It takes a special kind of man to seek asylum in Mother Russia. Lee Harvey Oswald couldn’t make a go of it. Edward Snowden isn’t likely to either. Now we have Vic Yanukovych, the former winger and captain of the Kiev Rooftop Snipers. “I think Putin hates Yanukovych,” a Kremlin adviser told the New York Times.
Enemy of the Week
Has the New York Times come out against rap videos? The lede paragraphs to a long front page story last Saturday suggested it had: “… players simulated sexual acts as they taunted a teammate about his sister…racist epithets and homophobic language flowed… including improper touching and sexual taunting… the verbal and physical abuse was widespread and even celebrated.” Or maybe the story was condemning revered boot camp traditions? Or drunken boys-will-be-boys fraternity rites? Or Republican presidential hopefuls warming up for 2016?
You can close the book on Al Gore. He lied to us. Pure and simple. Then he took the money and ran, okay, waddled, while we’ve just had to shell out for a new sled, a fresh pack of huskies, and additional space heaters for our igloo. So much for his promises that we’d be living in Tahiti by now. There’s currently more snow in Washington, D.C. than in Sochi.
“Earth in the Balance,” Al used to say. Hah! Just like the equilibrium he and then-wife Ms. Tipper Gore displayed in “Joined at the Heart,” their pre-divorce book on the bedrock role of family in their lives. The book was an outgrowth of an earlier Al Gore offering, “Common Sense Government: Works Better and Costs Less.” It appears to still have one avid reader, a fellow who goes by the name of John Boehner. He dips into it for bedtime stories every time he tucks Mitch McConnell in.
It was going to be a coronation. After the greatest season ever, he’d be crowned the greatest quarterback ever. All that remained was a win in the Super Bowl, a mere formality. Inevitability was never more predestined. Press coverage was 110 percent unanimous, capped by a pre-game piece on how annoying the player’s perfectionism was to all his teammates and coaches, so superior he was to each and every one of them, individually, collectively, and as a franchise. Not that they didn’t all worship at his quick-moving feet.
OK, S-B Sunday turned out not to be his day. Or night.
Everyone’s still talking about Tuesday’s State of the Union Show, but what about the state of those who attended the State of the Union and made up what’s known in the business as the live audience? We were frankly alarmed by what we saw. Let’s just say there were many in the crowd who just don’t seem to be getting older and healthier.
For starters, Joe Biden looked gaunt. Has the president’s pet veep not been eating? When last spotted that night he was wet-eyed, brushing away tears. This was after the evening’s main speaker said Joe would be in charge of new job-retraining efforts in partnership with our community colleges. There he is, wanting to run for president, and he’s been told to go back to junior college. You would cry too if it happened to you.
Then we noticed Harry Reid, and let’s just say he displayed none of Dick Durbin’s ebullience. He appeared pained. What is going on? He never smiles these days. The pressure of being Harry Reid is destroying him.
Republicans learned something this week: Payback is always in the cards if they win when they’re not supposed to. Flash backward to 2009 and the odd-year election states of New Jersey and Virginia, where two insurgent candidacies took the first steps in the long recovery from the disastrous defeats of 2008. For a good while everyone was giddy over Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell’s gubernatorial wins, especially given how each initially performed, regardless of their contrasting personalities. The rest is history, alas, a lot of it hysteria, and now we’re left combing through the wreckage, a lot of it covered by cold deep snow. It’s like the withdrawal-from-Russia scenes in War and Peace.
First came Gov. Christie’s second inauguration in Trenton, where no one ever has to wait in a toll booth line. There was no after-party (sigh). The planned inauguration bash on Ellis Island, within intimate view of the Statue of Liberty, had to be canceled. The governor’s huddled mass wasn’t welcomed. His handlers were quick to blame the snub on Mother Nature, not Lady Liberty.
Long past having anyone to turn to for inspiration, our president unwittingly channeled Jim Croce, though naturally without any of the late singer’s poetic components and melodic grace. “Like the singing bird and the croaking toad, I’ve got a name, I’ve got a name,” Croce once sang, before adding, “And I carry it with me like my daddy did.” Our president, dispensing with any introduction, countered with, “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” before adding, “And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward.” Guess that mixed metaphor kept him from telling us what his daddy did. To be fair, it’s likely pops played soccer.
We know it was too good to be true. As he explained in his Checkers speech yesterday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has no idea who Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich is. So much for a Republican playing hard ball with a Democrat. We’re back to the basic model, in which your typical Republican honcho can’t even get Republicans to back him. It’s also probably safe to assume Christie doesn’t know the difference between a Serb and a Croat either. He is after all a Springsteen, not a Bob Dylan, fan.
Incidentally, which of those last two will be the first to compose “The Ballad of Fort Lee”? A city heretofore famous only thanks to Gilda Radner whose captives’ lone escape is via the George Washington Bridge — and who know how long it will remain standing if Gov. Christie ever comes to that bridge and crosses it? Bridgegate is going to be multi-spanned.
We were going to give you a rundown of the best and worst of the best and worst lists of 2013 but then thought better of it. Who still remembers 2013? Or in any case dares or cares to remember? Certainly not our grand winner for 2013, the certified native Hawaiian who continues to list 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. as his permanent address, even though he does little golfing there, not even any putting around, so far as NSA surveillance has determined or Edward Snowden has divulged.
Even worse, he’s living proof that the more the years change, the more he stays the same. Consider the photographs we’ve seen of him from his Hawaiian Holiday vacation. Notice anything peculiar? Yes, they all show him doing the one thing he does, golfing. And on top of that he continues to wear those same funny shorts, the ones that make him look like a bona fide member of the LPGA. Could his obsessive exercise of executive power derive from a commensurate lack of leg power?
We all know who he is, he knows damn well we know, at some level he actually agrees. Self-pity is the only thing he still has going for him. He’s managed to deprive the U.S. even of this last bit of suspense. His one expressed hope is that we will honor precedent and defer our call until after the 2014 elections, as if that would change anything. As he sees it, if he repeats as Enemy of the Year a year from now, it at least won’t be recorded as a twofer. Always a doggedly slow learner, he’s begun to appreciate the false allure of re-election success.