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Today's Conservative -- The Short List

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conservative politics

Now that the House has gone on it's well earned and deserved holiday vacation (was I supposed to say Christmas break to avoid being accused of a war on Christmas?), and with the Senate poised to finish up doing more in one week than they did in the preceding 51 weeks, (thanks to a fixed filibuster rule), it's a good time to look at where we stand politically as we approach 2014.

It's actually quite a big, important year. It'll be the half-way mark of Obama's second term, it'll mean the full Affordable Care Act will finally be in effect and probably most telling will be the midterm elections where the balance of political power, the control of both houses, will be up for grabs. America will get to speak on how they feel the current 113th Congress is doing. (Hint: recent polls show about a 9% approval rate).There was the government shutdown, Obamacare's rocky rollout and of course, the huge progress both houses made in immigration, voting rights, and the farm bill.  

We'll finally see if this shapes up to be a classic battle of the rich vs. the poor. The elitist GOP faces off against the Democratic party of the people. Will it be be banks vs. consumers? Special interest groups vs. John/Jane Doe? How about right-wing bigotry vs civil rights? Undoubtedly this will shape up to be a donnybrook of conservative vs. liberal thinking. Basically the three main parties, the Democrats, the Republicans and the Tea Party will be butting heads both in primaries and in general elections. Some of the outcomes are very predictable thanks to gerrymandering. Other contests are going to be electrifying in their focus on the values the candidates and their affiliations think are most important to the electorate. Basically, how far right is right?

The big catchphrase on the GOP side is "conservative values." Everyone on the right and even in the more moderate middle are shoring up their bona fides in that "conservative" arena. Will we see a rise in the number of Reagan Democrats or a crashing down of the fragile right-wing bone china of the Tea Party extremists?

Just so we have a solid understanding of who and what makes for a real conservative, Jon Stewart has put together a short segment that explains it all. If being to the right of sanity is who your looking for, grab a pencil or pen and a pad. Jon Stewart is kicking ass and taking names.

Watch and see who makes the grade and who fails. 2014 is gonna be a great year for politics watching. Even Nate Silver reportedly is getting his eyes checked because they're already starting to go crossed.

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Video- The Daily Show: John Boehner & The Budget Deal

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Video- The Daily Show: White Santa & Megyn Kelly's Apology

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Video- The Daily Show: War on Christmas - S#@t's Getting Weird Edition

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Video- The Daily Show: Budget Battle: The Movie

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The Obama/Mandela Tribute Faux Pas Heard 'Round The World

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Mandela tribute Obama speaks

Mandela's dead. We all know that by now. But the controversies surrounding his tribute are still going strong.

For the Republicans in the US, death for the South African hero wasn't good enough. First they had to publicly denounce the late freedom fighter and politician as a fascist, a communist and a murderer. Despite common courtesy of tempering criticisms of the recently departed out of respect, the GOP amped up their attacks. Even when Tea Party whackadoo Ted Cruz had given a lukewarm acknowledgement of Mandela's passing in a tweet, his own faction of his party turned on him. Evidently even common decency is shunned by the Tea Party and their main mother ship, the GOP.

Okay, Republicans, get over it. For a party that never truly understood Apartheid, Soweto or even that the country has three capitals, you sure get a charge out of criticizing a nation struggling to get a handle on poverty, crime and corruption.

On a day celebrating the life of Mandela, thousands of countrymen, women and children turned out to celebrate his life, not mourn. Millions watched on their TV's. Whether or not you agree with all of his politics, the man had greatness in him. And ultimately the world benefited from his 95 years among us. Leaders past and present, from approximately 100 different countries, turned out to share memories and pay tributes to the late leader. It wasn't a funeral -- but a tribute. And so it's quite amazing the outrage over this event and accusations of wrong doing by President Obama.

First, the "selfie." Obama Selfie

Since when is it wrong, bad or out of place to take a "selfie?" This wasn't a funeral. This was a celebration. The funeral will be in a few more days. Ever been to an Irish wake? Yesterday's event was that kind of uplifting tribute, not the solemnness of  interment. So let's cut the sh** and lose the holier than thou act.

Next, lets move onto the handshake:

Obama Castro handshake

Yes, a common gesture shared by mankind in many parts of the world. Sometimes it seals a deal. Other times it's just a tradition or courtesy. It's meaning is no  more than saying "Gesundheit," "Salud," or "God bless you" after someone sneezes.

That is unless you're looking to make a statement, searching for anything to criticize. Then, the simple, the mundane becomes an atomic cloud of fallout. And so we have the controversial Obama/Castro handshake. Oh, and when I say Castro, I'm not talking about the one that's famous, one that everybody would recognize, Fidel. It's Raul. Think of him as the Doug Pitt, Brad's younger brother of the acting Pitt Brothers-- or Casey Affleck, Ben's little, but talented bro. This is not to diminish the younger siblings or their accomplishments, but they are dwarfed by their older siblings.

When I say Marco, you say Polo -- not Rubio. But the Cuban connection is a good transition. But what's even better is the explanation and consternation of Jon Stewart in last night's Comedy Central. He shows the inanity of the GOP'ers who are outraged and yet guilty of the very same "crime," a handshake: McCain/Kadafi, Reagan/Gorbachev, Nixon/Mao, Jerry Ford/Leonid Brezhnev, G.W. Bush/Uzbekistan dictator Islam Karimov and finally Poppi Bush/Hugo Chavez -- all Republican Presidents with despots and all exchanged handshakes.

So, here's four minutes which could soon be tagged with the moniker, "classic."

Now if the GOP is really that concerned with the hand gestures of political leaders, maybe this recent picture of Republican front runner for President in 2016, Chris Christie should be of more concern. Here's a picture worth more than a thousand words. Here's the New Jersey Governor recently and I don't think he was just reaching for a cupcake with a cherry on top:

Chris Christie cops a feel

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Video- The Daily Show: Tuesdays with Mourning

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