Happy New Year to all Washington Examiner readers.
And since it is a new year, that means it’s time to hand out my annual Chutzpah Awards for the year that just ended.
Chutzpah is defined as gall or audacity taken to the nth level. The classic and ultimate example of chutzpah is supposed to be the guy that murdered both his parents and then threw himself on the mercy of the court on the grounds that he was an orphan.
This year’s list is a short one, but that doesn’t mean the winners are any less deserving. So, without further ado, here are the 2013 Chutzpah Award winners.
Fifth runner-up: Rapper Kanye West, for basically proclaiming himself the greatest entertainer in the universe, combining his name and Jesus Christ’s name to proclaim his tour “Yeezus” and embracing the Confederate flag as his own.
West, for those that don’t know, is African-American. The Confederate States of America, in that nation’s constitution, enshrined, specifically, “negro slavery” and made its existence all but inviolable.
With his cheesing, mugging and basic inappropriate conduct during the ceremony, Obama sent a message to the world: “I’m much more important than the occasion for which hundreds of dignitaries from around the world have gathered.”
That takes some chutzpah.
Third runner-up: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, for butting his nose in Baltimore’s affairs and presuming to lecture Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake about how to lower the number of homicides in that city.
O’Malley was mayor of Baltimore before he became governor of Maryland. And yes, he did indeed implement a crime-fighting strategy that ostensibly led to the number of murders being lowered.
The governor’s crime policy when he was mayor of Baltimore was, some critics charged, draconian and unconstitutional. And Baltimore’s homicide numbers continued to drop after the mayor that replaced O’Malley, Sheila Dixon, abandoned O’Malley’s jackboot policies.
Second runner-up: Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Raymond Kelly, that city's police commissioner who's retiring.
O’Malley had nothing on either Bloomberg and Kelly when it came to draconian, unconstitutional police practices. Specifically, the Big Apple’s stop-and-frisk policy came under fire.
A federal judge ruled the policy racially biased and unconstitutional, which didn’t stop Bloomberg and Kelly from vigorously defending it.
The stop-and-frisk policy, they proclaimed, lowered the number of homicides and other crimes.
You mean that if officials turn a place into a police state, they can actually lower crime? No kidding.
First runner-up: Oprah Winfrey, for telling the world that racism in her country will disappear when all those old, white racists finally do us all the courtesy of dying.
Winfrey knows there exists a virulent racism in this country that has nothing to do with old, white racists. She knows about the Latino vs. black racism in Los Angeles.
She knows how some young blacks have been targeting whites in the “knockout game.” She knows there is black-on-Asian violence motivated by nothing but racism.
And she knows this new racism isn't going to die anytime soon.
The winners: Executives at A&E, for obvious reasons.
After “Duck Dynasty” reality television star Phil Robertson made comments offensive to gays, lesbians and blacks in a magazine interview, A&E Networks execs had this to say:
We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series "Duck Dynasty." His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.
Those same execs then decided, with brazen chutzpah, to kick that “LGBT community” to the curb, reinstate Robertson, and issue this statement:
After discussion with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming "Duck Dynasty" later this spring with the entire Robertson family. "Duck Dynasty" is not a show about one man’s views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family, a family that America has come to love.
Also some rubbish about its “core values” being “centered around creativity, inclusion and respect.”
The chutzpah of A&E honchos isn’t quite as brazen as that of the guy who murdered his parents, but it’s pretty darned close.
GREGORY KANE, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.