ChrisWeigant.com

My 2020 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 1]

[ Posted Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020 – 18:01 UTC ]

What a year. Seriously, that was a tough one for us all, wasn't it?

Before we begin with the awards, I would just like to thank all the people -- both online and in person -- who helped out by giving me their suggestions and nominations for all of these awards. I have tried to credit individuals where appropriate, but I probably forgot to do so here and there too, so I apologize in advance.

Also, to make this even possible, I didn't even try to provide links to any of it (with very few exceptions). If anyone has any questions about any particular item, just ask and I'll provide a link to give you more details.

One last word of warning -- this column is long. Really long. Long even for me, which should tell you something. Really REALLY long. This is why I only do these columns once a year, because they are always marathons to research, write, and edit. And read -- because I know full well how long this is going to be. So, fair warning, everyone, and let's just get right to my "2020 McLaughlin Awards (Part 1)." Oh, and I almost forgot -- the second of these columns (Part 2) will run in one week's time, next Wednesday.

 

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   Biggest Winner Of 2020

This one is pretty easy. Joseph Robinette Biden Junior was the Biggest Winner of 2020, hands down.

First, he beat all the Democratic presidential hopefuls -- over two dozen of them. He won South Carolina when it really mattered. Then, at the very end, he beat "last man standing" Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination.

Then, of course, he beat Donald Trump. Badly. He won back the "big blue wall" states in the Midwest (Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania), and he added two rather unexpected states just for the icing on the cake (Georgia, Arizona). He beat Donald Trump in the popular vote by over seven million votes -- more than twice the margin Hillary Clinton managed last time. He got 81 million votes, setting an absolute record for any presidential candidate ever. And he beat Trump by exactly the same margin that Trump beat Hillary in the Electoral College (a win Trump never gets tired of telling everyone was a "landslide").

Joe Biden won when it counted. And this year, that was really all that counted. Which is why he is the obvious choice for Biggest Winner of 2020. Well done, Joe! You have earned the thanks of a grateful nation.

 

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   Biggest Loser Of 2020

This one is also patently obvious. Donald J. Trump was the Biggest Loser of 2020. Also the Sorest Loser Of All Time, if we had a category for that.

Trump first lost by winning, in a way. His impeachment trial started the new year off, making him only the third U.S. president ever to be subjected to such an ordeal. And while the Republicans in the Senate fell in line, one didn't. Mitt Romney became the first U.S. senator in history to vote for convicting and removing a president from his own political party. Which, as we said, was a historic loss for Trump.

Trump has been losing all year long at the Supreme Court, as well. He lost on L.G.B.T. equality, on Dreamers, and on sanctuary states and cities (and that's just a partial list). In June, at the end of last year's session, Trump even tweeted out his disappointment: "Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn't like me?"

The big loss, however, was the election. Trump still hasn't admitted this reality, but pretty much everyone else on the planet has, by now. Trump lost. His close confidants told him all through the campaign that this would be absolutely impossible, but it happened nonetheless.

Trump lost bigly. He lost so badly that even flipping one state wouldn't have been enough -- he would have had to flip three or four. And even the Republican governors and secretaries of state refused to do this for him (because they would have been guilty of breaking the law and violating the Constitution if they had done so).

So Trump threw the biggest presidential temper tantrum ever. He's still throwing it, in fact. He filed over 50 lawsuits, and he lost them all. He just keeps losing, and losing, and losing.

Trump has now become what he reviles and fears in others the most: a gigantic LOSER. He lost, and he still hasn't even admitted it yet, but that doesn't change things one tiny bit. Trump is a one-term LOSER. And he's also the Biggest Loser of 2020, to boot.

 

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   Best Politician

This one was perhaps the hardest to select, I have to admit. I had plenty of nominations, but found it tough to choose from among them.

First, there was Joe Biden. He beat Trump. And he did so the way he planned, not the way someone else told him to.

A good case can be made for Jim Clyburn, for the most notable "kingmaker" move in years -- Clyburn's endorsement helped Biden win a landslide in the South Carolina primary, which springboarded Biden from the almost-dead to the nomination.

Representative Katie Porter singlehandedly got the director of the Centers for Disease Control to commit to providing COVID-19 tests for free to everyone, in a congressional hearing. This is worth reprinting in full, really:

Porter was additionally worried about a financial barrier: that uninsured or underinsured Americans would forgo seeking testing out of fear of the medical costs.

In five minutes, Porter sought to dismantle that barrier altogether.

She began grilling Redfield by pointing to a federal statute that gives the CDC director the power to "authorize payment for the care and treatment of patients subject to medical examination, quarantine, isolation, and conditional release." The existing statute, Porter argued, meant that the federal government should be able to pay for everyone's coronavirus tests without needing any new legislation.

"Doctor Redfield, will you commit the CDC right now to using that existing authority to pay for diagnostic testing free to every American, regardless of insurance?" she asked.

"Well," he replied, "I can say we're going to do everything to make sure everybody can get the care they -- "

Porter interrupted him: "Nope, not good enough. Reclaiming my time."

She asked him the same question again, this time more sternly, more impatiently.

"What I'm going to say is," Redfield responded, "I'm going to review it in detail with the CDC and the department."

"No," Porter shot back. And again: "I'm reclaiming my time."

At that point, Porter said she and two colleagues had already sent a letter to HHS seeking responses by Wednesday about how the agency planned to tackle insurance issues with coronavirus testing -- and the agency had already blown that deadline. Now, she said, he still wasn't giving an answer.

So she asked Redfield a third time: "Will you commit to invoking your existing authority under 42 CFR 71.30 to provide coronavirus testing for every American regardless of insurance coverage?"

"What I was trying to say," Redfield tried again, "is that CDC is working with HHS now to see how we operationalize that."

Disappointment flushed over Porter's face, as she said he hoped that response would "weigh heavily" on him.

"Doctor Redfield," she said, "you don't need to do any work to 'operationalize.' You need to make a commitment to the American people so they come in to get tested. You can operationalize the payment structure tomorrow."

And with that, the doctor waved a white flag.

"I think you're an excellent questioner," he said, "so my answer is yes."

"Excellent," Porter responded. "Everybody in America hear that? You are eligible to go get tested for coronavirus and have that covered regardless of insurance."

That is simply astounding. Usually nothing of import happens in these hearings. Katie Porter wasn't having any of that, obviously, and deserves a whole lot of credit for doing so.

Sadly, the runner-up for Best Politician was none other than Mitch McConnell. "Best" is a subjective thing, and can merely be read as "doing politics better than anyone else," without a value judgment (McConnell used his powers to aid the dark side of the Force, obviously). But Mitch was effective, you've got to give him that.

McConnell rushed through every Trump nomination he could humanly get away with. He blocked literally hundreds of good ideas that had been passed by the House. He stopped Nancy Pelosi from getting the final round of COVID-19 relief until this week. And he shamelessly shoved through a Supreme Court nomination one month before a presidential election even though all Republicans sanctimoniously swore they'd never do such a thing, back when Merrick Garland was nominated by Barack Obama.

All of which shows a mastery at the game of politics, we have to (sadly) admit.

But somehow we just couldn't give McConnell an award (much less the time of day). So instead we're going to give the Best Politician to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, for showing the leadership during the COVID-19 crisis that America was really kind of hoping for from the White House. Since Donald Trump abdicated all responsibility for doing so, it fell to Cuomo and all the other governors (in California, Gavin Newsom did an admirable job as well) to provide such reassurances.

Cuomo's pandemic response briefings were must-see-TV, especially since Trump's were such a clown show. Cuomo levelled with the public, didn't sugar-coat anything, and told the people what the situation truly was, rather than trying to blow sunshine up everyone's skirt (or, for that matter, inject it into their lungs). His briefings got a lot of people through the first wave of the pandemic, and he is reportedly now going to receive a special Emmy award for his performances. That's good television, and that's good politics. It is, in a word, leadership. Exactly the leadership that Americans just were not getting from Trump. For doing so with style, Andrew Cuomo is our Best Politician of the year.

 

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   Worst Politician

This one was pretty easy. The Worst Politician of 2020 was none other than Donald Trump. For how he handled the coronavirus pandemic.

Things could have been very different. Trump might have waltzed to re-election, as a result -- if he had only been the slightest bit humane about any of it. Since this was absolutely beyond his capabilities, it turned out differently for him.

If Trump had leapt into defending America from the virus, people would have rallied around him. If he had allowed the scientists to speak freely, we would have known how bad things were likely to get, very early on. If Trump had decided to make it a personal and political issue -- yelling at his followers to wear masks and telling them only librul Democrats didn't want to wear them (for instance) -- he could have had an enormously positive effect on the public fight against infection. If Trump had shown the slightest bit of empathy -- or even if he had delegated this task to Melania (who actually did a fairly good job of this during her convention speech, to her credit) -- then the public would have seen him in an entirely different light. He even could have used his daily coronavirus task force briefings to shine -- and boost his political prospects.

But he didn't. He didn't do any of that. Instead of showing leadership and empathy and sympathy, at every single decision-making fork in the road, Trump chose the stupidest route possible. Every time. He doubled down so much on the stupid that it just became impossible to calculate. And this was all before he suggested injecting bleach and sunlight into the human body.

Trump was faced with a crisis. He failed to rise to the occasion. He could have turned the whole thing into a guaranteed second term. He was incapable of seeing this possibility, though. Which makes him the Worst Politician by far.

 

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   Most Defining Political Moment

There were four real possibilities here.

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg may prove to be the Most Defining Political Moment of the next decade or so, but somehow it didn't fully encapsulate the whole year of 2020.

The stunning comeback of Joe Biden in the South Carolina primaries certainly defined the rest of the year for Democrats, since he followed it up with a commanding victory on Super Tuesday. After that point, he was really uncatchable, and the primary season was effectively over.

Or you could look to the other end of this drama, and say the Defining Political Moment was when all the networks finally (finally!) called the state of Pennsylvania -- and the entire presidential race -- for Joe Biden. We all stared hopefully at that red/blue map all week long waiting for this to happen, so (as italyrusty put it in his nomination) "in that moment, the skies parted and angels sang." Perhaps a bit poetic, but there certainly was an enormous sigh of relief all over the country when Pennsylvania finally went blue. And not a few instances of spontaneous dancing in the streets, as well.

But in the end, we decided that the real Most Defining Political Moment of 2020 was the death of George Floyd. For the crime of allegedly trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill, Floyd was summarily executed in the street by a White police officer kneeling on his neck for over eight minutes until he suffocated -- all while Floyd pleaded repeatedly: "I can't breathe!"

This, unlike all the other similar deaths of unarmed Black men and women at the hands of police officers, set off an absolute nationwide fury that still has not completely died out. Black Lives Matter became the rallying cry for millions who flocked to the streets in protest.

President Trump, of course, did not exactly rise to the occasion. Far from it. One of his first tweets pretty much set the tone for what he thought the correct response from the cops should be to all the massive protests:

These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen. Just spoke with Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.

That was at the end of May.

On the first of June, Trump was hustled into a White House bunker when the protests outside the building got too scary. This was just before the "Battle of Lafayette Square" took place, as Trump ordered the federal goons to violently rid his front door of all the peaceful protesters, so he could walk across the Square with his military leaders to pose in front of a church, awkwardly holding up a Bible.

Four days later, the feds seized a shipment of Black Lives Matter masks, because they didn't like the messages printed on them. Meanwhile, Trump tried to label "Antifa" as domestic terrorists. And Mike Pence and all the rest of Trump's spineless gang of toadies went right along for the whole ride.

By mid-June, statues of Confederate generals and other traitors to this country were beginning to be pulled down, even in the Deep South. The Pentagon finally caved and agreed to rename all the bases and forts that had (shamefully) been named for Confederate officers.

By the end of the year the last state to still cling to the Confederate battle flag on its own state flag (Mississippi) had decided to retire it and vote for a whole new flag design. And NASCAR had actually banned the display of it at their racing events. Professional sports teams reconsidered their own racist team names, after fighting such moves for decades.

These are just a handful of examples (from far too many to list here) which show how the attitudes across the entire country have changed, and how the entire conversation has moved forward by leaps and bounds, all year long.

Throughout it all, Trump doubled down on White resentment and outright racism. Here's how he contrasted his views with Barack Obama's: "The police had been demoralized. There was all the Obama... there's a riot, and he has a beer at the White House with some criminal, to listen to him. Wasn't having a beer with the police officers. So we said, "We're on your side. We've got your back. You got our thanks."

None of that was true, of course. Obama invited a famous and well-respected Black university professor who had been harassed by cops on the front porch of his own house to come to the White House and talk to the actual cop who was there in the famous "Beer Summit." Trump's lies: there was no riot, he wasn't a criminal, and Obama did have a beer with the police officer. In other words, he got every single thing about it wrong.

But that wasn't the worst. The worst was Donald Trump being interviewed in front of Abraham Lincoln's majestic statue and claiming he had "done more for Black people than any president since Lincoln." At other times, he even put himself above Lincoln, in this regard. And Trump is now just about the only one left who continues to fight renaming the military bases that currently honor traitors to our country, as well.

And then Trump decided to make a bid for the "suburban housewife" vote, by essentially promising them he won't allow Black or other minority people into their neighborhoods. It wouldn't have surprised me in the least if he had championed bringing "redlining" back, but apparently he didn't think of it in time.

The disconnect was jarring. Black Lives Matter spent all year protesting and effecting some real changes across the country. People began to think about race and racism differently -- and a lot more. Attitudes changed -- even in the Deep South. Black people made progress, at least in making their arguments heard. There's still a very long way to go, but this summer's event defined what might be called the next big Civil Rights movement.

And it was all set off by the death of George Floyd.

This is why we've decided that this was, indeed, the Most Defining Political Moment of the entire year.

 

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   Turncoat Of The Year

This is actually going to be a joint award, because there were so many who shared a common goal. And a turned coat.

I cannot for the life of me remember any such concerted effort ever, at least in my lifetime (I am too young to remember any of the Dixiecrat nonsense, I should point out). But this year, several groups of Republicans banded together to raise millions of dollars and create advertising campaigns all centered around defeating Donald Trump and electing Joe Biden. And it wasn't even just all the formal groups, because individual Republicans great and small also did their part towards that overarching goal as well.

So the Turncoat Of The Year goes to (and we apologize if we've forgotten any of them):

  • The Lincoln Project
  • Republicans For The Rule Of Law
  • Republican Voters Against Trump
  • Meidas Touch
  • Alumni For Biden

That last one was a group of people who had worked in the George W. Bush administration, who worked this year instead to see a Democrat elected.

And Honorable Mention awards should also go out in this category for the enormous list of prominent Republicans who joined in the effort and endorsed Joe Biden as well. People like Carly Fiorina and Larry Hogan. Five of them were invited to speak at the Democratic National Convention: Christine Todd Whitman, John Kasich, Meg Whitman, Colin Powell, and perhaps most notably, Cindy McCain.

John McCain's widow gave a very personal and full-throated endorsement at the convention, since the Bidens and the McCains have actually been close friends for years. And Biden won Arizona by only a little over 10,000 votes, out of over three million cast. So Cindy McCain's endorsement could very likely have been critical to Biden flipping the state.

These are just the most prominent names, as well. There were literally hundreds of other Republican leaders and politicians who jumped on the bandwagon as well. Such a mass defection is, as I said, pretty unprecedented in presidential politics.

Our Turncoat Of The Year award goes to all of them, really. But most especially the groups who, between them, raised tens of millions of dollars to defeat Donald Trump. Some of the ads were just stellar, and there was an absolute flood of them. It's impossible to tell how large an effect any of them had, but the fact that they mounted this effort in the first place is downright historic.

 

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   Most Boring

Most years, I just give this one to whichever politician seems the dullest. If I did so this year, it'd have to be someone like Mike Pence or Mitch McConnell or Kevin McCarthy.

Instead, however (and quite possibly for the first time ever), I'm going to hand this award out in a very positive way. The Most Boring award this year goes to Joe Biden's presidential campaign.

I said it was positive, and I meant it. Because boring is exactly what the American public wants right now. Joe's boring campaign probably sealed the deal for many voters, in other words.

Biden ran the most low-key campaign since Jimmy Carter figuratively locked himself in the Rose Garden (since Iran still had our hostages, he saw it as unseemly to be campaigning during a crisis... which was kind of quaint, even back in 1980).

Trump, of course, ridiculed Biden no end for (as he put it) "campaigning from his basement." But in the end even Trump had to pull back from a full schedule of rallies, after his first attempt (Tulsa) flopped so miserably. It seems the public didn't actually want a president with absolutely no regard for the health of the American public. Being cautious and following the experts' advice was much more soothing and admirable. Or, to put it another way, boring was all the rage at the time.

Biden's low-key campaign did cause some fretting within the Democratic Party. They feared having to say, later on, "Biden might have been able to win, if he had just campaigned a little harder." But, in the end, this was not necessary.

It was a big gamble for Biden, and it paid off handsomely at the end. So for the first time, it is with real admiration that we crown Joe Biden the Most Boring of 2020. Joe called this one right, we have to admit.

 

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   Most Charismatic

Once again, we've got to give Most Charismatic to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Not just for her demeanor in general, and not just for her championing an unapologetically progressive ideology. But for how she deals with the multitude of attacks made against her, most of which are on an incredibly personal level.

Case in point was when Republican Representative Ted Yoho just lit into her for no apparent reason, in public:

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) was coming down the steps on the east side of the Capitol on Monday, having just voted, when he approached [Rep. Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez, who was ascending into the building to cast a vote of her own.

In a brief but heated exchange, which was overheard by a reporter, Yoho told Ocasio-Cortez she was "disgusting" for recently suggesting that poverty and unemployment are driving a spike in crime in New York City during the coronavirus pandemic.

"You are out of your freaking mind," Yoho told her.

Ocasio-Cortez shot back, telling Yoho he was being "rude."

The two then parted ways. Ocasio-Cortez headed into the building, while Yoho, joined by Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), began descending toward the House office buildings. A few steps down, Yoho offered a parting thought to no one in particular.

"Fucking bitch," he said.

A.O.C. pointed out that she had never even spoken to Yoho before this encounter. She ended this observation with a rather pithy shoutout to Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey: "hey, b*tches get stuff done."

Yoho soon offered up, on the floor of the House, one of the most pathetic excuses for an apology any politician has ever uttered: "The offensive name-calling words attributed to me by the press were never spoken to my colleagues, and if they were construed that way, I apologize for their misunderstanding." You'll note he doesn't actually claim he didn't say these "offensive name-calling words," he just pats himself on the back for not saying them directly to her face. As if that somehow made it better. And you'll further notice he didn't actually apologize for anything.

He also wrapped himself in some rather impressive folderol, after pointing out that he has a wife and two daughters: "I cannot apologize for my passion or for loving my God, my family, and my country."

A.O.C. responded in brilliant style, later on, also in a floor speech:

Mr. Yoho mentioned that he has a wife and two daughters. I am two years younger than Mr. Yoho's youngest daughter. I am someone's daughter, too. My father, thankfully, is not alive to see how Mr. Yoho treated his daughter. My mother got to see Mr. Yoho's disrespect on the floor of this House towards me on television, and I am here because I have to show my parents that I am their daughter and that they did not raise me to accept abuse from men.

. . .

Having a daughter does not make a man decent. Having a wife does not make a decent man. Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man.

. . .

When you do that to any woman, what Mr. Yoho did was give permission to other men to do that to his daughters. In using that language in front of the press, he gave permission to use that language against his wife, his daughters, women in his community, and I am here to stand up to say that is not acceptable.

As I wrote back then (while giving her that week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award):

This is truly a historic feminist speech, even though it is only about ten minutes long. Ocasio-Cortez got a whole hour to speak, and after her own short address, deferred to other House members who echoed her sentiments. It was beyond impressive, all around.

So is she. Which is why, once again, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is easily the Most Charismatic politician around.

 

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   Bummest Rap

There were quite a few candidates worthy of the Bummest Rap award this year. Mostly this was because Republicans lie (a lot) during political campaigns, and Donald Trump lies so often and so much that it's hard to even keep track of them all. His entire campaign was a quilt made of tissues of lies, all somehow woven together. Since Trump never once even bothered to try to define what he would do in a second term, it was really all his campaign contained, in the end. A few strong themes stood out, all of them bum raps:

Black Lives Matter was causing rioting, looting, burning, anarchy, and total chaos in every American city, for months and months on end. This was so bad, Trump was considering invoking the Insurrection Act and sending in the U.S. military. To take on overwhelmingly-peaceful political protests. The whole thing was a bum rap, from start to finish. And a racist one, as well.

Hunter Biden should be locked up, for some reason. He was profiting off his father! That's un-American! Except, of course, when daddy is named Trump. Another bum rap.

Joe Biden's a socialist! This actually worked better than it should have (since it's a laughably bum rap) down in Florida, with Latinos.

But the king of bum raps against Biden was the downright bizarre insistence that Trump and the whole Republican Party kept up during their national convention that somehow Biden was already president.

They spoke to warn of what would happen "if Biden got elected." Cities would burn! suburban women would be in serious danger! Only Trump could save them all from the hell America had become!

Except, of course, Joe Biden was not actually president -- Trump was. Those cities burning (they weren't, but whatever, the GOP base was being told they were...)? That all happened on Donald Trump's watch!

Here is how I reviewed Trump's nomination acceptance speech at his convention, the day afterwards, which showed just how many bum raps Trump piled on top of Biden, all at once:

Joe Biden, we were told, has done nothing in his 47 years in politics. Except that Joe Biden was personally responsible for everything Democrats did over that period, because he was the puppetmaster behind the scenes pulling the strings of every other Democrat (up to and including Barack Obama), in order to achieve all the nefarious policy goals Biden had set out. Except that Joe Biden is now the puppet, whose strings are being pulled by the radical left. Joe Biden is responsible for mass incarceration of Black people, at the same time that Joe Biden wants to abolish the police and let all the criminals roam free (and move in next to you, in suburbia). Joe Biden is a sleepy and doddering old man who will absolutely and completely dominate all aspects of every American's life if he gets elected. Joe Biden will force everyone to hide in their basement and accept government checks (whether they want them or not), but Joe Biden will also destroy the suburbs. Joe Biden hasn't passed much legislation in his 47 years, but once he's president, the Green New Deal and open borders (and all sorts of other scary things) will become law on Day One. Joe Biden is against science when it comes to fighting the coronavirus, at the same time that Joe Biden will shut America down because the scientists told him to do so. Joe Biden will recklessly take America into any number of new foreign wars, but Joe Biden was too chicken to go after Osama Bin Laden and refused to take on ISIS. Biden will cheer on the American carnage in the streets -- the very same carnage Trump explicitly promised in his own inauguration speech would simply never exist on Trump's watch. Oh, and Joe Biden will ban hamburgers. Can't forget that one.

It was all just so... delusional. It was doublethink on a level never previously seen or even attempted. And the GOP base swallowed it whole, somehow. But even all of that wasn't the worst bum rap.

There were plenty of personal bum raps as well, from Trump -- people summarily fired from the federal government for doing their duty to and upholding the Constitution (as they had all sworn to do). People like Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Bindman, and his twin brother Yevgeny (also of the same rank). People like Chris Krebs. They all had their careers destroyed for the sin of telling the truth when the truth did not agree with Donald Trump's fantasies. They all got a bum rap, to be sure.

But the Bummest Rap of the entire year was actually an old favorite for Republicans. It has never been taken to the extremes that Trump has pushed it, but that doesn't mean that the entire party isn't complicit both in building the idea up for the past few decades and in standing by and not contradicting Trump before, during, and after the election. Because the Bummest Rap of 2020 was "election fraud." Mail-in ballots are inherently fraudulent (except when Trump casts one, or maybe except for Florida, or maybe except for any Republican who votes this way). Ballots can only be counted on Election Day. Dead people are voting in droves. Democrats are cheating. Illegal immigrants are voting in droves. Ballot boxes are being stuffed, everywhere, in Democratic cities.

It's all a lie. A gigantic, multifaceted lie. None of it is grounded in any sort of fact or truth. This was laid bare in excruciating detail, each and every time another idiotic and fantastical Trump election fraud lawsuit was laughed out of court -- even by judges Trump himself had put on the bench.

What's more, it was a very dangerous lie, which is what really makes it the Bummest Rap of the year. It attacks the very foundations of our democracy. It weakens trust in our elections and our governmental system. It encourages acts of sedition and even insurrection. It is all anti-democratic in the extreme. And Trump didn't care one whit.

And neither did over 90 percent of the Republicans in Congress. They all went along for the ride. They simply didn't care about the very real damage to America they were doing. They were complicit in this attack on democracy. And it was all shameful, and history will record their names.

Calling "election fraud" when there was none -- which Trump started doing like six months before the election even happened -- was without doubt the Bummest Rap of the year.

 

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   Fairest Rap

The Fairest Rap of the year (nominated by commenter andygaus) was that Donald Trump utterly failed in his pathetic and counterproductive response to the coronavirus pandemic. Or, to put it more succinctly: Trump lied, people died.

The United States of America became a laughingstock and an object of pity for the rest of the world, instead of taking our usual place in leading the world during a planetwide crisis. This was solely the fault of Donald Trump.

Compare our COVID-19 numbers with the rest of the world, to see why. Japan, with a little over a third of America's population (38 percent), has seen just over 200,000 total coronavirus cases, with 13,000 total deaths. The U.S. is now at 18,800,000 cases and 333,000 deaths. To put this another way, we have 2.6 times Japan's population, but we have 94 times their caseload, and 25.6 times the number of deaths. This is what total abdication of American leadership looks like, folks, both to us and to the rest of the planet.

Donald Trump, when he entered office, was handed a playbook for "what to do if a pandemic hits." He threw it in the trash -- it wasn't consulted once during the whole crisis. And that wasn't even the worst of it, as Politico reported back in March:

From at least 2005 to 2017, an office inside DHS, in tandem with analysts and supercomputers at several national laboratories, produced detailed analyses of what would happen to everything from transportation systems to hospitals if a pandemic hit the United States.

But the work abruptly stopped in 2017 amid a bureaucratic dispute over its value, two of the former officials said, leaving the department flat-footed as it seeks to stay ahead of the impact the COVID-19 outbreak is having on vast swaths of the U.S. economy. Officials at other agencies have requested some of the reports from the pandemic modeling unit at DHS in recent days, only to find the information they needed scattered or hard to find quickly.

Of course, 2017 was Donald Trump's first year in office.

Pretty much everything that happened since, happened in the worst way possible, because of Trump's complete abdication of responsibility for any of it. He decided to play "reality television host" and made all the 50 states fight against each other to secure life-saving medical supplies. Trump made things even worse, by picking stupid egotistical fights with various governors, during this process (mostly Democratic, but with a few Republicans as well). This included egging on armed protesters who were beginning to show up at statehouses, to intimidate lawmakers.

Trump has always wanted to claim credit for anything good happening, which he did with the reopening. Trump had refused to act to shut the country down (this only happened state by state, not nationally), but Trump somehow got the idea that he was in charge of the reopening.

Trump didn't just abdicate all pretense of leadership here at home, he also did so on the world's stage, by pulling out of the World Health Organization right at the start of a global pandemic. A stupider move is hard to even imagine, really.

Trump then decided to become nothing short of a snake-oil salesman (remember hydroxychloroquine?).

Throughout the entire crisis, Trump's response has been beyond abysmal. Once again, at every point he had to make a decision, he didn't just make the wrong one, he actively looked for the stupidest one possible and then berated anyone who dared disagree.

So, yes, it was the Fairest Rap of them all that Donald Trump royally blew it when he was faced with his first real crisis. Just like everyone sane had predicted, in advance. Trump lied, people needlessly died.

 

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   Best Comeback

Herman Cain tweeting from the grave? Susan Collins? Virginia ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment in January? The stock market?

Well, no.

There was really only one choice for Best Comeback this year, and his name is Joe Biden. Biden's campaign was in "the walking dead" category after the first three Democratic primaries of the election season. He came in fourth place in Iowa. He followed this with a fifth-place finish in New Hampshire. In most presidential years, two finishes like that would have ended the candidate's campaign. But just before the South Carolina primary, Representative Jim Clyburn heartily endorsed Joe Biden, and he not only won the state as a direct result, he won it decisively -- 49 percent to only 20 percent for second-place finisher Bernie Sanders.

All of a sudden, Biden was viable again. And then, two days before Super Tuesday, Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the race. The next day, Amy Klobuchar dropped out as well. The same day, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and Beto O'Rourke all endorsed Biden. On Super Tuesday, Biden won 10 of the 14 state contests. From this point on, he dominated the race. Everyone but Bernie dropped out, and in the end even Bernie admitted reality and threw in the towel.

This was a political comeback on the presidential trail for the ages. It was beyond historic. It was epic.

In fact, it was so stunning that we really didn't have to think very hard to give the Best Comeback award to Joe Biden this year. Because there really was no other choice.

 

Trophy
   Most Original Thinker

This one was close, we have to admit. But before we get to the two finalists, we have to mention one that really intrigued us, for a bizarre reason. Site commenter TheStig suggested Rudy Giuliani "but not in a good way." Which is valid -- Rudy's insane lawsuits trying to overturn the stated will of the people after the election were certainly... um... original in their thinking. It cannot be denied. But thankfully, we had two better choices.

Our runner-up in the Most Original Thinker category (nominated by commenter andygaus) is Andrew Yang. Lots of people laughed at Yang's "universal basic income" idea, but then after the pandemic hit, sending checks directly from the government to the people suddenly didn't sound like such a crazy idea any more. In fact, we'll all be getting the second installment soon. Yang does qualify for this award, since he was still a Democratic candidate at the start of the year, and because it was such a progressive concept.

But our real Most Original Thinker this year (nominated by italyrusty) was Stacey Abrams. Abrams has been working for years now on reapplying a very basic idea: sign up as many people to vote as you can, urge them to vote, and you might just be able to flip your whole state. Which she did, as Georgia went for Joe Biden.

Abrams pushed a very old concept -- voter registration drives -- into a brand-new way of looking at elections. She targeted the millions of people (many of them Black) who had been moving into her state over the past 10 or 20 years, but then failing to register to vote. She set a goal of signing up a cool million of them. It almost got her elected governor, two years ago, but even this loss didn't faze her or stop her from her ultimate goal.

Georgia is changing, demographically. Abrams realized this, and realized the potential that lay sleeping. So she woke it up. In a big and spectacular way. Even though it took years to do so, she soldiered on until she emerged triumphant. Which is why Stacey Abrams is out Most Original Thinker this year.

 

Trophy
   Most Stagnant Thinker

I almost gave the Most Stagnant Thinker to the entire Republican Party 2020 platform. First, they decided that they didn't want to rewrite it. So they thought they'd just pass the same document they used in 2016.

Except it was soon pointed out to them that this document actually contained a lot of language intended to rough up the Obama administration, such as: "The current Administration has abandoned America's friends and rewarded its enemies." Since Trump was now in power, that sort of language was kind of embarrassing. Especially since that one is now so incredibly true (it wasn't, back in 2016)

So instead, they put out a one-page document with just a few bullet points. After all, that's all their own president has the attention span for anyway, right? These bullet points can all be summed up as: "Anything Donald Trump wants or supports -- no matter how crazy or deluded -- we'll get behind as a party." Seriously, that was about it. They announced to the world that the once-mighty Republican Party was now no more than a personality cult.

But an even better candidate appeared, as I reviewed the whole year.

So the Most Stagnant Thinker award this year goes to... Donald Trump. For one very specific plank (if you can call it that) in his own personal platform.

Somewhere over the summer, Team Trump noticed that they could very well be defeated nationwide due to one particular demographic moving as quickly away from Trump as they could: suburban women.

So Trump -- "stable genius" that he is -- decided on a plan to win them all back. He'd scare the living daylights out of them by warning that Biden getting elected would immediately mean Black people moving in next to them, as well as Antifa rioters destroying all the suburbs.

It was a nakedly racist play, and it was right out of the 1950s. Trump even began this strategy by revealing how out of touch he truly was, because initially he made his plea to "suburban housewives." This is not exactly the word most women today would use, to put it mildly. Trump didn't seem the least bit aware of this.

Eventually, his team did seem to convince him that "housewife" wasn't going to win him any votes, so he softened the term a little. But, of course, he didn't soften the racism one tiny bit. He'd tweet things like:

I am happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood.

The culmination of how pathetically out of touch this strategy or tactic was came at an October rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Here's Trump's free-wheeling plea to suburban women, in full:

They talk about the suburban women. And somebody said, "I don't know if the suburban woman likes you." I said, "Why?" They said, "They may not like the way you talk," but I'm about law and order. I'm about having you safe. I'm about having your suburban communities. I don't want to build low-income housing next to your house.

Suburban women, they should like me more than anybody here tonight because I ended the regulation that destroyed your neighborhood. I ended the regulation that brought crime to the suburbs, and you're going to live the American dream. So can I ask you to do me a favor? Suburban women, will you please like me? I saved your damn neighborhood, OK?

This entire effort was doomed from the beginning, because the suburbs have actually moved on from the 1950s. There are (gasp!) plenty of Black, Latino, and other minority families living there already. And their kids get driven to soccer by plenty of White suburban moms, and vice-versa.

Trump was tone-deaf throughout it all. He insisted that the 1950s suburbs he carried around in his mind still existed, all evidence to the contrary. Which is why he is the perfect winner for this year's Most Stagnant Thinker award.

 

Trophy
   Best Photo Op

There were a lot of good contenders for both this award and the "Worst" one. So many, in fact, that we've created two separate supporting categories for this year only (you'll see why).

Of course, "best" is always in the eye of the beholder, which is why we got one particularly amusing nomination (thanks to John From Censornati) for this award -- Trump returning from his disastrous Tulsa rally, exiting his Marine Corps One chopper and doing what can only be called a "walk of shame" in front of live cameras. Tie untied, dejected, Trump's demeanor was pretty plain to see. We have to admit, that was a pretty good photo op!

But taking it more positively, we also had some strong contenders. The funeral of John Lewis, where ex-presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton all delivered eulogies (with neither Trump nor Mike Pence anywhere to be seen). Andrew Cuomo's daily coronavirus press briefings. More amusingly, the fly which landed on Mike Pence's head during the vice-presidential debate. We personally loved the display of Democratic women dressed in suffragette white during the State Of The Union speech this year -- that was a pretty good photo op, you'll have to admit.

But it was another event from that night which won. It was suggested by multiple people to me, in fact. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, after President Donald Trump refused to shake her hand at the start of the speech, gave a wordless review of Trump's speech immediately after he stopped speaking. She slowly and deliberately ripped up her copy of the speech in full view of everyone, right behind Trump's head. This even topped the year before (when she gave him a "slow clap").

Pelosi's wordless statement is the very definition of what a good photo op should be. That one picture easily spoke 1,000 words (and launched 1,000 jokes on late-night television, to boot). So Speaker Pelosi easily gave us our Best Photo Op of the whole year.

 

Trophy
   Best Use Of Zoom

This category will likely only remain for 2020, for obvious reasons. And I have to admit, I have no idea what actual software or video editing system was used, but "Zoom" is something everyone now understands, even if they had never heard of it in January.

The Best Use of Zoom for the year was, hands down, the roll call of states at the Democratic National Convention. All 57 U.S. states and territories got a minute or two to present anything they wanted to officially cast their delegates' votes for the presidential nomination. Some of these were endearing. Some were sad. Some were fun. Some were rather bizarre. The one everyone still remembers came from Rhode Island, who did a bit of boosterism for fried calamari. But they were, without exception, all unique. And pretty charming.

Normally, the roll call is a rather dull affair that never (at least in modern times) makes it onto television. This time around, it was the star of the whole show. So in our one-year-only category Best Use Of Zoom, we have to say that the roll call of the Democratic National Convention was the clear, hands-down winner.

 

Trophy
   Worst Photo Op

There were also plenty of contenders for Worst Photo Op, as usual.

The State Of The Union provided one of these, at the very start of the year, when Rush Limbaugh was awarded (during the speech itself -- Trump certainly does know his showmanship) the Presidential Medal of Freedom. That was pretty bad, considering what an odious and non-worthy person he is.

There were comic ones, as well, such as Trump mincing his way down a ramp and Trump struggling to drink a glass of water without using two hands. Those were pretty bad. Or, perhaps (to be scrupulously fair), Dr. Anthony Fauci attempting to throw out the first pitch to get the baseball season underway -- that was pretty cringe-worthy, too (as the Washington Post snarkily put it: "Tony Fauci threw the first pitch at the Nationals home opener and ensured the ball was socially distant from the catcher").

There was pretty much any "briefing" done by Kayleigh McEnany. They were all pretty bad, starting off with her making the pants-on-fire promise "never to lie" to the press corps, which she has broken on a daily basis, ever since.

We had a whole section for Rudy Giuliani alone: Rudy wiping sweat off on the woman sitting next to him at the Republican National Convention. Rudy sweating hair dye while ranting about all the non-existent election fraud. Rudy audibly farting. Rudy sticking his hands down his pants with a young woman watching in the Borat movie sequel.

Trump had quite a few entries as well. Any photo of Trump golfing (and there were a lot, because he golfed so much) during the pandemic crisis. Trump's royal "carriage ride" in front of the hospital while he was still sick with COVID-19 (putting the Secret Service agents at risk), just so he could wave to his beloved supporters. Trump's pathetic Tulsa rally, where only (according to the fire marshal) one-third of the seats were filled. Or Trump's walk of shame afterwards, for that matter. Trump from the White House podium: "I just wish her well, frankly," when asked about accused international sex-trafficker of underage women Ghislaine Maxwell.

But it really came down to three, for us. For sheer pathos, and to perfectly bookend Trump's political career, nothing was more graphically poignant as Rudy Giuliani giving a crazed press conference full of conspiracy theories in front of "Four Seasons Total Landscaping" -- right next to a sex shop and a crematorium, and down the street from a prison. That one spoke volumes, especially since Rudy was informed during his performance that the race had just been called by the networks for Joe Biden.

Both that and one other deserve runner-up status. Because nothing summed up both Trump's Evita-sized megalomania and his sheer contempt for public health measures of any type whatsoever in the midst of the worst pandemic in a century as his return to the White House from the hospital, when he -- purely for the photo op -- mounted an external staircase to a balcony, paused, then ripped off his face mask and saluted at absolutely nothing. You could almost hear "Don't Cry For Me, Pennsylvania" playing in the background.

But the Worst Photo Op of the year was what happened after the "Battle of Lafayette Square." Trump gave an outdoor press conference, with the sounds of tear gas rounds exploding in the background as federal stormtroopers cleared the streets across from the White House of Black Lives Matter protesters, and then Trump took a little walk through the park, with his Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- in uniform -- walking with him (both apologized later for the inappropriateness of it all). Trump then posed in front of a church and held up a Bible (at times upside-down) that he later admitted wasn't even his Bible or anything (since he probably doesn't own one in the first place).

The whole thing was very banana republic, and that's putting it mildly.

Trump's victory walk across Lafayette Square -- which was immediately released by the White House in what can only be called a "propaganda video" -- was pretty clearly the Worst Photo Op of the year.

 

Trophy
   Most Illegal Photo Op

Again, we have a special one-year-only category in support of that last one.

The Most Illegal Photo Op has to be a group award, since Donald Trump and his minions violated the Hatch Act so many times during his campaign. Trump's Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore kicked this off. But it really all came to a head during the Republican National Convention, which featured the following illegal photo ops: a naturalization ceremony, complete with two Marines helping out for no discernable reason, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking from a rooftop in Jerusalem, Mike Pence speaking at Fort McHenry, and Donald Trump giving his speech in front of the White House.

All were illegal, and all deserve the Most Illegal Photo Op award -- which we sincerely hope we never have to hand out ever again.

 

Trophy
   Enough Already!

This category is normally a catchall for a whole bunch of people who deserved some negative recognition over the course of the year, but didn't quite rise to the level of any of the other awards. In other words, we'd normally have a longish list here.

But for the very first time ever, we only have one all-encompassing item. It's so universal that we really don't think anyone will have a problem with it, either. So here goes (we're even putting it in bold, just because it was that bad):

The entire year of 2020 -- ENOUGH ALREADY!!!

'Nuff said....

 

Trophy
   Worst Lie

There was not any one lie that really stood out, so this is going to be a collective award (with a hat tip to italyrusty), for "anything Donald Trump ever said or tweeted about COVID-19, all year long."

February: The number of patients will soon be "at zero." And: "It's going to disappear. One day, it's like a miracle, it will disappear." It'll magically go away in the spring. It's all a hoax dreamed up by the media and Democrats, to make Trump look bad.

March: "Anybody that wants a test can get a test." Both Trump and Mike Pence will issue bigger and more unbelievable lies -- for weeks -- about the availability of tests, as well. Also in March: "I don't take responsibility at all" (for the failures to date). Trump rates his own response at 10 out of 10. "Looks like, by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away."

Trump declares himself emperor in April, then does an about-face and tells governors they're "on their own." And no, that's not an exaggeration. Here's what he said, verbatim:

I like to allow governors to make decisions without overruling them, because from a constitutional standpoint, that's the way it should be done. If I disagreed, I would overrule a governor, and I have that right to do it. But I'd rather have them -- you can call it "federalist," you can call it "the Constitution," but I call it "the Constitution" -- I would rather have them make their decisions.

The states can do things if they want. I can override it if I want.

The authority of the president of the United States having to do with the subject we're talking about is total.

The president of the United States calls the shots.

The president of the United States has the authority to do what the president has the authority to do, which is very powerful.

None of that is true, obviously. That was on a Monday. By Thursday, on a phone call with all the governors, Trump told them: "You're going to call your own shots."

More tomfoolery in April: Trump accuses healthcare workers of stealing supplies: "Something’s going on. Where are the masks going, are they going out the back door?" When, in fact, it was the federal government that was literally stealing supplies from orders placed by the states, especially in states where the governors weren't sufficiently kissing Trump's ass. Trump gave daily televised coronavirus press briefings all month, which quickly devolved to watching scientists and doctors uncomfortably cringe whenever Trump came up with another whopper. By month's end, Trump came up with perhaps the Worst Lie of them all, that we should all consider injecting bleach... or maybe sunshine... yeah, that's the ticket!

In here too, Trump decided that hydroxychloroquine was the miracle cure... which, of course, proved to be completely wrong.

May: Trump visits a mask factory, and refuses to wear one.

"Google is helping to develop a website. It's going to be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past, to determine whether a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby, convenient location." Seven weeks later, the website was only limping along, in only eight states.

Pressures the C.D.C. to revise their 63-page reopening guidelines down to only six pages (probably because Trump complained it was too long for him to read).

June, (non sequitur): Trump claims scientists have "come up with the AIDS vaccine." This is not true, of course, no such vaccine exists. Trump shows why he will lose all those suburban moms in November, in one easy quote:

They test and they test. We had tests that people don't know what's going on. We got tests. We got another one over here, the young man's 10 years old. He's got the sniffles. He'll recover in about 15 minutes. That's the case.

Also in June -- months and months into the crisis: "COVID-19, COVID, I said what's the 19? COVID-19, some people can't explain the 19." Trump still hasn't bothered to even find out what the name means. Instead, he starts calling it the "Kung flu."

In July, the White House rolls out their final solution -- just let everyone get sick and we'll all get used to it, sooner or later. No, really: "They're of the belief that people will get over it or if we stop highlighting it, the base will move on and the public will learn to accept 50,000 to 100,000 new cases a day." We're now at 200,000 to 250,000 cases a day, it bears pointing out. Also this month, Trump posts a video of an absolute wackadoodle woman ranting about COVID-19, treating her loony ravings as if it were actual medical advice.

August: another contender for Worst Lie of them all -- "It is what it is." And once more, Trump shows he just does not care about anyone's children: "If you look at children, children are almost -- and I would almost say definitely -- but almost immune from this disease." They are not, of course.

I can't even finish this list. Just through the summer is really enough. From that point on, Trump kept falling back on one Big Lie -- "we're turning the corner" or "we've turned the corner." We haven't. Things are still getting worse. We're in the third wave now, and it is three times as bad as the second wave, which was itself twice as bad as the first wave. But, hey, it is what it is, right?

The most hilarious lie probably came from the press secretary, back in May, after it was revealed that Team Trump had just thrown away the Obama playbook on pandemics, without ever bothering to even read it: "The Obama-Biden paper packet was superseded by a President Trump-style pandemic preparedness response plan. Which was much better."

That is a gargantuan whopper, and it shows exactly why "anything that came out of Donald Trump's pie-hole all year long on the pandemic and his own pandemic response" just has to be the winner of the Worst Lie of the year.

 

Trophy
   Capitalist Of The Year

Donald Trump for continuing to grift his followers even after he lost the election? Nah...

Michael Bloomberg, for not only buying his way onto the stage of the Democratic primaries but also for atoning for his loss later on by setting up a fund to pay off the "poll tax" for Florida felons (whose voting rights were supposed to have been restored to them)? Well, we gave him the award last year, so, no.

Instead, we're going to give Capitalist Of The Year to all the pharmaceutical companies who came up with the COVID-19 vaccines in record time this year. Donald Trump (of course) is trying to claim all the credit for this. Mike Pence is trying to pass it off as some sort of "miracle." Neither is true -- both are lying their faces off, once again (or, if Pence prefers, "bearing false witness").

It was not Trump's doing in any way, shape, or form. It was not a "miracle." It was the application of science and some very hard work by some very knowledgeable and talented experts. It had nothing to do with divine intervention or Trump's ego, it was just a lot of very hard work done in very stressful circumstances -- because literally the whole world was watching and waiting anxiously for the work to be successful.

Pfizer and BioNTech won the race, in the end, but all the other companies deserve some credit as well. We may have numerous vaccines within a month or so, which will only make the distribution and vaccination efforts that much easier.

And those companies will reap a profit. They will make a lot of money -- a lot. But this time around, nobody's going to begrudge it to them. Because they will have more than earned it.

Science has gotten better, and the process of creating a new vaccine has sped up as a direct result. This was the first time the whole world saw it happen so fast, but hopefully in the future this will become the norm. For this stunning achievement -- and for making money while doing so -- the pharmaceutical companies that came up with COVID-19 vaccines in record time are all worthy of the Capitalist Of The Year award.

 

Trophy
   Honorable Mention

There should probably be more of these, but I did this category last, so I'm kind of burnt out at this point (my apologies, and feel free to suggest more notably honorable people who deserve a mention, here).

(From italyrusty) Kamala Harris. Though her campaign ended before the first caucus, by year-end she is only a heartbeat away from the Presidency. More importantly, she is now and will be for the next four years, the most visible example of a powerful, Asian-American / Caribbean-American / African-American woman.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, for her State Of The Union response speech, for handling her pandemic response well in the face of a lot of resistance both from armed protesters and from Donald Trump, and even for being the target of a warped kidnap/murder plot by right-wing fanatics.

Captain Brett Crozier, the Navy aircraft carrier Captain, who was relieved of duty and blisteringly trashed to his sailors -- all for putting their lives first, in the earliest days of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Dr. Rick Bright, who -- way back in May -- predicted during a congressional hearing: "Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be darkest winter in modern history." That turned out to (sadly) be pretty prophetic.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, who issued one of the best public apologies we've ever heard from a politician, after a Black/Latino CNN reporter was arrested by state cops during a protest, while he was on the air giving a report. The entire apology is worth reading (in the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week section), but here's the key passage: "I take full responsibility, there is absolutely no reason something like this should happen. Calls were made immediately. This is a very public apology to that team; it should not happen." Now that's how to apologize! Sadly, few politicians are able to do so with such forthrightness.

Sarah Palin (no, really!) for writing a very nice (and non-snarky) note to Kamala Harris after it was announced she would be Joe Biden's running mate. Palin publicly posted her note, which was a list of advice for surviving the campaign trail as a woman vice-presidential candidate. It was somewhat surprising, considering the source, but it really was just a very nice note, for which Palin deserves a lot of credit.

The Amtrak workers who appeared in the segment introducing Joe Biden at the Democratic National Convention. This was one of the most humanizing displays we've ever seen in politics, and it was very well done.

And, of course, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, may she rest in peace.

 

Trophy
   Person Of The Year

This one was actually pretty easy, even though I am disagreeing with Time magazine's choice.

The Person Of The Year -- hands down -- was Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Fauci was the one lone voice crying in the wilderness of the Trump administration's lies and abject idiocy, consistently giving the American public the unvarnished truth about the severity of what we were all facing, and refusing to fit his scientific advice into politically stroking Donald Trump's ego.

Normally, this would not even be a notable thing. Normally, a scientist just explaining the science to the public would barely be worth mentioning, because it would be so expected and so mundane. Normally, nobody would have even bothered to learn Dr. Fauci's name.

But, of course, these are not normal times. And every single other scientific advisor in the Trump administration was corrupted to some degree or another by the political imperative not to make Trump look like the gigantic fool we all know he really is. This included scientists sitting mum while Trump blue-skied the idea of injecting sunlight into the human body. Or disinfectants. But while that was the worst, there were literally dozens of times where respected scientists had to bite their tongues and just enable Trump's idiocy.

Fauci refused to do so, and (amazingly) he never got fired -- probably because he soon became more trusted and more popular than Trump.

In early March -- very early on indeed -- Fauci explained the tough position he was in: "You should never destroy your own credibility. And you don't want to go to war with a president. But you got to walk the fine balance of making sure you continue to tell the truth." Later that month, he admitted that even this had limits: "I can't jump in front of the microphone and push [President Trump] down. Okay, he said it. Let's try and get it corrected for the next time."

He even predicted the fact that he was pretty much untouchable, due to his own monstrous credibility (stacked up against Trump's non-existent credibility): "I don't think they're going to try to silence me. I think that would be foolish on their part. I think, in some respects, they welcome my voice out there telling the truth. I'm going to keep doing it. And no matter what happens to me, I'm going to keep doing it."

And he did, all year long.

For doing so -- for becoming the one voice from the federal government that could be absolutely and reliably trusted throughout the worst medical crisis seen in over 100 years in the country -- Dr. Anthony Fauci is easily the Person Of The Year for 2020.

 

[See you next Wednesday, for the conclusion of our 2020 awards!]

 

If you're interested in traveling down Memory Lane, here are all the previous years of this awards column:

2019 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2018 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2017 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2016 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2015 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2014 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2013 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2012 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2011 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2010 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2009 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2008 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2007 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2006 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground

 

48 Comments on “My 2020 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 1]”

  1. [1] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    Thanks for that. A gargantuan amount of work, and much of it painful as it involved revisiting the president's various inanities / criminalities, in detail.

    I still stand for McConnell as 'Best Politician'. As you seem to imply, you actually agree except that you despise him so much you can't stand to give him your column's honor on this. I feel your pain, but really ... didn't he get everything he wanted this year, entirely thanks to his political skill?

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Hi Chris,

    I haven't read this column yet but, you know I will. I just wanted to thank you for all of your columnes this year - you are the world's best political blogger and have been for many years!

    The biggest winners of 2020 are, by far, the American people. The American people, or at least for the time being a pretty good majority of the American people saw the wisdom in voting out Trump and voting in Biden. That gives me so much hope for the future that I can't even put it into words.

    I haven't sent my pledge in yet - because I win the award for the world's worst procrastinator, every year, hands down. (I'll let you know when it should arrive)

    Wishing you a very merry Christmans and the happiest of New Years!

  3. [3] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    By the same token that Trump didn't really "beat Hillary" in 2016 (but rather Hillary beat herself), Biden didn't "Beat Trump" in 2020, but rather Trump beat himself.

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Trump has always been his own worst enemy. And, that particular situation is only getting worse by the day ...

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    But, if there is any sort of antidote to Trump, then Biden is definitely it!

  6. [6] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @liz,

    To quote verbatim in its entirety the Spartan response to Philip ii of Macedonia:

    "If"

    JL

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "Keep the faith, baby!"

  8. [8] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Gowan with Stuck On Planet Earth just released the performance video for 'Can You Make It Feel Like Christmas' ... if this ain't the way to put a fancy button on 2020, then I'm sure I don't know what is!

    Enjoy!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NdIwV_bOqs

  9. [9] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    I guess you must be right about AOC being charismatic.

    How else does she avoid being Turncoat of the Year for campaigning and getting elected on saying we can have medicare for all now and she would fight for it and when she has the leverage to pressure Pelosi to bring it to a vote on the floor by making Pelosi commit to vote to earn AOC's vote for speaker AOC says now is not the time.

    And why is there a Capitalist of Year award?

    Capitalists are the Most Stagnant Thinkers, the Worst Politicians and clearly deserving of Enough Already as capitalism is the second biggest lie right on the heels of the biggest lie- that the Deathocrats and Republkillers are opposition parties instead of partners running a good cop/ bad cop routine working together for the scumbag capitalist big money interests.

    But this just shows that one thing never changes. The credibility of any awards is determined by the credibility of the person or group making the awards.

    These awards are not worth the paper they are not printed on.

    Wake up. Wise up. Rise up.
    Get Real.

    Get Credible.

  10. [10] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz (5)-
    Biden is NOT the antidote to Trump.

    Biden, the Clintons, Obama, Pelosi, Schumer and rest of the big money corporate Deathocrats are the disease that caused us to be infected by Trump.

    (7)
    Keeping the faith is all anyone has and all anyone will ever get from the Deathocrats.

    And having faith is defined as believing that something is true without any evidence it is true and quite often believing something is true despite the MOUNTAINS of evidence that it is not true.

    And having faith often leads people to be easily manipulated and abused by those they have faith in which is the standard operating procedure of the Deathocrats. (See comment 9)

  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Merry Christmas, everyone and Happy Lockdown!!!

    Here's what I'll be focusing on for the next 28 days of lockdown in Ontario ...

    https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2020-03-17/coronavirus-deep-listening-music-albums?fbclid=IwAR33u1mSDg-13yE6y5uNCHmRh_bC4YuM9HOemRB9otuRWk632Ba_AZ6Uo7E

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Now, THAT Clint Eastwood, I love. Heh.

  13. [13] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Chris,

    Congratulations on a year-end column that is an eloquent, heartfelt, and clever recap of the year. While I may not have chosen your 'winners', I can't fault a single one. Your thoughtful analysis is marvelous!

    Thank you for giving us an early Christmas present!
    (Speaking of which, I was CERTAIN this would be published on 25 December - I'm glad I decided to double-check!)

  14. [14] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    And I second Elizabeth Miller's gratitude for your contribution to thoughtful (and delightfully snarky, from time to time) political discourse.

    My sanity has been maintained in 2020 at least in part by the weekly injection of your FTP columns.

  15. [15] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW-

    Genetic engineers deserve far more credit for the rapid rollout of COVID vaccines than the Industrialists who bankrolled the science. Assuming, of course, that the vaccines actually perform as well in the field as the did in the trials. Medicine has never conquered the flu...it just keeps the casualties to a manageable level in most years. I don’t expect the COVID Clade will be much different....or that the public and politicians will learn any durable lessons.

    Anyhow, I always enjoy this annual column - and especially when I’m mentioned in the dispatches.

    This is my first post written on my new IPad 10 ...which the US Government will most likely pay for in the near future. My venerable IPAD 2 will soldier on at the YMCA providing treadmill music at the YMCA...when I get inoculated sometime spring-ish. To all classic rock fans: Radio Paradise....best on the web! Check it out.

  16. [16] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @JMCt[1],
    I still stand by mitch NOT being the best politician. Most effective? Yes. Most accomplished? Also yes. Most skillful? Most true to the definition of the term? Yes, he's all of those things. But the word "best" is the superlative of the word "good," whose definition extends into the moral realm.
    JL

  17. [17] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Another aspect of being a good politician, even when effectiveness is heavily weighted and moral/ethical good ignored, is converting or pacifying the people who disagree with you. McConnell's gains have come at the expense of the credibility of his position. Every achievement he's made for the conservative cause has turned cordial rivals into bitter enemies and shattered the Senate's cordiality.

  18. [18] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    My phone's browser doesn't let me post longer comments, which is why this is broken in 3 parts. Cordiality isn't right either, what's really shattered is the power of the institution.

  19. [19] 
    ericksor wrote:

    Ditto to previous comments. Thank you, Chris, for all of your hard work, clear thinking, and insightful writing. I tend to click over to you even before the major national news outlets to determine what is actually important that day. Even though I don't always entirely agree with some of your views, I appreciate you and your perspectives. Please keep it up.

  20. [20] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @ericksor,

    as with all things american, the best way to show one's appreciation for independent journalism is monetarily. thus, at the top of the screen, you'll find a nearly-filled green bar with kittens. there's a week to go until new years, so if you happen to have some change hidden under the cushions of the couch...

  21. [21] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Off topic but current, you people all need to catch this (Christmas) morning's "The Hill" thing (Krystal and Saagar on YouTube), with guest Glen Greenwald (one of your own) giving his take on the state of your beloved liberal news media.

    Must be hell to discover who and what among them are worth listening to and who is mostly full of shit.

  22. [22] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @cw,

    i would like to propose an addition to the banned terms list: "school choice"

    just like its companion misnomer on the abortion issue ("pro-life"), this term should not be allowed to be used without the howls of derisive laughter it deserves. as a reminder, those who claim to care about "life" are quite clearly favoring a life that isn't technically even a person yet, and have no trouble completely ruining the life of an actual human being in the process.

    similarly, the "choice" that slides off the tongues of self-styled education reformers (from betsy devos to rahm emanuel to arne duncan) is asking society to grant extra, generally unnecessary choices to a privileged few, while starving the few remaining options available to anyone else. whether this deceptive frame is promoted within the realm of conservative austerity or neoliberal competition, it boils my blood every time the term goes unchallenged. now that there's going to be an actual educator in the white house, PLEASE kindly add "school choice" to the list of banned terms.

    JL

  23. [23] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    poet

    Not sure what "school choice" means for you to object to. Is it about 'vouchers'?

    I understand "pro-life" to mean anti abortion, and I am NOT anti-abortion, but I object to the idea that the earliest or the beginning stages of the unbroken continuum of human life can be classified as 'sub-person', or 'sub-human', while the declining/deteriorating stages cannot.

  24. [24] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @crs,

    vouchers to be fair are an honestly different perspective on the function of government. if the funding source for the voucher were uncoupled from the local public schools, i'd have no problem making it a part of public policy. the trouble is when the infrastructure costs have followed the students out of the system, and that's a big problem for the students who are left behind. in a less toxic political culture this issue could be addressed by good-faith negotiation between liberals and conservatives.

    my biggest beef with the term is over its conflation of conservative private school vouchers targeted for the poor and working class (which actually make things MORE equal not less), and the neoliberal movement toward forcing public schools to compete for funding and students both with each other and with charters who tend not to be accountable to anybody (which exacerbates the inequality within each stratum of economic class). whether by exam or word-of-mouth network or "lottery," these policies give the elite schools the power to choose their students, but only benefit those few students with prior advantages, whether cultural, educational, raw talent or dumb luck. this system's proponents view it as breaking down barriers and promoting meritocracy, but that's a lie.

    with a few rational adjustments to protect the funding of students left behind, the former (small-c conservative) type of system could be a true market-based complement to give many poorer students a real alternative, and keep centrally planned public schools from remaining overly stagnant.

    the latter system, for which "school choice" has ironically become the watch-word, has dramatically limited the real choices for the vast majority of students in this country. funding has been slashed to the bone for programs in music, art, theater, libraries, athletics, and god knows how many other access points children used to have for a variety of careers and hobbies. because failing to match standardized test scores in core subjects (english, math, science, history) with schools who have systemic advantages over them has resulted in decent schools being closed or taken over by management companies who are generally less competent than the leaders for whom they're taking over, this ultimately has made the situation for the vast majority of students worse, not better.

    so, a wealth of choices for very few, and even fewer choices for almost everyone else. "school choice" my ample derriere.

    JL

  25. [25] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    CW, this year's McLaughlins must have been especially difficult to decide being that never have so many people qualified for so many different categories. And it must have been emotionally arduous to have to plow through such madness as we are living through. Kinda like forcing yourself to sit through Trump's 46-minute first post election presser -- it sort of reminds me of defending democracy in the middle of the Mojave desert in the Army so that others didn't have to. Thanks again.

  26. [26] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    I hope it's not too late to submit my nominees for these categories!

    * Destined For Political Stardom - N Y Attorney General Letitia James - it's unclear whether Biden and moderate Democrats will investigate the many, many instances of Trump corruption. But there's little doubt that Ms James will continue to do so. We can fully expect an explosive indictment (or 3) in the next couple of years, perfectly positioning her for the next campaign, whether for State governor, U S Senator, or ?

    * Destined For Political Oblivion - Matt Gaetz. Thus far, he has gotten media attention for being so far up Trump's ass that he will soon be visible behind Trump's tonsils. This is in spite of his wafer-thin political accomplishments -and- the perplexingly under-investigated news of his 'adoption' of a barely-legal young man. While he may continue to win re-election, only Faux News will invite him on air, and only until the Trump aura fades.

    * Best Political Theater - the mayors of New York City and Washington D C painting "Black Lives Matter" on the street - in the case of the former, immediately in front of Trump Tower!

    * Worst Political Theater - Sen Feinstein embracing Sen Graham at the end of future Justice Comey's hearings, almost tearfully gushing, “Thank you so much for your leadership.”

    * Worst Political Scandal - Michael Flynn's admission of guilt, followed by his plea withdrawal, followed by Attorney General Barr using the DOJ to strong-arm the court to do Trump's bidding

    * Most Underreported Story - Lady G, aka Sen Lindsay Graham, being a well-known client of rent boys. His anonymous accuser didn't deliver the goods. I, for one, want to know whether MORE hush money exchanged hands.

    * Most Overreported Story - COVID-19 deniers decrying the loss of 'freedom' because they are kindly ASKED to protect the health and welfare of their fellow Americans

    * Biggest Government Waste - the coronavirus 'PPP loans'. No surprise that hastily-passed legislation + Republican-controlled Treasury's "light touch" regulation = thousands of examples of fraud

    * Best Government Dollar Spent - CDC and NIH pandemic-related funding

    * Boldest Political Tactic - AOC's impassioned speech on the floor of the House. She highlighted Yolo's hateful words, noting that she is roughly the age of one of his daughters and noting that she is someone's daughter, too. She turned a moment of hate into a teaching moment, melting the heart of even the most misogynistic father (except perhaps Trump)

    * Best Idea - Universal Basic Income - the moment 'the markets' tanked, the Republicans couldn't climb over each other fast enough to pass legislation sending checks to every taxpayer. If Democrats can keep 'on message' (a doubtful prospect, but one can hope), it will be difficult for Republicans to keep the 'high ground' now.

    * Worst Idea - Rudy Giuliani leading a 'crack team' of lawyers into battle -and- being their most effective spokesman

    * Sorry To See You Go - RBG

    * 15 Minutes Of Fame - The Kraken aka Sidney Powell

    * Best Spin - "I won more votes than Obama got in 2012" said loser Trump

    * Most Honest Person - Michael Cohen - after his fall from grace, he has been the most forthcoming about all of the terrible things he did for Trump.

    * Most Overrated - AOC - though she is a strong liberal voice, she need not fear being primaried. The Democratic Party needs to include her voice, but NOT give it too much weight. Otherwise, they risk losing even more badly in rural America

    * Most Underrated - the governors of Oregon and Washington State. The media (rightly) paid LOTS of attention to the potential for violence in Michigan, mostly ignoring the other governors who were equally eloquent (and effective) in defusing a potentially explosive situation

  27. [27] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    I see the Repugs are getting into that back and forth dance with our soon to be ex 45th President,* see Thune, John regarding overriding Trump's veto of the Defense Authorization Act, "I'm not saying 'override Trump's veto' but I remind you that we took an oath to the Constitution, not one person or organization."

    I think of it in terms of Repug herd immunity:

    They'll be diffidently sticking their heads out from their turtle shells to (mildly, at first) criticize, only to duck their heads back in. But the moment that enough of them grow a pair the floodgates will open because there will be too many of them for Trump to effectively admonish.

    Trump will denounce "Deep State" "RINOs" but Repug voter's demonstrated memory issues (e.g. "Mexico will pay for the wall") will save the day. Where else can these Repug voters go?

    *Now that Joe is about to assume the Presidency I think we can go back to capitalizing the word President, amirite?

  28. [28] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    [26]

    Yo, italyrusty this too is an excellent and well thought out slate of, er, winners. I especially agree with DiFi's enormously bad political theater moment following Amy Covid Barret's Supreme confirmation hearings.

    I disagree with "Most Overrated -- AOC." She is a sparkling talent and gives voice to the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party," the something pussy "Hope and Change" Obama turned his back on once in office. As y'all have figured out by now, I hold Obama directly responsible for Trump even having a prayer of winning election in 2016.

    As far as Repugs running nationwide against AOC, how would this be any kind of news? If you're old enough you'll recall that the Repugs nationwide ran against Jimmy Carter well into the 1990s and will continue to run against Nancy Pelosi so long as she draws breath. So it's nothing new and therefore nothing to be afraid of.

  29. [29] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Heya, Chris. I tried to use [symbol]u[/symbol] italyrusty to underline his user name. It displays in the preview box but doesn't "print" with an underline once I post the comment.

  30. [30] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    The former troll known as Michale challenged Weigantia to address police reform. I just stumbled across this excellent Atlantic article How to Actually Fix America’s Police:
    Elected officials need to do more than throw good reform dollars at bad agencies.

    This is a good read.

    BTW did Michale pay off his lost wagers yet? Inquiring minds want to know. Heh.

  31. [31] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    my very brief nomination list with no explanation whatsoever:

    Destined For Political Stardom
    pete buttegieg

    Destined For Political Oblivion
    bill barr

    Best Political Theater
    November 4 - December 7 vote counting/recounting

    Worst Political Theater
    rudy giuliani on borat moviefilm sequel

    Worst Political Scandal
    Louis DeJoy using his position as postmaster general to intentionally slow down the mail.

    Most Underreported Story
    The incredible success and efficiency of tele-health medical visits, which covid-19 forced insurance companies to cover.

    Most Overreported Story
    donald trump refuses to accept that he's lost. again. and again. and again.

    Biggest Government Waste
    extensive testing, production, distribution, publicity and all other government spending on hydroxychoroquine sulfate

    Best Government Dollar Spent
    free covid testing

    Boldest (and ballsiest) Political Tactic
    jim clyburn waiting until just before the south carolina primary to give his endorsement.

    Best Idea
    katie porter's use of an existing statute to empower the CDC director to make a commitment he damn well should have made already.

    Worst Idea
    a tie between injecting bleach and live, mask-free rallies

    Sorry To See You Go
    John Prine, Trini Lopez, Kobe Bryant, chadwick boseman

    15 Minutes Of Fame
    the crazy people who attempted to kidnap and murder the governor of michigan, and their SNL spoof.
    also, miles taylor (aka "anonymous")

    Best Spin
    "This is not normal, and we must never treat it like it is." - bernie sanders, DNC

    Most Honest Person
    Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger

    Most Overrated
    the entire political polling industry. still.

    Most Underrated
    the importance of face masks and social distancing.
    also the raw number of people who still got out and voted for donald j. trump (74,222,593).

  32. [32] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    also, i know the column is already written but jerry falwell jr. deserved a mention in the fairest rap category.

  33. [33] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    Now the annual collective delusional embrace of religion has run its commercial self-interest to death, I wish all of you a merry whatsit and a better new thingy...

    Anti-theists give the gift of silence during this tiresome homage because we prefer to remain the 'bigger person' year-round and by conceding the floor, the 'transient people of faith' see pragmatism in its purest form and return to the ranks, albeit contritely.

    *note; Awards for people for within their chosen field really are unimpressive as an event, they carry the same weight with me as an A would if I created my own subject and marked my own final paper, or worse...A MacDonalds employee of the week.

    In the real world, you do your job you get to keep it, get promoted, catch a raise or get slipped a bonus. Award 'shows' are ego strokes for public figures for the hoi polloi to thrill over. Media's contribution to our 'Bread and Circuses'...cheers.

    ---Biden, for sure...No doubt he accepted on behalf of the American people, they won equally.

    ---Trump, a no brainer (x2). An obvious winner of losing, and because he's an accredited No-brainer.

    ---All four contenders, made stronger, were it not for the real winner, the one the four others in one way or another, better or worse, thank for their nomination... Miss-handling CV19. one way or another, all four mentioned owe their limelight to this event (ongoing).

    ---No comment, obviously. If Moscow 'the Minsk that stole SCOTUS' Mitch can't get an award for being an arsehole, albeit an annoyingly good one, then surely 'a turncoat' cant be exalted either. Unless hypocrisy is subjective within its own definition.

    ---Sure, I can get behind that, Biden's most effective campaign gambit was the one that the times called for. It not only dulled Trump's attempts to tear away at him, it caused Trump its fair share of unhinged moments (adding to the ones we all knew Trump would bring to the party anyway)

    ---Perky, cute, sweet...Bingo. Charismatic...No-go Too heavy a lift for my definition. I've been wondering just where she fits in, but here is not it. I do like her, but her phraseology is a variation of that of a beat-cop or stereotypical Drill-Seargent, using unnecessarily long and imprecise words to emulate intelligence makes one a boor, not charismatic. I do like her, and her ideas are quite correct, she'd be better served if she lost the snottiness and went back to talking the talk that got her in office, undiluted, easily understood policy suggestions. Her rapport with constituents in a bigger arena is doomed unless she drops the airs and graces that the GOP gifted her by putting her on the national stage. 'The radical-left' was an effective cudgel and AOC happily played along. Needs most improvement...that's her award, IMHO.

    ---Agreed wholeheartedly, with tweaking. It was a monumental bum rap for the right-wing voter, it was all their whatsits come at once for everyone else. Suppressing your own voter base with disinformation rarely ends in an election win... well not your win, to be sure.

    ---No contest, Biden gave a lesson in political savvy that should go down in history in countless categories, I was convinced the day Trump was inaugurated that Biden was to Trump as Nixon was to China. Vaticinating at the time to anyone who would listen..."Cue the Biden comeback" Why 2016? Simple, Biden would have beaten Trump easily then were it not for circumstances beyond his control. His son's death, the party machine misreading the political climate and thrusting Clinton into a race about race against a racist. My opinion then and now hasn't changed, after the spectacular job Obama did under constant fire and withering obstruction, white America was going to vote for the next white man who runs. Last time I checked, Clinton wasn't black. This misogyny holding women back from the presidency should end in 2024 or will end in 2028.

    ---Great choice, although Abrams might have been overlooked earlier in the evening for consideration.

    ---An award seemingly built for one, perfect fit. Stable genius, the lowest bar there is... Avoid manure. Maybe the 'left-wing Fascists' could take a bow.

    ---I'm torn between the winner and Trump actual photo op just after gassing a peaceful demonstration, which while jaw-droppingly vulgar and rage-inducing, it's the only one most people would spit out in a quickfire round of any Q&A gameshow.

    ---Hands down

    ---See above. A thing can be both at once. Disagree? Then I suggest you read Dickens. (Tale of Two Cities, if you need a better nudge...lol)

    ---Amen.

    ---Yup... Annus horribilis.

    ---WaPo.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/trump-claims-database/

    Stale dated but nuff said.

    ---Why not, it's an insipid award in this setting. If awards were confetti, Elon Musk phoned this one in for adding 100 billion to his wealth this year, with the cherry on top being as stoned as a mason while doing it.

    Doffs his cap.

    ---Honourable mentions, all valid. Fauci goes here at the top. With permission, I'd include all the WH staff who chose truth over fielty to 'His Nibs' and spoke with courage in front of the house impeachment committee. They knew it was career suicide, they also knew it was a fool's errand and still gutted it out regardless. That's the America I used to know, that's the grit that's missing in today's political class, with minor exceptions.

    ---Fauci may still be a winner here.

    The American Voter redeemed themself in spite of the torrent of shit thrown at them 24/7.

    Well done all, you earned it. We'll not mention you merely cleaned up your own mess on aisle Trump.

    A good penultimate offering, I'm sure the final instalment will be equally on point.

    Remain safe all, if anything good can be said about 2020 that hasn't already been mentioned its that the miserable prick is almost over.

    The dawning of the post-Trumpian era is at hand, it feels like that first refreshing, deeply drawn breath of spring one inhales that reinvigorates the soul after a long miserable winter.

    Live long and prosper

    Vivre longtemps et prospérer

    Leben und gedeihen

    ???? ???? ??? ?????????

    ?????

    Leve lenge og blomstre

    ???? ?? ?????? ???? ???

    ...and for Michale and his Russian asset

    ???? ????? ? ??????????

    LL&P

  34. [34] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    I might have guessed, but should have checked... WordPress doesn't support Cyrillic. I'll own 50% of that clumpy mess of ???? above, WP got the other half.

    LL&P

  35. [35] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Predictions for 2021:

    * Biden will enjoy an extended 'honeymoon' with the Republican-controlled Senate. They are (not so secretly) relieved to see the back of Trump and so will approve all but one or two of Biden's cabinet picks. And more COVID-19-related funding. And several 'bipartisan' funding issues, perhaps even "infrastructure" ( one can no longer even read that word without laughingly adding "week")

    * Biden will prove his centrist bona fides by tamping down investigations of the Trump era. In doing so, he will neither satisfy 'Trump country' nor the Democratic activists. The former continue to be blissfully ignorant of how many ways they suffer the due to Trump administration policies and (in)action. The latter (like me), who still hold a huge grudge against Obama ignoring the Big Banks' culpability in causing the 2008 'Great Recession' will once again be proved right: the powerful ALWAYS escape punishment.

    * Mitch McConnell will die or retire, finally proving yhat those 'bruised' hands were a sign of major health issues.

    * No Supreme Court justice will die or retire. However, The wife of Justice Thomas will continue to draw unwanted attention, stimulating renewed discussion about both Anita Hill and whether and when to impeach a Supreme Court Justice

    * With Trump gone, 'the media' will suddenly realize that - who could have known?!?! - California has absolutely horrifying COVID-19 statistics. And it has a Democratic governor and the legislature is safely Blue. "So COVID-19 mishandling wasn't Trump's fault, if a DEMOCRATICALLY-controlled state is the absolute WORST!" This will be accompanied by a steady weakening in the polls of every elected official in California, portending heavy losses in 2022.

    * "Islamic terrorists" in Africa will cause every war hawk to clutch his pearls (or whatever the appropriately manly response is) and DEMAND that the Pentagon budget continue to explode. Meek Democrats will be unable to develop an effective counter-message and surrender, in exchange for an equal amount of funding for 'social issues'.

    * New documents will expose massive Trump corruption, either related to Russian interference in 2016, the Ukraine blackmail that resulted in his impeachment, or a new "pay to play" scandal. 'The media' will mostly ignore this, saying "That's so 2020". Meanwhile, Dr Jill Biden will commit some horrific blunder, like wearing white before Memorial Day, and 'the media' will go into a tizzy.

  36. [36] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    MtnCaddy [28] - I love AOC and strongly support almost everything she proclaims. But she is the 'media darling' of the moment. And compare her to Nancy Pelosi. From what I've read about Rep. Pelosi, she is just as 'liberal' as AOC. But Pelosi understands that "She who controls the gavel, controls the agenda", which AOC seems uninterested in.

  37. [37] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    nypoet22 [31] - Most Overrated - hear! hear!

  38. [38] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    It's a shame there isn't a FTPs column this week, if nothing else to pound the message of Trump vetoing the Pentagon budget.

    As one Twitter wit wrote (I'm paraphrasing), "Hey Trumpsters, you were scared that Biden would defund the police. Trump just defunded our troops."

  39. [39] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    No FTP this week? Bwahahahahaha this is my big chance!

    ***Dept. of Attempted Talking Points***

    (1)

    Once again, Repugs are in a tizzy over the Federal deficit. It's never a problem when they want to give the rich another trillion dollar tax break (see Trump, George W and Saint Ronnie) but it's the opposite story the moment that it's time to help the rest of us. Go figure, huh?

    If the deficit is truly a problem we should jack the top marginal rate back up to 91%, where it was during all the years that America was building the largest middle class in history. After all, for all the things we need to do in America, where else are we going to get the money?

    (2)

    Many voters in red states are reflexively against "Big Government." But every time there's a hurricane in Florida or Texas all of the sudden it becomes America's Problem and We the People of (to a large extent blue) America are expected to cheerfully cut a check for billions.

    Oh yeah, and Big Government is just fine when it comes to supervising women's uteruses.

    (3)

    Trump's scotching the Covid relief deal that his own Steve Mnuchin negotiated with Congress is a big "fuck you" to the American voters who failed to keep him in office and to the Republican Party that failed to nullify a free and fair vote. He didn't get his way so he's going to burn it all down, nothing more and nothing less.

  40. [40] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    I just read the comments now. It's so much more sporting, and infinitely more rewarding to express one's opinion without worrying that one may well be parroting opinions already aired.

    Once I read the offering over twice I just swept through and cuffed my thoughts down, which give or take, were essentially those of the collective. Of course, the ubiquitous flailing at some form of democracy 2.0 of Mr Harris is always a treat, in the same way, the last forty years of M*A*S*H reruns are reassuring that change happens quickly and slowly to suit everyone's pace.

    One thing stuck out though, opinion of AOC and her style seems to run the gamut here. I figured to be in the minority where she was concerned, I know CW thinks the world of her, and that's his bag, I assumed, incorrectly that CW had more cover on the subject with plebs herein. As I said above, I like her, and someday she'll make a fine addition to Dem backbench, but it will take a few congressional units of time before she can be sprung from the kiddie table. Italyrusty referred to AOC's run to teachers desk to snitch, [the]"Boldest Political Tactic" which is utter nonsense obviously, as it more wine and a moan for being told she was a 'fucking bitch' by some clown or other in the schoolyard. It's snotty little episodes like this that will keep her career at a snail pace. Her speech afterwards barely made the grade as political theatre, let alone a thundering rebuke of sexism and putting in their place for the morally bankrupt GOP. She'll need a much tougher outer coating if she wants to follow the good ole boys up the greasy pole. What has been described as a win for her was, in fact, a humiliating, unmitigated own goal that the more seasoned women of the house let her run with, despite their better judgement. As she matures into a true Liberally-minded politician, she'll know that when you're told where to go, and how to get there by a sibling of the house, you politely remind the person that they can have some snapshots of their mother conducting her weekly bukake duties for the Cleveland Browns...at cut-rate, and smile like we know she can and proceed to the chamber fully compensated for the slight. We all thought it was amusing when Trump feigned insult and bitch-slap when during his impeachment, Adam Schiff thought the time was ripe to mock-mimick Trump in a thought process soliloquy... Trump added more stupid to it by whining for days that Shiff was making up evidence and lying to Congress when even his own lackeys wouldn't buy into the pearl-clutch. AOC did the same thing and got the same result, a few pats on the back and a couple of there there's, and a collective... 'why don't you go have a little lie-down, the nasty man (who has no shame and therefore couldn't be shamed unless you wrapped his shame around a brick and threw it at him' has gone now...'

    Maggie Thatcher spun in the grave that day. The Iron Lady was a formidable, albeit tedious personality, and she knew full-well, in politics, you either give as good as you get, or you get out.

    LL&P

  41. [41] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    just a quick word in defense of Dear Leader - one lesson we can learn from his middle-east policy is that nixon's madman theory actually works if you have a real madman.

  42. [42] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @cw,

    i am sure you're having as interesting a holiday season as the rest of us, but we really are curious as to what you think of all our comments. one thing that in my mind has always set this website apart from the chaff is that you're willing to get down in the cheap seats and discuss issues with the unwashed masses. smell notwithstanding.

    JL

  43. [43] 
    TheStig wrote:

    NYP-31

    Regarding your most over rated pick: pollsters. By pollster, do you mean those that just sample potential voter preferences, or do you include prognosticators (531 and the big 3 TV networks) that predicted odds of the actual pathway to Biden’s EV margin were about 30%. Not as high as some higher EV outcomes, but not exactly wildly unlikely. If you placed your bet on Trump you lost, even though you did a bit better than the most likely electoral forecasts by 531 etc.

  44. [44] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @ts,

    all of the above. yes, this time most of them happened to get the final binary outcome of the presidential election correct. but that's about all one can say for them. the same mistakes as 2016 were repeated on a massive scale, with biden's overall margin of victory padding the massive state-level measurement errors.

    JL

  45. [45] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    compare pretty much any pollster's predicted measurement error to the actual discrepancy between the predicted and true outcomes, and there's some wild deviation.

  46. [46] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @caddy [30],

    i hate to ruin your buzz, but i've known michale a lot longer than you have. if he made a wager, he'll honor it. if he's not here at the moment, it's almost definitely not to run away from any of us. he might even be consciously avoiding the space to 'let us have our celebration in peace,' so to speak. unless we hear otherwise, guided by the last fourteen years or so of precedent that's what ought to be presumed.

    JL

  47. [47] 
    nypoet22 wrote:
  48. [48] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    NYpoet (42)-

    "...one thing that in my mind has always set this website apart from the chaff is that you're willing to get down in the cheap seats and discuss issues with the unwashed masses..."

    Unless the issue exposes the hypocrisy of the Deathocratic Party and provides real solutions to the problem of big money controlling the Deathocrats and our political process.

    But at least you did ask CW to address ALL our comments. I am with you on that.

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