision.

It’s a swamp murkier than the one I saw on my gator tour.

Of course, there’s still some commonality with the old days (aka the pre-Trumpian era), comprised mostly of cookie-cutter go-to themes, whether it be liberal media bias, the culture war, or something else. While these are almost always legitimate issues, the discussions of such topics have been largely purged of nuance, perspective, and self-assessment. They’re handled like a lazy reboot of a classic movie, where Hollywood throws out a thoughtless script with some fresh faces, and familiar imagery and punchlines, just to squeeze a few extra bucks out of a proven brand.

What we see today in the conservative media, with few exceptions, is the antithesis of value-added, Krauthammer-style commentary.

Krauthammer’s work and analysis wasn’t beholden to a business model or political loyalties. He took his role in our national discussion seriously because he saw his contributions as a public service and even a responsibility to his country.

Krauthammer’s goal wasn’t to validate, coddle, or profit off of the partisan instincts of his viewers and readers. It was to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of important issues.

How many conservative commentators in the national media can we honestly say that about today?

If you’re struggling to come up with more than three or four names, you’ll understand why it seems to me like a hell of a lot longer than just a year that we’ve been without Charles Krauthammer… or even the nearly two years it’s been since he wrote a political column or appeared on television.

Krauthammer’s legacy is an important one, and it deserves far more than just the fond memories of his peers and the nostalgic affections of his fans.

It deserves to be practiced… continually… and without apology. Tribes be damned.





Praise Krauthammer, but Also Learn From Him

Last Thursday, conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer passed away. Though his terminal illness had been reported days earlier, along with a characteristically elegant farewell letter that he had written to his friends and fans, news of his death hit a lot of people hard. It certainly did me.

I had already paid tribute of sorts to Dr. Krauthammer in a column on this website. I say “of sorts” because the piece was less about the life of this great man (those who knew him were in a better position to write such accounts) than it was about what he and his legacy meant to me as a conservative writer. As is the case with many political commentators on the Right, Krauthammer was one of my heroes.

Ben Shapiro captured the essence of this sentiment in a piece he wrote the other day:

“Charles Krauthammer is the thinker I aspired to be, the writer I wanted to emulate. I failed; I’ll always fail. But, to be fair, that’s not my fault. He was just that good.”

Shortly after my column was published, a friend of Krauthammer’s emailed me to express her appreciation for what I’d written. I thanked her, but added that there were more things I wanted to say about the meaningfulness of Krauthammer’s legacy — things I felt were important as I listened to a number of media personalities weigh in on his life. I decided that those thoughts could (and probably should) wait until after he had passed. What I wasn’t expecting was to turn on Fox News on Friday morning (the day after Krauthammer’s death), and hear National Review’s Jonah Goldberg channeling my exact feelings.

In a segment on America’s Newsroom, Goldberg paid fine tribute to Krauthammer (who was a friend of his). He shared some heartwarming stories of their relationship, as well as a few of the many traits he admired in his Special Report colleague. He then took the opportunity to get something off of his chest, doing so in an emotional appeal:

“I really hope a lot of my friends and colleagues on the right, who are now in this sort of ‘say anything conceivably possible, no matter how nasty and vicious it is, so long as it makes liberals angry’ — [which] seems to be one of the motivating passions on the right among a lot of my friends these days. And it’s destroying conservatism. That wasn’t Charles. And all of the people who are celebrating his life and his contribution: maybe they should take a few seconds and think about how he modeled a different way. He never gave an inch when he was on principle. He never gave an inch when he thought he was right. But he wasn’t vicious and cruel. He didn’t mock children with Down Syndrome who were in a cage. He didn’t do anything like that, that we see so much of on the right these days, because he was a decent man who took the higher road even though he was in a wheelchair.”

Goldberg took some heat online for closing out the segment in such fashion, primarily from Trump supporters who interpreted his words as a veiled shot at the president (at the expense of Krauthammer’s memory). Of course, Trump wasn’t the target of his criticism. He was referring to those in the conservative media who’ve been — in the era of Trump — reducing conservatism to a doctrine of impassioned anti-Left rancor.

His description was accurate, and we know why it has happened. It’s a cultural byproduct of an election cycle that often associated derision with courage, and malice with strength. In its path and in its wake, opportunistic media figures have increasingly pandered to a transformed, more tribal political base in order to generate bigger ratings, listenership, and readership.

And no, the liberal media isn’t any better. Many on that side of the aisle have been doing the same things, and for a longer time. But we were supposed to be different, and we no longer are.

For the conservatives who don’t fit into this new base, it has been jaw-dropping to listen to some of the Modern Right’s worst offenders praise Krauthammer for espousing traits and principles that they have not only abandoned, but have been downright hostile to over the past few years. It’s not that I would expect or prefer these people to deride Krauthammer, especially at a time when his death is being mourned and his life is being celebrated. On the contrary. I’m glad that respects are being paid (no matter who’s paying them).

But if these individuals are going to portray Krauthammer as the gold standard of his profession (which many of them have), one would hope they would exercise a little self-reflection over their choice to resoundingly reject the professional standards he conducted himself by.

A lot has been made of Krauthammer’s kindness and thoughtfulness, and we can all stand to improve in those areas. But what made his commentary so valuable was his unwillingness to put politics before principles. His views were formulated through earnest (sometimes intense) examination of facts, practices and policies, and they were always grounded in decency. Those views didn’t change in accordance with which party held power in Washington, or with which politicians’ capital or personal egos might be damaged by his assessment of them.

What motivated Krauthammer wasn’t popularity or job security. His interest was in the betterment of society and the advancement of peace and prosperity. He respected his audience enough to be honest with them, even when what he had to say wasn’t what they wanted to hear.

Krauthammer had little patience for hypocrisy. He didn’t defend or shrug off dishonesty. He rejected straw-man arguments. He rejected demagoguery and conspiracy theories. He didn’t use whataboutism to excuse conduct he had previously denounced, or to denounce conduct he had previously excused. He unflinchingly retained his character, even as he watched so many of his colleagues relinquish theirs in order to maintain personal and professional relevance in this radically altered political landscape.

Krauthammer was indeed the gold standard by which political commentary should be evaluated, yet that legacy is nearly the antithesis of today’s prominent conservative-media creed. Thus it sure would be nice if many of those who’ve been expressing their deep admiration and gratitude for Krauthammer’s contribution would take a step back and recognize all that they’ve done to undermine it. And if they could manage to do that, perhaps they could even take steps to help rectify the situation.

It’s a nice thought, but at a time when constructive analysis and intellectual consistency comprise a far riskier revenue model than tribal warfare, I just don’t see it happening. It’s a damn shame, especially being that Krauthammer’s death, and these important discussions about his life, provide such a strong opportunity for reassessment.

Still, one can always hope.




Charles Krauthammer — A Life That Will Always Matter

Charles Krauthammer (photo by John Daly)

Editor’s Note:  I’m turning over this space to John Daly and his tribute to a great man (piece was originally published on 6/10/2018).

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In a piece in The Washington Post last Friday, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer announced some devastating personal news to his readers and fans. The cancer that been had removed from his body through surgery last August (complications from which have kept him hospitalized ever since) has returned and is spreading rapidly. His doctors have given him only weeks to live.

The revelation took the wind out of many of us who’ve long admired the conservative thought leader, and had eagerly been awaiting his return to television and published editorial (which was expected to happen as early as late summer). Krauthammer’s vast depth of knowledge and his refined and thoughtful intellect have made him perhaps the most insightful political commentator in the country. His valuable takes on big stories have been sorely missed and desperately needed at a time when our news-media landscape has reached unprecedented levels of intellectual shallowness and tribal gamesmanship.

An independent thinker and a man of unquestionable character (not to mention a sharp and humble sense of humor), Krauthammer has long been a saving grace to serious news-commentary consumers — those looking for an adult in the room to give it to them straight, without hidden agendas or partisan fluff. They’ve counted on him to strengthen their understanding of various issues, and help them formulate their positions. It’s a service he has provided with eloquence, wisdom, and reliability.

The outpouring of heartache and support in reaction to Krauthammer’s announcement has been tremendous. Friends and colleagues have been extending meaningful tributes, showering him with well-deserved accolades, and sharing endearing stories. Here are a few you’ll want to check out (there will assuredly be many more in the coming days):

I would also highly recommend watching or re-watching the special that Fox News ran on him back in 2013, when he was promoting his excellent book, Things That Matter. It delves into his personal background (including the physical challenges he has overcome), as well as his career in and out of politics

I don’t know Charles Krauthammer personally, though we did meet on one occasion (I’ll get to that later). Still, he has been incredibly influential on my work as a writer and commentator. In fact, he was one of the people who first attracted me to the arena of political commentary, along with Bernard Goldberg. And I know I’m not alone in that respect.

Truth be told, it doesn’t necessarily take a boatload of talent to make a name for yourself in this digital-age of the news media. One can build a pretty impressive (and lucrative) online presence just by tapping into partisan angst and tossing red meat at a political base. Many have done just that by emulating (on a much smaller scale) the political-media powerhouses you’ll find on the cable news networks in the prime-time hour.

What’s much harder (but far more important) is the ability to persuade people with a principled, intellectually-sound argument or idea that they’re initially (and perhaps instinctively) resistant to. To me, that has always been the true value of good commentary. This approach requires a commentator to view his or her role not as a product aimed at a target market, but rather as a public service aimed at strengthening knowledge, a situation, or an environment. And that’s what I’ve always recognized Krauthammer’s frame of reference to be.

When Krauthammer presents his thoughts on a topic (whether it be on television, in a lecture hall, or through his writing), he does so — I believe — as a contributor to the betterment of society and the advancement of peace and prosperity. To Krauthammer, these are the things that matter (no pun intended). He has admirably respected his readers and listeners enough not to cater to their political instincts. Instead, he has leveled with his audience, and provided them with helpful, qualified insight. And in doing so, he has changed a lot of minds and shaped a lot of views (including mine).

That’s how it should be.

One of Krauthammer’s favorite quotes comes from playwright Tom Stoddard: “Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.”

I think that’s absolutely right, and I don’t think anyone can honestly argue that Dr. Krauthammer’s words haven’t nudged the world, at least a little.

I’m proud to have had this man as a role model. He is someone I admire beyond words. I’ve learned a lot from his work and personal integrity, and I think of him whenever I’m working a serious thought-piece. And though I don’t always live up to the example he has put forth, I certainly try (and will continue to).

As I mentioned earlier, I did have the honor and privilege of meeting Dr. Krauthammer, and I’ll go ahead and finish out this column by describing the experience.

It happened about a year ago at a Weekly Standard event in Colorado Springs. Knowing that he was one of the speakers, I purchased a ticket (it wasn’t cheap) and ended up sharing a brief conversation with the man. I wish I could say that it was a particularly substantive discussion, but the truth is that we were in a loud room and surrounded by lots of people who were just as eager to introduce themselves as I was. We mostly just exchanged pleasantries (with me completely starstruck) before smiling for the camera:

About 30 minutes later, I was making my way over to a lounge in the building when I heard something electrical approaching me from behind. I turned just in time to see Krauthammer whiz right past me in his wheelchair. The speed of that thing was pretty shocking. Even with me increasing my pace (I was curious where he was headed), he pretty much left me in the dust, taking a quick turn through a door to the parking lot outside where a van was waiting for him.

I do have a much better story from that day, however — one that illustrates Krauthammer’s healthy sense of humor that is so often referenced by those who know him.

The agenda earlier in the event included two Krauthammer appearances in the venue’s ballroom. The first one was a one-on-one interview with Bill Kristol, in which Krauthammer (who received a huge ovation before Kristol even had a chance to introduce him) offered his thoughts on President Trump and a number of other topics. As expected, it was a fascinating, insightful, and charming exchange.

In the second appearance, he joined a panel of other well-known commentators for a question and answer session with the audience. This ended up being a much more spirited forum than I had anticipated, being that the audience seemed split about 50/50 between Trump supporters and Trump skeptics. Most of the commentators on stage (including Krauthammer) fell into the latter category.

One of the Trump supporters that stepped up to the microphone addressed Krauthammer directly, informing him that he was going to lay out a baseball metaphor (knowing that Krauthammer is a big baseball fan).

The man then described a scene (in a surprising amount of detail) of a minor-league player entering the big leagues, and in his first step up to the plate in his first big game, hitting a home-run high up into the stands. The man then explained that the player’s name was Trump, and that the home-run was the nomination of Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch. He then asked Krauthammer for his thoughts on why Trump’s presidency shouldn’t be defined by that achievement alone.

Krauthammer, without missing a beat, advanced the metaphor. He asked the questioner to envision the baseball that Trump had hit into the stands colliding with one of the park’s floodlights, crashing through bulbs, sending shards of glass down onto spectators, and causing an electrical fire.

Laughter filled the room, but Krauthammer wasn’t done. He described the stadium going up in flames, with thousands of baseball fans perishing.

“Men, women, and children!” I believe he added, much to the amusement of the audience.

If I recall correctly, he took the metaphor even further (perhaps including the igniting of nearby buildings). Regardless, when he was finished, he received a loud ovation for his creativity and sharp wit, before moving onto a more direct answer of the man’s question.

It was a true pleasure listening to him that day. He is an irreplaceable figure.

Thank you Charles, for your wisdom, your decency, and your immeasurable contributions to this great nation. Yours is a life that truly does matter, and it will continue to matter to me and millions of others for a very long time.




“Notes From My Bunker” and “To Impeach Or Not To Impeach”

One of my readers is given to sending me messages fraught with anger and frustration over news items related to the ever-increasing amount of madness in the world. In his last communique, he let me know that it was getting to be too much for him to bear and that he had resorted to listening to more music and less news. I wrote back to report that my wife, who is addicted to Fox News, will sometimes switch it off in order to lower her blood pressure by watching cooking shows and old movies.

I then acknowledged that I’m lucky because when the bad news begins to overwhelm me, I sit down and write another article ridiculing liberals or Muslims. And lately, I added, it’s become increasingly difficult to distinguish between the two villainous groups.

Speaking of those who should be bombed back to the Stone Age, except for the fact that they’ve never really emerged from it, I have noticed that even Fox has focused far more sympathetic attention on the Palestinians than on the Israelis. That might be the inevitable result of their stationing their Middle East correspondent Conor Powell in Gaza rather than in Tel Aviv. I have begun to suspect that Mr. Powell, who wears a helmet to protect himself from Israeli bombs, has become a victim of the Stockholm syndrome. Inevitably, he has begun to empathize with those who are being bombed today instead of those who have been under missile attack for the better part of the past decade. But, then, we know that even Fox is not impervious to the media motto that dictates that if it bleeds, it leads.

If the Israelis want to start garnering a little sympathy, they have to stop using the Iron Dome defense system to bring down Palestinian missiles. And if they station women and children in targeted zones, I’m sure they’ll do even better in the PR war.

Of course if they really want the world’s pity, at least for a week or so, they can simply roll over for the Muslims in Gaza, Syria and Iran, and allow themselves to be wiped off the face of the earth.

In what passes for stupid even by her own Olympian standards, Nancy Pelosi had the gall to say: “According to Qatar, Hamas is a humanitarian organization.” So, even though most of the civilized world, including the United States, has declared Hamas a terrorist organization, the House minority leader is willing to go on TV and seriously parrot the words of one group of Muslim terrorists about another.

But, then, in what must go down as one of the oddest moments in human history, we have America’s Secretary of State John Kerry siding with Hamas and the terrorist gang’s supporters in Qatar and Turkey, while Egypt, Saudi Arabia and most of the Middle East, sides with Israel.

The fact that there are demonstrations against Israel in particular and the Jews in general all over Europe is no surprise. For one thing, many of the demonstrations are led by the demented followers of Islam. For another, anti-Semitism is part of Europe’s DNA. Far more troubling is the fact that there have been scores of similar demonstrations here in America.

It makes me wonder about some of you parents: When you see your college-age sons and daughters out in the streets carrying signs condemning Israel for trying to protect herself from enemies sworn to destroy her, some of their signs equating Israel with Nazi Germany, do your hearts swell with parental pride? Do you pat yourselves on the back because you’ve allowed leftwing, anti-American, Jew-hating professors to fill their heads with sewage?

Were you too busy playing golf or watching “The Survivor” to pay any attention to the crap with which they were being indoctrinated as far back as grade school? Did it not give you pause when over 70% of young people voted to re-elect Barack Obama? Did you at least have second thoughts about having spared the rod and, instead, applied discipline through time-outs, which consisted of exiling the kids to bedrooms that could pass for Toys-R-Us outlets? Did you waste time pumping up their self-esteem while neglecting to even consider their lack of values, logic or commonsense?

Finally, I have come up with what I think is a vast improvement on the tax system. Whether it’s a Fair Tax or a Flat Tax, I think we’d all be a lot happier if we could direct our payments to those parts of the government we personally support. So, for instance, conservatives could apply theirs to building up the military and providing more generous pensions for our veterans.

For their part, liberals could apply theirs to, say, financing Barack Obama’s vacations or Nancy Pelosi’s Botox injections.


TO IMPEACH OR NOT TO IMPEACH

Even before Sarah Palin called on the GOP House to institute impeachment proceedings against Barack Obama, I suggested it, so long as they held off until after the mid-term elections. That’s because I didn’t want anyone to be distracted from the Affordable Care Act or any of the numerous scandals associated with this administration.

It wasn’t that I believed the Senate, whether controlled by Harry Reid and the Democrats or by a post-January GOP majority would actually vote Obama out of office. What I wanted was for all those millions of people who manage to get through life while paying no attention to politics to finally have no place left to hide. When a president is being impeached, even those who spend most of their time watching “American Idol,” “Perry Mason” re-runs and fishing shows can’t help but absorb some unpleasant facts through osmosis.

I see no other way for these human ostriches to learn that all those scandals – ranging from Operation Fast & Furious to the Internal Revenue’s targeting of Republicans, from the Benghazi massacre to Obama’s shredding the Constitution in order to legislate from the Oval Office – aren’t as phony as Obama keeps insisting they are.

One of my readers, Joe Vincent, agrees with me. Quoting religious leader Max Lucado, he wrote to say: “It is never wrong to do the right thing.” Even so, timing matters, which is why I want to wait until 2015 to have the right thing done..

I understand that there are those, including Charles Krauthammer, John Boehner and Michael Medved, who disagree with me when it comes to impeachment. They believe that such an action could bite the Republicans in the butt because the Democrats would label them racists. To which I say, so what else is new? If a conservative so much as admits he prefers white meat to dark meat at Thanksgiving, he’s called a bigot.

It’s time for Republicans to grow up and quit sniveling every time a demented liberal calls them names. My suggestion is to consider the source, pull on your big boy pants and move on.

I realize that the impeachment of Bill Clinton proved disastrous for the GOP and did a lot to help the Democrats gain congressional seats in the 1998 mid-terms. But that was then and this is now. For one thing, the economy was zipping along in 1998, and although that had less to do with Clinton than with Newt Gingrich and the House Republicans, it accrued to his benefit. For another thing, say what you will about Clinton, he comes off as a good old boy. Obama comes across as an arrogant schmuck whose domestic agenda has put a brake on our economic recovery and whose foreign policy has alienated America’s friends and emboldened our enemies.

In addition, although he was guilty of perjury, Clinton’s defenders in Congress and the media could make it appear that he was being persecuted by Puritans over his sleazy private life. The proceedings quickly took on the appearance of a French sex farce, with the prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, in the role of a vengeful wife, while Hillary Clinton cast herself as Bill’s loyal drinking buddy, ever ready to provide an alibi, while simultaneously blaming a vast rightwing conspiracy and trashing every woman who ever dared complain about his boorish antics.

Finally, while it’s quite true that Clinton’s impeachment made him a sympathetic character for a great many people and helped fuel the Democrats’ unprecedented mid-term victories in 1998, Krauthammer, Boehner and Medved, seem to have overlooked the fact that it hardly proved fatal to the GOP, which managed to win the presidency two short years later against the incumbent vice-president.

Speaking of the Clintons, Hillary is still kicking herself in the backside for trying to come off as a typical housewife worried sick over the future when she insisted that she and Bill were flat broke in 2001 – or at least as broke as two people could be when they had tens of millions of dollars’ worth of impending book deals and speaking fees just waiting for them to turn off the lights and put the key under the White House welcome mat.

The same golden future, I regret to say, will face the post-presidential Obamas. But even they wouldn’t have the audacity to claim they’re broke when they check out because they already had about ten million bucks when they checked in, and we taxpayers have been picking up the tab ever since.

Although the Obamas won’t be leaving their current digs for another two-and-a-half years, I think it’s safe to predict that, come January, 2017, while they’ll be far from broke, they’ll still be as morally bankrupt as the day they moved in.

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©2014 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.