My 2021 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 1]

[ Posted Friday, December 17th, 2021 – 17:36 UTC ]

Welcome to the first installment of our year-end awards!

We do have to warn readers, right up front, that this is an insanely long article. If you're one of those "tl;dr" types of people, we would strongly advise you to go find a short listicle somewhere else, to read instead. Because this will be a marathon, not a sprint (as always).

We also would like to thank those readers who made nominations this year, as it is always helpful to hear different voices when contemplating who deserves each of these awards. We tried to credit these suggestions, but in the frenzy of writing we probably missed a few (for which we apologize profusely).

Without any further introduction, then (it's long enough as it is), here are our choices for the list of awards first created on the show The McLaughlin Group, which we have long co-opted for our own amusement.


   Biggest Winner Of 2021

We could interpret this negatively, by awarding Biggest Winner Of 2021 to the Taliban, or to (as was suggested by reader andygaus) authoritarianism. Or we could have gone rather neutral and given it to infrastructure, after the long wait for "Infrastructure Week" finally paid off.

But instead we're going positive. The Biggest Winners Of 2021 were Unions and (more widely) working Americans in general. The pandemic changed many things about the workplace, most notably the balance of power between employers and employees.

When the COVID-19 recession began, workers were let go in a massive wave. But as we've recovered, the jobs have also come back very quickly -- much more quickly than in previous recoveries. This means it is now a "workers' market" -- with so many unfilled jobs available, employees can afford to be a whole lot choosier about what they accept for employment. This is reflected in the record-breaking amounts of Americans voluntarily quitting jobs in recent months -- people are quitting because they've already got better jobs lined up. And that's a great thing to see.

This has led to employers being forced to compete with each other to entice workers. Fast-food restaurants began offering $15-an-hour wages during the pandemic, just to get people to work for them. Wages in general have gone up -- which is the flip side to inflation that never seems to get reported in the media. Workers are demanding better working conditions and better pay and better benefits, and if their current employer can't provide them, then they leave.

Unions are gaining in strength and growing bolder about striking for better pay and better working conditions. This has happened in a wave across the country, which has not been limited to any one sector or industry. More workplaces -- including the first Starbucks in the country -- are becoming unionized, and support for Unions among the general public has shot way up.

This has reversed a decades-long trend in the dynamics of the workplace, and given workers a lot more power than they have previously had over the past 40 or 50 years. So we'd have to say that the Biggest Winners Of 2021 were both Unions and workers in general. Which is an absolutely fantastic thing to have happened.


   Biggest Loser Of 2021

Of course we were tempted to give the Biggest Loser Of 2021 to Donald Trump, but in reality he lost the election in 2020, not this year. Trump did lose his access to Twitter and social media, and he was indeed the sorest loser of the year, but all year long he's had to essentially lie low and lick his wounds. Which is not exactly the same thing as actively losing.

Texas women -- soon to be followed by millions of women in red states across the country -- were also big losers last year, as the state instituted a Draconian abortion law that limited legal abortions in the state to only the first six weeks of pregnancy. This is a shocking loss of constitutional rights in one state, while women in other states still retain these rights -- which is not exactly how things are supposed to work in America. And the Supreme Court looks poised to reduce women's rights even further next year as well, possibly by completely overturning Roe v. Wade.

A strong case could be made for democracy itself (and voting rights in particular) being the Biggest Loser of the year. Republicans have mounted an all-out attack in an effort to retain power at all costs -- even when those costs include the right to a free and fair election. They have followed Donald Trump's Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen down the ugliest and most dangerous rabbit holes imaginable. Next year's midterms are going to be a test case for how much they can get away with in this anti-democratic push, but the real test will come in the 2024 presidential election.

But rather than go generic with this one, we're going specific. The Biggest Loser Of 2021 was the former governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo.

Last year, Cuomo won our award for Best Politician. That's a long way to fall in one year. Back then, we explained that we had decided to give Cuomo the award:

...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 (out 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.

This year, not so much.

Cuomo has been exposed on many fronts as being not living up to the persona he so successfully projected in 2020. First there was the scandal about counting COVID deaths as occurring in hospitals rather than nursing homes (in a very Trumpian way, to hide the real data and the real story from the public). Then came revelations about the book he wrote during the pandemic, which most people saw as a test balloon for running for president some day. A book he wrote, mind you, with the help of state employees during working hours -- something he had specifically promised not to do. Both of those scandals alone might have gotten him impeached and removed from office on their own.

But before that even happened, Cuomo faced a string of allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior towards women working around him and for him. This included an accusation not just of impropriety or harassment, but of actual sexual assault.

Cuomo (with the help of his brother, CNN journalist Chris Cuomo, who also paid a price for his actions) fought back by trying to smear the women accusers, which included leaking the personnel file of one to the media, as well as other dirty tricks. Finally, a scathing report was issued by the state attorney general which might be summed up as: "The women are telling the truth, and Andrew Cuomo is lying through his teeth."

Cuomo tried to hang on even after this bombshell hit. But eventually he was forced to resign, since he was already facing almost guaranteed impeachment and removal from office. But on his way out, he still bitterly insisted he had done nothing wrong and attacked those who accused him of doing so. Talk about not learning his lesson!

The year ended with a decision which will force Cuomo to give up the millions of dollars he made from his book deal, since state employees essentially helped him write it while on the clock.

Lo, how the mighty have fallen. Which is why Andrew Cuomo is our easy choice for Biggest Loser Of 2021.


   Best Politician

We are going to go overseas for this one, this year. Because 2021 saw the exit of a consummate politician who was as influential and strong in her country as our very own F.D.R. was here.

Earlier this month, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel stepped down. This ended an incredible 16-year run leading her country. To put this in context, she first took office in 2005, when George W. Bush was just beginning his second term in office.

During her time in office, Merkel was seen not just as a strong leader of Germany but eventually as the de facto leader of the European Union. That's impressive -- speaking not just for her own country but for all of Western Europe, essentially.

Merkel led an amazing life long before she entered politics. She was raised in East Germany and has a doctorate in quantum physics and worked as a physics researcher in her first career -- not exactly the normal path most politicians take. After Germany reunified, she switched to politics and quickly climbed into the ranks of leadership.

She saw both her own country and Europe through several crises, including the worldwide recession in 2007-08 and the debt crisis in Europe as well (remember Greece?). Germany was the continent's economic powerhouse throughout, which is pretty impressive when you consider Merkel was raised and educated under the repressive communist system of East Germany.

All of this and more qualifies Angela Merkel as a stellar politician. This year, after her incredible 16-year term in office, she decided to step down and make way for someone else. But we have to acknowledge her incredible legacy and her strong leadership not just for her own country but for the entire European Union, and it seemed the most appropriate way to do that was to award her Best Politician of the year.


   Worst Politician

This one was hard to choose, since we had a plethora of nominees.

Donald Trump, of course, led the list.

Close behind was the "lunatic caucus" within the House Republicans, which seems to be growing even more unhinged from both propriety and reality by the day. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Lauren Boebert. Paul Gosar. Jim Jordan. Mo Brooks. Devin Nunes. Madison Cawthorn. There are probably a whole bunch more of these names that we've forgotten to add to that shameful list, in fact. Their hallmarks are not just being ultrapartisan but being mean and nasty and downright evil, at times. Call them the spawn of Trump, because he was the one to mainstream being mean and nasty and evil in American politics. Before, these strains always existed, but they were muted and would be denounced within the same party whenever they bubbled up. After Trump, they are celebrated and rewarded for such odious behavior.

Then there was Ted Cruz, who is almost in a "worst of the worst" category by himself. 'Nuff said.

And, as always, there's Mitch McConnell, who actually takes delight in proving how bad a politician he is.

We did consider looking within the Democratic Party in this category, perhaps awarding Worst Politician to Terry McAuliffe for blowing his Virginia governor's race so badly. That was beyond disappointing to the rest of the party.

Then there's always Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Together, these two wasted approximately three-fourths of Joe Biden's first year in office. They endlessly dithered and waffled and refused to strike any sort of deal for so long that months and months and months went by unproductively, while the public at large got the message: "Democrats are incapable of governing, even when they hold all the levers of power in Washington." That was beyond toxic, for the party's brand. They were certainly the worst politicians from the Democratic side of the aisle, without question.

But there was one who stood out, even among the rest of this parade of mediocrity. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy showed all and sundry that he simply does not belong in any position of political leadership, period. He is spineless and cares about nothing, other than increasing his own power. That's it. Nothing else matters to him at all.

People used to talk of the complexities of being a Democratic House leader with the phrase "herding cats." You don't hear that one much any more, with Nancy Pelosi firmly in charge. But over on the Republican side McCarthy has the unenviable task of herding rabid wildcats who are continually tearing everyone and everything apart, just for the sheer joy of destroying things. This would be a very hard task for a strong leader to accomplish, but unfortunately McCarthy is the exact opposite of "a strong leader."

McCarthy's most notable achievement (if you can call it that) is his continued silence in the face of his own party becoming fascists. He started off the year on a fairly good footing, denouncing Trump and the insurrectionists right after the attack on the Capitol. Within a few weeks, however, he made a pilgrimage down to Trump's Florida resort, cap in hand, begging forgiveness from the Dear Leader.

From that point on, McCarthy has been absolutely worthless. Just a complete waste of space. He refuses to police his own ranks, even as they get bolder and bolder about advocating and encouraging political violence. Either he doesn't seen anything wrong with threats of violence becoming the norm in Republican politics, or (much more likely) he is terrified to speak out against any of them because he knows it would put his own leadership job prospects in jeopardy. If he annoys the Trumpian base in any way, he knows he will likely never become speaker of the House -- which has always been his deepest desire. So he silently looks the other way as his own members commit unspeakable acts of political incitement. McCarthy also refuses to condemn any criminal behavior of any type from any Republican, no matter how revolting or disqualifying it is.

For acting with such spinelessness, for acquiescing to the Dear Leader rather than denouncing his coup attempt, for purging honest and righteous Republicans like Liz Cheney who actually have moral principles, for his continued silence in the face of an ever-more-radicalized caucus, Kevin McCarthy was easily the Worst Politician of the year. It would not be overstating the case to call him the Neville Chamberlain of our times, in fact.

Can anyone imagine what the House will be like if he does achieve his dream? If Republicans do flip control of the chamber in next year's midterms and McCarthy manages to take the speaker's chair, we are all in for a very rough ride. He has already proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is absolutely incapable of exerting any sort of control over the worst his party has to offer, so the most radical Republicans would wind up running the place. And that's a frightening thought indeed.


   Most Defining Political Moment

There were actually a few defining political moments to choose from this year. Donald Trump getting kicked off Twitter (and other social media) was certainly one of them. All of a sudden, the firehose of bile and idiocy and narcissism just... stopped. And life has been the better for it, ever since. By a long shot.

Joe Biden getting sworn in as president on the 20th of January was also certainly a defining political moment. As was the victory of both Senate Democrats in Georgia, in their runoff elections -- this surprising upset set the stage for the entire rest of the legislative year. Just imagine how different things would have been if Mitch McConnell was still in charge of the Senate, to understand how monumentally definitional this was.

But of course, what happened the day after that upset election was truly the Most Defining Political Moment of the year. And it happened only six days in.

January 6th, 2021 was a historic day, and not in a good sense. More of a Fort Sumter or Pearl Harbor sort of way, in fact.

For the first time since at least the 1800s, the clear loser of an American presidential election refused to concede. The peaceful transfer of power all Americans had so rightly been so proud of just did not take place. Instead, a violent insurrection was attempted.

The sitting president of the United States instigated and cheered on the worst attack on the United States Capitol since 1814, since he thought it was the only means he had left to cling to power. The day is normally a very sleepy one on Capitol Hill and usually only gets a brief mention in that evening's news broadcast. The Electoral College votes are supposed to be ceremoniously certified by Congress, finalizing the election and officially proclaiming who will be president for the next four years -- even though everyone's already known who won the election for months.

This year, however, Donald Trump refused to concede. Although he lost by eight million votes and the exact same Electoral College margin he had claimed was a historic "landslide" for himself back in 2016, Trump insisted that somehow the election had been stolen from him and his voters. He and his supporters filed over 60 lawsuits in an attempt to prove non-existent election fraud, and they lost every single one of them. The Supreme Court didn't even bother to get involved. Trump tried to extort elections officials all over the place (most notably in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Michigan) into somehow changing either the vote or the state's slate of electors, so he could steal the election himself.

None of this worked, either.

So as a last-ditch effort to deny the will of the people, on the morning of January 6th, a mob listened to Trump rant and rave and point them at the Capitol, and then they heeded his ravings and marched over to the seat of American democracy (just as he had instructed them to do) and violently besieged it -- attacking the police who were protecting it, forcing their way in, and roaming through the hallways chanting: "Hang Mike Pence!" They even had a working gallows all ready to go, just outside the Capitol.

Trump gleefully watched live on television, and did nothing. Except cheer them on.

This wasn't just a defining political moment for 2021, it was a defining political moment for a much larger swath of American history. The Republican Party as a whole (with very few exceptions), after first denouncing the attacks, fell into line behind Trump's delusional insistence that somehow, some way (without ever producing a shred of proof because none exists) the election had been stolen. The GOP still hasn't woken up from this dangerous authoritarian and fascistic nightmare, and we're all still paying the price.

Nobody knows how this will end, either in the 2022 midterms or the 2024 presidential election. But American politics shifted on its previously-stable axis on January 6th this year. It was the Most Defining Political Moment of the year, without question.


   Turncoat Of The Year

Some might suggest Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema for this award, but we've decided they belong elsewhere in this year's list.

Instead, we're going to interpret this award positively this time around the sun. Because we have two turncoats of the year to celebrate: Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.

More Republicans than just these two turned away from Trump (and his lunacy) this year to some degree or another, but Cheney and Kinzinger were absolutely consistent in their denunciation of Trump's undermining the American democratic system. They unequivocally said it was all wrong and dangerous and it ran completely counter to what the Republican Party and conservatism used to stand for. Over and over again, in fact. Boldly and without mincing words. Whenever they were asked.

Both Cheney and Kinzinger volunteered to serve on the January 6th Select Committee created by Nancy Pelosi and her Democrats. They have both paid a rather steep political price from their own party because they have done so. But they don't care because they are both of that rare breed of politician who is actually serious about putting country before party -- or even "before one man," never mind "party." They took their sworn oath of office to the United States Constitution seriously, unlike all the rest of the Republicans.

This could wind up being the end of both their political careers, because they have shown so much integrity and fidelity to the truth. So they are certainly more than deserving of being awarded Turncoat Of The Year. A grateful nation thanks them for their noble service.


   Most Boring

This one's pretty easy, actually. And unlike in some years, it's a good thing, as Martha Stewart might say.

Most Boring of 2021 was President Joe Biden. And what a relief it has all been!

Here is what we wrote, while reviewing his first address to a joint session of Congress (in his "all but in name" State Of The Union speech): "President Joe Biden has achieved one rather monumental task since he took office, at least to me: in his first 99 days as president, Biden has successfully made the presidency boring again."

Note that "successfully" in there... a truly positive thing, after the four years which preceded it.

Joe Biden has returned the country to some semblance of normalcy.

That sounds pretty boring -- and by strict definition it is -- but it is also a monumental change from the never-ending tsunami of lunacy and drama and tantrums and all the rest of it we had had inflicted upon us by the previous holder of the office.

In 2021, boring was good. It was welcomed in, like an old friend. It was celebrated, in muted tones (naturally).

Joe Biden brought boredom back to Washington. For which we are eternally thankful and grateful. Keep up the good (and boring) work, Joe!


   Most Charismatic

You know what? We weren't all that impressed with any particular politician's charisma this year. Maybe it was a side effect of the boring nature of Joe Biden's presidency, or maybe this was just a more-serious year than most. But for whatever reason, we were never blown away by anyone's raw charisma.

Except once. It did actually happen during what could be called a political event, but it didn't come from a politician.

As part of Joe Biden's Inauguration ceremony, the youngest poet to ever appear at such an auspicious event absolutely stole the entire show. Amanda Gorman, age 22, read her poem "The Hill We Climb," and it was beyond charismatic -- it was inspiring. Her performance was flawless, from the striking and beautiful outfit she wore, to her facial expressions and hand gestures while reading, to the recitation itself. It was, in a word, perfect.

And it was exactly what America needed, two weeks after an insurrection was attempted on the very same spot. Here are just a few excerpts from this poetic masterpiece:

We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.

And, yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn't mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect.

We are striving to forge our union with purpose.

To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.

And so we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.

We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.

We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another.

We seek harm to none and harmony for all.

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true.

That even as we grieved, we grew.

That even as we hurt, we hoped.

That even as we tired, we tried.

That we'll forever be tied together, victorious.

. . .

We've seen a force that would shatter our nation, rather than share it.

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.

And this effort very nearly succeeded.

But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.

In this truth, in this faith we trust, for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.

This is the era of just redemption.

We feared at its inception.

We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour.

But within it we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves.

So, while once we asked, how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe, now we assert, how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be: a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free.

Amanda Gorman provided a shining example of all that is good in America, right when we all needed to hear it. Her poetry is nothing short of brilliant (we encourage everyone to read the entire poem, or -- even better -- watch her deliver it at the Inauguration). Gorman was the country's first National Youth Poet Laureate, and it's pretty easy to see why. We certainly expect great things from her in the future, as well. Her charismatic delivery of her brilliant poem was the absolute highlight of the entire day.

Oh, and about that "dream of becoming president" line? She's been saying since 2017 that she's going to run in 2036, so we've all got that to look forward to. For now, among her many other awards, we have to add our own: Most Charismatic of 2021.


   Bummest Rap

As usual, there were plenty of bum raps this year, almost all of them coming from the Republican side of the aisle.

There was the whole "the election was stolen" and "Stop the steal!" horsefeathers from Donald Trump, but we've already given that another award here (an even worse one).

There was the laughable projection of denouncing Democrats' supposed "cancel culture," since Republicans are not exactly shy about trying to destroy people they believe have said something beyond the pale. Just ask Liz Cheney about which party loves "cancel culture" the best -- she'll tell you.

Several Democrats came in for some personalized bum raps this year, as usual, including Kamala Harris (for the most insipidly stupid things, such as -- gasp! -- not wearing earbuds), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and the rest of the Squad.

One blanket bum rap emerged during all the endless negotiations over Joe Biden's agenda -- that somehow Biden had become captive of the radical left progressives and he was somehow being forced to accept things that he had never stood for. This was unmitigated moosepoop. The bum rap was usually formulated as: "Joe Biden was elected to bring the country together, as a moderate not a progressive, and he definitely wasn't elected to usher in transformative changes." That might be believable to some, but only if you absolutely ignore everything Biden actually said on the campaign trail and ran on. Which plenty of pundits inside the Beltway seemed fully capable of doing, sadly enough. Biden wasn't taken captive by the progressives -- he had already become a progressive, during the Democratic primary race and all throughout the general election campaign. Go back and check -- it's there for all to see! Biden didn't "cave" to a "progressive agenda," it has been his agenda all along.

But the Bummest Rap of all for Biden was that he was somehow personally responsible for COVID coming back. Granted, he did run on saving the country from the crisis of the pandemic, and for the first half of the year he had gotten out in front with admirable leadership and set goals for himself that seemed unachievable at the time (100 million shots in arms by his first 100 days in office... a goal he then doubled to 200 million shots, and made good on). He predicted in early spring that we'd all be so far back to normal by Independence Day that everyone could enjoy a barbecue with friends and family to celebrate. He made good on that promise too. He did slightly miss his other July 4th target -- getting 70 percent of all adults to at least get their first shot by then -- but only by a couple percentage points. Seeing as how that number was in the low single digits when he took office, getting two-thirds vaccinated in half a year was an astounding achievement on its own, even if he did slightly miss his own mark.

But then things turned sour in a big way. Due to the Republican Party turning a medical emergency into a political wedge issue, not enough people got vaccinated fast enough. The biggest indicator of how high the rate any one American county has hit in vaccinations is how they voted in the last election, in fact. Democrats got vaccinated. Republicans resisted. Because they were fed a steady diet of snake oil and misinformation and outright lies from their political and media and entertainment leaders. A constant diet -- just take a gander at Fox News any day of the week to see this miasmic swamp of ignorance.

So Republicans were fighting hard to make sure that as few of their voters got vaccinated as possible -- actually praising the "freedom" to walk around as a dangerous viral vector -- as some sort of way to "stick it to the libs." And then they have the chutzpah to blame Joe Biden for COVID's persistence? Seriously?

This is beyond the Bummest Rap, it's downright insane. "I'm never getting vaccinated, and it is Joe Biden's fault because he keeps telling me to get vaccinated!" is so nonsensical it belongs in Wonderland with Alice. But that was the supposed rap against Biden.

As we slogged through the times of Delta and are now facing the rise of Omicron, the public has gotten more and more weary of dealing with the pandemic. Those halcyon days of July when we all truly and optimistically believed it was about to all be behind us seem distant now indeed. But to blame Joe Biden for the sheer obstinacy not just of Republican voters but of the entire Republican Party for becoming cheerleaders for COVID is without question the Bummest Rap of 2021.


   Fairest Rap

This one is easy, although downright frightening at the same time.

The Fairest Rap of 2021 is that Donald Trump and the Republican Party he successfully hijacked are trying to destroy American democracy and usher in not just authoritarianism but a cult of personality worse than Joseph Stalin, Chairman Mao, or the North Korean dynasty. It is all about Dear Leader Trump, period. First, last, and always.

This is not hyperbole or overstating the case. Trump does not believe in the concept of "one man, one vote," instead he defines it as: "I am the one man, and you can vote for me or we will toss your ballot out."

In a systematic way, the Republican Party is engaged in an effort to overturn not the 2020 presidential election, but the next one, in 2024. They have examined how Trump's attempt to overthrow the will of the voters failed, and they have planned accordingly. All the previously-unheralded officers who conduct and police the American voting system are being purged, for insufficient loyalty to the Dear Leader and his delusions that he won the last election. In their place are being installed party stalwarts who won't blink when asked to "find 11,800 votes" in future elections. They are not just preparing for a trainwreck of democracy, they are actively plotting such an outcome. Republicans have apparently decided that they should be the ones to decide who gets to vote and who doesn't -- or the party that (at the very least) decides which votes are worthy of being counted, and which are not.

That's the worst of it, but it's not limited to scheming to pronounce the "correct" election result, no matter what the actual voters had to say. It goes far beyond this, in even more dangerous ways. The Republican Party is now the party of political violence. State-level Republican Party affiliates openly accept violence and actually celebrate the failed insurrectionists. The insurrectionists are called "political prisoners" and the one who was shot and killed while violently trying to attack members of Congress is now officially a martyr to the cause.

Not getting vaccinated and getting punished for it in any small way is touted as the moral equivalent of Nazis making Jews wear a yellow Star of David on their clothing. Dr. Anthony Fauci is held up as the moral equivalent of Dr. Josef Mengele. The Republican Party has become the party of fear. And insanity.

They've also become the party of COVID. They seem to be actually cheering COVID on, and they're doing everything in their power to assist the spread of a deadly pandemic. They call this massive irresponsibility "freedom," proving that George Orwell was right. Republicans now score political points by fighting back against common sense -- with new laws, with court cases, and bombastically on television every chance they get. This is absolute lunacy, but they don't seem to mind.

Republicans have become the party of the Big Lie. It is now a litmus test within the party, and anyone with the temerity to differ from this delusion is to be immediately hounded out of the GOP. To be a Republican in good standing these days means screaming from the rooftops that Trump is right in his unfounded and lunatic belief that somehow (in some unspecified way, with zero proof) the election was "stolen" from him because eight million more people voted for Joe Biden than him. This is all to set up an election really being stolen, in 2024.

Republicans are now the party of tax cheats, too. They have denounced the idea of boosting the I.R.S. budget to catch more people (rich ones, for the most part) cheating on their taxes. They have brought this on intentionally by slashing the I.R.S. budget for years, to allow people to get away with such criminal behavior. They have -- quite accurately -- defunded the tax police. And now they seem almost proud of standing up for the "right" to cheat on your taxes and defraud the American people. They are the party of lawlessness and disorder, plain and simple.

Republicans have even flipped on one issue that used to be sacred to them -- supporting the military. Now Republicans openly question the loyalty of top brass for all sorts of made-up reasons, most of which boil down to: "You are insufficiently loyal to Dear Leader Trump." Conservatives even speak openly now about just zeroing out the Pentagon's budget to score some imaginary political point. This is an astounding turnaround from where the party has previously been, approximately since the days of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Republicans are now the party of mob threats. Seriously -- when the January 6th committee requested some telecom companies retain records because they possibly would be subpoenaed in the investigation, Kevin McCarthy petulantly (and dangerously) tweeted:

Adam Schiff, Bennie Thompson, and Nancy Pelosi's attempts to strong-arm private companies to turn over individuals' private data would put every American with a phone or computer in the crosshairs of a surveillance state run by Democrat [sic] politicians. If these companies comply with the Democrat [sic] order to turn over private information, they are in violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States. If companies still choose to violate a federal law, a Republican majority will not forget and will stand with Americans to hold them fully accountable under the law.

You'll note he didn't cite which "federal law" he thought they would be violating, because such a law does not exist. The companies would be following federal law, preparing records for a possible subpoena -- and then turning such records over when they actually received one. McCarthy is essentially warning corporate America that Republicans will be exacting political revenge if they get back in control. It is exactly the same as if he had said, in the deepest, most threatening mobster's voice imaginable: "Nice telecom you got here... be a shame if anything happened to it...." This is politics reduced to thuggery -- or, to use another word, fascism.

Republicans no longer stand for anything other than fealty to their Dear Leader. They have zero political agenda left, other than "whatever Trump feels like doing." They are the party of hate, now. Here is the best rundown of what Republicans stand for, from a Washington Post article which ran in April:

Republicans these days don't like the National Football League, the National Basketball Association or Major League Baseball. They do not like corporations such as Coca-Cola and Delta that, however belatedly, support voting rights (though they are fine taking their money). They don't like historians, climate scientists or statisticians. They do not like Anthony S. Fauci and other public health officials.

They do not like atheists or churches that practice the social gospel and advocate for civil rights. They do not like critics of the Confederacy. They do not like police reformers.

They don't like judges -- even ones they appointed. They do not like book publishers, social media platforms, the mainstream media or Hollywood. They also think universities and tech companies are bad.

They do not like many local voting officials or people who take part in large-turnout elections. They do not like former vice president Mike Pence, former attorney general William P. Barr or many other officials who served in the last administration (from FBI Director Christopher Wray to former defense secretary Jim Mattis to former cybersecurity chief Christopher Krebs).

They really do not like immigrants -- even when they are legal. They do not like international organizations (e.g. NATO, the World Health Organization and the International Monetary Fund).

They do not like a long list of Republicans in the House and Senate, ranging from Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) to Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). Even the GOP heroes of the past often make the enemies list: President Ronald Reagan (for his immigration policies), President George W. Bush (for his spending) and Sen. John McCain (for his decency). (All of these are now cited favorably for one position or another -- by Democrats.)

They do not like spending money for such things as foreign aid, food assistance, state and local government, caregivers, electric vehicles or really any infrastructure project you cannot drive your car on. They do not like deficits (when Democrats are in the White House) or tax hikes on corporations and the rich.

Since then, they've only added to this list of perceived enemies.

This is all very dangerous stuff. "Explosive" is another apt term for it. Republicans are heading down a road that leads to some very ugly places. Many students of history have already noted the similarities between what is going on right now in America to what happened in Germany in the 1930s, as the Nazis slowly took over all the levers of government and power, until the country was nothing more than a dictatorship. That is a very scary road indeed. And yet, that is exactly where Donald Trump and his sycophantic Republicans want to lead us.

So, yeah -- the Fairest Rap of the year was that Donald Trump and the Republican Party are openly trying to destroy American democracy. Frightening, but true.


   Best Comeback

We're not even going to consider Gavin Newsom beating the recall election in California, because we never believed he was in trouble in the first place. He won in a staggering landslide, with a higher margin than even when he was first elected. So as far as we're concerned, there simply was no comeback to be had at all.

We did think about a sort of generic award to Dr. Anthony Fauci and all the medical experts, who suffered grievously under Donald Trump but were freed to tell the truth without political interference once again.

You could interpret this category in a negative way and say the Best Comeback was staged by the Taliban in Afghanistan. After an entire generation of fighting, America withdrew and left the guys in charge who had been in charge before the whole misguided war began. The American-backed government fled or disappeared, and the American-created Afghan military refused to fight. So much for nation-building.

The idea of a congressional commission to investigate January 6th did indeed make a necessary comeback. The original plan was to have a bipartisan commission, which was passed in the House but which (shamefully) Senate Republicans voted down. So Nancy Pelosi did what she could and created a "select committee" instead. Originally she invited Kevin McCarthy to name sober-minded Republicans to the panel, but instead he named blowhards and conspiracy-theorists and other lunatics. Pelosi nixed these and invited the only two Republicans who still are able to put country before party: Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. So that was a pretty well-handled comeback.

If we were going to award this purely on political grounds, we would have to hand the award to both newly-minted senators from Georgia, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. These two pulled off an absolutely stunning upset, in the runoff race that happened a day before the insurrection. Virtually nobody gave them a chance of winning, and yet Georgia Democrats turned out in droves to make sure that they did. It was easily the biggest electoral upset of the year, and it handed control of the Senate to the Democrats instead of keeping it in Mitch McConnell's patented "Grim Reaper" death grip.

But instead, we almost want to change the category's label to "Worst Comeback," because it is hard to use the word "best" in this regard. But we have to admit, sadly, that COVID-19 had the Best Comeback of the year.

Think about where we all were on Independence Day. President Biden's optimism had been vindicated, as Americans celebrated with barbecues across the land -- just as Biden had promised. The rate of new daily infections had dropped to the point where everyone truly believed the pandemic was behind us and normal life was all we had to look forward to.

And then came Delta.

The daily numbers spiked back up into six-digit territory again and pandemic restrictions began making a reappearance. This was psychologically crushing to many of us. To have the Promised Land dangled so close in front of our eyes only to see it snatched away in tragic fashion was demoralizing in the extreme.

So while we still cringe at the first word of the category, we have to admit in all honesty that COVID-19 had the Best Comeback of 2021. Hopefully it won't even be in the running for this award next year, that's all we can say at this point. Hopefully.


   Most Original Thinker

We did hear one nomination for "billionaires who decided to go into space on their own," but we're finding it hard to hand out any sort of award for the concept of: "I have so much money I think I'll do something fun that only sovereign nations used to be able to afford," just on general principles.

One bit of astoundingly original thinking happened this year up in Washington state, where in an effort to entice underserved communities to get vaccinated, they decided to hand out free marijuana joints to anyone who would get their shot. The governor even personally participated (in a photo-op sort of way) by handing a few joints out himself. This led us to write what was probably our most amusing column of the year (most amusing to write, in any case...).

But instead we have to hand the Most Original Thinker award to Joe Biden. Now, we're not entirely sure this one is going to take root and become the new norm or not (it's too early to tell... perhaps after his Build Back Better bill passes... if it ever does, that is...). But when he first deployed it, it was just astoundingly brilliant and it turned the tables on a media talking point that deserved to be shot down.

Because Joe Biden redefined the term "bipartisan." After his American Rescue Plan Act passed (Biden's first legislative achievement as president, the "COVID relief" bill), the media was quick to minimalize the victory by pointing out it was a purely partisan vote -- no Republican in Congress voted for it, so the votes had happened along purely partisan lines. As far as the media was concerned, this meant it "was not bipartisan."

The media tried to castigate Biden for not following through on his campaign promises to bring unity back to the country and make Washington work once again in true bipartisan fashion.

Biden, rather than going into a defensive crouch over the accusation, instead went on offense instead. He rejected the media's definition entirely, and instead redefined bipartisan as: "what a majority of the people overwhelmingly support." He was on very solid ground -- all the various pieces of the American Rescue Plan were widely (even "wildly") popular with the voters -- polling at 60-plus or even above 70 percent approval. That includes a lot of Republican voters, obviously. Which Biden pointed out, every time he was asked the question.

By redefining bipartisan in this fashion, Biden turned the tables on the media's framing of the issue. He wasn't the one who hadn't achieved bipartisanship -- in fact, he had. The people were with him. It was instead the Republican politicians in Congress who refused to be bipartisan, because even when their own voters supported a bill, they refused to vote for it for purely partisan reasons.

Again, it is simply too early to tell if this redefinition will stick. Or ever be adopted by any other politician after Biden. It could go either way, really. The meme is in flux, one might say. We'll have to see, with all the rhetoric that will get deployed if and when Biden gets his Build Back Better bill through Congress -- once again, with only Democratic votes (one assumes).

If the media try the same framing and Biden rejects it once again, the new definition might get a lot more traction and even be picked up by the more liberal members of the mainstream media. Or perhaps they'll just begrudgingly use it until Biden is out of office, and then revert to their older definition. It's really too soon to tell.

But for the moment -- and for 2021 -- Joe Biden was the Most Original Thinker by completely and rather brilliantly changing the meaning of a political term that was being used against him.


   Most Stagnant Thinker

This one is about to become critically important very soon. It really has been all year, but the media spotlight is turning back on it once again.

The two Most Stagnant Thinkers of the year were Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, for their obstinate defense of the filibuster. Neither one of them has budged one inch on the issue all year long, and in fact they proudly wrote opinion pieces for newspapers (which we refuse to link to here) where they tried to make their obstinacy something somehow noble and high-minded. Spoiler alert: it's not.

The most maddening argument they have made is that they are "protecting the rights of the minority in the Senate." Well, maybe, but in doing so they are actively holding the coat of the Republican Party as it proceeds to attack the constitutional rights of actual minorities in this country -- by passing Draconian laws specifically designed to make it harder for minority voters to participate in elections.

This has nothing to do with all the Republican nonsense about "voter fraud," by the way. For instance, they're passing laws (or attempting to) to limit Sunday voting. This is an attack on the "Souls To The Polls" program, where Black churches provide transportation to their parishioners to get them to go vote right after church. They're passing laws making it illegal to expand voting hours -- which had made it much easier for swing-shift workers (many of them minorities) to vote. They're making it illegal for people to pass out water to people waiting in line to vote -- even though the only precincts where people wait in line for hours are in poor districts chock full of minorities. And this is just a random sampling of the cruel and targeted nature of these new laws.

To Manchin and Sinema, it is more important to protect the rights of Republicans in the Senate than it is to protect the rights of actual minorities to vote, plain and simple. Which other Democrats have not exactly been shy about pointing out. That and the fact that Republicans are going to have absolutely no compunction about ignoring the filibuster rules whenever they see fit, should they retake control of the chamber after the midterms.

It is downright depressing to consider how much of Joe Biden's agenda might have already passed this year if the filibuster had been either tossed out entirely or seriously reformed by now. But none of that matters to Sinema and Manchin.

As far as they are concerned, forcing the Senate to craft bipartisan bills means the legislation will be stronger and better for the country, and endure more than partisan laws which might be overturned abruptly after a post-election shift in power. But this is hogwash, really, since the American public really does not care which senator voted for which law -- they are only really concerned with the results. If a new law is popular enough, then it will stand on its own and the opposition party will be hard-pressed to repeal it after a power shift, because too many of their own voters will support it (see: Obamacare). Again -- no matter who voted for it originally. Legislation, after it passes, stands or falls on its own merits. But this fact is absolutely ignored by Manchin and Sinema in their arguments.

Which is why, without a shadow of a doubt, the two are unquestionably the Most Stagnant Thinkers in their party, in the Senate, and in Washington right now.


   Best Photo Op

Maybe we're biased since we ran our first-ever product endorsement column on the subject earlier this year. Anything's possible!

But to us, there simply was no better photo opportunity last year than seeing Bernie Sanders all bundled up (including his adorable homemade mittens) in the audience for Biden's Inauguration.

Which is why, of course, we had to pre-order our own bobblehead when we heard they were going to be created:

Bernie Bobblehead

They're still available for a reasonable price, and Bernie's still at the top of the site's banner, proving it had to have been one of their best-sellers of the year. Our endorsement still stands -- everyone should have a Bobblehead Inauguration Bernie!

And while we're at it, we're awarding the moment the Best Photo Op of the year. Call us biased, we don't care....


   Worst Photo Op

Sadly, there were more than a few to choose from in the Worst Photo Op category. We could have gone with something at least semi-amusing such as Donald Trump giving a speech where it certainly appeared his pants were on backwards.

Or Ted Cruz strolling through an airport after fleeing his state in the middle of a deadly emergency. While Texans froze to death due to the power being off (due to their lightly-regulated private power grid not being able to handle a winter storm), Ted packed his family up and flew to the sunny beaches of Cancun, Mexico. When he was caught in this monstrously inhuman ad hoc vacation, he blamed the whole thing on his young daughters. Because he is precisely that species of schmuck.

More seriously, there was the horrific spectacle of January 6th, watching the United States Capitol fall to a murderous mob of insurrectionists. But we consider that to be a level above just "photo op," even if the television, photos, and security videos were all some of the worst ever seen in America.

There were really only two contenders for the award, however. We must note that we did consider the anime video of a Republican House member actually killing one of his peers and violently attacking with swords the president of the United States to be abhorrent, but didn't really consider it a "photo op" per se. Maybe that's splitting hairs, which is why we felt the need to mention it here.

Our runner-up for the year was the Christmas card photos from more than one Republican House member (we refuse to even mention their names or link to the photos) with the whole family including young children all smiling broadly as they brandished rifles, some of them assault weapons. Aren't these the sort of folks who should really be wearing a "WWJD" bracelet? You would think so, but apparently not. Talk about not understanding the meaning of the holiday!

But sadly even as bad as that was, it still wasn't the worst. The Worst Photo Op of the year was watching Afghans desperately climbing on the outside of a military transport plane at Kabul's airport only to have the plane take off. Most of them jumped or fell off before it was too late, but we all saw videos of people falling from the sky to their deaths immediately after takeoff.

This video will go down in history right next to the helicopters on the roof of the United States embassy in Saigon, as we beat a retreat from another failed war, half a century ago.

Watching desperate Afghans fall to their death was obviously the Worst Photo Op of the year.


   Enough Already!

We've got quite a list for this category, as always. So here goes:

Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema -- Enough Already!

Republicans calling themselves the "law and order party" while voting against honoring the cops who protected them on January 6th and every other day of the year too -- Enough Already!

The stupidity of some of the culture war issues that the GOP jumps on -- like the publisher of Dr. Seuss deciding on their own to stop publishing a few of his lesser-known books, or starting a movement to demonize Big Bird -- Enough Already!

Democrats saying "Latinx" -- Enough Already!

Governors instituting rules to combat the pandemic's spread -- and then getting caught disobeying their own rules -- Enough Already!

Andrew Cuomo and his brother Chris too -- Enough Already!

Marjorie Taylor Greene and all the rest of the Mean Girls (and Boys) Squad in the Republican House -- Enough Already!

Anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers -- Enough Already!

...And finally, one we can all get behind:

COVID-19 -- Enough Already!


   Worst Lie

This one is easy, really.

There were other nominees, such as "Critical Race Theory is being taught in all K-12 schools across America," which is just not even remotely true.

Or, for sheer offensiveness, the idea that restricting non-vaccinated people in any way, shape, or form was somehow akin to the Nazis making Jews wear yellow Stars of David on their clothing to identify them. Or that Anthony Fauci was somehow as evil as Dr. Mengele. These were not just offensive lies, but downright abhorrent false equivalencies, but it didn't stop Republicans from making them.

But the Worst Lie was also the biggest. Driven by a man who uttered over 30,000 lies while in office, the Big Lie from Donald Trump that the election had been somehow "stolen" from him (with absolutely zero evidence to back such a claim up) was easily the worst of the year.

This was a lie that spread outward like ripples from a fat turd dropping into a toilet. Sorry for the graphic imagery, but it truly was that odious.

Beyond odious, it was downright dangerous and continues to be, right up to the very moment.

Trump is just never going to give up on this delusion. He just isn't. To do so would be to admit he's the biggest loser in American politics since George H. W. Bush lost his re-election race. Or even since Jimmy Carter. Which Trump refuses to admit as any sort of reality, no matter how real it may be to the rest of us.

Trump's Big Lie is what drove the whole "let's conduct meaningless and laughably-unprofessional 'audits' of the vote, for the sixth or seventh time" movement. It is where the entire fiction of "voter fraud" came from which spurred so many rollbacks both in the ease of voting and in voting rights in Republican states. It is what has led to a putsch among the people responsible for conducting elections and counting the votes in multiple key states -- people who used to be dedicated to doing their job honestly and with integrity, who are now being replaced by partisan hacks who will do anything Trump tells them to.

As we said: dangerous stuff.

Trump's Big Lie is undermining American democracy. All the ripples which flowed outward from that initial kerplunk are still poisoning the entire country, and will continue to for some time to come.

Which is why Trump's Big Lie was also -- without a shadow of a doubt -- the Worst Lie of the year as well.


   Capitalist Of The Year

We're going to use the term "capitalist" here, because we would no doubt be accused of sexism if we used the proper term for what she has now become. Ahem.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema is our Capitalist Of The Year, which is not in any sort of way a positive thing.

Before becoming a United States senator, Sinema was astonishingly progressive. One might have called her radical, even. She campaigned as a staunch progressive voice, in fact, during her 2018 campaign.

But then she won her election. And ever since, she's been most concerned with raking in as much donor money as is humanly possible. In order to further this goal, she will change any previously-held position if enough rich people and corporations donate enough money to her. She sells herself out, plain and simple.

Take, for example, the cost of prescription drugs. In 2018, during her campaign, she tweeted: "We need to make health care more affordable, lower prescription drug prices, and fix the problems in the system -- not go back to letting insurance companies call all the shots."

This year, almost singlehandedly, Sinema torpedoed any sort of meaningful and wide-reaching prescription drug pricing reform. Democrats in the House and Senate had come up with a plan which would force the drug companies to rein in their rapacious greed, and Sinema refused to even consider it. She initially wanted zero drug pricing reform at all, but then slightly backed down and allowed the absolute minimum effort to make it into the draft of the Build Back Better bill. Why this change in heart? Well, perhaps this headline explains things a bit: "Big Pharma, Medical Firms Donated $750K To Kyrsten Sinema -- Then She Opposed The Drug Bill."

Again, we are restraining ourselves from calling this activity by its proper title, so as to not trigger or offend anyone.

Or take the Trump tax cuts. Once again, Sinema campaigned on rolling back all the enormous tax giveaways to the ultrawealthy when she was still running for the Senate, but now that she's ensconced within, she has changed her tune -- after ultrawealthy donors started giving her enormous sums of campaign cash to play with. She -- again, singlehandedly -- demanded that none of Joe Biden's agenda be paid for by rolling back any of the Trump tax cuts, even those that only went to millionaires and billionaires. The sanctity of these folks paying little-to-nothing in federal taxes suddenly became her new position. And because Democrats only control the Senate by a 51-50 margin, if she withheld her vote no bill would pass.

So, yeah, with as much snark as is humanly possible to attach to it, we have to admit that Kyrsten Sinema is our Capitalist Of The Year. She knows full well the value of her vote, and she is willing to sell it to the highest bidder, period.

You can call her any label you like, if you don't like "capitalist." We know the one we'd go with, but cannot utter it in polite company, sorry.


   Honorable Mention

First and foremost: an Honorable Mention for all the first responders, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare and front-line workers who have been dealing with the grim reality of this deadly pandemic since the very beginning. The public reads the statistics of the numbers of daily deaths and it's all rather abstract. Not to these people -- they see the ravages of COVID on an up-close and very personal daily basis, and they all deserve our thanks for their tireless efforts.

All the Democrats (except for Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema) who all year long proved that the Democratic Party can unite around a common agenda. If you set Sinema and Manchin aside, the rest of the Democrats have had minor squabbles (between corporatists and progressives, mostly) but in the end have hammered out deals and moved forward. Biden got the first legislative victory -- the American Rescue Plan -- passed in record time, which simply wouldn't have been possible without party unity.

Let's see... who else?

First Lady Jill Biden, for being so classy all around. What a remarkable difference, eh?

Representative Maxine Waters, for telling Jim Jordan to "shut your mouth" during a House committee hearing. Jordan really needs to be told this on a daily basis, in actual fact.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, for dropping her namesake "Psaki bombs" on all the ridiculous questions she gets asked from rightwing media types.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, for weighing in rather forcefully on the fights over pandemic preparedness. Here's what he had to say:

"Screw your freedom," [Arnold Schwarzenegger] said. "Because with freedom comes obligations and responsibilities. You cannot just say, 'I have the right to X, Y and Z.' When you affect other people, that is when it gets serious."

Schwarzenegger compared mask mandates put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus to a traffic light.

"You cannot say, 'No one is going to tell me that I'm gonna stop here, that I have to stop at this traffic light here, I'm gonna go right through it,'" he said. "Then you kill someone else, then it is your doing."

Schwarzenegger called on Americans to put aside politics, listen to the scientists and stop griping about the supposed freedom to not wear a mask.

"You have the freedom to wear no mask," he said. "But you know something? You're a schmuck for not wearing a mask."

Joe Biden, for declaring not just Columbus Day this year, but also Indigenous Peoples' Day. Also for the congressional Democrats who declared Juneteenth to be a national holiday in record time.

Chris Wallace, for being the only sane voice on Fox News.

And finally, for high school cheerleader Brandi Levy, who won a Supreme Court case because her school retaliated against her for writing a very scathing social media post (with plenty of F-words). The First Amendment is protected by people like this who stand up for their right to speak freely, so we all owe Levi our thanks.


   Person Of The Year

And finally, our pick for Person Of The Year (and no, we didn't even consider Elon Musk... sorry, Time magazine).

This was a very hard call for us. We had two finalists, one much more positive than the other.

Our runner-up for Person Of The Year was Liz Cheney. We even wrote an article this year titled: "In Praise Of Liz Cheney." Which certainly doesn't happen every year -- us heaping praise on a Republican.

Cheney showed us all what Republicans can be, if they'd only try. She knows right from wrong when she sees it, and she saw Donald Trump instigate an attack on the Capitol and American democracy in an attempted coup, and she didn't hesitate to denounce it -- and Trump -- in the most explicit terms imaginable.

She voted to impeach him (in his second impeachment), she voted for the January 6th independent committee and she now sits on the January 6th Select Committee with Adam Kinzinger as the only other Republican brave enough to stand up for truth instead of Trump's endless lying.

She was unceremoniously stripped of her leadership position within the Republican Caucus for doing so. The Republican Party of Wyoming voted to expel her from their ranks. She already has a primary candidate who has been endorsed by Trump. She is paying a very high political price for her insistence on the truth, and her rock-hard belief that the Republican Party can be better than just a Trump cult. So we really wanted to salute her for her brave stand.

Unfortunately, we have another candidate. As we read back over the year, we were downright astonished at how often we had written about the machinations this man put the country through. He dominated the news coverage all year long, in fact. He has been called "president" and even "emperor" in sullen acknowledgement of his newfound importance.

So with a very heavy heart indeed -- but keeping to the logic that the award should go to the most influential person, not the best person -- we have to reluctantly award Person Of The Year to none other than Senator Joe Manchin.

In fact, we're so certain that everyone already knows why this makes perfect sense that we're not even going to explain our choice at all. He was the person Washington revolved around all year long, let's just leave it at that.


[See you next Thursday, for the conclusion of our 2021 awards!]

-- Chris Weigant


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

2020 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
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


60 Comments on “My 2021 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 1]”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Great choices, all around, I have to say.

    I especially like the award for "Most Original Thinker" but, I'm not sure how original that is. Only because Biden has been preeching about that almost from his beginnings in the US Senate.

    One of my favourite Senator Biden quotes is ... "I'm not on the right, I'm not on the left. I'm in the middle with Joe Biden. Come join me!".

    And, he wasn't talking about his senate or congressional colleagues - he was talking directly to the American people.

    I'm sure this is one of the things that attracted me to Biden from the very beginning - during the Iran/Contra hearings, c1987 ...

  2. [2] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    An interesting list this year. My thoughts, for what they're worth:
    * Biggest Winner Of 2021 - interesting choice, but a case of wishful thinking. To my knowledge, no law has been approved to provide long-term change. Like inflation, the workers' negotiation power is evanescent.
    * Best Politician - srsly? Mutter Merkel had left the scene mostly by the end of 2020. And her influence on EU policy, if there was any, has not been reported by any of the reliable sources I consult.
    * Most Defining Political Moment - absolutely
    * Turncoat Of The Year - a nice example of 'outside the box' thinking
    * Most Original Thinker - I already was prepared for at least one award to President Biden. He surely doesn't deserve this one.
    * Best Photo Op - this one was delightful, and the visual aid is priceless.
    * Person Of The Year - I was prepared for Manchin and Sinema to show up on your list, too. Manchin doesn't deserve this one, either.

  3. [3] 
    Tzx42 wrote:

    "Take, for example, the cost of prescription drugs. In 2018, during her campaign, she tweeted: "We need to make health care more affordable, lower prescription drug prices, and fix the problems in the system -- not go back to letting insurance companies call all the shots."

    This year, almost singlehandedly, Sinema torpedoed any sort of meaningful and wide-reaching prescription drug pricing reform. Democrats in the House and Senate had come up with a plan which would force the drug companies to rein in their rapacious greed, and Sinema refused to even consider it. She initially wanted zero drug pricing reform at all, but then slightly backed down and allowed the absolute minimum effort to make it into the draft of the Build Back Better bill. Why this change in heart? Well, perhaps this headline explains things a bit: "Big Pharma, Medical Firms Donated $750K To Kyrsten Sinema -- Then She Opposed The Drug Bill."

    Only $750,000???? Considering who knows the millions or maybe billions of dollars of profits that $750,000 just bought?????
    People in government are cheap whores. $7,500,000 would've been more appropriate and even that is a drop in the bucket. You may say Sinema is a capitalist but she most certainly doesn't realize the true value of her service to Big Pharma.
    I think our government is far more corrupt than anybody realizes.

  4. [4] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:
  5. [5] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Back on topic.

    Back in 2000 I accompanied my Mother to Ukraine and Russia on a tour that featured a class twice a week.

    We were listening to a professor from MSU (Moscow State University) when he said,

    The main difference between Russia and America is that in America when you pay a bribe, you get results.

    I reflexively raised my hand, determined to defend my country. But as I thought about it my hand lowered. Because he was right, alas, with Sinema being just another case in point.

  6. [6] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    A fun read every year CW. Worth a small dispute, though.

    "Governors instituting rules to combat the pandemic's spread -- and then getting caught disobeying their own rules -- Enough Already!"

    We (my family) are exceptionally aware of and respectful of proper pandemic protocols. In public, we wear masks 100% of the time (or nearly so). We publically distance 100% of the time (or nearly so). We do everything else recommended 100% of the time (or nearly so).

    Once in a while, we screw up, just like EVERY OTHER HUMAN BEING!!! That a person screws up (even a leader) doesn't mean it's license for someone else to completely ignore protocols.

    So, instead, might I suggest that "expecting our leaders to be perfect 100% of the time, while actually electing human beings: Enough already!

  7. [7] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    well, if you read my comments on the prior column you know i had cuomo down for biggest scandal. but biggest loser also fits.

  8. [8] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    p.s. i posted a few more nominations on the prior column.

    p.p.s. my donation is coming soon, just have to work out some household finances first.

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:



    San Francisco embarked down its disastrous defund-the-police, fund-other-agencies road last year, and it didn’t turn out well. Its police department shrank, and violence, thefts, open-air drug dealing and overdose deaths soared.

    Who could have *POSSIBLY* predicted this would happen!!??? :eyeroll:

    Oh.. Wait... Only people with an iota of common sense and more than 2 brain cells to rub together...

    Which leaves out ALL Trump/America hating Democrats...

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    Manchin says he 'cannot vote' for Build Back Better: 'I've done everything humanly possible'
    'I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation,' he said

    I just LOVE it when Progressives/Democrats get rolled.. :D

    Brings a tear of joy to me eye... :D

    I mean, how hilarious is it??

    Democrats need REPUBLICANS to pass the BIF and utterly FAIL on the BUILD BACK BETTER AKA Democrat/Socialist Wet Dream bill... :D

    Merry Frakin' Christmas to America!! :D

  11. [11] 
    Mezzomamma wrote:

    Remind me, is there a category special place in hell? I nominate Manchin. Others are earning their own 'special' places.

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ya gotta admire Republicans..

    Manchin kills Build Back Better and gives nation – and Republicans – a big win
    Build Back Better was the queen of Biden’s domestic agenda

    In chess, a gambit is when a player sacrifices a piece, usually a pawn, early in a game to obtain some larger competitive advantage. We can now say that the 13 Republicans who voted in early November to pass the infrastructure bill pulled off one of the most effective political gambits in recent memory.
    Build Back Better, on the other hand, was the queen of Biden’s domestic agenda, a bill so far-reaching that it threatened to encroach upon every corner of the chess board of American life. And how did House Republicans topple that queen? Precisely by decoupling the infrastructure bill from Build Back Better.

    Let us not forget that throughout the summer and fall House progressive Democrats, most notably the Squad, held the passage of the infrastructure bill, Manchin, and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s baby, in the palm of their hands. They demanded that the bills be passed together. It looked as though we were surely headed to some compromise that would pass infrastructure and also pass wide swaths of the social spending package.

    But when infrastructure passed with GOP votes the House progressives were left out in the cold to kick rocks. Their leverage evaporated in an instant.

    I said at the time that the GOP needs to wise up and drag the BIF over the finish line to stick their thumbs in the eye of the entire DEMOCRAT PARTY in general and Basement Biden in particular.. :D And lo and behold...

    Progressives and "The Squad" got played like a well used fiddle... And it was the GOP who was calling the tune.. :D

    Progressives and "The Squad" got rolled bigger than when McConnel rolled the Democrats to deny Odumbo his SCOTUS pick.. :D

    Gods bless America!!! :D

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    I know, I know.. It's probably not healthy to be so dang happy about this..

    But.. GAAWWD DAMN!!! Did Democrats get punked or what!!!??? :D

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    Let's play this again for the cheap seats.. :D

    "I’ve always said this, if I can’t go home and explain to the people of West Virginia I can’t vote for it. And I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t. I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there. This is a no on this piece of legislation. I have tried everything I know to do."
    -Democrat Joe Manchin

    Democrat Joe Manchin just torpedoed ANY chance of Democrats making ANY kind of relevant showing in the 2022 Mid Terms....

    I mean, ya'all just GOTTA love the irony, eh???

    Democrats/Socialists could not even sell their wet dream
    to their OWN PARTY!!!!

    To paraphrase the indominantable Gene Hackman..

    "You were great in your day, Democrat Party.. But it stands to reason that, when it came time to cash in your chips, President Donald Trump would be your banker.."


  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    If you record Joe Manchin's quotes and then play them backwards, he says:



  16. [16] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    So, Senator Manchin has trouble explaining things, eh?

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'd like to give him a few pointers. Ahem.

  19. [19] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    Oh, God, he's back.

    Time once again to practice ones skimming technique, so as not to waste time reading heavily bolded nonsense.

  20. [20] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Yeah, it was nice while it lasted. Probably not the best of timing vis a vis fundraising season.

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:


    No music tonight??? Everyone too depressed??

    }}}So, Senator Manchin has trouble explaining things, eh?{{{

    No.. Democrats have trouble putting forth legislation that actually HELPS America without any forcing their un-American agenda on this country...

    }}}I'd like to give him a few pointers. Ahem.{{{

    He would much prefer that Democrats give him something he can actually vote for..

    But they are too wrapped up in their woke agenda to care about ALL Americans..

    And they lose..

    Is anyone REALLY surprised??

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:


    }}}Yeah, it was nice while it lasted.{{{

    Says the guy who couldn't help but talk about me while I was away.. :D It's nice ta bee missed..

    I missed your response to my laying out of the facts.. Dogs must have ate your homework, eh?? :D

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:


    Voters have grown wary of a Democratic Party that they feel is both ineffective at governing and more attuned to their own priorities than to the concerns of the broader American electorate, our data collectively shows. This is a prevalent overarching sentiment among Independents, a decisive voting bloc, and surprisingly, among a sizeable number of Democrats.

    Two-thirds of likely voters overall (66 percent) – including strong majorities of Independents (63 percent) and Democrats (59 percent) —agree that President Biden and national Democrats are not only “out-of-touch with hardworking Americans,” but moreover, that they “have been so focused on passing their own agenda that they’ve been ignoring Americans’ day-to-day concerns, such as the rising prices for goods and gasoline.”

    You see, Liz?? This is EXACTLY the problem I am pointing out..

    Democrats have made a hard Left into socialist priorities that only address the wants of the elites to control the masses thru economic incentives..

    In other words, Democrats don't care about AMERICANS, the only care about their agenda.. An agenda that has failed over and over again in many places, including Venezuela..

    Of likely voters, 66% feel that Biden and the Democrats are out of touch... That includes a *MAJORITY OF DEMOCRATS*!!! 59%... I mean, forget Independents and NPAs such as myself.. Any Democrat needs us to win.. We are the group that determines elections.. And 63% of us feel that Democrats are more concerned with their woke agenda and ignoring the needs of every day Americans..

    But forget about us.. Forget the Independents/NPAs.. The Democrat Party can't even sell it's OWN PARTY on it's Leftist Woke Socialist agenda.. We see that in that 59% of Democrats feel Democrats are out of touch.. We see it when Democrats can't sell Joe Manchin on their Leftist Woke Socialist agenda..

    If Democrats can't sell their own agenda to THEIR OWN Party, what's the logical course of action?? Re-evaluate the agenda...

    Com'on, Liz.. You can do the math...

    Combine all of Democrat Party problems above with their anti-cop and anti-America attitudes??

    What did Democrats think was going to happen??

    Democrats have made and are continuing to make one of the biggest mistakes they can make..

    They actually BELIEVE their own press releases...

    And that is why the Democrat Party is crashing and burning and will, from all the evidence, be the Minority Party for the next decade at least..

    As you can see above, many Weigantians(™michale) blame the messenger because they don't like the facts of the message... In that, Weigantia(™michale) hasn't changed much.. :D

    But since I am likely just passing through, ya'all will continue to ride the Hindenburg until it's ultimate and pre-ordained conclusion...

    Don't hate the messenger simply because ya don't like the message..

  24. [24] 
    goode trickle wrote:


    There went the neighborhood...

    I guess we can call it The Return of JL and EM's troll returns.... with open arms.
    And before the whole Don't hate the messenger simply because ya don't like the message.. gets repeated... I would point out that this has been thirty plus years in the making.

    Nothing like screwing over ones own clients ehh?

  25. [25] 
    goode trickle wrote:


    There went the neighborhood...

    I guess we can call it The Return of JL and EM's troll returns.... with open arms.
    And before the whole Don't hate the messenger simply because ya don't like the message.. gets repeated... I would point out that this has been thirty plus years in the making.

    Nothing like screwing over ones own clients ehh?

  26. [26] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    Fricking website!

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    And before the whole Don't hate the messenger simply because ya don't like the message.. gets repeated... I would point out that this has been thirty plus years in the making.

    Nothing like screwing over ones own clients ehh?

    Please explain this??

    I am not sure what "clients" and "30 years in the making" has to do with hating the messenger because you don't like the message??

    Please use plain english..

    Tanks... And planes!! :D

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    No music until the New Year, Michale ... I thought I sent you the memo on that??

  29. [29] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "Woke", Michale? You've been away too long, I guess, to know that word has been banned around here.

    Come on, you ... come on, get with the program!!

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    No music until the New Year, Michale ... I thought I sent you the memo on that??

    Apparently, I am not on the distribution list.. :^( Hehe..

    Please add me to it.. If you don't remember my email, you can get it from NYpoet... :D

    "Woke", Michale? You've been away too long, I guess, to know that word has been banned around here.

    Come on, you ... come on, get with the program!!

    So.... Weigantia(™michale) is banning words now??? :^/

    "Oh how the mighty have fallen..."

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    Apparently, the White House has designated the Democrat Party 2022 Mid-Term Election slogan..

    "We are intent on not letting omicron disrupt work and school for the vaccinated. You’ve done the right thing, and we will get through this. For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm."

    Hmmmmmm Won't look too good on a Bumper Sticker..

    "We're all in this together"....

    Unless you don't agree with Democrat Party draconian mandates for a virus that has a 99%+ survival rate..

    In THAT case, Americans is only getting "a winter of severe illness and death"....

    So much for Basement Biden's claim that he will end divisive governing and kick COVID's arse!!

    Asleep at the wheel...

    Let's be serious here.. Does ANYONE expect Democrats *NOT* to get Uber-Shellacking in Nov of 2022???

  32. [32] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    The Biden agenda is hardly far left. In fact, I would say that Biden has reined in the far left of his party pretty successfully. It's the 'Manchin right' that is the problem for everyday Americans, to say nothing of the impact on them of the Republcian cult of economic failure. Ahem.

    "I'm not on the left; I'm not on the right. I'm in the center with Joe Biden. Come join me!" ... one of my top favourite Joe Biden quotes.

    Why do you suppose Biden got elected president, Michale? Just a matter of tens of thousands of votes in a couple or three states and Trump would have won!

    Biden won because there were enough sane Republican voters who saw Joe Biden for the moderate pol and practical guy he is and always has been and always will be. The guy who knows what it is that American families need to survive and thrive and is always thinking about what is in their best interests.

    And, while I have your attention, are you as outraged as I am at how most Republicans these days are afraid to show support for cops, particularly if they happen to work at the Capitol? It's really incredible how low some of them have sunk. So low, in fact, I'm thinking that law enforcement, in general, will eventually conclude that their blanket support for the GOP is, and has been, misplaced.

  33. [33] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris is always banning words, Michale ... on a yearly basis, in fact.

    And I'm sure 'woke' and all of its variants made the list a while ago, ya know

  34. [34] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Let's be serious here.. Does ANYONE expect Democrats *NOT* to get Uber-Shellacking in Nov of 2022???

    Well, a lot could happen between now and election day. Of course, a lot could not happen, as well ... and, sadly, already has. SIGH.

  35. [35] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    gt, are you having a bad day? Don't worry, just post something clever. :)

  36. [36] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    , God, he's back. Time once again to practice ones skimming technique, so as not to waste time reading heavily bolded nonsense.

    Also, time to stop replying-in-kind! Heh.

    You know, that's what always gets us into trouble, ya know...

  37. [37] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Yeah, it was nice while it lasted. Probably not the best of timing vis a vis fundraising season.

    Actually, the opposite is true. But, that knowledge may predate your arrival here. It's been so long and I've lost all track of time. :)

  38. [38] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Here is an official WELCOME BACK!! to Michale.

    (Sorry, couldn't resist ALL caps. Heh)

    As for the rest of us, it's always better to respond with intelligence alongside a healthy helping of humour, remembering all the while that we are all WEIGANTIANS and, as such, deserve any and all common courtesy if not outright respect from and toward each other and all the rest.

    And, that last bit goes triple for you, MICHALE!

  39. [39] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Now, here is an interesting bit of news.

    Could it be that the gap in thinking about what is best for America, economically and otherwise, between Wall Street and Main Street is begining to narrow?

    If so, that is good news for implementing Democratic economic policy, bad news for the Republican cult of economic failure, and very good news, generally speaking, for America and Americans ...

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:


    Let me address #32 later when I am not at work.. I promise to get to it as there are many errors in it.. :D heh

    Chris is always banning words, Michale ... on a yearly basis, in fact.

    And I'm sure 'woke' and all of its variants made the list a while ago, ya know

    Actually, that list comes from words by some Left Wing university and are mostly tongue in cheek...

    I never knew that it actually applied to Weigantia(™michale)....

    Live and learn..

    Well, a lot could happen between now and election day. Of course, a lot could not happen, as well ... and, sadly, already has. SIGH.

    Yes, a lot could happen..

    But the BBB has become representative of the entire Biden administration... Biden and his progressive allies have stated that passing the BBB is "life and death"...

    It's hard to postulate a scenario that supplants this Democrat/Biden utter failure in the minds of the voters..

    gt, are you having a bad day? Don't worry, just post something clever. :)

    I noticed that as well.. I recall'ed GT as a fairly stable and affiable commenter... I just wrote it off to him (or her??) being so depressed that Democrats blew it so badly...

    Actually, the opposite is true. But, that knowledge may predate your arrival here. It's been so long and I've lost all track of time. :)

    Ahhhh The golden years of Weigantian(™michale) Renaissance... :D I remember those years fondly..

    As for the rest of us, it's always better to respond with intelligence alongside a healthy helping of humour, remembering all the while that we are all WEIGANTIANS and, as such, deserve any and all common courtesy if not outright respect from and toward each other and all the rest.

    Would that we all could... :^/

    And, that last bit goes triple for you, MICHALE!

    MOI???? :D OK Fair enough...

    But I am constrained to point out that I rarely, if ever START anything..

    However, I will make an extreme effort to limit my comments and insults to generic Democrats and not make things personal..

    But I only have control over my own actions.. Fingers crossed..

    Here is an official WELCOME BACK!! to Michale.

    While I honestly and truly appreciate the sentiment..

    "I am not back!!!"


  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:


    Republican cult of economic failure,

    -Lowest unemployment in 50 years
    -Lowest unemployment for women in 70 years
    -Lowest unemployment for black and hispanic Americans... EVER
    -Put the US Embassy in Israel's capital where it belongs
    -Biggest civil rights boost for native and black Americans since Democrats fought tooth and nail against civil rights in the 50s and 60s
    - Destroyed ISIS
    - The stock market setting records
    - Our Navy back up to over 300 ships (Obama let it get below 300)
    - Gave Americans and American companies a tax cut
    - Repealed the unconstitutional Individual mandate in the abomination known as “ObamaCare”
    - Got America out of the asinine Paris Climate Change Accord
    -Got America out of the even more asinine Iran Nuclear Deal
    - Made America the largest producer of oil
    -Made America Energy independent


    Shirley, you jest... :D

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    Manchin blasts WH staff for leaking 'absolutely inexcusable' things about him after rejecting BBB
    He said he would not be pressured into supporting the bill by his fellow Democrats

    Democrat Civil War!!!

    Com'on, Manchin... Just switch Partys already... :D

  43. [43] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @m [41],

    with you on the jerusalem embassy, i was a bit of a chicken little on that count, and it turns out the sky didn't fall. however, that's not an economic decision. if we're going to go into foreign policy, his middle east madman strategy was a pleasant surprise. turns out nixon and kissinger were right after all, you just need a real madman. however, i could write dissertations on how donald failed everywhere else. he abandoned our allies, embraced our adversaries, and was generally incompetent on pretty much everything.

    the positive economic portion of [41] was already in the distant past by election day, due to donald's disastrously inadequate covid response. his contribution to vaccine development was just about the only thing he did right on covid, yet he won't even take credit for it. donald's energy policy was short-term and shortsighted. tax cuts were mostly for the wealthiest americans, and not all that helpful for anyone else - pretty weak sauce in comparison to biden's american rescue plan.

    and back or not, you're always welcome as far as i'm concerned. (no sour grapes gt, it's simply not your call)


  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:


    with you on the jerusalem embassy, i was a bit of a chicken little on that count, and it turns out the sky didn't fall.

    You should ask yourself why that is?? :D

    however, that's not an economic decision.

    Fair enough.. I have a couple crib sheets of President Trump's awesome accomplishments and didn't bother to omit non-economic issues..

    if we're going to go into foreign policy, his middle east madman strategy was a pleasant surprise.

    Madman??? So, you are characterizing The Abraham Accords as "madman"-ish??

    Ask yourself.. Do you base that on the facts?? Or your animosity towards President Trump??

    however, i could write dissertations on how donald failed everywhere else.

    Not factually accurate.. There were more successes than failures..

    he abandoned our allies, embraced our adversaries, and was generally incompetent on pretty much everything.

    Would you write disserations on how Basement Biden ACTUALLY threw our allies under the bus in Afghanistan.. Where Basement Biden ACTUALLY worked *with* RUSSIA to help build their pipeline in contravention of US interests??

    My how far we have come from Democrats' and their Russia Collusion Delusion, eh?? :D

    Failure in Foreign Policy is not exclusive to President Trump..

    Basement Biden has been MUCH MUCH worse in that department..

    What was it that Odumbo's SecDef said??

    "Biden has been wrong in EVERY foreign policy decision of the last 40 years.."

    and back or not, you're always welcome as far as i'm concerned. (no sour grapes gt, it's simply not your call)

    "Thanks, Alex! You are a true friend!"

    One of two left in here in Weigantia(™michale)..


  45. [45] 
    Michale wrote:

    Would you write disserations on how Basement Biden ACTUALLY threw our allies under the bus in Afghanistan.. Where Basement Biden ACTUALLY worked *with* RUSSIA to help build their pipeline in contravention of US interests??

    While, at the same time, curtailing US Oil Production so much so that Basement Biden had to go to OPEC *AND* Russia with hat in hand, begging for more oil...

    Apparently, only US oil infrastructure causes "Climate Change".. Foreign Oil Infrastructure apparently is perfectly acceptable... :eyeroll:

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    "Thanks, Alex! You are a true friend!"

    This is really bugging me and I hope you can help...

    The original "You are a true friend" is from MADAGASCAR 2 as indicated..

    But it's not the quote I picture in my mind..

    I picture the quote coming from Nicholas Cage in a movie that has something to do with angels and demons.....

    I GOT IT!!!!!

    It wasn't Nicholas Cage... It was Ben Affleck...

    "You are a true friend, Azreal"
    -Bartleby, DOGMA

    Thank you for your assistance.. :D

  47. [47] 
    Michale wrote:

    And for the Democrat Party.....

    Kavanaugh asks Biden to respond to flood of vaccine mandate appeals, SCOTUS set to take up high-stakes case
    Businesses, trade groups and others seek to halt implementation of controversial mandate

    ..... the hits just keep on comin'...

    Liz, this is what I am talking about..

    The Democrats simply refuse to take *NO* for an answer...

    And they will pay for their obstinance in approx 11 months time...

  48. [48] 
    Michale wrote:


    More proof that Biden has gone to the Progressive/Socialist dark side..

    Manchin confidant: Biden White House's incivility was last straw on Build Back Better
    Biden personalizing negotiations over massive social policy bill put Manchin's family at risk: Steve Clemons

  49. [49] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:


    ” Clemons said it went as far as putting Manchin's family at further risk, pointing to incidents where left-wing activists badgered him about his stance on the bill. ”

    Let us not forget all the brave men and women who were mowed down in their prime by that scourge, BADGERING!!!

  50. [50] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Steve Clemons may wish to make this about bruised personal feelings but, the BBB plan makes good economic sense for America, including the good people of West Virginia.

    The Republican cult of economic failure can be amply demonstrated, over decades, based upon the cold hard facts of the matter.

    I would venture even further to include old Democratic economic policy flaws and subscribe to this:

    "America’s economy improved more in Joe Biden’s first 12 months than any president during the past 50 years notwithstanding the contrary media narrative contributing to dour public opinion."

    And, ah, notwithstanding the global coronavirus pandemic. Ahem.

    You can read the full analysis of this assertion here!

  51. [51] 
    Michale wrote:


    You and Russ can denigrate Clemons all you want.. Funny that you would choose to do so because he is a Democrat.. Just like ya'all..

    But the simple point is ya'all like to think that Democrats are this big ALL-INCLUSIVE Party where everyone is welcome..

    But the FACTS (there is that word again) clearly prove beyond ANY doubt that Democrats as a Party are *ONLY* "inclusive" *ONLY* to people who toe their line..

    And, unfortunately for the Democrats who ACTUALLY care about this country and have a modicum of integrity (Yes, I concede that there are a few Democrats out there like that.) that "line" that must be toe'ed has moved quite a bit further to the Left..

    It's funny in a way.. Democrats in general and QUITE a few Weigantians(™michale) in particular LOVED McCain when he bucked his Party.. "Maverick" was one of the many accolades conferred on John McCain by Democrats and Weigantians(™michale)..

    It's funny because the constrast in how Democrats treat their OWN "Maverick" is amazingly 180..

    Which, once again, proves fact beyond ANY doubt..

    Hypocrisy.. It's not a bug in Democrat programming. It's a feature...

    The Republican cult of economic failure can be amply demonstrated, over decades, based upon the cold hard facts of the matter.

    Allow me to fix that for you..

    The Republican cult of economic failure can be amply demonstrated, over decades, based upon the cold hard cherry-picked facts of the matter.

    I have listed TONS of facts on how good President Trump and the GOP did for this country.

    So we both have facts that "prove" the claim..

    But neither of us have listed *ALL* the facts...

    I can concede that..

    Can you? :D

  52. [52] 
    Michale wrote:

    If I may make a slight detour here..

    With all the hype and hysteria and fear mongering coming from Basement Biden and Horizontal Harris over the new Omicron variation of COVID...

    With all the hysterical threats of MANDATES and such...

    With ALL of that coming from the Left....

    Do ya'all know how many US deaths have been attributed to COVID...


    Proof positive that the Lefts actions on Omicron are solely, completely and 1000% political...

  53. [53] 
    Michale wrote:

    And THAT has not even been confirmed yet..

    So all this hype and hysteria over a variant of COVID that MAY, or may not, have killed ANYONE in the US..

    MAJOR :eyeroll:

  54. [54] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Don't start Michale ... I didn't denigrate Clemons and I know who he is.

  55. [55] 
    Michale wrote:

    Apologies, Liz..

    But when you characterized what Clemons was doing, I took that as denigration... The entire sentence was poorly phrased...

    Allow me to rephrase...

    "You can obfuscate and belittle Clemons' statements all you want but the fact is, both Sinema and Manchin has been on the receiving end of some pretty heated vitriol.. Both inside and outside of Weigantia(™michale)"

    Better?? :D

  56. [56] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Why not just read and quote what I actually said?

  57. [57] 
    Michale wrote:

    Because I was extrapolating WHY you said it...

    But, if you want me to SHOW you why you are wrong..

    Do West Virginians back Joe Manchin's opposition to Build Back Better?
    West Virginians told Fox News they supported Sen. Joe Manchin's opposition to the social spending agenda

    I mean all of this with the utmost respect.. You KNOW I respect your opinions and positions. Many of them are dead on ballz accurate (industry term) as I mention in the most current commentary..

    But in this case with regards to the actions of Joe Manchin, you are not factually accurate..

  58. [58] 
    Michale wrote:

    Plus given the fact that West Virginia went to President Trump by almost 40% and the fact that Joe Manchin is a Democrat.....

    Manchin must be doing SOMETHING right by West Virginians to be continually re-elected..

  59. [59] 
    Michale wrote:

    "Don't let go....
    When you find it, you'll know..."

    -The Eagles, TRY AND LOVE AGAIN


  60. [60] 
    Michale wrote:


    I apologize if I can't say what I mean a little more diplomatically. :D

    I am just a knuckle dragging ground pounder... Diplomacy is not one of my strong suits.. :D

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