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In the Age of Whatever Works

Latin America faces a crucial choice between liberty and tyranny, as always, just like the rest of us, and the President of the United States’ advice is that it go with “whatever works.” Barack Obama actually said that nonsense in a speech to the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative while on his recent south-of-the-border tour, and although that also included him doing the wave at a baseball game with the communist dictator of Cuba and embarrassingly doing the tango for his Peronista variety of fascist hosts in Argentina while the capital of the European Union reeled from yet another terror attack it was probably the low point of that disastrous vacation.
Any President of the United States worthy of that once-august office would be making the plain case that liberty is the only thing that has ever worked in the entire history of organized humankind, and that tyranny has never worked out, but these days that is apparently too much to ask for. The runaway winner of five of the last six state contests in the Democratic nominating process is the self-described socialist Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who worries that there are too many kinds of deodorants on America’s supermarket shelves and prescribes the same solutions that have resulted in toilet paper shortages in Venezuela, and the party’s putative front-runner struggles to explain why she’s not a socialist. Meanwhile, the putative Republican front-runner is issuing threats that his press critics will “have problems, such problems” and “tweeting” like a South American caudillo and promising nothing but “better deals” with all these pesky foreigners, which sounds to us like pretty much like the equivalent of “whatever works.”
The sole remaining long-shot possibility for the leadership of what was once called the free world is Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, whose much criticized father endured the tortures of the same communist Cuban dictatorship that the “whatever works” president was doing the wave with, and went on to a formidable career and as a legal and Senatorial advocate for the conservative cause, and he strikes us as a full-throated advocate of liberty and the Judeo-Christian tradition and red-in-tooth-and-claw capitalism and other higher values than whatever might work. He’s bogged down with a report in the front-runner’s buddy’s National Enquirer, though, and is just within the margin-of-error in the polls in the important states of Wisconsin and California. We’d love to see a match-up of Cruz’ hard-edged advocacy of capitalism and constitutionalism against Sanders’ unabashed socialism and whatever works, but such stark choices are perhaps too much to wish for in an age when people are more concerned with whatever works for them, if not necessarily everyone else.

— Bud Norman

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Blame It on the Tango

The security forces of the entire continent of Europe are frantically scrambling to prevent an expected wave of Islamist terror attacks, the President of the United States is quite literally doing the tango in Argentina, and the Republican front-runner in the race to replace him is “tweeting” out threats to “spill the beans” on a pesky rival’s wife. That’s pretty much the news as write this, and thus we head into the weekend with an uncertain feeling about the future.
That worried-about wave of terror attacks in Europe seems well worth worrying about, and the president’s audition for his post-presidential role on “Dancing With the Stars” wasn’t at all reassuring, so that intra-Republican flap about the naked pictures of the front-runner’s third trophy wife and the unspecified threat against the pesky rival’s more plain but one-and-only wife also takes on a certain foreboding significance for us. The remaining candidates in the Democratic race to replace the tangoing current president seem equally blithe about the anticipated wave of Islamist terrorism, so we’d rather the front-running alternative wasn’t making such an ass of himself and forcing a pesky and more worthy rival to divert his attention to defending his wife’s honor against unspecified threats.
If you haven’t been following the latest episodes of the Republican Party’s version of “Dancing With the Stars,” the real-estate-and-gambling-and-titty-bar-and-reality-show mogul Donald J. Trump was much annoyed that one of the several anti-Trump political action committees had posted one of the more tame naked pictures his latest wife had posed for on a Facebook page geared to Utah, where the population is largely Mormon. Say what you want about some of their beliefs, Mormons were at least already disinclined to vote for foul-mouthed gambling-and-tatty-bar moguls no matter how hot their third wives might be, so Trump assumed that his pesky rival Sen. Ted Cruz was behind such soft-core pornographic dirty tricks, and without a shred of evidence he went to the internet to make the accusation and threw in a threat that he might reveal that unspecified information ruinous to the reputation of Cruz’s wife if unconditional surrender were not immediately announced. Cruz responded by “tweeting” that Trump was a coward, then going on international television to say that Trump was a “sniveling coward,” and we expect he’ll raise the ante face-to-face on the next televised debate stage, assuming that Trump isn’t such a sniveling coward or such a shrewd tactician he’ll avoid that confrontation.
Trump was courageous enough to issue another “tweet” with carefully chosen and perhaps photo-shopped pictures that indicate his third wife is hotter than then one Cruz has happily been married too along, which will surely prove to his celebrity-addled fans that he’s the alpha male to lead the country, and we’ll concede the Democrats are crazier yet, but it doesn’t make us feel more secure about that much-worried wave of terror attacks hitting Europe and then spreading to America.

— Bud Norman