Bob Franken

THE GREAT PRETENDERS

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

THE GREAT PRETENDERS

“Trick or treat!” That’s either the neighborhood kiddies out seeking candy and treats on Sunday night, or Glenn Youngkin and Donald Trump busy attempting to trick Virginia voters into thinking that there is any difference between them.
Both of them wear costumes, and both of them masquerade. Trump still lies that he won the last election, and Youngkin pretends he’s not an insidiously disguised clone of the Donald. I guess he’d call himself the Glenn, trying to appeal to the suburban voters that Trump drove away. Oh, Youngkin doesn’t look like Trump — he really doesn’t look like Trump. Youngkin is svelte; Trump is certainly not svelte. And Glenn Youngkin is a success in the business world; Donald Trump is not successful at all. He just talks a good game.
Trump speaks to the reactionaries in this country who want simple answers to their simple questions. Youngkin sneaks up on the same people. Plus, he has a good jump shot.

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POINT OF VIEW

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

POINT OF VIEW

Pity the poor reporter in any newsroom who is assigned to cover the latest Gallup Poll release on Americans’ satisfaction with the treatment of women in society. When respondents were asked “how satisfied with treatment of women in society” they were, 46% of female respondents said they were unsatisfied, and 62% of the men said they were pretty satisfied.
Now, this is not a piece on the disparate role of genders as we stumble through the complex “me too” era. My momma didn’t raise no suicidal fool. Besides, it’s clear that when it comes to the results, it depends on your point of view.
Instead, I will take on the “ditto heads” of Rush Limbaugh, who are many of the same people who routinely deliver death threats aimed at anyone who dares utter a criticism at any hero of theirs over social media. Why don’t I get worked up about those guys? Well, it’s because chances are they’re small, unimaginative minds conjuring their threats on a computer somewhere. Not that I have anything against small, unimaginative minds. One rode his computer all the way to the presidency.
I speak of course of Donald Trump, formerly of Twitter, reduced to grinding his mindless statements on paper now that he’s been kicked off both Twitter and Facebook. But he has the same reach.
When Colin Powell died the other day, his admirers (including me) lionized him as a great man, a historical figure. Not Donald Trump: “wonderful to see Colin Powell, who made big mistakes on Iraq, and famously, so-called weapons of mass destruction, be treated in death so beautifully by the Fake News Media.”

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MOM DISTORTIONS

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

MOM DISTORTIONS

Moms for Liberty — an ultraconservative group that identifies with parental rights in schools — started in Florida, but they’ve settled in Virginia right now because Virginia is the most important game in town politically — in fact, in the whole country.
Their name and cause are a teeny bit bogus. I mean, is there an organization called Moms AGAINST Liberty? And does anyone oppose parents’ rights in schools? The questions are how far do our liberties go and parents’ rights to do what.
Are our liberties absolute? Of course not. Should they extend to questions of public health? Of course not. So when it comes to the right of government to establish rules about face masks and vaccines, aren’t those who disrupt meetings of local boards of education just making the board members’ jobs harder, just like when they shout over advocates of a particular progressive curriculum? Of course. But that’s going on around the country, and, in Virginia, it’s coming most potently from Glenn Youngkin, who is a candidate for governor and a surrogate for Donald Trump.
Youngkin has done everything he can to hide the connection, but it’s there to see. Youngkin is a Republican, the party taken over by Trump, and the GOP no longer cherishes truth any more than Trump does.
So Glenn Youngkin, like his mentor, has hidden his real agenda, which is to be a stand-in for the Trumpster. From his first TV ad onward, his Democratic opponent, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, has tried to KO Youngkin with Trump. Meanwhile, Youngkin has attempted to bob and weave with parents.

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NATIONAL HYPOCRISY DAY

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

NATIONAL HYPOCRISY DAY

There was something disconcerting about Monday, Oct. 11. On the very same day, we commemorated both a seriously oppressed group and a symbol of the group’s oppressors.
Christopher Columbus discovered America in the larger sense (his first stop was an island in the Bahamas in 1492), and he ran roughshod over any indigenous people he encountered.
But Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy, and the Italians had strong lobbying groups. So with no mention of the Native Americans he abused, 300 years later, in 1792, the U.S. established the first Columbus Day.
Then, in 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared Columbus Day a federal holiday. But it took 53 years — until a week or so ago — for President Joe Biden to make it official: It will be Indigenous Peoples’ Day as well as Columbus Day. He was pretty busy that day reciting proclamations.
But it’s always some day or week or month in the United States, and then we go on to the next one and forget about the group we were just memorializing. There’s Black History Month, where we honor the African Americans, who first came over as slaves, then became almost slaves under Jim Crow segregation, and then whatever we have today, where we discriminate while pretending to be one happy family.
We still make history with that one. Fox News has made a mint exploiting and bitterly complaining about the teaching of history that really happened. They scare their listeners with terms like CRT, which means critical race theory. Those outraged would prefer to keep things the way they are, just maintaining it never happened and whiting out the Black experience. But anyway, that’s February.

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GETTING KICKS

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

GETTING KICKS

“Washington’s NFL Team plays Rockettes offense. One, two, three, kick.” That’s an old football joke. If you don’t understand the finer points of the game, ask your wife.
And if you don’t get how Washington deals with crises, it’s the same thing. The politicians just punt the ball a short distance away. This way, they keep attention on themselves by never leaving crisis mode. Every game they play ends in overtime.
The congressional and White House gladiators have done it again, taking their backstabbing match beyond regulation and into December. I should say “matches,” since they have managed to combine two budgetary shambles into the same holiday month: December, the month of Christmas, Hanukkah and now the month of fiscal drama.
First off, there is the customary nail-biter over a federal government shutdown. Remember that one? The original deadline for funding operations was supposed to be the end of September, but the tradition now includes the boot that stretches the boundary to Dec. 3, just when some federal employees were worrying about being able to afford holiday inflation this year because of supply chain issues caused by the year-round fear of COVID.
Head coaches Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell have their work cut out for them. Will their strategy include still another kick of the ball (called a “can,” as in “kick the can down the road”)?

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