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The Year In Stupid

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

This year, like all that preceded it, was packed with some incredibly stupid things. As we shake off 2013 and welcome our government master into the medical examination room (except those who can’t afford Obamacare, can’t get the website to work or lost the plans they liked), let’s take a look back at just some of the idiocy that affected our world in 2013.

It seems like a lifetime ago, but it was only last January when “catfishing” bubbled to the forefront of the public consciousness. Though it had been a show many of us had enjoyed on MTV, most were too busy and/or mature to notice. Having grown up in Detroit, I’d heard of (and may well have told) stories of a “girlfriend in Canada,” the legendary answer to the “You don’t have a girlfriend” taunt in elementary school. Most grew out of that, not all did.

The rest of the world became all too educated on the term “catfishing” thanks to Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o. We learned – to his eternal embarrassment – that not only was the story of his girlfriend’s tragic death was a hoax but her existence was too. President Reagan’s “trust, but verify” was forever amended to include “that they exist” when it comes to online relations. It cost Te’o several slots in the NFL draft and the rest of the world many laughs at his expense.

This year also saw the rise of the “concern troll” in the mainstream media. “Concern trolls” are liberals who feign worry over the future of people or groups they, of course, vehemently oppose. Twitter is full of them. As the mainstream media has been reduced to press release regurgitators for Democrats, they naturally turned their caring eyes to the Republican Party. Every major liberal media outlet pondered how the party could survive the year, let alone beyond, after losing the White House in 2012.

Under the guise of worry over a one-party system, they offered their advice on how to make Republicans “relevant” again. Naturally, this included (and essentially concluded with) casting aside the Constitution and shunning conservatives. Given where the year ended for President Obama and Democrats in the polls, this concern trolling is even funnier than it was at the time.

People will regale future generations with tales of how they survived sequestration – those dark when government agencies that got by with so much had to suffer the indignity of getting by with not quite as much more as they’d expected. It was hell.

To mix my metaphors, Chicken Little cried “wolf.”

Somehow, we survived this slight decrease in the rate of increase of government spending. Sadly, we also survived long enough to see Republicans use the same rhetoric as Democrats in describing these modest decreases in expected increases as “cuts.” As in, in the end-of-the-year budget deal, Republicans military pensions were “cut” because Democrats refused to cut illegal aliens off the government teat. Horrible, yes. Doubly horrible that troops are liberals’ go-to for saving money. But Republicans are ceding some ground here by misusing the word “cut” in this way – no matter how noble the cause.

Time will tell if this comes back to haunt them.

The middle of 2013 saw a major push for “comprehensive immigration reform,” which is a deliberately confusing way to describe granting amnesty for undocumented Democrats and setting them on them on the path to voter registration rolls. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle pushed the measure – none more prominent than Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Not only would this legislation have effectively ended the Republican Party, it would have – in the words of the president – fundamentally transform the nation for all time.

The supposed need for this legislation was never explained beyond “It’s the right thing to do” with a healthy dose of “through no fault of their own” thrown in for good measure. How a president unwilling to enforce other laws he’d happily signed into existence could be trusted to enforce new immigration laws he didn’t like, such as border security, was never explained.

The Senate passed the bill, but, thankfully, the House of Representatives has not taken it up and hopefully never will. But if there’s one pretty-sure way to make a lot of money in Washington, it is by betting Republicans, particularly House Leadership, will do stupid things that harm themselves and the country, so the jury is still out on this one.

I, for one, would like to hear how adding 11 million to 30 million new competitors for work to an economy with 7 percent unemployment (really double that) helps Americans. I suspect that’s the question supporters fear the most.

Also, 2013 could easily be described as the year of Obama scandals. Having effectively gotten their candidate re-elected, the throne-sniffers in the media finally found themselves facing an Obama scandal they wouldn’t ignore…because it affected them directly. When it was revealed the Justice Department had seized phone records of journalists and media outlets in a push by “the most transparent administration in history” to quash leakers, even MSNBC had to take exception.

The outrage didn’t last long. Like abused spouses who simply can’t bring themselves to leave, the media was back to playing human shield for the president when the IRS scandal broke shortly thereafter. There are only so many scandals we can ask the media to track … and two, of course, is too many.

The stories of the year are clearly the NSA revelations by Edward Snowden and the morphing of Obamacare from theoretical failure to disastrous reality. Everyone knows these stories; they’re still unfolding and will be with us well in to the future. Every American has been affected by the actions of the NSA Snowden exposed, and we’ll all be affected this year by Obamacare.

The Obamacare rollout went so badly it wiped the 17-day government shutdown from the collective memory of all Americans save for the teleprompter writers at MSNBC. IF Republicans don’t blow it – and that’s an all-CAPS, 100-point IF – the failure of Obamacare could do more than any candidate or campaign either side could put forward to stomp progressives back down the shame hole of their collective history.

It’s not easy to box a shadow, and President Obama was nothing but a shadow in his first term. He has played the hands-on, smartest–president-evah card when it suited him and the babe-in-the-woods kept in the dark by staff card when he needed it. The media helped him every step of the way, but it can’t help him anymore.

Obamacare is such a wide-ranging epic failure that touches everyone where they live, and it has his name all over it. “The lie of the year” is an understatement, and the American people know he told it, over and over and over again…

It’s been a year full of stupid (I can’t list it all), and most of that stupid was self-inflicted. Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it, but those who think they got away with it will do it again deliberately. Here’s to hoping 2014 is the year everyone remembers the stupid from the previous 365 days and recognizes it when it boomerangs again.

Happy New Year.

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