Hearings and halftime
With each passing year, the overdose of Super Bowl analysis flourishes just as much as it does for the game's commercials and infamous halftime show. I can see some hackneyed academic locked away in his basement, consuming stale pretzels while writing a doctoral dissertation on such insipid cultural commentary. Plenty of ink and space would be devoted to how the Super Bowl halftime show has mutated from college marching bands to overexposed and underdressed gyrating pop divas that carry on more like strippers than singers and where the only prop missing is the pole.
Considering contemporary America's taste for the written word (dare I say literature), they'd probably turn this pile of pulp into a best-seller.
All of which begs the question: Who do you believe lip-syncs better, Hillary or Beyoncé? As Mark Steyn put it, "In an America with an ever more tenuous grip on reality, there's so little to be sure of." That being said, consider the timeless adage that a picture is worth 1,000 words in the photos of the returning four coffins of our consulate officials killed in Benghazi, Libya. It is a good bet you didn't see any of them. Probably the most striking and certainly telling was when the coffins were being taken off the plane at Andrews Air Force Base in Dover, Del. They were met by a military honor guard consisting of 24 Marines, six to a coffin. Marines have been guarding American embassies and consulates for more than two centuries; 24 more than were assigned to protect our officials in Benghazi. This should never be.
Which story do you think more Americans are up to speed on: Benghazi or the Super Bowl power outage? It was a classic sign of the times when Hillary responded that when it comes to the four dead American diplomats in Benghazi, "What difference, at this point, does it make?" Hillary finally answered one question truthfully - the one about who is going to answer that 3 a.m. phone call - an incoherent answering service.
If you didn't see any of the Chuck Hagel Senate confirmation hearings for Secretary of Defense, you didn't miss much. The hearing was dreadful. Hagel looked and acted like he was being sentenced to prison, not one who is supposed to be convincing the U.S. Senate and gaining the confidence of the nation that he is the best candidate for the job. For a lifelong politician, Hagel looked out of his league, almost amateurish. There were times he had no convincing answers and appeared uncertain, even contradictory. For whatever reason, Hagel failed to provide any convincing answers on several issues.
Every overpaid talking head I've heard agreed that Hagel's responses were pitiful for a Senate hearing. Hagel appeared haggard with a sobering lack of conviction. Apparently, the Democrats forgot to have Hagel enroll in the Confirmation Hearing for Dummies class. Hagel did admit, "I won't be in a policy-making position," fundamentally admitting he will take his marching orders as Obama's defense puppet. What's even worse is no one from the halls of Congress to the network pundits believe that will keep Hagel from being confirmed.
What is never questioned is why such Senate confirmation hearings are necessary in the first place if all they amount to is giving a blank check to the current administration. We all know how versed Congress is about giving out blank checks. In fact, rather than waste their time on such mundane and automatic things like confirmation hearings, perhaps they should be trying to work on shrinking our national debt and actually passing a budget for the first time in four years.
Make no mistake, Hagel is no friend of Israel, our one true ally in the Middle East. When Iran's foreign minister applauds Hagel's nomination, we have a problem. If nothing else, that should give everyone a healthy dose of reality.
Much has been made about Obama picking a bunch of white boys for his Cabinet's second term. Why is this an issue? Wasn't it Martin Luther King Jr. who famously believed we should not judge each other by one's skin color, but by the content of one's character? However, in today's politically correct world, character has nothing to do with it. Who among us really believes Charlie Hagel would be a better Secretary of Defense if he was Muslim, Hispanic or black, or if his first name was Julie?
On second thought, he probably would.
(Maresca, a local freelance writer, composes "Talking Points" for each Sunday edition.)