Help Needed

Next week’s news: Calling him “the right man at the right time,” President Obama today named Gen. David H. Petraeus commander of all U.S. operations in the Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Obama acknowledged that efforts to stop the Deepwater Horizon spill are “bigger than any one person,” yet expressed confidence that Petraeus could single-handedly win the war against oil in the Gulf.

Cartoon by Daryl Cagle - (click to reprint)

Cartoon by Daryl Cagle - (click to reprint)

Reaction came swiftly from Sen. John McCain, who said, “had Gen. Petraeus been in charge of Gulf operations from the start, the spill might never have happened in the first place.”

Next month’s news: Expressing dismay at the Senate vote rejecting Elena Kagan’s bid to join the Supreme Court, President Obama today nominated Gen. David H. Petraeus as the Court’s next Associate Justice. “The Supreme Court is bigger than any one Justice,” the president told reporters. “I have complete confidence that Gen. Petraeus will help guide our nation in the war against bad laws.”

In a hastily called news conference, Sen. John McCain applauded the nomination, adding, “I believe Gen. Petraeus will be confirmed with record speed, perhaps even during a coffee break. We’ve seen this man, and we like what we see.”

Rarely has an individual won such unanimous praise among Republicans and Democrats ““ especially at a time when the two parties can’t seem to agree on anything or anyone. It is therefore smart strategy for the president to seek nominees who: (a) have rousing GOP support, (b) will be quickly confirmed, and (c) won’t make the White House look bad if they fail, thanks to (a) and (b).

Regrettably, there don’t seem to be many candidates with these qualifications who aren’t named Gen. David H. Patraeus, which explains why the president turned to him after Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal went all Rolling Stone and revealed that when it comes to loyalty he’s one fry short of a happy meal.

Mr. Obama should immediately rank all members of his administration according to confirmability, and then nominate everyone with a passing grade for as many positions as possible. The list currently consists of: Gen. David H. Patraeus, Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Bo, the Obama’s Portuguese Water dog.

Clinton is the only female Democrat whom Republicans seem to swoon over almost as much as Sarah Palin, although the reasons remain unclear. It may be that Clinton is seen as the most electable Democrat on the national scene, which is why Republicans would speedily confirm her for any non-elective office ““ preferably a lifetime position.

Gen. Petraeus, meanwhile, continues to demonstrate his mastery of the Capitol Hill interview process. Just a few weeks ago he avoided a tough question at a Senate hearing by fainting in his chair. He later claimed to have been dehydrated due to heat, yet it’s unlikely that any senator will ask him at his next confirmation hearing if he realizes that Afghanistan’s temperature averages 117 degrees, even inside taverns where Gen. McChrystal used to hang.

Michelle Obama now has an approval rating 13 points higher than her husband, according to Pew Research, and she has already proved herself to be more than capable in waging war against gophers in the White House garden.

Bo, too, has maintained a low profile despite a seemingly endless run of bad news at the White House, and clearly deserves more responsibility.

The president must take decisive action before it’s too late.

Next year’s news: After thanking Joe Biden for his service to the nation, President Obama today named Gen. David H. Patraeus to be his running mate in the 2012 election. “Governing the nation is a job too big for any one person,” said the president. “Gen. Petraeus is the right man to help win the war against those forces who might vote against me.”

John McCain was not available for comment.


Peter Funt writes about newspapers at: and can be reached at

©2010 Peter Funt. This column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons, Inc. newspaper syndicate. For info call Cari Dawson Bartley at 800 696 7561 or e-mail [email protected]

Peter Funt is a writer and public speaker. He’s also the long-time host of “Candid Camera.” A collection of his DVDs is available at

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We Are the Wonks

Outside Ohio, the question isn’t so much whether basketball superstar LeBron James will opt to stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but whether a shamelessly hokey rendition of “We Are the World,” sung by local politicians and media folk, will have any actual impact on his thinking.

Arlen Specter

Cartoon by John Cole - Scranton Times-Tribune (click to reprint)

The Ohio version goes: “Please stay, LeBron; We really need you. No bigger market’s gonna love you half as much as we do. It’s a choice you’re making; will you go or will you stay? What will we do with that big sign, if you move away?”

Could a dumb ditty like that sway a major decision? If so, get ready for…

Senator Arlen Specter campaign ad – “Please vote for me; I’m finished changing. It’s the GOP, not my new par-ty, that needs rearranging. If you boot me out, let there be no mys-tery; I’ll just join a group that suits me to a tea…”

Elena Kagan testimony
– “Do I look gay? How dare you wonder. Your group’s a joke; the system’s broke, and gone asunder. If I am confirmed, you all know so very well. I’ll sit on the bench and never ask or tell…”

BP commercial – “OK, we goofed, but we’re still tryin’. For 75-mil, our experts shill; you know they’re lyin’. It’ll cost a lot, now that the Gulf’s a dump. But we’ll get even with you, baby, at the pump…”

NBC promo – “We are the net; we do it our way. Prime-time may suck, but that’s bad luck; we’re makin’ Jay pay. We’ve got new shows planned; and we’ll be tops again. You’ll love Al Roker when we put him on at 10….”

Sean Hannity script – “We are the world; we see it our way. We love our views, and don’t confuse, what else the facts say. Balance is our goal, and we strive to keep things fair; but if we are wrong we never seem to care…”

Steve Jobs pitch – “We struck it rich; you love the iPad! You over pay, what can I say? It makes us all glad. Apple’s doin’ great, and we’ve got you all to thank. And we’re laughin’ all the way to the i-Bank…”

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer news conference – “We love our cops; they stop the capers. They’ll let you pass, but first they want to see your papers. We’ve got border guards, ’cause Latinos try to roam. As for tourists, we’ll just let them stay at home…”

President Obama speech – “This job is tough; did I misjudge it? The polls are down, the markets too; I just can’t fudge it. But we’ll muddle through, and I want you all to know: no matter what, the job won’t go to Joe…”


Peter Funt may be reached at

©2010 Peter Funt. This column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons, Inc. newspaper syndicate. For info call Cari Dawson Bartley at 800 696 7561 or e-mail [email protected].

Peter Funt is a writer and public speaker. He’s also the long-time host of “Candid Camera.” A collection of his DVDs is available at

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Manhattan Flannel

Raging Moderate, by Will Durst

There they go again. The Democrats, that is. All Mitch McConnell had to do was threaten to wave his arms and intone his mantra of “Activist Judges!” and they flinched like a red-headed stepchild in goal at the NHL Stanley Cup Finals. On the other hand, when Republicans pick a Supreme Court nominee in the throes of a majority swagger, they shoot the moon choosing an ideologue to the right of Stalin. But the donkeys are as skitterish as a bunny in a tent full of cleat-wearing elephants and inevitably try to slide through leaving no visible ripples in the pond of midterm bipartisanship.

elena kagan gay lesbian paper trail

Cartoon by Daryl Cagle - (click to reprint)

Glorying in his chance to replace John Paul Stevens’ doctor as the most important liberal in America, President Obama nominated moderate Elena Kagan to walk in the 90-year-old’s comfortable shoes. If confirmed, she’ll become the third woman and fourth Supreme Court Justice from New York City: Scalia from Queens, Sotomayor from the Bronx, Ginsburg from Brooklyn and now Kagan from Manhattan. Don’t you love the new diversity? Be surprised if someone isn’t compiling a short list of qualified nominees from Staten Island. Who went to Harvard.

Kagan attended Princeton, Oxford and Harvard, a potential sixth sitting justice to wear the Crimson. Delivering another crippling blow to we state schoolies. And the fact that I’m using “schoolies” might be part of the problem. Recent trends report the less we know of a candidate, the better their chance of slaloming through the chain-link fence of character assassination known as the Senate Confirmation Hearings; thus we know more about Martian quantum physics than we do Ms. Kagan. Besides being former dean of Harvard Law and the current solicitor general of the United States, which must mean she’s proved herself to be a pretty good solicitor. And a general. So she’s got that going for her.

She wrote her senior thesis on “socialism in the early 20th century,” raising a red flag to conservatives who consider socialism contagious; even though she only studied it, she is open to accusations of being a carrier. Typhoid Elena. Her major sticking point is a lack of judicial experience, and to say her paper trail is scant is like intimating that BP is unlikely to be named winner of the Shrimp Fishers of America Good Citizen of the Year Award.

Prepared to put on the last robe she’ll ever wear, Kagan has taken blank slate to a whole new schoolhouse. And because of her track record vacuum, her sexuality or lack thereof has begun sidling center stage. The question: Is she gay? And if so, is she out? And if not, who cares? Eliott Spitzer, a Harvard classmate, says she went out on dates with men but not with him. Because when it comes to sex, Spitzer apparently is our go-to guy.

Granted, she is 50 and unmarried, and was photographed playing softball and wearing flannel, setting most of Middle America’s gaydar a-tingling. What’s the old joke: we don’t know if Elena Kagan is a lesbian, but her hair is. However, unless photos of her in bed with the Indigo Girls surface in the Enquirer, gay, straight or Gary, the first Monday in October, the Supreme Court will consist of six Catholics and three Jews. Sounds like the dance card at a KKK lawn-burning jamboree. We certainly have come a long way. Baby. Then again, who better to decide questions of innocence than members of the planet’s two most guilt-consumed faiths?


Will Durst is a San Francisco-based political comic who writes. This being a dazzling example. Catch him at the Punch Line, May 27- 29,, 444 Battery St., San Francisco, 415.397.7573. New CD, “Raging Moderate” from Stand Up! Records now available on both iTunes and Amazon.

Copyright ©2010, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate. Call Cari Dawson-Bartley at 800-696-7561 or e-mail [email protected]. Will Durst is a political comedian who has performed around the world. He is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at [email protected]. Check out for the latest podcast. Will Durst’s book, “The All American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing,” is available from Amazon and better bookstores all over this great land of ours. Don’t forget to check out his rooftop comedy minutes at:

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