In one episode of the TV sitcom “King of Queens”, the dim-witted character of Danny Heffernan starts his own landscaping business. He knows nothing about landscaping and even less about business. Predictably it doesn’t take long for his venture to go belly-up. When asked about why he would do such a foolish thing, he lamented, “I don’t know. Why did I ever listen to that fortune cookie.”
Within the context of comedy, that’s good stuff. Within the context of politics, not so much. Yet the same inept thought process is the hallmark of so many of our elected officials. To paraphrase the great Henny Youngman, “Take Obama. Please.” Desperately trying to sell his health-care program, he told us, “If you want to keep your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” Just because it wasn’t true doesn’t mean it was a lie. “It’s not a lie if you believe it”. He believed it. Unfortunately many people paid the price of his oblivion. In an Oval Office well-stocked with sycophants, no one bothered to correct him.
To be fair, some of his supporting cast did have an inkling that something was not spot on. Nancy Pelosi, in a valiant attempt to reconcile this delusion, offered “We can’t know what’s in the bill until we pass it.” Who siphoned the air out of her spaceship? Her inner voice must have followed up with “Did I just say that?” Still, for her, it was not a lie.
The lack of reality is by no means limited to the Blues. You think Trump’s any better? “We’re going to build a wall and Mexico’s going to pay for it.” Really, Don? I knew they wouldn’t pay for it. How did you not know? Why didn’t you just ask me? Now trying to skim $20 billion dollars out of the military budget to bankroll his pipedream, he remains unaware of the omelet on his face.
Crime in the cities? He’s going to end that too. “It’s over”. And he believed it! Nobody in their right mind did, but that’s where he had the advantage. And Obamacare. That would be repealed on “day one”. If I had to revert to his penchant for name calling, I guess I’d go with “Dumbbell Don”. How do you get through the Wharton School of Business and not know you have homework to do? Unless you copied off the guy next to you. When he was caught misinforming the Prime-Minister of Canada about our trade deficit with them, he parried any blow-back with “I just make things up”. What the what? Even his deplorables need a feeding tube to swallow that one. Now the very name “Trump” has become a favorite punchline for late-night talk show hosts. When they find themselves tanking, just saying “Trump” and firing up the “Laugh” prompt unleashes a Pavlovian guffaw from the liberal crowd.
It’s not just the top of the political food chain that suffers from factual inertia. We have a new governor. I don’t have to be on board with his agenda but I’m stymied by his thought process: A) free community college; B) the taxes on recreational marijuana will pay for it; C) he waters down the criteria for medical marijuana so anything from a stubbed toe to a nosebleed qualifies: and D) medical marijuana, like all prescriptions is not taxed). So E) a big drop in tax revenue from weed sales. Applying basic algebra: B=(C+D)-E; that means less money for A. (Unless you’re a math major, just keep reading.)
As an added bonus for our votes, he promised $2 billion to cure our terminally diseased infrastructure. With absolutely no idea where the money will come, he’d have to tax not only the rich but anyone making over $30 a day.
The same mental vacancy happens on the local level. The townspeople in Toms River NJ feel threatened by the prospect of high density housing. And rightly so. People moved there to get away from the ills of urban blight. No one wants the congestion, the pollution, the deception that goes hand-in-hand with thoughtless overdevelopment. They look at the neighbor to the north. They worry about being Lakewoodized.
These are well-founded concerns and the City Council is turning over rocks to deal with this dilemma. The newly elected officials fanned the flames of fear and rode it into office. They pledged to curb development, even enact a building moratorium. And there’s the rub! These were promises that cannot possibly be delivered. Somehow they didn’t know that restrictions mandated by the State Council on Affordable Housing prohibit that. Why didn’t they know? Were their lawyers absent that day? Despite their good intentions, it’s still the same old razzle-dazzle.
I’d like to help. If elected, I’m going to build a big beautiful wall around Lakewood New Jersey and Mexico’s going to pay for it by selling marijuana. I’m not sure what office I’ll be running for but I’m sure I’ll find out after I’m elected.