Loose Canons

Annus Horribilis Comicus

If you think 2013 will be any better, John Boehner has a Plan C to sell you.

By 12.31.12

2011 delivered so much political chicanery and congressional knavery some thought that 2012 couldn’t possibly outdo it.

The more cynical among us, including your humble correspondent, knew better. A presidential election year would be enough to guarantee a new low, and we knew Obamacare would come before the Supreme Court, NBC would be in charge of the Olympics, the EU would continue its monetary meltdown while France -- our favorite comic opera country -- would be holding its own presidential election. Inevitably, we concluded, 2012 would leap every hurdle to make 2011’s nitwittery seem mild in comparison. And, of course, it did.

The monthly accounting of 2012 is ready, and it reads like a movie script Mel Brooks would have rejected.

JANUARY was a tough month. Several of the Republican presidential wannabes rolled over quicker than the Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia. The difference between the candidates’ Gucci-shod consultants and the ship’s captain (one Francesco Schettino) was obvious. Schettino abandoned ship as fast as he could, leaving the women and children behind. The consultants clung desperately to their candidates until the money ran out.

Captain Schettino will be remembered only because his name will become a very versatile verb. For example, one friend of mine in the special operations community assures me that it’s a commonplace for terrorists to schettino in their pants when the SEALs or Delta guys come through the window. The Speurozone is still in deep schettino, and may fall apart any time.

Before January was out, French President Nicolas Sarkozy -- fearing the candidacy of socialist Francois Hollande -- took decisive action by banning hollandaise sauce from the Elysée Palace.

FEBRUARY started with a bang and Donald Trump’s endorsement of Mitt Romney. Trump’s headline was reportedly brought about by a demand from his hairdresser who also services Romney’s “do” with moose and spray (or is that mousse and squirrel?). Meanwhile, France’s economy threatened its national identity. The declining Speuro led to the closure of the nation’s last beret factory in Oloron-Sainte-Marie. (Sarkozy, reading his dismal polls, voiced concern over the law imposing the French 35-hour maximum work week but quickly retreated after his valet threatened workplace violence, refusing to press the prime minister’s pants, if he were required to work a 36th hour.)

Mr. Chance Bothe sent a text message from his smart phone saying, “I need to quit texting, because I could die in a car accident." About one minute later, Mr. Bothe’s car shot off the road into a ravine, costing him a broken neck, a crushed skull, traumatic brain injury, and increased insurance premiums.

President Obama’s doughty efforts to secure our borders hit a new high in effectiveness when 13,000 dangerous illegals were stopped from entering the country. The 13,000 were hair dryers seized for inadequate shock proofing. As February closed the Speurozone’s leaders -- fresh from their nineteenth summit in as many weeks -- were sufficiently sober to put pressure on Greece to live up to the budget-cutting promises made at each of the preceding summits. As an incentive, they decided to give Greece more of Germany’s money.

MARCH began with a technological breakthrough that should have general application in parenting and politics. According to a Fox News report, Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology developed a portable "SpeechJammer" gun that can silence people more than 30 meters away. The announcement said, “The device works by recording its target's speech then firing their words back at them with a 0.2-second delay, which affects the brain's cognitive processes and causes speakers to stutter before silencing them completely.”

The invention came too late for Newt Gingrich, whose plan to turn the moon into a colony he would govern resulted in the sudden reappearance of moon men Gidney and Cloyd, last seen in about 1964. The two threatened to colonize the former Speaker’s rotund figure if he even tried to set foot on the moon.

The primaries rolled on, and after Super Tuesday, Ron Paul’s campaign team was wondering why his search for convention delegates and the missing quart of strawberries hadn’t succeeded. The candidate had a ready explanation: “Ahh, but the strawberries that's... that's where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with... geometric logic... that a duplicate key to the wardroom icebox DID exist, and I'd have produced that key if they’d voted for me. I, I, I know now they were only trying to protect Ben Bernanke.”

Shortly after, Consumer Reports tried to road test the $100,000 Fisker “Karma” electric plug-in sports car. As CR wrote, “We buy about 80 cars a year and this is the first time in memory that we have had a car that is undriveable before it has finished our check-in process.” Last seen, the Green Grifter Roadster was being hauled away on the back of a car carrier. Meanwhile, Chevrolet reported that it had stopped production of Obama’s favorite car, the indescribably stupid Volt.

During a U.S. visit, British PM David Cameron flew off to an NCAA game with President Obama, returning to Washington on Air Force One late that night. According to an AFP report, Cameron later said, “Barack went to the back of the plane and explained to my private secretary and the team 'don't worry, the British Prime Minister is fine I have just tucked him up in bed.’ I don't think that has happened before." It wasn’t long after that Obama tucked Cameron again, the president asserting that America was neutral in the revived dispute between the UK and Argentina over the Falkland Islands.

Before March ended, the producers of a movie about a former White House butler -- imaginatively titled “The Butler” -- cast Hanoi Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan. The producers were reportedly negotiating with Chris Matthews to play the role of President Reagan.

APRIL began with despair in the Elysée Palace. Facing dismal polls, French President Nicolas Sarkozy recalled a statement by one of his most memorably pestilential predecessors, Charles de Gaulle, who once asked, “How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?" Sarko thus concluded that the cheese -- not the French citizenry -- was the problem and banned it from his dinner table.

It was a bad month for many, including Mr. Wesley Strom of Seattle who was arrested for car theft after pocket-dialing 911 four times. In conversations overheard by police, Strom talked to a pal about past and future car thefts and was subsequently arrested, joining the aforementioned Mr. Chance Bothe in the “dumber than his smartphone” class of 2012. Former senator Rick Santorum, having said that we might as well stay with what we have rather than vote for the “etch-a-sketch” candidate -- i.e., vote for Obama rather than Romney -- finally dropped out of the presidential primaries and reportedly asked Romney to help pay off his campaign debts. There was no comment from Forrest Gump on either Mr. Strom’s or Mr. Santorum’s predicament.

Ms. Diane Suarez of Cartagena, Colombia, had a better month than Messrs. Strom and Santorum, if less profitable than she’d planned. The pulchritudinous “lady” had a loud altercation with a Secret Service agent (with whom she had spent the night) over her fee, leading to the discovery that she was only one of nearly two-dozen “ladies” who had rented themselves out to some Secret Service on duty protecting Obama in Cartagena. Then we learned that the Obama campaign -- forever raffling off chances for dinner with Barry -- was selling chances to hang out with Barry AND George Clooney for $3 a ticket. Clooney, two orders of magnitude cheaper than Ms. Suarez, apparently didn’t argue with the price being charged for his company.

Before it expired, April featured “Earth Day,” when the chic fete the tree gods and worship Al Gore. This year, Earth Day was chosen for the official debut of the new Department of Energy award-winning light bulb, designed to replace the incandescent 60-watt bulbs, the manufacture of which is now prohibited in America. Each costs a mere $60, which is roughly about half the monthly cost of electricity for the average American household. Like the Karma sports car, the DoE light bulb isn’t a good deal even if you buy it with someone else’s money.

MAY began with the encouraging news that New Zealand’s college students created a new drinking game called “possum.” The rules are simple: climb a tree and drink until you fall out of it. France was not amused, claiming that the game was invented in Paris in 1789. Regardless of the game’s origin, the French practiced it diligently, throwing Sarkozy out in favor of socialist Hollande, who campaigned on the idea of raising French income taxes to 75%, reducing the work week to 30 hours and bumping the retirement age back up to the pre-Sarko 60. The Chunnel was briefly jammed by the last three capitalists fleeing France when they did a sudden U-turn in mid-tunnel after discovering that David Cameron was really François Hollande’s stunt double.

In apparent competition with the French, Greek voters -- as allergic to work as their Gallic counterparts -- managed to elect two failed governments in May. Impending Greek exit from the speuro (which some financial whizzes call the “Grexit”) sent the Speurozone leaders into a frantic planning session at which the shrugged Italian position -- “eh!” -- was immediately endorsed by the Spanish. As the Grexit approached, the Greeks were in a quandary, trying to choose their future in terms of a return to their old currency, the drachma, or a new one suggested by an Israeli comic which he called the “drekma,” probably more descriptive of the new currency’s value.

Sarko wasn’t the only genius to fall prey to May’s ravages. MSNBC screecher Chris Matthews finished dead last in a round of TV’s “Jeopardy!” behind CNN’s Lizzie O’Leary and former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs. Matthews would have fared no better against Wile E. Coyote or Rick Santorum.

May ended with New York’s Nanny Bloomberg -- having banned cigar smoking -- trying to outlaw servings of sugary drinks sized larger than 16 ounces. Bloomie celebrated that most cherished liberal characteristic -- cognitive dissonance -- with a nearly-simultaneous announcement of his support for National Doughnut Day. I read that report in the comfort of my Virginia home while engaged in conservative multitasking. I was smoking a cigar, wearing my concealed weapon, and sipping a 20-ounce cappuccino all at the same time.

JUNE was an awful prelude to summer, complete with scorching weather, another Greek government, and the umpteenth “emergency” meeting of the Speurozone leaders. Breaking the sour mood, the “physics is fun” gang at the Swiss CERN research lab topped their 2011 results (which apparently disproved Einstein’s theory of special relativity) by announcing they’d found the “Higgs boson,” aka the “god particle,” which is the teeny-tiny subatomic doohickey that holds matter together. CERN’s top physicists, Zaphod Beeblebrox and Slartibartfast, predicted that the discovery would lead them to invent something called an “improbability drive” in 2013, which the Obama administration promised would be used to power a new version of the Chevy Volt.

The rest of June was spent parsing the Supreme Court’s Orwellian decision on Obamacare. The high court determined that because the individual mandate wasn’t a tax, the court had jurisdiction over the case (of which it would otherwise have been divested by the Anti-Injunction Act), and then proceeded to rule that it was a tax so the court could uphold it in a decision that had to have been ghost-written by Professor Irwin Corey in collaboration with Rachel Maddow. The government -- not content to tax what we do -- can now tax what we don’t do. Sources say that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are collaborating on bills to tax many non-actions including when we don’t buy Chevy Volts, pay to see Ben Affleck movies, or buy bottles of Higgs boson-scented perfume for our wives.

June ended with a massive storm that knocked power out from Ohio to Georgia. The ever-helpful Washington Post printed a list of information guides intended to help people deal with the power outage, but the full text of the guides were only available online at the Post’s website.

As the power outage dragged on, JULY came upon us with a blast of heat unmatched by anything political. Well, anything political except the news that Ralph Lauren had decided to ditch those offensively-American cowboy hats and baseball caps to top our Olympic team’s uniforms. Instead, our Olympians were outfitted with berets and cute blue blazers made in China. Some newspaper said the berets made the athletes look like French intellectuals, which wasn’t right at all. To achieve that appearance, the Olympians would have had to be smoking Gauloises and sneering.

The murder rate in Chicago spiked so high that even Mayor Rahm Effing Emanuel noticed. He blamed the street slaughter on the Bush administration, a claim which MSNBC broadcasted non-stop for three days. Perhaps Chicago’s pain could have been eased by adopting the idea of the Robinson Funeral Home in Easly, South Carolina, which announced that it would soon have a Starbucks coffee shop in a new section of its facilities, unaffected by the Bloomberg cup size limits.

The Navy’s Enterprise Land Mobile Radio System -- operating from the submarine base near Groton -- was broadcasting on the same frequency as garage door openers in southern Connecticut, jamming their signal. The Navy refused to comment upon an apparently related report that the missile hatches on a ballistic missile submarine were seen to be flapping up and down after Groton residents mounted a push-button protest with their garage door controllers. Before July expired Mitt Romney -- joining 007 and Queen Elizabeth -- parachuted into the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.

AUGUST began with more heat and, as the Olympics rolled on, the International Olympic Committee debated whether it owed the world an apology for allowing NBC to inflict its feminist idea of sports coverage on the entire world. NBC apparently believes that we need to be punished for millennia of male domination in sports, giving us live coverage of nothing but events in which women competed or in which men competed in sports better left to the girls, such as field hockey.

We missed most of Michael Phelps’s waterborne spectaculars. Olympic boxing, wrestling, shooting and pretty much all the guy stuff was not broadcasted at all in favor of coverage of events in which elf-sized women competed. (The only pleasant exception to this was the women’s beach volleyball competition, in which four leggy American gals took both gold and silver.) The U.S. women’s gymnastics team, comprised entirely of direct descendants of Tinkerbell, won gold. In an apparently unrelated event, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi claimed that in her first meeting with President Bush the ghosts of Susan B. Anthony and other suffragettes spoke to her and said, “Now we have a place at the table.”

NASA’s Mars rover, curiously named “Curiosity,” sent us too many photographs of the planet’s barren surface, which news reporters compared to the California desert. At which point the California legislature passed a bill taxing any businesses on the Martian surface.

August 9th arrived, the fifth anniversary of the Speurozone crisis, and with it the discovery that Greece was about to run out of other nations’ money again. French disabled people (if you’ll pardon the redundancy) celebrated by boycotting Babybell cheese products because the company was giving away toy inkpads advertised as ideal for “des vacances de malade mental,” i.e., vacations taken for mental illness, a term apparently referring to vacations of less than four weeks’ length.

Before the Republican Convention kicked off, the New York Times named outgoing BBC Director General Mark Thompson as the Times’ new CEO. Shortly after that, the Times building reportedly was struck by lightning. Later investigation revealed that the lightning strike emanated from a stick held by Romney’s running mate, Harry Potter, who had disguised himself as someone named Paul Ryan.

Mitt Romney’s convention speech went swimmingly until he was interrupted by the Chinese ambassador who the delivered devastating news that Romney’s economic plan -- which required China to refinance its mortgage on twenty western states -- had been turned down by Quicken Loans.

As SEPTEMBER began with the Democrats’ convention, the EU wrote a letter to the Greek government suggesting that Greeks work six days a week rather than the not quite two days a week they now struggle through. The Greeks, noting Obama’s promises to create billions and billions of jobs throughout the universe, decided to pour themselves more ouzo and not work at all.

Amidst the riots at American embassies around the world, there was one bright spot. Mr. Abdullah Ismail, having participated in one such “spontaneous” demonstration in Pakistan, died after inhaling substantial quantities of the emissions from the burning of an American flag.

September was a month of apologies. Ms. Paris Hilton apologized for saying homosexuals were disgusting, and after our ambassador to Libya and three others were murdered by terrorists, Obama and Hillary Clinton disgustingly apologized for an obscure video that insulted Islamists. The apology came in the form of an ad campaign that aired in Pakistan and cost us about $70,000. The Pakistanis responded by continuing their rioting, killing dozens of each other, an effort for which they should be congratulated.

Mitt Romney’s campaign continued to be a compilation of “C’mon, man” episodes worthy of Monday Night Football. Having failed to get anyone to read his 593-point economic plan, Romney sought publicity by offering to bet German Chancellor Angela Merkel ownership of New York City against the pink slip to Munich on whether Paul Ryan would beat Joe Biden in the veep debate. Unaware of the offer, Romney’s campaign staff kidnapped Ryan and secured him in an undisclosed location until Election Day. Meanwhile, Ms. Monica Lewinsky was rumored to be doing a $12 million deal for a new book that reveals her knowledge of Bill Clinton’s sexual fantasies. This is a lot more than we need to know.

September was otherwise a forgettable month but for the fact that the NFL went to the shallow end of the gene pool and hired replacement referees of a quality that could only have been lesser if they’d hired the Harvard faculty. The Striped Stooges made too many bad calls to count, but the worst in NFL history occurred during the September 24th Green Bay-Seattle game in which an interception by Green Bay was ruled a touchdown for Seattle. The problem was finally solved by Palm Beach County, Florida, which hired the Striped Stooges away from the NFL so that they would be on hand to count ballots in November.

OCTOBER began badly for Ms. Gaby Scanlon of Lancaster, England. The young lady lost her stomach to a cocktail containing liquid nitrogen, which even Aussies won’t drink. She may have been trying to gain a scholarship to MIT in rocket science, but didn’t realize the proper application of the extremely cold liquid (minus 320°F) is not to replace ice in mixed drinks. Her standing in the Darwin Award competition was surpassed quickly by Mr. Edward Archbold of Deerfield, Florida, who died after eating dozens of live roaches and worms in a pet store contest.

Better results were Mitt Romney’s in October when -- after consuming at least six cans of Red Bull -- the Republican mopped the floor with a somnolent Obama in the first presidential debate. Moderator Jim Lehrer deserves major kudos for losing control of the discussion quickly and completely.

Joe Biden interrupted Paul Ryan so many times in the veep debate that even some of Obama’s cheerleaders were dismayed. In the second presidential debate Romney fared less well against CNN’s Candy Crowley. Romney apparently mistook Benghazi for 1960s TV star Ben Gazzara. Obama was there as well.

In the third -- and, thank Heaven, last -- presidential debate Romney stunned the crowd by endorsing Obama’s foreign policy, apparently in hope of replacing Hillary Clinton at State.

October’s main event was the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union, which was quickly followed by the posthumous award of the Nobel Prize for Medicine to Dr. Timothy Leary. The EU’s $1 million prize money was seized quickly by German Chancellor Merkel, who then demanded that Greece, Italy, and Spain split the bounty and live off of it for the remainder of the year.

Undeterred by the economic science of the EU, a court in L’Aquila, Italy, convicted six scientists of manslaughter for failing to predict a severe earthquake. Defense attorneys had argued that the six were innocent and that the quake was caused by global warming. Prosecutors say that if the convictions are overturned, they will charge the six with witchcraft and use dunking chairs to extract confessions.

Hurricane Sandy put an end to October with weather so bizarre that it caused Mayor Bloomie to tell Obama to stay away. But New Joisey Gov. Chris Christie, keynote speaker at the Republican Convention, decided to campaign with Obama, placing himself in the exclusive company of Rick Santorum. Gov. Christie was last sighted floating over the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade tethered to Al Gore’s global warming float.

NOVEMBER continued and on election eve, campaign irony hit a record high when Bill Clinton, campaigning for Obama, said, “You’re laughing, but who wants a president who will knowingly, repeatedly tell you something he knows is not true?”

It didn’t take long for the ugly truth to be revealed on election night. When Karl Rove suffered a nervous breakdown at about 11:25 pm, we knew it was over. We woke on November 7 to the Republican Establishment’s claim that global warming caused Obama’s victory. Disgruntled casino owners are reportedly planning to burn Karl Rove (perhaps in effigy, perhaps not). Conservatives are wondering how to replace the Republican Establishment with people and candidates who are capable of winning elections.

If all that weren’t bad enough, Hostess Brands -- the maker of Twinkies -- made the lives of cops, firefighters, and school kids everywhere less joyful by announcing that they were going out of business rather than yielding to union demands. At first, we thought that meant no more Twinkies and Devil’s Food Cupcakes. But the Twinkie may be revived by a Mexican company -- I’m not making this up -- named Grupo Bimbo. There was no confirmation of reports that Grupo Bimbo was a joint venture secretly owned by Paula Broadwell and Diane Suarez.

More horrific economic news came in DECEMBER. The seventy-five year old Stage Deli -- which had given us the best sandwich on the planet, its corned beef on rye -- fell victim to Obamanomics. We may someday forgive Obama for some things, but not for this. If you haven’t eaten at the Stage Deli, I can assure you that this loss is worse than anything that can come out of the fiscal cliff negotiations.

Not content with the steady parade of political disasters, Speaker Boehner capped the year off with his “Plan B” proposal to stop us for falling off the congressionally-created fiscal cliff by raising taxes for the rich without reducing federal spending. Boehner’s Plan B briefly excited Nancy Pelosi and other feminists who thought it would make the “morning-after” pill available for free. Nancy is now saying we have to fall off the fiscal cliff to find out how high it is.

Boehner was hoping his grand bargain would be mooted by the Mayan Apocalypse scheduled for the next day, but it wasn’t. And when the feminists found out that Boehner’s Plan B was a political abortion rather than an abortifacient -- and conservatives at long last lowered the boom on their wayward Speaker -- Boehner was forced to pull the bill and send the House home for Christmas. Unfortunately, they came back right after Santa Claus was apparently shot down by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile.

Before December expired, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Burlesquoni -- he of the “bunga-bunga” parties envied by Bill Clinton -- announced his political comeback. Mitt Romney’s son Tagg told us that his dad hadn’t really wanted to run for president and had to be talked into it by Tagg and his mom. Apparently, brainwashing runs in the family.

As the year ended, French President Hollande and his energy minister, Delphine Bathos, announced plans to shut off overnight lights in Paris to save money. A report in the London Daily Mail advised late-night revelers to carry torches if they venture out after 1 a.m., a practice Parisians should recall from their last cultural energy crisis in 1789.

If all of 2012’s nonsense isn’t enough to make you a triskaidekaphobiac before tomorrow comes, nothing will. But if you aren’t, you should be. Happy Fiscal Cliff Day, everyone.

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About the Author
Jed Babbin served as a Deputy Undersecretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush. He is the author of several bestselling books including Inside the Asylum and In the Words of Our Enemies. He is coauthor (with Herbert London) of the new book The BDS War Against Israel. You can follow him on Twitter@jedbabbin.