A Poor Standard

I must admit, as appalling as I find most of what the Democrats pass off as political rhetoric, I do enjoy when they start repeating talking points in perfect unison. Granted, the port side of the body politic generally presents an outward face as seamless as Representative Nancy Pelosi post-Botox®, but there are moments when Democratic leaders, mouthpieces and sock puppets in the corporate media literally sound like they are all reading off the same teleprompter.

Witness, if you will, the aftermath of Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade America’s credit rating from AAA to AA+. Liberals immediately blamed the fiscal fail on the Tea Party in specific and the GOP in general.

President Obama’s lackey David Axelrod told the doddering Bob Schieffer on what’s left of CBS’s venerable Face the Nation: “The fact of the matter is that this is essentially a Tea Party downgrade.”

Axelrod’s sentiments received a resounding echo from his table mate, former Democratic National Committee Chairman, former Vermont Governor and bellowing lunatic Howard Dean: “I think they’ve been smoking some of that tea, not just drinking it.”

Gee thanks, guys. We were all waiting with bated breath for the pronouncements of a White House hack and the ex-Governor of Ben and Jerry’s. As for “smoking it,” perhaps someone at the DNC should tell Governor Dean that he, of all people, should refrain from making “smoking” jokes. We all saw your Iowa meltdown in 2004, Governor Dean. I certainly hope that was drug-induced.

Meanwhile, noted yachtsman and 2004 Presidential loser Senator John Kerry emerged from below to pronounce to the remaining viewers of NBC’s once-relevant Meet the Press: “I believe this is, without question, the Tea Party downgrade.” Thanks for the input, Senator Kerry. I believe you are still the second-most important Senator from Massachusetts.

The reality of the S&P downgrade is that we’re no longer as fiscally respectable as The Netherlands, and are instead relegated to slumming with such reprobates as New Zealand.  According to S&P, our national credit rating dipped because the deficit-reduction plan passed last week didn’t cover enough bases to reassure markets that our fiscal situation was entirely stable. The Democrats — sans President Obama, who was cutting a 50th birthday rug with Al Sharpton — raced out to proffer desperate attempts to shift the blame to someone other than Obama.

However, we can dismiss the Democrats’ wailing for what it is: simple political maneuvering to avoid the electoral disaster that awaits them in 2012. Consider S&P’s logic:

We could lower the long-term rating to ‘AA’ within the next two years if we see that less reduction in spending than agreed to, higher interest rates, or new fiscal pressures during the period result in a higher general government debt trajectory than we currently assume in our base case.

Translation: “Stop spending like you’re auditioning to be Donald Trump’s next ex-wife, or you may have to pawn the title on Air Force One.” Well aware that anything Obama might sign would be as devoid of logic as, well, the scheme Obama signed, S&P responded with deserved skepticism.

While the Democrats were shrieking about conservative intransigence, Senator Lindsay Graham, who is only mildly more conservative than Axelrod, Dean and Obama, actually made a sensible remark: “The Tea Party hasn’t destroyed Washington… Washington was destroyed before the Tea Party got there.” Note to Democrats far and wide: If Lindsay Graham is schooling you on fiscal matters, you’ve been downgraded to remedial-level economics.

The Democrats have always been long on promises and short on plans. Throughout the entire debt-ceiling debate, they deployed defamation, but offered no direction beyond tired class-warfare applause lines. There are some cracks appearing in the liberal wall, however. While the vast majority is holding fast to the “blame the GOP” talking point, one or two liberal lackeys have evidently wandered off the reservation. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner claimed the S&P had “no justifiable rationale” for the downgrade. I suspect Obama and his minions didn’t stop to think that by claiming the S&P’s logic was inherently flawed, Geithner precludes the Democratic argument that the Tea Party is responsible.

Now, in the face of the first credit rating downgrade in American history, the Democrats are blaming both conservatives and S&P for a debtor’s prison they designed and built themselves. Unfortunately, they expect us to serve their sentence for them.

–Ben Crystal

The Moral Equivalent Of Boor

If I wrote film scripts, I might simply transcribe this week’s events in Washington. Actually, if I wrote film scripts, I’d be drinking champagne on the French Riviera with Cameron Diaz (because she seems really nice). Mere days after I penned the column The Oslo Discord, comic serendipity served the Democrats with a come-to-Jesus moment.

While the appalling “conservatives = terrorists” rhetoric reached hysterical volumes, something important happened. I am decidedly not referring to the ridiculous budgetary “deal” struck by the suits in Washington, by the way. Granted, the “deal” is important, in the sense that political histrionics followed by a gross dereliction of duty are important. But the serendipitous event to which I refer took place Monday afternoon on the floor of the House of Representatives. Amid the cacophony of virtually every liberal in the country trying to smear his or her opponents with the fecal falsehood of terrorism charges, there was a smile: Representative Gabby Giffords walked back onto the House floor and cast her first vote since Jared Lee Loughner tried to kill her.

You’ll recall the Democrats blamed conservatives for that. When it turned out that Loughner had nothing to do with conservatism, not only did the Democrats and their media accomplices drop coverage of him, they dropped their coverage of Giffords, as well. After all, she was no longer useful as a prop for their freak show. They’re still trying to work with the Anders Breivik-conservative simile, but it’s fading quickly. It’s tough to sell semi-literate teachers’ union victims — and members — on anything involving a mass murderer whose name they can’t pronounce, from a country they’ve never heard of, across an ocean they can’t locate on a map of… the Atlantic Ocean.

Against this backdrop, I ventured into that digital Tower of Babel, Facebook, and posted a link to a story recounting Democratic mouthpiece Chris Matthews’ latest stream of venom. As I perused the attempt by Matthews to claim conservatives are the moral equivalent of terrorists, I realized he was concluding a discussion of Giffords’ return. Even the two sock puppets he’d invited on set to watch him spew invective seemed uncomfortable.

Giffords made a miraculous recovery and retook her place among her colleagues in a remarkably short span, and Matthews celebrated her return by resurrecting the rhetoric of conservatives = terrorists. It’s almost as if he didn’t read last Thursday’s column (horrors!).

Meanwhile, a liberal acquaintance of mine reacted to the link with a torrent of tripe as virulent as a Jeremiah Wright “sermon.” Within a few lines, I had been accused by proxy of being a “terrorist,” a “thug” and — this one never gets old — a “teabagger.” The discussion turned academic as quickly as any attempt to convince a hardened liberal to remove his or her cranium from his or her rectum ever does. But it gave me a chance to engage in the sort of reflection most liberals seem incapable of conducting.

And I have a question for them: What the hell is wrong with you people? Gabby Giffords is back on the House floor. Our spendthrift Congress just worked out a “deal” to essentially play hot potato with the Nation’s financial security. Absolutely none of the economic problems we collectively face has been addressed in any substantive way, and it appears neither hope nor change will be heading our way anytime soon. And the Democrats, from Vice President Joe Biden all the way down to my wayward associate, are still trying to draw a parallel between people who disagree with their politics and people who fly planes into buildings.

Democrats, have you no shame? Do you even wince before you lump a fellow citizen into the same category as Ayman al-Zawahiri for the great crime of political disagreement? Is that really an appropriate equivalency? President Jimmy Carter infamously referred to the 1970s energy “crisis” as “the moral equivalent of war.” His remarks were met with the same derision as virtually everything else the losing admiral from the Battle of the Chattahoochee Bunny said or did. We don’t need a moral equivalent of war; we have actual war. Likewise, we don’t need a moral equivalency of terrorism; we have actual terrorists. It disturbs me that the Democrats can’t tell the difference.

If anyone needs a moral equivalent, here’s one: The financial scheme crafted in Washington this week is the moral equivalent of combating drunk driving by raising the legal blood alcohol level. And the supporters of this bill are the moral equivalents of Ted Kennedy.

–Ben Crystal

Father knows best (and so does Mother)

Last week, Chip Wood detailed his disgust with the ongoing budget “crisis” in his column Lies Our Leaders Tell Us. In his unassailable examination, Chip pointed out the basic mendacity with which the Democrats approached every aspect of fiscally managing the Federal coffers. I happen to agree with Chip. I’m also meaner than he is, so I’ll go one step further: Grow up, Washington.

The budget/debt debate which nearly paralyzed our government filled the airwaves with the usual blather. It was partisan rhetoric instead of productive dialogue. It was defamatory invective in place of constructive number-crunching. More than that — and Chip is too nice to say this — it was incredibly, offensively and spectacularly juvenile.

Yes, I said “juvenile.” The solution to the nation’s fiscal issues is so simple it’s actually trite: Don’t spend more than you have. Don’t have enough to make monthly payments on an S-Class Mercedes? Drive the Honda. Not enough in the account to afford a bigger flat screen? Move the couch closer to the television. Can’t afford a night at the Ritz? The light is on at Motel 6, not to mention at your house. Try that logic on a teenage girl with an unsecured Visa™ card… or the Department of Education.

The entire debate over whether to raise the debt ceiling centered on our elected officials’ refusal to manage the Federal budget in a sensible manner. The real tragedy has nothing to do with the Democrats’ profligate spending, nor is it related to the Republicans’ only marginally less profligate spending. The real tragedy is the basic simplicity of the solution: We taxpayers must break ourselves of the habit of being treated like children by the government and instead treat the government like children.

Someone has to be the adult around here. It’s time for John and Joan Taxpayer to become Dad and Mom — and start treating the President, his Cabinet and Congress like wayward teenagers. This country is one big house. Time to work the nation’s budget the same way one should work a household budget — albeit with bigger numbers.

Liberals are fond of demanding budget shortfalls be remedied with tax increases. Granted, liberals demand tax increases because they hold sway over their ignorant voting blocs with fear and class envy. But tax increases are entirely unnecessary if we take the mantle of national parents. When your son wants to go hang out with his friends, the responsible parent says: “You’re not going to the beach until you’ve taken out the trash.” When President Obama wants to immerse the military in another armed escapade, the responsible taxpayer says: “You’re not bombing Yemen until you’ve finished repaving I-20.” When your daughter whines: “Mom, I need money to buy the latest hip, cool thing (which will probably show off more of her than you’d like),” the responsible parent says: “You should have thought of that before you spent your allowance on something else.” When Obama says: “We need to raise taxes in order to fund a high-speed rail line from New York to L.A.,” the responsible taxpayer says: “You should have thought about that before you bailed out General Motors.”

For those of you who are rolling your eyes and thinking “the liberals will never go for this,” I have a compound response:

  1. The liberals stopped reading the moment they figured out I wasn’t going to blame this manufactured fiscal crisis on (insert current most-hated conservative here).
  2. Who gives a damn? Do you really want to include the people who not only elected Obama, but fully intend to re-elect him? To revisit the “parental” simile: When planning your household finances, do you ask your kids to cut into the XBox LIVE budget?

The current wire-pullers in Washington are well aware how simple the budget solutions are. They use phrases like “quantitative easing” and “American Taliban” because the strength of the liberal stranglehold on their soft-headed supporters depends on their soft-headed supporters remaining terrified. If they suddenly acknowledged the simplicity of our fiscal situation, many more taxpayers might realize we can send the entire government to its room without Obamacare: “Just because all the other governments are saddling their citizens with sprawling bureaucracies doesn’t mean you get to, as well.”

–Ben Crystal

Semper Paratus (I’ll handle the liquor)

I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoy the recent spate of zombie and/or space invader films. While each has small-to-gaping plot holes (Tom Cruise saves the world?), they’re good fun. While I lose no sleep over someone’s great aunt rising from the grave to try and nibble on my spleen, and I suspect E.T. isn’t likely to blaze in with a few million of his terraforming friends, there are real dangers out there. Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons, for example. A well-placed EMP, and everything with solid-state circuitry which isn’t case-hardened is toast. No more zombie movies on your television and no more phone calls to the Air Force because Representative Dennis Kucinich thought he saw an alien. Your world just became a sequel to Hurricane Katrina; only this time, even if the Democrats wanted to help, they couldn’t.

Fortunately for you and me, there are abundant resources available to help us prepare for the worst, while hoping for the… less worse. Our own site has Peggy Layton’s food and storage tips plus an entire section on emergency preparedness here.

But if you’re like me, you’re still trying to figure out whether you can get a solar still to make hooch that won’t blind you. So I read a few sources, talked to a few folks who will probably live a couple of steps up the food chain from me in what the “prepper” community calls a “TSHTF” scenario, and I’ve come up with a basic plan to live past my next birthday should the proverbial merde hit the ventilateur.

Location, location, location!

While we all love a nice beachfront view, being near the coast is a poor choice. Higher ground is a good goal. Actually, I’m thinking of heading for Mr. Livingston’s place (probably should have told him that before now). Arable land is important. Defensible land is equally so. Do a little research and find a place that fits both bills.

Getting there is half the misery

If an EMP is deployed against us, your minivan is a 2 ½-ton doorstop. Unless your vehicle is at least 50 years old, it’s not going anywhere. And something tells me you don’t have a mule team in the shed. Buy a bicycle and keep it maintained. That reminds me: I need to air up my tires.

Gimme the cure

Try to get a medical professional into your group. If not, kidnap one (just kidding, doc!). No matter what, you’re going to need basic first aid supplies. And you’re not going to be able to knock over the Rite-Aid and tote it with you. Have a ready supply of rubbing alcohol, bleach and iodine (they purify water, as well).

Where there’s smoke

Without fire, you’re just a heavy squirrel. Parasitic infections are awful. You’re going to need to cook your food and boil water. Buy a fire-starter.

Eat ’em and smile

Every “prepper” I know talks about their “bugout bag” and the canned food they’ve stored. That’s terrific if you’re already in a good location. If not, canned food is heavy, and it runs out fast when you’re feeding people traveling on foot. Learn to field dress an animal and cook it properly. Yeah, it’s nasty work; but in an extreme situation, you either eat or you’re eaten.

Lock’n’load

This is the single most contentious issue I’ve encountered among “preppers.” What weaponry to bring? My suggestion is to avoid the endless “AR vs. AK” debates, and find a weapon with which you’re comfortable. The weapon (and the ammunition) should be portable, easily wielded and reliable. Sure, that Barrett .50 is awesome; but in a severe scenario, it’s a millstone around your neck. Plus, if you use it on anything smaller than an elephant, you’ll need a straw.

The rest of the story

Durable clothing and footwear are a necessity, obviously. That Armani suit will have to wait for the archaeologists. Also, leave that uber-cool katana sword at home, and get a machete and a decent field knife. Paracord and portable shelter are also vital.

I know I’ve left out a great deal. Feel free to add your suggestions; hell, I welcome them. I figure my rank amateur’s take on emergency preparedness won’t help, but it might make you think about how well prepared you are. We live in an increasingly disturbed world. Better to be safe than — well — dead. Also, anything I forget, I can pick up at Mr. Livingston’s house.

–Ben Crystal

The Oslo discord

When a lunatic named Jared Lee Loughner killed six people and injured 13 more last January, liberal accusations of conservative complicity in the assault emerged faster than the sedatives could slow Loughner from “wild-eyed mass-murderer” to “Chris Matthews.” As the twisted tale unfolded, it became readily apparent that Loughner was inspired not by Sarah Palin (nor any other conservative), but by the voices in his head. With the revelation that among Loughner’s victims was not only U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), but a staunchly conservative Federal judge named John Roll, who died shielding another victim from Loughner, the coordinated liberal effort to pin the actions of a madman on people who don’t read The New York Times evaporated as quickly as liberals’ feigned concern for Giffords (but not Roll). By the way, Giffords is improving at a nearly miraculous rate. She may never return to Congress, but she returned to her husband, family and friends. I’ll wager that being discarded by the Democrats the moment she stopped being an effective political prop is meaningless to Giffords’ loved ones; they’re probably just overjoyed to have her home.

Following the failure of Loughner to provide an effective brickbat with which liberals could defame conservatives, the left went back to its usual litany of hate speech, slander and outright dishonesty. President Barack Obama and his racist minion, Attorney General Eric Holder, weathered a few storms of their own creation. Narcoterrorists from Mexico to Honduras obtained guns from the U.S. through an almost impossibly ill-conceived program called “Operation Fast and Furious.” While the cost of the program reached tens — if not hundreds — of millions of dollars, the human cost was even higher. Fortunately, Obama and Holder had the corporate media to bury the story; and with corporate media outlets ignoring the carnage, the liberal rank-and-file missed it through either ignorance or obscene partisanship. Liberals are perfectly willing to shriek at the top of their lungs about terrorism that they can claim is inspired by conservative women or talk radio, but terrorists who were literally armed by a Democrat President are evidently less useful in a campaign than — say — throwing grandma off a cliff.

And then, last Friday afternoon, the monotonous buzz of liberal mendacity, gender bias and racism was shattered by the roar of a terrorist attack in Oslo, Norway. Once it became apparent that the perpetrator was not striking a blow for Muhammad — despite The New York Times’ latest bout with erroneous reporting (“Helpers of the Global Jihad?” What is that, the Hamas junior varsity?) — I started counting the moments until someone tried to link the actions of some fruitcake in the land of the midnight sun to the Tea Party.

As expected, the wait was shorter than Jayson Blair’s post-scandal career. Knowing that the corporate media’s big outlets would need a few moments to figure out the best way to spin the tragedy to some twisted advantage, I took an off-ramp from the Information Superhighway to the seedy part of town: the Democrat-friendly hate speech site Dailykos.com. As expected, the cacophony was full-throated in the maximum-security wing of the liberal movement. But the wing nuts were trying an interesting new tack; they were actually accusing American conservatives of being more terrifying than the alleged Oslo shooter, Anders Behring Breivik. According to the lead tinfoil hat brigadier Markos Moulitsas:

…in the United States, (the Tea Party) movement is indeed fundamentalist Christian, populated by sects of millions that would seem strange to an Europeanist of the sort Breivik is. Those people are the actual mirror image of Al Qaeda, or more correctly the Taliban, and they don’t need to go around putting car bombs and driving planes into buildings because they have the US Armed Forces do that for them.

A comment like that (which apparently has been removed from the website) is made doubly interesting given the fact that Moulitsas is on record excusing Islamofascist murder of Americans. I’m half surprised he didn’t retroactively blame the Tea Party for the 2004 Fallujah incident he infamously celebrated. And not that I’m going to be a stickler for accuracy from the bottom of the blogosphere barrel, but when did the “US Armed Forces” start driving planes into buildings? Something tells me ol’ Kos might want to avoid Fort Stewart forever.

Meanwhile, my favorite verse from the Tea-Party-did-it chorus turned up in the least likely of places: www.personalliberty.com. Buried in the comments section attached to our latest “Great Eight” was this beyond-tangential nugget: “BRAVO THE FAR RIGHT WING – YOU JUST KILLED 90 NORWEGIANS, SHOT MOST OF THEM POINT BLANK IN THE HEAD.” No wonder I was so tired on Saturday.

I’m actually fascinated by the ability liberals possess to abandon logic on the altar of their political prejudices. They can accuse Grandpa and Grandma Kettle of Anytown, U.S.A., of being somehow complicit in the Oslo horror because they have a Gadsden flag bumper sticker on the back of their ’99 Grand Marquis, while simultaneously suggesting that the Islamofascists who dress their women like freak show beekeepers and stone people to death are merely misunderstood.

Meanwhile, the sole factor identifying Breivik as “right wing” is his apparent aversion to the spread of Islam. Imagine the logical contortions necessary for liberals to simultaneously claim not only is Islamofascist tyranny like the Taliban “right wing,” but so are the people who most vehemently find it objectionable. To put that in American terms: “Charles Rangel is a scumbag; let’s make him President.”

Look, people. There are different kinds of terrorism. Among them: religiously inspired terrorism, which involves flying planes into buildings (which the Democrat Moulitsas says is a common tactic of the U.S. military), or murdering four people, dismembering them, burning the corpses and hanging them from a bridge (to which the Democrat Moulitsas says: “Screw them.”). There’s governmental terrorism, which involves running people over with tanks, or forcing them to spend 30 years in a Siberian diamond mine in return for suggesting Lenin was a jerk, or shooting their wife and children in Idaho because they didn’t vote for Bill Clinton. There’s narcoterrorism, which lately involved drug dealers shooting people with guns supplied by the Obama Administration. And there’s American terrorism, which involves a Gadsden flag sticker on the bumper of your Grand Marquis — at least that’s what Mr. Soros says.

Despite the best efforts of the Democrats to smear conservatives with the tar brush of terrorism, the Tea Party has yet to bomb a single government office, shoot a single person or fly a single plane into a single building. In fact, the most the Tea Party has deployed is the occasional strong condemnation; it’s not as if the Tea Party is the Service Employees International Union or anything. And the tendency of liberalism’s leading lights to suggest the alternative is either true or is simply a “matter of time” isn’t just defamatory, it’s — well — rude.

The very same New York Times which erroneously issued the initial report that the Oslo attacks were the work of Islamofascists got back in line with the rest of the liberal stormtroopers breathlessly assigning American bloggers like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer complicity in Breivik’s actions. As Geller pointed out, this is paper-thin logic on a par with suggesting the Beatles were responsible for Charles Manson’s murder spree. To shine a current light on it: It’s akin to suggesting the Quran is responsible for… hmm.

Let’s be honest with each other for a moment. Anders Breivik is a Norwegian Tim McVeigh, not a Norwegian Osama bin Laden. Putting aside liberal mendacity, his actions don’t relate to the political ideology of anyone but the perpetrator. Breivik’s brand of terror is spooky-loners type stuff. It’s obviously devastating, but it’s terror with a finite growth curve, a career path with no long-term prospects. It’s sad, tragic and painful for the victims and those who seek a more peaceful world. While Breivik may identify himself as a “Christian,” even the bats in Fred Phelps’ Westboro belfry aren’t blowing up buildings and shooting kids (although someone should keep an eye on Fred and his flock).

What’s worth noting in the wake of the Oslo attacks is an apparently visceral need for liberals to link Breivik to their fellow citizens. Granted, with Obama on the ropes just eight months after the GOP dropped a hammer on the Democrats in the House of Representatives, the Democrats are understandably desperate. But the implication that American conservatism is any way the birthplace of Anders Breivik borders on schadenfreude.

I recognize the liberal addiction to authority. But 76 people are dead in Norway. Surely, the Democrats in the United States could have waited for the funerals before turning this tragedy into a campaign slogan.

–Ben Crystal

Lose One With The Gipper

Last week, the liberal stars once again aligned, as a Democratic effort to tie the increasingly irrelevant President Barack Obama to the dearly departed President Ronald Reagan was swallowed up by the black hole of liberal ignorance. The starship MSNBC, staffed as always by the crew of misfit liberal sock puppets, went down first.

Citing 1987 comments by Reagan, five of MSNBC’s primetime inmates claimed that Reagan spoke in favor of a tax hike remedy to the nation’s deficit problems. To bolster their Democratic masters’ case, each showed a video clip which seemed to support their party’s talking points: “… I am going to meet with the leaders of the Senate because it is high time to bring down the deficit and get us on a path… toward a balanced budget.” Taken by itself, that quote certainly sounds more like Obama than Reagan. But there was a teensy little issue for the Democrats’ lead cable communicators, and it involved a serious breach of journalistic ethics and… all right, you caught me… MSNBC’s tinfoil hat brigadiers wouldn’t recognize journalistic ethics if they came up and stole Ed Schultz’s Thorazine.

If your sole source of information is an entirely discredited propaganda outlet like MSNBC, you might not know they were lying to you. What the airheads in Obama crony Jeff Immelt’s cage did with that clip was a serious sin of omission. Here’s what Reagan actually said that day: “I have not changed my opinion about ever accepting a tax that will have a deleterious effect on the economy, and most tax increases do. Taxing is not the policy, or the problem, with the deficit. The deficit is due to too much spending… every dollar of increased revenue has been matched by a dollar and a quarter of increased spending.”

Oops.

The situation for MSNBC actually gets worse. The cherry-picked Reagan pronouncement reportedly started its life in the creepy confines of the so-called Congressional Progressive Caucus, a gathering of about 80 of the most blatantly corrupt (Rep. Bernice Johnson, Rep. Charles Rangel), most unhinged (Rep. Dennis Kucinich) and most appallingly stupid (Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. Hank Johnson) members of the House. The CPC got the ball rolling, and MSNBC, followed by the usual rogue’s gallery of corporate media sideshow rejects, used it to rile ignorant charges into a righteous — albeit wrongheaded — fury.

But there’s a deeper subtext involved. It’s not exactly news that MSNBC’s prime-time lineup consists of feckless liberal sycophants who gladly carry the water for Democratic overlords. But five talking hairdos regurgitating the same misleadingly edited snippet provided gratis by the batty bloc of the Democrat Party, all in an effort to link Obama to Reagan? Liberals hate Reagan. Of course, liberals hate everyone who isn’t liberal, but Reagan? It’s the equivalent of the Personal Liberty Digest™ toasting the anniversary of the October Revolution. Surely, the Democrats’ desperation to hold onto their fading vision of a socialist utopia ushered into existence by The Savior (the one, not The One) hasn’t forced them into such dire circumstances that they’re willing to identify with the most reviled (by liberals) political figure of the past three decades.

Unless it has: TIME Magazine’s Feb. 7 issue marked the Gipper’s 100th birthday with a cover featuring a Photoshopped image of Obama together with Reagan. The Obama-as-inheritor-of-Reagan’s-mantle fable, which has been manufactured by liberals, is gathering steam as 2012 approaches.

Here’s the thing: I knew Ronald Reagan (well, I met him once — big day for me, not so much for him). Barack Obama: You, sir, are no Ronald Reagan.

–Ben Crystal

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

Sometime after June Cleaver turned in her apron and retired to guest spots on “The Love Boat,” the feminist movement took center stage in what some called “the gender wars.” I wasn’t around during the nascent years of feminism, but I’ve always thought that the boys lost to the girls right about the same time we started pretending we liked movies with Sally Field — and without the Trans-Am.

Like any conservative, I’m of the opinion that skills and dedication ought to determine merit, and merit ought to determine advancement. As an example: When self-described “journalist” Joe McGinnis rented the house next door to Sarah Palin in order to conduct “research” on her family, liberals cheered the move, while reasonable people saw it as exceptionally creepy. If someone set up camp next door to Rachel Maddow, liberals would shriek “stalker!” or “sexist intimidation!” while conservatives would assume the poor sap lost a very big bet.

Unfortunately, as is so often the case with socially activist philosophies, one side of the political spectrum has convinced itself that it is the only appropriate partner for the movement. And as is so often the case with one side of a political spectrum “claiming” a social ideology as its own, the cause has been grossly perverted. Thus, the message of the current “feminist” movement, co-opted by the left as it is, isn’t one of “equal opportunity for women,” or even “gender should not be the sole factor in (whatever) decision.” Instead, feminism shouts from the rooftops about equal — or superior — treatment for liberal women. And they don’t mean: “The dumb broads who think raising a family is empowering are on their own.” They mean: “The dumb broads who don’t think the way we do are beneath scorn.”

And not only does the Democratic-feminist cabal despise women who don’t share their particular brand of lunacy, they rarely take issue when Democratic men make spectacularly misogynist remarks about conservative women. On those oddly frequent occasions when a party mouthpiece like Bill Maher (who evidently struggles with some serious mommy issues) channels… well… Bill Maher, the liberal community erupts in debate. It strikes me that when a conservative mocks Secretary of State Hillary Clinton without so much as a nod to her gender, the liberal community stands shoulder-to-shoulder in levying sexism charges against him.

Maher is particularly interesting given that he relates to women only slightly less dysfunctionally than Ted Bundy. For the sake of decency, I will refrain from repeating his remarks about Sarah Palin. Suffice it to say, if I used language like that — even about Hillary Clinton — my mother would fly down just to smack the fool out of my mouth. MSNBC’s morbidly obese lunatic Ed Schultz called Laura Ingraham a “slut,” and MSNBC needed 48 hours of navel-gazing before deciding Fat Eddie needed some time in the corner. The evening of President Obama’s State of the Union speech, Chris Matthews spent the better part of an hour talking about how much he hates Representative Michele Bachmann. Given the content of the speech Matthews was supposed to be analyzing, he needed something concrete and defaulted to 45 minutes of woman-hating.

Even the gals get nasty when the target isn’t the right kind of “strong woman.” Late last week, Janeane Garofalo, who manages to make a living as a comedienne despite being about as funny as a colonoscopy, took shots at Bachmann by attacking Bachmann’s husband — a man who has in no way tried to insert himself in the national political discourse. Try to imagine the liberal response should a conservative commentator make cruel and unfounded remarks about — say — Representative John Conyers’ wife… oops, the Federal courts have killed any chance of that.

If Bill Maher, Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz, Markos Moulitsas, Lawrence O’Donnell, Paul Krugman or even Janeane Garofolo wants to take issue with conservative women on a political level, then they’re welcome to it. Their fact-deficient rants usually offer great material for our weekly Great Eight. But they should keep the hypocrisy to a dull roar, focusing their disapproval on their targets’ politics — not their genitals.

–Ben Crystal

Oh, Sheila!

Few people could suggest with a straight face that the U.S. House of Representatives includes the best and brightest among us. In fact, most of the denizens of the august climes of the Personal Liberty Digest™ are already well aware that the members of the U.S. House of Representatives struggle to represent anyone but themselves.  That said, even among a group nearly as exclusive as the membership at Augusta National Golf Club, there’s always going to be one or two who manage to allow remarks to escape their flapping blowholes that are so breathtakingly stupid they make the usual jacklegs, grifters and string-pullers who stink up the Capitol look like Cincinattus by comparison.

Enter the lovely and talented Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas). The Hon. Ms. Jackson Lee has already locked up the title of “Most God-awful Boss in Congress.” Since she first took her seat in 1995, her staff has sported a higher turnover rate than the Crips. One staffer quit after Jackson-Lee threw a phone at him. And Ms. Jackson Lee evidently cut geography class (among others) at liberal demagoguery school: “Today, we have two Vietnams, side by side, North and South, exchanging and working. We may not agree with all that North Vietnam is doing, but they are living in peace. I would look for a better human rights record for North Vietnam, but they are living side by side.” For the sake of fairness, it should be noted that some of her defenders claim she meant to say “two Koreas,” in which case, she’s… still wrong.

Last week, Jackson Lee was back at it, raging from the people’s pulpit about her favorite topic: racism. Granted, ever since the beginning of the Presidential campaign of a little-known junior Senator from Illinois, liberals have endeavored to use the specious charge of racism to explain everything from President Obama’s lack of executive experience to his comprehensive incompetence as Commander in Chief. Normally, any criticism is immediately dismissed by the owners of the liberal movement as racist in nature.  But “normal” and “things done, said or even imagined by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee” rarely collide in the same universe, much less the same sentence. This is a woman who once accused The Hill of racism for printing an article noting she had asked NASA staffers if the Mars rover would visit the flag planted by Apollo astronauts… on the moon.

And in her logic-impaired tirade late last week, Representative Jackson Lee suggested that opposition to Obama’s economic “plan” is a result of… well… let’s let Sheila speak for herself (as if she requires any prompting): “I do not understand what I think is the maligning and maliciousness (toward) this president…Why is he different? And in my community, that is the question that we raise. In the minority community that is question that is being raised. Why is this president being treated so disrespectfully?  I am particularly sensitive to the fact that only this president — only this one, only this one — has received the kind of attacks and disagreement and inability to work, only this one.” Of course, she and her fellow Democrats treated President George W. Bush with the utmost in collegial regard. To be fair, Bush deserved some of the barbs he faced, given his profligate spending, harebrained schemes like No Child Left Behind, and his tendency to do things to the English language for which you pay extra in Vegas.

I often wonder if liberals, including Jackson Lee, consider the fact that by laying the exhausted race card on the table every time Obama slows for a political roadblock, they are essentially saying that Obama is nothing more than some helpless racial avatar, incapable of accomplishment — or, in Obama’s case — failure as anything other than a black man. Therefore, playing the race card in order to defend his every misstep is either an admission that he needs to be rescued with prosaic hokum, a revelation that liberals — bereft of meritorious ideas — have no other cards to play, or that they’re just plain silly.

Of course, Jackson Lee in particular resides in the latter category. Her amateur astronomical observations hardly represent her only ventures beyond her limited intellectual capacity. I would be willing to venture a guess that she’s not even aware that she’s calling Obama’s critics racist for agreeing with him: “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.”  (Senator Barack Obama, D-Ill., March 20, 2006)

Of course, the whole thing could just be Marvin the Martian’s evil plot. Perhaps NASA can clue her in to the fact that the Illudium Q-36 is an equal opportunity Explosive Space Modulator.

The Capitol Circus

P.J. O’Rourke once noted that “the whole idea of politics is to achieve power without possessing merit.” If a better description exists of 21st century American politics in general and the Obama Administration, I have yet to read it. (All right, besides: “Obama sucks!” That’s too obvious.)

Here at Personal Liberty Digest™, we watch the Capitol Circus because we’re paid to do it. But even a casual glance Washington-ward reminds the most dispassionate observer that these guys are clowns. Unfortunately, they’re not the kind who make balloon animals and juggle milk bottles; they’re the kind who show up in Stephen King novels and live in a sewer.

In 2006, then-Senator Barack Obama vocally opposed President George W. Bush’s plan to raise the United States’ debt ceiling. And he was right to do it. I’ve said before that George W. Bush spent money like a second wife. Unfortunately, now-President Barack Obama spends money like a second wife with a shopping compulsion who just found a Centurion Card, aka the American Express black card. And while Obama throws everything but that national debt clock in Times Square at the increasingly resolute Republicans in an effort to persuade them to hike the debt ceiling into the stratosphere, it’s clear that Obama expects someone else (preferably our grandchildren) to pay the bill.

What our profligate politicians fail to recognize is that a nation with a debt closing in on $15 trillion is like a poor sap who is in way over his head with the loan sharks. Hiking the debt ceiling to cover Federal spending is the political version of pawning your car title to make your car payment. Sure, you’ll keep the car for a few more days; but eventually, a guy named “Big Lou” is going to show up at your door. Truth be told, anyone who’s stretched his paycheck to the point of breaking knows this simple lesson. Perhaps our Harvard-educated President missed that day in life-outside-the-public-sector class.

With Obama growing increasingly frustrated with what he considers GOP intransigence — and what responsible people consider the reason conservatism is the most dynamic political movement — he is delivering increasingly desperate assaults on the forces of fiscal fitness. When the public didn’t bite on his demand of tax hikes on people who earn more than $250,000 per year, he claimed the GOP was sacrificing our security on behalf of the “private jet” set. When that class-warfare tack misfired, Obama started channeling our mothers: “… pull off the Band-Aid; eat our peas.” Sorry, Mr. President, Obamacare doesn’t offer Band-Aids; and when was the last time you ate peas? I doubt Oprah serves them in her palace. When the imperious tone flew like a stone kite, Obama took the expected tack for a liberal with strong ties to union thugs: threats.

Tuesday, Obama announced that thousands, if not millions, of Social Security checks due out in early August might meet Big Lou somewhere between the Treasury and your mailbox. After his Democratic Party produced an Obamacare ad that claimed conservative opposition would throw Grandma off a cliff, the Democratic President is threatening to starve her to death if he doesn’t get access to the cash under her mattress. Furthermore, it appears Obama broke into the Social Security “lockbox,” only to find a note which says “IOU $15 trillion, xoxo! —  Al Gore.”

Obama has risen to the pinnacle of power in meteoric fashion. But therein lies the problem: He didn’t earn it. All power, no merit not only makes Barack a bad President, it makes America a poor country.

The Assassination Of Old King Coal

Well, I certainly hope everyone is enjoying President Obama’s “Recovery Summer II – The Empire Strikes Out.” Unemployment hovers just below 10 percent. Of course, that’s the number the Department of Labor is willing to admit. Any economist outside the Department of Labor will acknowledge the real rate is closer to 15 percent.

Inextricably linked with the falling number of Americans who are gainfully employed is the rising number on the sign at your neighborhood Gas’n’Go. The average price of a gallon of gasoline is headed back toward $4-ville. Obama’s much-ballyhooed release of strategic reserves — predicted to fail by everyone outside the White House — failed. Oddly, the Democrats — who pointed to fuel costs nearly $1 per gallon lower as proof that President George W. Bush was blowing kisses to the dishdasha delegation — have fallen silent as Obama’s lack of a coherent energy policy has not only helped force the nation’s economy off the road, but has put it up on blocks and stolen the stereo.

Last week, Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency proudly announced its plan to deliver the coup de grâce to the coal industry. You see, coal is bad. You have to dig holes in the ground to get to it, and the United States has so much of it that we’re essentially the OPEC of coal. And that’s where the problem lies. Hard work and independence from foreign-energy sources are as anathematic to Obama and the Democrats as… well… hard work and independence from foreign-energy sources.

The EPA has announced the replacement of 2005’s Clean Air Interstate Rule with an all-new Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said: “By maximizing flexibility and leveraging existing technology, the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule will help ensure that American families aren’t suffering the consequences of pollution generated far from home, while allowing states to decide how best to decrease dangerous air pollution in the most cost effective way.”

Translation: “We’re going to turn off the lights; ask your States for candles.” It gets worse. The “flexibility” to which Obama (via Jackson) refers doesn’t exist, thanks to the Democrats’ fealty to foreign-oil interests. The “existing technology” is hampered by the same problem, at least until someone gets the keys to the Enterprise back from Captain Kirk. Before some of our liberal friends get their panties in a wad about the benefits of electric car technology, I have two words: Chevy Volt. But hey, enjoy that green living — at least until you have to recharge your $40,000 golf cart. And there’s always the “SmartCar” – as long as you don’t have to haul… anything.

Keep in mind that you won’t be hauling much; nor will anyone else, for that matter. At least the children will frolic amid green fields under blue skies, because we’ve maximized flexibility and leveraged existing technology. Granted, the children can do that now, except for in Detroit. But with this new layer of bureaucracy beamed down from the Obama mothership, they’ll be able to do it more often, since mom and dad won’t be able to afford to pay the PlayStation®Network bill. Actually, with Obama and the EPA standing on the economy’s neck and now grinding their heels down, mom and dad may be able to supervise the kiddies 24/7, since their jobs will ultimately be jeopardized by rising energy costs.

While Jackson claims that the EPA’s guillotining of the coal industry will create jobs (a dubious claim, at best), the highly regarded, non-partisan firm National Economic Research Associates has concluded that the EPA’s anti-coal rules will cost four jobs for every one it creates. Before our liberal friends get their panties in a wad about “global warming,” I have two more words: Al Gore. Also — ManBearPig! That’s an extra word. I’ll buy some rhetorical carbon credits.

What Obama and his Democrat cronies fail to acknowledge — either by socialist delusion or sinister design — is that the current tragic trifecta of rising unemployment, social unrest and general malaise has roots in energy policy (or lack thereof). In keeping with their strict policy of bowing and scraping before OPEC, the Democrats have stepped in front of every effort to maximize exploitation of domestically available resources. Now, Obama and his cronies are squeezing the trigger on the coal industry.

But that’s the future of the entire nation in the crosshairs.

The Barbecue Of Independence

This past Monday evening, I mused silently for a moment about the “reason for the season,” so to speak. The meat sizzled on the grill, the beer chilled on ice, and the salad wilted in a bowl. (Allow me a tangential thought: What the hell is it with people bringing salads to Fourth of July cookouts? We’ve got an abattoir’s worth of dead animal, potato salad made with enough mayonnaise to give Lance Armstrong a coronary, enough beer to keep Milwaukee in the black for the next century — and someone brought a bowl of yard clippings. Next time, bring some deviled eggs. Save the greens for Bastille Day; it’s next week.) A battery of recreational artillery turned the sky over the river into a palette of appropriately patriotic colors as flags fluttered in the light summer breeze. Thousands of spectators, crowded shoulder-to-shoulder into about four square blocks, oohed and aahed at the right moments. The meter maids skulked amid illegally parked cars, stuffing envelopes full of expensive souvenirs under windshield-wiper blades. Over-served tourists hollered at each other from 3 feet away. Everyone was having a grand old time. Taking in the patriotic panorama around me, I couldn’t help but wonder: How many of these people have spent a single moment wondering why we’re not at work today?

I heard a popular refrain in the months leading up to Monday’s festivities. “The Fourth of July is on a Monday this year! How awesome is that?” Um, the Fourth of July is awesome every year. Granted, the long weekend produced by a Monday Fourth does make for a nice, long holiday weekend. But that’s a happy coincidence, not the sole function of the day itself.

Two hundred and thirty-five years ago, the Founding Fathers thumbed King George III in the eye. It was the rhetorical raspberry that shocked the world as no other has before or since. And then, the most technologically, economically and geographically powerful empire in the history of the world took one right in the kisser from their lower-class cousins, the ones with the smoking habit and the funny accents.

At the outbreak of the American Revolution, the English were enjoying a nearly three century-long geopolitical winning streak. By July 4, 1776, the English were coming off triumph in the Seven Years’ War, the Treaty of Paris (1763) forcing the other European colonial heavyweights to issue the mea culpa of all mea culpas. On the other side of the world, victory in the Battle of Plassey (1757) put the Brits in the driver’s seat in south Asia.

Their opponents in the nasty business in the American colonies were pure rabble. George Washington had wooden teeth and grew a lot more than just tobacco on his farm. Thomas Jefferson had a thing for miscegenation. And Benjamin Franklin would go on to bed half the women in France. Their “army” was undermanned, underfed and under-equipped. Their soldiers were flea-bitten and disease-ridden, and they had a serious problem with desertion. And yet, they thumped George III and his redcoated storm troopers like they were Appalachian State and the Brits were Michigan.

They faced longer odds than a rigged craps table, but they fought for something much bigger than a day off from work. The American Revolution (or the Yorktown Beat Down, if you’re a Tory) was the miraculous birth-cry of the Rights of Man, guided by Divine Provenance (in my humble estimation — more important, in His Flawless Estimation).

And it all started on the Fourth of July, a day to commemorate the unveiling of the Declaration of Independence. Not play-hooky-from-work,-get-sauced-and-blow-stuff-up Day, nor Bust-out-the-god-awful-stars-and-stripes-airbrushed-t-shirt-from-that-trip-to-Fort-Walton-Beach Day, nor even Get 0.9%-financing-on-some-nondescript-minivan-at-your-participating-GM-dealer Day.

I know no one really likes preachy patriotic punditry. But some things are worth mentioning with all the zeal of Jefferson’s magnificent document, worth declaring with all the fury of the Delaware River on a cold winter’s day, worth stamping into our national narrative with all the force of that first shot at the Old North Bridge in Concord (which actually happened in 1775).

Of course, if Ben Franklin were here, he would say: “Enough with the chitchat. Toss me another beer.”

Lean Forward

To suggest President Barack Obama is thin-skinned is an understatement on a par with: “Michael Moore should cut back on the Ben and Jerry’s.” In fact, as our embattled President has watched events spiral well beyond his meager talents, he appears to be developing a mild case of paranoia — even lashing out at his friends.

Last week, MSNBC’s senior political analyst Mark Halperin made a rather unfortunate choice in describing the hostility the President directed toward the White House press corps in a now-infamous press conference, saying: “I thought he was kind of a dick yesterday.” Obama was so infuriated by Halperin’s description that he dispatched White House spokespuppet Jay Carney to step on Halperin’s neck. Carney called MSNBC, and less than four hours after Halperin made the remark, he was suspended.

Here’s the tricky part: I have no problem with MSNBC suspending Halperin, and not just because I remember Halperin from his days as ABC News’ political director — (in 2004, Halperin instructed his staffers at ABC to tilt their coverage to favor Senator John Kerry over President George W. Bush). It’s their network; if they want to run like dogs every time Obama rolls up a newspaper, they’re welcome to it. But when did MSNBC develop such a heavy hand with their “talent?”

Let’s be honest, kids. As much as we all agree with Halperin (and as much as we all might want to laugh at Obama for dropping the hammer on the guy), Halperin shouldn’t have said it, and MSNBC was right to sit him down. Not that the word he used isn’t a fair assessment of Obama; it is. But there are so many other words he could have substituted. His choice just seems lazy to me. Halperin would have been just as accurate describing Obama as an idiot, a buffoon, a moron, a clown, a jackass, self-important, smug, arrogant, rude, a jerk, a twerp, an Alinskyite loon or (my old man’s favorite) the south end of a northbound bear.

But MSNBC’s suspension of Halperin does provide us with one of those “teachable moments” of which Obama is so fond. The same network that was willing to send Halperin to the showers for insulting Obama dithered for two days before deciding its morbidly obese misogynist Ed Schultz needed a little time-out after he interrupted his usual hate-filled lunacy to call Laura Ingraham a “slut.”

Trying to determine whether to keep a bloviating moron like Schultz on the air would be a Sisyphean task on the best of days. I don’t envy MSNBC management’s struggles after his verbal assault on Ingraham. But it is worth noting that they took two days to discipline the big fella.

Schultz is hardly the lone talking hairdo on MSNBC who has stepped across the line. Keith Olbermann has finally been consigned to Al Gore’s television gulag. But the word from inside the organization was that Olbermann’s dismissal was related to his notoriously unpleasant general demeanor (ask the boys at ESPN, but make sure you’re wearing earplugs before you do), not because of his mendacious on-air shrieking. Left behind in the wake of Olbermann’s exile is his pathetic mini-me, Rachel Maddow, who once claimed Congressman Steve Stockman (R-Texas) knew about the Murrah Building bombing before it happened. Maddow, who ultimately blamed the gross defamation on “an editing error,” didn’t miss a day of work at MSNBC, despite having said a then-sitting member of Congress was essentially an accomplice of Tim McVeigh.

I don’t have the space to recount the myriad examples of MSNBC’s distinct port-side lean; and Mr. Livingston doesn’t have the bandwidth. As a true conservative, I fervently believe in MSNBC management’s right to employ whomever they wish and to discipline them as they see fit. But I can’t help but notice that the same liberals who spent the eight years of President George W. Bush’s Administration calling him everything from weak-minded to a war criminal have suddenly discovered dignified discourse.

My problem with the events surrounding Halperin’s visit to MSNBC’s time-out chair has nothing to do with the events themselves and everything to do with why they occurred. Someone at a redoubtably liberal outlet like MSNBC evidently can say almost anything he wants about conservatives, and the consequences — should there be any at all–– will be slow in coming and low in severity. But take a swipe at Obama, and all hell breaks loose. If I’m going to “lean forward,” it means only that I’ve lost the remote and I’m changing the channel.

Bienvenidos A Los Estados Unidos (Welcome To The U.S.)

Thanks to the Herculean efforts of some very patient teachers, I speak Spanish. Well, I speak high-school-distracted-by-the-hot-chick-in-front-of-me-in-class Spanish. All right, I speak well enough to ask directions to the bathroom, and I can order paella without the waiter delivering a gang of picadors to the table. I’m sure I sound about as fluent to the good people of Madrid as the Scandinavians who have developed an affinity for visiting my town: “Yes, please, I am asking to directions to the River Street, and you are thank you telling me?”

But I learned a smattering of Spanish because I already had finished seven years of Latin, and my parents thought it might be worthwhile for me to learn a language spoken outside the Vatican. I learned Spanish so I could order dinner in places where English was only good for curse words and baseball. Lately, I’ve noticed I might need to start brushing up on the Español, even when I’m at home.

But I live in the United States of America. Why in the hell should I have to learn anything but English? No one asks the people in Barcelona, Spain, to learn English; they choose to. Granted, it’s a wise choice, since there’s no way they’re going to convince their neighbors to spend €5 on some colorful trinket which was lovingly handcrafted by the kindly old woman down the street… in Taiwan.

As the Democratic-led U.S. Senate again tries to push through the amnesty-for-illegal-aliens DREAM Act, more and more often I’m noticing a sizable number of people who struggle with English the way I struggle with Spanish. And while no special powers of observation are required to understand the Democrats’ reasons for wanting to grant a vote to every Tomas, Ricardo and Jorge who manage to swim, tunnel or dodge his way across the border, perhaps the rest of us should consider the endgame in a country of more than 300 million souls which has abandoned a lingual standard.

Just a few weeks ago, Principal Crespin Esquivel delivered the commencement address to the graduating senior class of Whittell High School in Zephyr Cove, Nev. Actually, Esquivel delivered the address twice: once in English, y una vez en Español (and once in Spanish). Esquivel said: “I think it’s important for me to make sure all the families feel comfortable.”  I have no objection to Esquivel’s manners, but I think his logic is severely twisted. By offering “comfort” to those who have yet to learn Inglés, he’s reinforcing the idea that their comfort at a commencement ceremony takes precedence over their comfort on job interviews. Letting the Nation’s youths come of age without a common tongue allows for a grim outcome. The prospect is about as appealing as it would be to serve as Chris Matthews’ designated driver after Obama gets his clock cleaned in the 2012 election. The Nation would fall into Tower of Babel-type chaos, and we would all look forward to living in blessed paradise – much like the countries our Spanish-only friends fled for our shores.

We have already seen what that looks like. Last weekend, the U.S. Soccer team lost a match to Team Mexico. Given our track record on the international soccer scene, that’s not stunning. The fact that the crowd was overwhelmingly pro-Mexico shouldn’t necessarily turn too many heads, either. And I suppose it’s not too bizarre that the officials conducted the post-match ceremony in Spanish — except that the game was played in Los Angeles (yes, L.A. is still technically in the U.S.).

People in Spanish-speaking countries learn English because it helps to speak the language of the tourists without whom they would be selling colorful trinkets from Taiwan to each other. Also, while the French might be more famous for their disdain of Americans’ mangling of their language, no one really enjoys Los Gringos’ tendency to butcher languages the way President Obama butchers the memories of fallen soldiers. I’m not suggesting Americans are blameless in this cultural equation. I think learning to speak more than one language is worthwhile, especially if you want the hedges to be straight or you want to figure out which woman Ed Schultz hates the most today.

However, here at home, English is still the lingua franca of success. Should we fail to reinforce that success, then vaya con Dios, Los Estados Unidos (“Go with God, the United States).

RINOS To The Left Of Me

Recently, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-The Tanning Bed) played golf with President Barack Obama (D-George Soros’ pocket). In and of itself, a little time on the links is hard to criticize. We all know the old saw: A day on the golf course is better than a day listening to Obama read Alinskyite babble off the nearest teleprompter. I say that with the expectation that Obama probably sandbags the hell out of his opponents: from each according to his proximity to scratch, to each according to his 20+ handicap.

But Boehner has been playing a lot more than golf with Obama; and instead of a foursome, he’s been playing in a huge scramble with the Democrats. The tide of conservatism (created at least in part by a rising taxpayer recognition that the Democrats’ only plan for the nation appears to involve embittered rhetoric and assignation of blame) gave Boehner his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Yet Boehner is developing a far cozier relationship with the people who drove the nation into the ditch than he is with the people who have to winch it out. Whether it’s a vote against defunding the war in which Obama has not embroiled the United States (honest!) or dithering on raising the debt ceiling, Boehner seems to be ignoring the reality that 2010 was not a national referendum on Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, but a referendum on the increasingly unhinged liberalism of Pelosi, Obama and the Democratic Party.

The people want a conservative partner in Washington, not necessarily a Republican partner. That’s an important distinction, my friends. While Boehner has occasionally demonstrated a backbone, he has also too often run with the RINO herd. Before any of my dear readers respond with condemnations of my refusal to search for across-the-board bipartisanship, allow me to preempt your indignation:

  1. The 2010 turnover had nothing to do with bipartisanship. Voters went to polls across the Nation and told the Democrats (to paraphrase the President): “Sit down and have a Slurpee.” Recent polls indicate voters have even less faith in the Democratic Party now than they did then.
  2. I couldn’t help but notice bipartisanship suddenly became enormously important just moments after the Democrats in the House started having to beg for legislative scraps at the back door.
  3. The Democrats define bipartisanship strangely. As our own Chip Wood pointed out in his column Tossing Grandma off the Cliff and Other Democratic Lies, as opposition to Obamacare solidified, the liberal Democrat group Agenda Project produced a charming TV ad claiming the Republicans were planning the political equivalent of a mob hit on Medicare. The spot in question crossed a new Rubicon in the Democrats’ race to the bottom of the barrel. It depicted a reasonably well-groomed young fellow (whom we know to be a soulless conservative, since he’s wearing a suit, his hair is combed and he appears to have bathed) taking a wheelchair-bound old lady for a leisurely stroll — and pushing her off a cliff. If insinuating that conservatives are out to whack grandma is a Democrat’s idea of bipartisanship, then I’ll pass on the next Congressional love-in, thanks. It is worth noting that the Democrats are the ones pushing Obamacare’s death panels. And while they seem comfortable accusing conservatives of Medicare/Grandmama-cide, I can’t help but wonder where their plan to save Medicare might be. Maybe it fell off a cliff. Their rhetoric has grown exponentially more hysterical as their position has become more tenuous. I suppose hurling hate-filled tirades beats formulating a budget, a coherent foreign policy or a plan for improving the fortunes of people who don’t dine with Oprah Winfrey.

While Boehner and some members of the GOP have been putting from the Democrats’ rough at the Congressional level, another RINO has pushed to the front of the Presidential herd. Ambassador Jon Huntsman has left his post as the Nation’s envoy to the People’s Republic of China to challenge his boss for the big boy chair in the Oval Office. A former Governor of Utah, Huntsman is a well-connected, politically astute and telegenic candidate. While he remains an unknown quantity to many Republican voters (thanks in no small part to a campaign that started more slowly than my mother backing the truck out of the barn), he has access to some well-heeled financiers. And his pre-campaign hype was louder than a Who concert. (For the kiddies who don’t know who The Who is, think Lady Gaga with real instruments, real talent and real… clothing.)

Huntsman is an interesting study in the Revenge of the RINOS, if only because the hype surrounding his will-he, won’t-he, will-he campaign (he will, as it turns out) was generated without any real backing from any identifiable conservatives. In fact, the highest profile endorsement I heard directed toward Huntsman was offered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.): “…if I had a choice, I’d favor Huntsman” (And if I had a choice, Senator Reid, you would be making little stick figures of Sharron Angle while your ghostwriter worked on your memoirs.) While Huntsman served as Ambassador to China at the pleasure of the President of the United States, he did so not under President George W. Bush, but under President Obama. Given our increasingly lopsided relationship with the ChiComs, I hardly think that serving as the Beijing mouthpiece for Obama’s appeasement-at-all-costs-unless-you-look-like-an-easy-win foreign policy is much of a resume highlight for someone trying to convince voting Republicans that he’s the right man for the Oval Office.

Meanwhile, the man who would come in second in the “Harry Reid Endorsement Sweepstakes” is dragging his own RINO baggage. Say hello to Governor Mitt Romney, who still leads in the increasingly tight race for the GOP Presidential nomination. Romney is hardly the standard-bearer for the wave of conservatism which swept the nation in 2010. In 1994, Romney said: I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country.” Romney now says his position has changed, of course. But he’s in his second race for the White House. My Bravo Sierra detector has an odd tendency to light up like a Christmas tree (how non-p.c. of me, apologies) — Winter Solstice tree — every time a RINO like Romney starts professing his passage to the right side of the political spectrum. Granted, Romney is to Obama as the Four Seasons is to the Super 8. Of course, in Obama’s America the rest of us can’t afford the Super 8 — and we can’t even get in the door of the Four Seasons (Mrs. Obama doesn’t like the riffraff getting too close, you know). But Romney has touted his adherence to the global-warming dogma, and there’s that nagging little matter with Obamacare’s older brother. It strikes me that the same conservative revolution which gave candidates like Romney a chance against Obama can do better than candidates like Romney.

“Better than candidates like Romney” excludes a certain former Speaker of the House. Newt Gingrich is astute, shrewd and easily the best debater of the GOP candidates. But it’s hard to vouch for the conservative credentials of a guy who plays footsie with a parasite like Al Sharpton. And while he was the more attractive of the two people in that “together we can solve it” global-warming promo he did with Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-California Society of Plastic Surgeons), the fact that he did the spot speaks volumes. Tell you what, Mr. Speaker, you and Nancy go solve “it.” Let someone else handle the real issues.

It’s a bit early for me to offer an endorsement in the GOP’s 2012 horse race. Also, no one actually asked me. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m still mildly depressed that neither former Representative Tom Tancredo (R-really not Mexico) nor Governor Chris Christie (R-Joisey) came out of the gate this time around. But there are some roses among the candidate thorns. Herman Cain continues to impress me, although evidently he dents Bob Schieffer’s memory less deeply. Representative Michele Bachmann (R-liberal nightmares) has proven herself early on to be a candidate to watch, and her Tea Party Caucus leadership bespeaks the kind of sound conservative thinking the Nation desperately needs. As an added bonus, she makes liberals do that spit-when-they-talk thing; that always gives me a chuckle. Now, if someone could just get her to stop mistaking the Duke and the Killer Clown, she could really open for business.

Governor Sarah Palin (R-the Grizzly Den) has that same effect on liberals, and she may well be the most unfairly maligned political figure in recent memory. But sometimes, I can’t tell if Palin’s kidding. Of course, I keep hoping that Obama has been kidding for the past few years. And then, there’s Representative Ron Paul (R-Grassroots America). I know I am going to suffer a few slings and arrows (again) from his rather… er… spirited supporters, but I don’t see a President when I see Ron Paul. I see the economics professor I wish Obama had had in college instead of whichever Keynesian moron he listened to. I sincerely hope the Republican who wins in 2012 names Paul Secretary of the Treasury to replace Secretary “Turbo-tax™” Geithner. Paul may oppose punitive and overly Byzantine taxes, but at least we know he pays them.

The 2012 Presidential campaign has a long way to go. In the meantime, it’s a jungle out there, kids. Let’s not mistake the RINOs for the elephants.

The Politics Of Ease

As it turns out, what Billy Sunday failed to accomplish, some unruly teenagers — with some assistance from the Democratic Party — are close to finishing. That toddlin’ town, Chicago — the home of deep-dish pizza, Al Capone and a sizable number of adolescents in dire need of an extended stay at a juvenile detention center — is facing a new crime wave.

The reports have come fast and furious. Mobs of teenagers have knocked over drug stores. Mobs of teenagers have assaulted passersby. Mobs of teenagers have pillaged retail establishments and plundered the Magnificent Mile as if they were Alaric and his horde of Visigoths and the Windy City was Rome. All this adolescent rage makes me wonder about the efficacy of Bill Clinton’s “midnight basketball.”

Fret not, Chicagoland citizens. Your top cop, Police Supervisor Garry McCarthy, is on the case. McCarthy, who previously served as Police Chief in that Paris-on-the-Passaic, Newark, N.J., has identified the criminal mastermind behind the growing crime wave enveloping Chicago: Governor Sarah Palin.

Actually, according to McCarthy, Palin is the commander of a conspiracy comprised of:

  • Palin: “(Palin) was caribou-hunting and talking about the right to bear arms. Why wasn’t she at the crime scene with me?”
  • Firearm makers: “Who’s paying the price for gun manufacturers being rich and living in gated communities?”
  • And government-sponsored racism: “… the flow of illegal firearms into our urban centers… that are killing black and brown children.”

Among those who didn’t make McCarthy’s list of suspects would be the actual perpetrators. Granted, in the legendary, Democratic machine-controlled political sewer that is Chicago, blaming crime on criminals is about as functional as blaming the Cubs’ World Series drought on the lights at Wrigley Field. McCarthy could blame the parents; but parents who unleash little monsters like those tearing through Chicago are as likely to accept responsibility for their progenies’ misbehavior as they are to vote for a conservative (who would likely remind them of their dereliction of parental duty). And it is possible that their good-for-nothing 15-year-old brats really did find new watches and Air Jordans™ on the side of the road. “Honest, Mom!”

I call this sort of Keystone Kops method of avoiding the real culprits in urban societal breakdown “the politics of ease.” It’s easier for a liberal like McCarthy to blame a crime wave on the former Governor of Alaska than it is to force criminals, their accomplices and their enablers to look in the mirror. More important to liberals like McCarthy, it’s easier for the Democrats to gain votes by offering the chance to blame Palin, gun manufacturers and mythological institutional racism than to suddenly develop the introspection which is as common in a place like Chicago (or Newark) as honest politicians and well-behaved teenagers.

Fortunately for the liberal establishment, decades of near-total Democratic domination of Windy City politics has — much like Newark — left Chicagoans either unwilling or unable to discern the true nature of their city’s burdens. However, unlike cesspools like Newark, Chicago boasts some significantly redeeming characteristics, not least of which is the presence of living proof that McCarthy’s charge of racism is void on its face. Surely, McCarthy and his liberal allies don’t expect us to believe that Sarah Palin, firearms manufacturers and fictional bigotry can create chaos-from-afar in the same place that boasts the residency of the most powerful individual in the free world. I find it highly unlikely that Oprah Winfrey would allow it.

Barring intervention from Oprah or some other powerful product of Illinois (ahem) who may choose to assist Chicago in escaping the grip of increasingly violent crime, the Windy City faces a grim future. If the liberal who has been ill-advisedly placed in charge of local law enforcement is more interested in explaining away antisocial behavior with anti-bill of rights demagoguery, tangential blame-shifting and pointing fingers at a woman who lives more than 3,000 miles away, then Chicago is headed down the highway to either hell… or Newark.