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The Political Oscars

A Commentary By John Stossel

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Sunday, Hollywood sycophants give out Oscars.

But they will miss some of the better performances of the year because Academy Awards just go to movie actors. They leave out political actors.

That's not right. Politicians deceive and manipulate people just as much as actors do. Some of their performances deserve recognition.

So, I created the Stosscars to fill the gap. Here are this year's awards:

Best Performance by a Rich Elitist goes to Nancy Pelosi. In her eagerness to trash Republican tax cuts, she said this about $1,000 bonuses: "The crumbs that they are giving to workers to kind of put the schmooze on is so pathetic."

The award for Best Performance by a Democrat goes to San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon. After California legalized marijuana, the DA announced he would drop 3,000 misdemeanor marijuana convictions and reduce the penalties for thousands of felony convictions, and the poor guys sitting in jail would not have to petition to get the relief: "People will not have to hire attorneys. They will never have to come to our courts. We believe it's the right thing to do."

The Stosscar for Best Performance by the President goes to the speech in which Donald Trump said, "We have cut 22 burdensome regulations for every one new rule."

It's not clear that this is true, but the thought behind it is great. Any reduction in regulations will increase Americans' freedom and prosperity.

On the other hand, President Trump chose Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to be attorney general. Sessions wins the award for Worst Praise of Abusive Government. He said this about asset forfeiture: "I love that program. We had so much fun doing that, taking drug dealers' money."

Fun? Police grabbed billions of dollars, mostly from people who never got trials. That's a crime, not good government, but both political parties supported it.

Still, it wasn't even the Worst Result of Bipartisanship. Senators Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell win that Stosscar for their recent budget deal.

Schumer called it, "The first real sprout of bipartisanship." McConnell thanked "my friend the Democratic leader" and said he hoped "we can build on this bipartisan momentum."

Please don't! That deal added billions of dollars to our unsustainable debt and cut almost nothing.

Does any politician ever say "no" to more government?

One did. Sen. Rand Paul wins the Stosscar for Best Defense of the Constitution. Paul demanded the NSA and FBI get warrants before they listen to Americans' phone calls picked up during surveillance of foreigners.

"Do we really want all of our phone calls recorded ... (I)f you are not perfectly accurate in recording your phone calls, you can go to prison? ... (F)or Americans, the Constitution should be in order."

Unfortunately, the Constitution bores most Americans. So domestic spying continues.

This year's Stosscar for Best Democrat on Free Speech goes to Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Despite denouncing good people like Charles Murray, she said of them: "It's dangerous to suppress speech. First, suppression can backfire. Instead of shutting up individuals with disgusting views, it becomes a launching pad to national attention. ... Suppression suggests weakness. It makes it sound like we're afraid that we can't defeat evil ideas with good ideas."

Good point. The way to fight bad ideas is with good ideas. Unfortunately, Warren's ideas are usually not good ideas.

Finally, the Stosscar for Worst Performance by a President. The winner is ... President Trump -- for bragging like a narcissistic child in tweet after tweet.

Don't misunderstand. The Stosscar judges love his tweeting, but some bragging is so repulsive it deserves an award. Samples:

Trump tweeted that he was: "not smart, but genius ... and a very stable genius at that!"

"Since taking office I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation. Good news -- it was just reported that there were Zero deaths in 2017."

Give me a break. He still hasn't even done anything that affected aviation.

Many presidential tweets deserve awards. But as happens at the Stosscars every year, we're out of time.

John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2018 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.

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