While the nature of New Year’s is to view things in a positive light, it's more interesting, and sometimes more productive, to shine the spotlight on what needs fixing.
So now, Freindly Fire’s biggest losers of the year:
Teachers unions, trial lawyers, taxers, and tea party critics. Throughout the nation, all four spent millions this campaign season — and all got shellacked.
Significantly, more candidates than ever before took a tough stance against unchecked lawyer greed, fat union contracts, organized labor’s outrageous demands, and increased taxes. And the fiery tea party made sure those issues remained at the forefront of the election cycle.
The result? Hard to say. Despite their vanquishing, none of the losers is going away.
Facing a brand new phenomenon called accountability, teachers unions will use their huge campaign war chest to fight pension reform, school choice, and education funding cuts.
Trial lawyers will continue writing big checks, since tort reform threatens their very survival (and the number of Mercedeses in the driveway).
Taxers will try to handcuff the oil and natural gas industries by imposing job-killing taxes and fees.
Tea party opponents are looking to prove the movement to be a one-hit wonder.
Tucker Carlson. Filling in as host on Fox, Carlson said that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick should have been executed for killing dogs. Common sense tells us he doesn’t really believe that, but he appeared deadly serious.
What Vick did was inexcusable. But he served his time, and appears penitent. How Vick behaves moving forward will tell us whether he is truly sorry. But Vick isn’t the issue. Carlson’s cheap shot to gain a brief bit of fame is.
Equally misguided was Carlson deriding President Obama’s call to thank the Eagles’ owner for giving Vick a chance; that rant demonstrates why the media is so scorned.
With all the legitimate issues with which to differ from the president, why would Carlson criticize Obama for his phone call discussing redemption? Because wannabes like Carlson, despite posturing about how pure, conservative and Christian they are, seem to care only about themselves and the headlines they can generate.
Issues take a backseat to vain ambition, even when that means injecting oneself into the story. And when irrelevant matters like this get raised, meaningful debate on important issues takes a hit.
University of Pittsburgh. Pitt recently fired football coach Dave Wannstedt for not winning, and, three weeks ago, replaced him with Mike Haywood. On Jan. 1, Pitt fired Haywood immediately after he was arrested on a domestic battery charge involving the mother of his child. So much for due process.
Admittedly, it’s not an easy position for the Pitt football program to maintain continuity and effective recruiting amidst a cloud hanging over the coach.
But some things are infinitely more important: fairness and that innocent-until-proven-guilty thing.
Aren’t these the values our institutions are supposed to teach? And what happens if the charges turn out to be fallacious or Haywood is acquitted?
Kind of reminds you of how Duke University treated the men’s lacrosse team after they were charged with rape: their season immediately canceled, openly chastised by their professors, and treated like pariahs by the University.
As it turned out, the accuser lied, the prosecutor was dirty, and the players were innocent. But hey, never let the facts get in the way of covering your derriere.
Shame on Pitt for becoming yet another in the long list of universities to worship at the altar of political correctness.
Through it all, there is one unifying thread: common sense, backbone, and a stiff resolve are the best ingredients to avoid being one of the biggest losers of the year.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, FreindlyFireZone.com He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com
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