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November 25, 2014

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Sense may be in short supply, but that gives us plenty to write about

Sometimes, life can be overly generous. You go from a dateless Saturday night to an overflowing eHarmony inbox. You want just one little tomato for your salad and the garden yields enough produce to feed the entire population of Sicily. There is such a thing as “too much.”

That’s what occurred to me last week. Normally, I can find one or two things that spark my interest (and 800 words of indignation) by Thursday afternoon. But last week was a veritable cornucopia of bounty, and I felt like a kid in a candy shop with one shiny quarter to spend. How to choose among all of the examples of cowardice, arrogance and bigotry presented on a big multimedia platter?

Well, I couldn’t.

My Facebook friends made some great suggestions, which I was more than happy to consider (except the one about the school district mandating the reading of Howard Zinn, which sends me to the bathroom with nausea). So here is a rapid round-up of the macabre, the horrible and the merely repellent, just in time for Halloween.

Let’s start with Alan Grayson, a congressman from Florida, who compared the Tea Party to the KKK. In a state famous for its reptiles, gruesome Grayson blends. His use of burning-cross imagery to conflate the Klan with legitimate political activism is hardly surprising, given the type of campaign he ran in the last election. But despite his attempts to smear and slander conservatives, the esteemed Democrat has simply succeeded in reminding us that most of the people who wore the sheets were members of his own caucus.

Then we have Kathleen Sebelius, who has carried so much water for her boss she needs a lifetime supply of Pamprin. The Health and Human Services secretary has made the media rounds in defense of the administration’s abysmal rollout of Obamacare, including a website that makes Pac-Man look state-of-the-art. While this major technical failure won’t put the stake through the heart of the health care vampire, it is comforting to know that Sandra Fluke will have to wait just a little bit longer before she can charge Uncle Sam for her birth control.

But it hasn’t just been Democrats behaving badly this week.

Next door in New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie had a major fail of his own when he decided to raise the white flag of surrender in the same-sex marriage offensive. In withdrawing his appeal of a lower-court decision mandating gay nuptials in the Garden State, Christie has turned his back on his tough-prosecutor past and essentially allowed one lower-court judge to dictate the law in his state. This is not only an insult to every resident who opposed so-called “marriage equality,” it is a slap in the face to the rest of us who believe that legal process should be respected and that seeing the “writing on the wall” doesn’t allow you to abrogate your duties. You expect this from someone like Kathleen Kane, who rode the wave of “hope and change” into office. You didn’t expect this from a maverick like Christie.

I do need to add something here. The liberals who are dancing with joy over Christie’s capitulation shouldn’t be too quick to adopt him as their mascot. As my good friend and PR sage Dan Cirucci observes: “I think Christie’s learned how long and how far a matter can be pursued. I don’t think this changes his basic view about gay marriage — a position he’s held for quite some time. He simply made a clear-headed, practical decision. Once again, he’s shown himself to be a principled pragmatist.”

I’m not as sanguine as Dan about the guy who used to be my favorite governor. But the progressives need to stop gloating and get back to fixing that website.

I could go on (like, what kind of person greets Ted Cruz as a hero?) but I’ve run out of space. If only we would run out of disgrace.

Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News.

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