Pander Bear Update #3

Call it Murphy’s Law of Blogospheric Criticism: just as surely as the night follows the day, the individual excoriated by a blogger for not doing a certain thing will, in fact, do that certain thing mere hours after the article has been posted. Worse yet, the action will escape the blogger’s attention for several days afterward, leaving him with egg on his face for having overlooked the matter.

Gov. Chris Christie issued an executive order Thursday afternoon calling for state flags to be flown at half-staff on Feb. 21 in honor of Lance Cpl. Osbrany Montes De Oca.

The executive order read:

The flag of the United States of America and the flag of the State of New Jersey shall be flown at half-staff at all State departments, offices, agencies, and instrumentalities during appropriate hours on Tuesday, February 21, 2012, in recognition and mourning of a brave and loyal American hero, United States Marine Lance Corporal Osbrany Montes De Oca.

Christie has come under criticism this week for having previously ordered flags at half-staff in honor of Whitney Houston, but defended the move in a recent press conference, citing Houston’s cultural contributions.

He said Wednesday that every fallen soldier from the state of New Jersey has received the honor during his administration.

Montes De Oca was memorialized at a candlelight vigil outside his family’s home last night, and flags have been flying at half-staff in his hometown of North Arlington since Wednesday morning.

Another executive order earlier Thursday formalized Christie’s controversial decision to fly flags at half-staff for Houston.

On the other hand, timing is everything: Governor Chris “Pander Bear” Christie issued the executive order to lower the flag in honor of Montes De Oca several hours AFTER the order was issued to lower the flag in honor of Whitney Houston. Moreover, the governor announced as early as February 14 that he would issue the half-staff order for Whitney Houston. That he did not likewise announce his intention at that time to order the flag lowered for Montes De Oca hints very strongly that he hadn’t even considered it.

In other words, the backlash that eventually reached Trenton by February 16 is what ultimately prodded Gov. Tons-o-Fun to do the right thing. Unfortunately, the executive order for Whitney Houston PRECEDED the order for Montes De Oca, giving the latter all the appearance of a “cover my fat ass” afterthought.

Then again, my original post on February 16 was published at 9:00 AM – several hours before the half-staff announcement for Montes De Oca. For all I know, a diligent gubernatorial staffer may have alerted Rotundus Magnus regarding my commentary and, anxious to deflect any further criticism from me, he abruptly issued the order to lower the flag in honor of the fallen Marine.

But all of this is academic and ultimately moot: what will matter is Gov. Zeppelin’s location roughly one hour from now (9:00 AM).  If he attends the funeral mass or the burial for Montes De Oca, there is a chance he can edge himself from the political fire with just a minor scorching.

If he fails to show up for either the funeral mass or the burial, he’s toast. The lovely and ever-gracious Nicole promised that she will monitor the situation, as I will be busy at work today. At the first opportunity, I’ll let you all know what happened.

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