The Cliffhanger, Feb. 13

Ever since the language of the “fiscal cliff” was appropriated to describe the political battle over a tax increase, it’s become increasingly clear that every issue is a “cliff” now.  Here are today’s snapshots from the edge…

** Towards a more thirsty union: As Senator Marco Rubio’s rather awkward water sip grows into the new leftist obsession, the rest of the political world seeks to divine the impact of three speeches that the rest of America probably didn’t watch.  (The standard bipartisan reaction of average Americans to the State of the Union is anger that whatever normally comes on TV at 9:00 PM Eastern time has been pre-empted.)  With the predictable gushing praise from Obama’s dedicated fans behind us, the latest Greatest Speech Ever Given In Human History stands as a tired demand for more money poured into every failed idea from the first Obama term, and the Democrats’ storied past… from Solyndra-style “investments”, wasted “stimulus,” and demands for infrastructure spending to tax hikes, gun control, public education, and even a return to the subprime loan policies that almost destroyed the financial system of the Earth when Obama and his accomplices pushed it last time.  Even liberal pundit Kirsten Powers yawned and declared it the “same old, same old from Obama.”

This is what a blinkered ideology looks like – it cannot afford to admit any past error, lest real reform sweep away the Democrat power base, so the response to every busted bet is “Double down!”  To Obama, the only reason his first four years were a dismal slog is that he didn’t take enough of your money, or give you firm enough instructions.  Shame on you for letting him down like that.

Meanwhile, Rubio and Senator Rand Paul gave capable responses to the State of the Union.  Rubio was warm, approachable, and inspiring; Paul was provocative, sarcastic, and accusatory.  In other words, they tore Obama’s playbook in half and divided it between them.  They’re supposed to be rivals for the 2016 nomination, but watching their speeches back-to-back makes one wonder what they might accomplish as a team.  It’s encouraging to see tough times bringing out enthusiastic, creative leadership from the GOP.  As Rubio might say: “Stay thirsty, my friends.”

** Almost everyone “deserves a vote”: Obama’s State of the Union included a ghoulishly exploitative chant where the President began listing victims of gun violence and insisting they “deserve a vote” on gun control legislation.  Presumably he was addressing Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is the only reason they’re not getting one.  Not mentioned as deserving a vote: murdered Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the victims of gun-control zealot Chris Dorner, or the countless people who have defended themselves and their families with legal firearms.

** The undocumented immigrant consensus: President Obama said there’s one thing we all have in common: “We are citizens.”  Well, except for those of us who aren’t, of course.  And the non-citizens are going to dominate our politics for a while.  A rare point of trilateral agreement between Barack Obama, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul was on the “pathway to citizenship” for the undocumented-American community.  And boy, are they ever undocumented!  Under interrogation by Senate Republicans, the Department of Homeland Security just admitted that it has only initiated one case against an immigrant for welfare abuse in the past year, and that case was withdrawn.  The DHS just plain didn’t want to answer some of the senators’ other questions.  The welfare state is a giant boulder of fraud, rolling through a cobwebbed corridor of largely ignored rules while the taxpayer clutches his fedora and runs for his life, before he gets crushed.  But don’t worry – the system that can’t keep track of our illegal population in even the most cursory manner will have no trouble computing and collecting their back taxes, when their amnesty papers are issued.

** Marco Rubio, “primitive”: The MSNBC lineup interrupted its breathless swooning over the honeyed words of Barack Obama to become very angry at Marco Rubio for daring to disagree with them, leading host Chris Matthews to insult Rubio as “juvenile” and “primitive,” which I guess basically makes him Encino Man in the fevered Matthews imagination.  Feel free to play a quick round of “What If Someone On Fox News Said That About A Democrat?”  I wonder what would happen to the mind of someone who relied heavily on the twisted MSNBC clown act for news and analysis… hmmm…

** The Chris Dorner saga heats up: Alas, left-wing madman Chris Dorner had to miss the State of the Union address, because he was busy having a bloody shootout with the police in the Big Bear region of California.  Dorner invaded a cabin, took hostages, stole a car, ran into a police checkpoint, and exchanged gunfire with the authorities, killing one sheriff’s deputy and wounding another.  You can see why Dorner was such a big fan of gun control, since everything was going smoothly when he faced unarmed victims, but it all went to hell in a handbasket when people other than him started pulling out guns.

During the ensuing standoff, Dorner supporters reportedly appeared on site waving signs, and filled social media with messages of support, urging their folk hero to “kill more pigs.”  It’s kind of like “The Following,” but without Kevin Bacon or Edgar Allen Poe, and less plausible.  The cabin burned down, for reasons still unclear, and charred human remains were recovered, although the authorities are not yet certain if it was Dorner.

** North Korea prepares for the “usual drill”: Asked about how the United Nations would respond to North Korea’s nuclear provocation, American ambassador Susan Rice replied, “We’ll do the usual drill.”  Presumably the search for an offensive video that can be blamed for the nuclear detonation is under way.  South Korea is on high alert, while the Norks are telling their military to prepare for combat.  Good thing Barack Obama insisted on putting those dangerous, indiscriminate “sequestration” defense cuts into the 2011 Budget Control Act, and wants to hand off the Defense Department to the hapless Chuck Hagel!

** Pope Benedict says farewell: In his first Wednesday catechism since announcing his retirement, Pope Benedict XVI said he was resigning “in full liberty, for the good of the church.”  He said the prayers and love of the faithful were “physically felt in these days that haven’t been easy for me.”  The Associated Press described the atmosphere as “festive and warm, if somewhat bittersweet, as if the faithful were trying to persuade Benedict to stay with them for just a bit longer.”  A visiting Brazilian priest made one of the best statements about the Pope’s departure from office: “He taught the church, and the world, that the papacy is not about power, but about service.”  Contrary to some speculation, the Vatican says that Benedict will not participate in the selection of a successor, or remain as an adviser emeritus.  In “The Devil’s Advocate,” Al Pacino’s Satan says that vanity is his favorite sin.  Humility, on the other hand, is an often under-appreciated virtue.



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