burt_small.thumbnailby Burt Prelutsky

Like everyone else who can’t wait for the Obamas to vacate the White House, I want to tell 2017 not to dawdle. No stopping to smell the roses while the rest of us are sniffing the swamp gas emanating from what has come to be known over the past six years as the Offal Office.

I have long believed that you could get a pretty good handle on a person if you knew his friends and his enemies. In Obama’s case, his friends, those folks for whom he doesn’t mind going that extra mile, seem to consist of Vladimir Putin, the Ayatollah Khamenei and the Castros, which explains why Raul Castro recently declared that “Barack Obama is a decent man.” As commendations go, that’s rather like having Hitler calling you a nice guy.

On the other hand, Obama’s enemy list includes Israel’s Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Egypt’s President el-Sisi, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Christians, America’s conservatives, law-abiding gun owners and, of course, Fox News.

It is also telling that Obama and his stooges always manage to come up with tax dollars for illegal aliens, Planned Parenthood’s abortion mills and urban blacks, but rarely for our wounded military veterans.

Speaking of welfare, in Maine, a three-month limit has been established on food stamps for able-bodied adults without minor dependents (ABAWDS) unless they work 20 hours a week, attend job-training courses or volunteer for six hours a week. I think you’d agree that’s not too demanding. And yet the mere notion of doing volunteer work for about an hour-a-day was enough to decrease the number of these clodhoppers receiving food stamps by 80%!

I suspect that if Maine added mandatory drug-testing to the requirements, it could eliminate that last 20%.

In case you’re unaware of it, the Rolling Stone, the uber left-wing rag, recently ran a story about a gang rape that allegedly took place at a University of Virginia fraternity house. It turned out that Jackie, the “victim” had made it up out of whole cloth, which, unfortunately, is the case far too often when it comes to campus assaults. But what made this case worthy of attention was that nobody insisted that the reporter speak to the alleged rapists, to the woman’s friends or even to the local police.

Even when the Stone’s owner and editors fessed up, the apology sounded a lot like, “Okay, we were mistaken this one time (okay, twice, if you insist on bringing up the Duke Lacrosse team), but the fact is that young southerners enjoy nothing better than raping coeds unless it’s lynching black men.”

For those on the Left who pooh-pooh conservatives when they accuse the mainstream media of having an agenda, whether it involves cases such as these or endemic racism among white cops, this is what we’re talking about.

Speaking of cops, some of the stupidest people in America, and that certainly includes Al Sharpton and the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, are those who compare cops to Klansmen. However, some of the other stoopnagels are cops. I mean ever since Rodney King, if a police officer so much as coughs without covering his mouth, it’s captured on video. So how is it that some of them still seem to believe that donning the uniform makes them invisible?

Speaking of stupid, how is it that so many so-called journalists haven’t caught on that if they’re going to devote their lives to shilling for the Democrats, they shouldn’t be working for newspapers and earning peanuts? What they should do is call themselves political strategists like James Carville, Joe Trippi, Mark Hannah and Lanny Davis. They’d not only make a fortune, but force millions of us to fast-forward through any Fox show on which they happened to appear.

Some of you may have noticed that I have cooled slightly on Scott Walker. It’s nothing that he’s done or even anything he said. In fact, it was his response to the English reporter who asked him what he thought of the Theory of Evolution. Instead of saying he believed in it or that he didn’t, he blinked and said something along the lines of “I wouldn’t touch that question with a 10-foot pole.”

While it’s true that there was no reason to pose the question, and we all know that the same reporter would not ask it of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, I don’t want a Republican presidential candidate to ask himself how an answer to any question is going to play in Iowa or New Hampshire, Ohio or Texas.

Frankly, I don’t care what Walker or any of the GOP contenders thinks about Charles Darwin. As president, nothing Walker says or does is going to involve evolution. But if you’re not savvy enough to say, “Darwin had his theories and I have my own when it comes to simplifying the tax code, building up our military, closing the southern border, shutting down the EPA, defending Israel, standing up to Iran and killing Islamic terrorists wherever they raise their ugly heads,” I’m not sure you’re ready for primetime.

After viewing Hillary’s video announcing her candidacy, showing her posed in front of a white picket fence, which didn’t even slightly resemble the Clinton mansion in Chappaqua, NY, a friend told me he expected some kid to come by and ask her if the Beav could come out and play. For my part, I was surprised not to see one of Ma Clinton’s famous hot apple pies cooling on the window sill.

When I recently wrote that Rand Paul was too short to be elected president, a couple of Sen. Paul’s fans reminded me that James Madison was a mere 5-foot-4. But I pointed out that was 200 years ago when the average height of American men wasn’t what it is today. Besides, without TV, most Americans had no idea how tall Madison was or how he measured up against George Clinton, Charles Pinckney or Rufus King. Moreover, people were a lot smarter back then, and welfare recipients, not to mention illegal aliens, weren’t being encouraged to vote.

Finally, I recently read that Olivia de Havilland, a contract player at Warner Brothers, begged Jack Warner to loan her out to MGM so she could take the role of Melanie in “Gone with the Wind.” Although it was commonplace and profitable for studios to rent out their stars, Jack Warner was reluctant because he always felt that when they came back to his no frills factory, they tended to be malcontents.

So after being turned down by Jack, Olivia invited Mrs. Warner to have lunch at the Brown Derby. She presented her case, Jack’s wife interceded on her behalf and before you could say, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” Olivia de Havilland had the role and an Oscar nomination.

The reason I mention this is because it relates to something in my own life. Many years ago when I was in my 20s, living in Los Angeles, I received an assignment from the Sunday supplement in the Chicago Tribune to write a piece about the upcoming TV season. They told me they wanted me to interview the producers of the many new one-hour dramas that would debut in September. They specifically told me they weren’t interested in the financial impact it would have on the networks when most of their half-hour sit coms were displaced.

I watched the pilot episodes, interviewed the producers and mailed the article off to Chicago. The next thing I knew, the editor of the Sunday supplement let me know he was dissatisfied. Where, he wanted to know, were all the financial details? I reminded him that he had told me to ignore all that boring stuff.

When he held fast, I wrote to his boss, the managing editor, who wrote back to say he gave his subordinate editors absolute autonomy to do as they pleased.

Fortunately, I still had relatives living in Chicago and both editors had distinctive names. So I wrote to a cousin and asked him to find out their home addresses. As soon as I had them, I addressed letters to their wives, explained the situation and asked them how they’d feel if they had a son living 1,800 miles away who was being jerked around this way.

I never heard back from either of the women, but within a week, I received a check from the Tribune.

At the time, I realized that nearly every man has a conscience. But as Olivia de Havilland had discovered, they often come by them the same way they wind up with in-laws and mortgages; namely through marriage.