Don’t Feed the Pander Bear

The Pander Bear (Ursus obsequiensis-politicanus) is a ubiquitous political creature that thrives in the warmth of public acclaim and media adulation; photo-ops involving such ordinary events as the birthday celebration of a centenarian have been known to act like a sort of pheromone that attracts these critters from as far away as the other side of the country. In the present case, the pheromone is the fame that befell the late Whitney Houston: a daughter of the Garden State, she had the singular misfortune of abruptly dying at the age of 48 in the bathtub of a suite in the Beverly Hilton.

At about the same time the Garden State was all abuzz over the sudden death of an icon of the music industry, the body of Lance Cpl. Osbrany Montes De Oca was being flown home to New Jersey for burial.

He was killed last Friday during combat operations in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. Osbrany was 20 years old – just a kid, really, who died in the service of his country, doing what he truly loved and believed in. By any metric – objective or subjective – he died a hero’s death.

It doesn’t strain common sense or sensibility to presume that Gov. Chris Christie – Ann Coulter’s poster boy for Conservatism – would honor the memory of this fallen Marine hero by directing that flags around the state be flown at half-staff…unless, of course, you live in New Jersey:

Gov. Chris Christie plans to sign an executive order requesting flags on public buildings in New Jersey to fly at half-staff on the day of Jersey native Whitney Houston’s funeral.

“Whitney Houston was an important part of the cultural fabric of this state,” Christie said during a press briefing today. “She was a cultural icon in this state and her accomplishments in her life were a source of great pride for many people in this state and for this state as a whole. On that basis, I think she’s entitled to have that recognition made for her.”

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?  Did no one apprise Governor Zeppelin of the awkwardness of this situation or the fact that, as a matter of tradition and respect, the flag is lowered to half-staff in mourning for statesmen, military personnel and first responders such a police officers or firefighters? What was he thinking?

I’ll tell you: he wasn’t thinking…he was acting on the basest of political motivations. He was pandering to the Whitneymania that is sweeping through the Garden State in an effort to curry favor from a demographic that most likely would never vote for him anyway. It was his way of saying “See how sensitive I am to the people of my state? They grieve for a fallen celebrity and I will show them that I am simpatico by a gesture that is reserved only for statesmen and war heroes.”

Nevermind the fact that while Whitney Houston was a daughter of the Garden State who was gifted with a phenomenal talent and achieved stratospheric heights of fame and fortune, she was nothing more or less than an entertainer…as opposed, say, to Lance Cpl. Osbrany Montes De Oca, an obscure Marine Corps grunt who died fighting for his country.

Der Blimpmeister was quick to defend himself in remarks he made at an appearance in West New York, NJ yesterday, February 15:

“I understand there can be people who disagree with that. And I respect their disagreement. But I just want them to be accurate about it. Some of them have said, ‘You do this for her, you won’t do it for a fallen soldier.’ Well, every fallen soldier who has lost their life during this administration has had that honor. ‘You do it for her, but you won’t do it for a fallen police officer.’ Every fallen police officer in my administration has received that honor. So some people who are being critical are being critical without any knowledge of what the real facts are. I quibble with that, and I’ll argue with those people. (emphasis added)

You want accuracy, Fat Man? Here’s accuracy:  Montes De Oca was killed last Friday, the day before Whitney Houston died. The Defense Department issued a press release announcing his death on Monday, February 13. It strains reasonable credulity to believe that the governor’s staff did not receive this press release or was unaware that Montes De Oca had been killed. the Newark Star-Ledger broke the story on Tuesday, February 14 – the same day Der Blimpmeister announced his executive order to lower the flag in honor of a dead entertainer.

Even if it did somehow escape the attention of the governor’s staff, the fact remains that he had a full day to retract his statement and announce that, in light of the tragic news from Afghanistan, the flag would be lowered instead to honor the memory of Lance Cpl. Osbrany Montes De Oca.

He did not do this, but instead doubled down on his decision. Note that in the statement he made in West New York he went out of his way to eulogize Whitney Houston but never once mentioned Osbrany Montes De Oca or even referred to him except to say that “every fallen soldier who has lost their life during this administration has had that honor.

This, of course, is a bald-faced lie: the governor has yet to announce that the flag would be lowered to half-staff in honor of Montes De Oca. But not to worry: once Whitneymania quiets down next week, this hypocritical, pandering tub of RINO lard will be working hard to repair the slight and restore his reputation as a paragon of level-headed conservatism. He’ll order flags to be lowered to half-staff for at least a week and will go out of his way to publicly praise and eulogize the fallen Marine. He will have to do these things, because if he doesn’t, he’ll become political toast.

But wouldn’t it be easier, you ask, to simply shift gears and announce that the flag will be lowered in honor of Montes De Oca instead of Whitney Houston? Yes, it would. It would also be the honorable and courageous thing to do. So why did Gov. Christie double down?

That’s easy: fear. He’s afraid of the backlash that would ensue from the race baiters and rabble rousers on the Left, all of whom would scream in chorus that he’s a racist – and there is no word that strikes more terror in the callow heart of an Establishment RINO than the dreaded “R” word: Call them Evil. Call them Criminal. You can even echo Maxine Waters and call them Demons. They can take it. In fact they’ll smile and insist that, deep down inside, you are a “good person” and simply “in over your head.” But they don’t ever want to be tagged as racists.

In his ham-handed effort to polish his multi-cultural creds and pander to a demographic that will always hate his guts, the governor of New Jersey honored the memory of a common entertainer by stepping on the memory of an uncommon hero.

Shame on him.

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5 Responses to Don’t Feed the Pander Bear

  1. Barb says:

    Thank you for this story Gene. Apparently, many were upset by his decision.
    I think it was a terrible one.

  2. HeleneH says:

    Lance Cpl. Osbrany Montes De Oca will be brought home tomorrow morning, please keep his family in your prayers.

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