My 2022 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 2]

[ Posted Friday, December 23rd, 2022 – 19:51 UTC ]

Welcome back to the second of our year-end awards columns! And if you missed it last Friday, go check out [Part 1] as well.

As always, this is long. Horrendously long. Insanely long. It takes a lot of stamina to read all the way to the end. You have been duly warned! But because it is so long, we certainly don't want to add any more here at the start, so let's just dive in, shall we?


   Destined For Political Stardom

We got a lot of interesting nominations for the Destined For Political Stardom award, including: Representative-Elect Mary Peltola (who singlehandedly doubled the amount of geography represented by Democrats in the House, due to Alaska being both enormous and also an at-large state in the House with only one seat). Representative Maxwell Frost, for being the first Generation Z House member. Governor-Elect Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania, who got two reader votes ("nypoet22" and "John From Censornati"), while incoming House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries got the nod from more than one person (including, here, "andygaus").

However, we are going to go with two awards in this category, one personal and one geographic.

South Carolina is indeed Destined For Political Stardom in the Democratic Party, at least if President Joe Biden's preferred early-primary calendar is adopted. South Carolina already achieved early-voting status years ago, but it will now leap to the front of the (official) line. This will mean an inordinate amount of attention paid to the citizens of the state by both the candidate (or "candidates," if anyone challenges Biden for the nomination) and by the national media. A windfall of tourist spending will also be experienced in the state.

Personally, though, we thought that Michigan state Senator Mallory McMorrow was the best choice for this award. Forgot who she is? Don't recognize her name? Then you need to watch (or re-watch) the video of her speech of righteous indignation (there simply is no other term for it) after a fellow state senator falsely and vilely accused her of being a "groomer" of young children.

We were so impressed by this speech that we transcribed the whole thing as a column. You may remember it as the "I am a straight, White, Christian, married suburban mom" speech. Here's the end of it (the whole speech clocks in at less than five minutes):

I am a straight, White, Christian, married suburban mom. I want my daughter to know that she is loved, supported, and seen for whoever she becomes. I want her to be curious, empathetic, and kind.

People who are different are not the reason that our roads are in bad shape after decades of disinvestment, or that healthcare costs are too high, or that teachers are leaving the profession. I want every child in this state to feel seen, heard, and supported -- not marginalized and targeted because they are not straight, White, and Christian.

We can not let hateful people tell you otherwise to scapegoat and deflect from the fact that they are not doing anything to fix the real issues that impact people's lives. And I know that hate will only win if people like me stand by and let it happen.

So I want to be very clear right now -- call me whatever you want. I hope you brought in a few dollars. I hope it made you sleep good last night. I know who I am. I know what faith and service means and what it calls for in this moment.

We will not late hate win.

Seriously, go watch this speech, if you haven't seen it before. It's worth it. Take the time. You'll be glad you did.

Michigan, this year, achieved the fabled "trifecta," where both houses of the statehouse and the governor's office were secured by the Democratic Party. This was big news, because it hadn't happened in decades. Michigan voters had (earlier) instituted a new plan to redistrict by nonpartisan committees, which resulted in the end of the Republican gerrymanders and ushered in the state being fairly represented once again. The incoming Democrats have a lot to do -- decades of Republican laws to reform, revisit, or just repeal. It could become a poster-child for how Democrats govern a state as opposed to GOP rule. Which could mean multiple opportunities for Michigan politicians to be on a national stage in the next few years.

And we certainly wouldn't be surprised to be hearing from Mallory McMorrow again, since she's our choice for Destined For Political Stardom.


   Destined For Political Oblivion

We also had plenty of ideas for this one, as well. On the Republican side, there were many to choose from: Sarah Palin (whose comeback fizzled), Mehmet "Dr." Oz (who we should really start calling Mehmet "Dr. Crudités" Oz, we suppose), Herschel Walker (the worst of the worst of the GOP crop of clowns this year), or perhaps all the idiots in Arizona and elsewhere who thought that telling all their own voters that elections were rigged was a dandy way to turn them out to vote -- you know: "Be sure to vote! And then it won't be counted, because the whole system is corrupted against you!" Sheesh....

At least, we sincerely hope this whole concept of running on Trump's Big Lie is Destined For Political Oblivion (but you never know...).

Donald Trump was suggested (by reader "John M"), as well as Mike Pence (John From Censornati and "Kick" -- who amusingly predicted Pence's political career "is as dead as the fly who upstaged him during the VP debate"). But we're not so sure about how destined either one is for oblivion, quite yet. Reader nypoet22 went global and suggested Liz Truss, who was "U.K. prime minister for four Scaramuccis." That one got a laugh out of us too, we have to admit.

On the Democratic side, sadly, we had two prominent nominees -- Stacey Abrams and Beto O'Rourke. Both are now multiple-time losers on a state-wide level, and will likely not ever run for such offices again. Either of them could transition into a new phase of their career, however -- be it on cable television or perhaps even in the Biden administration (which could have some turnover, even up to cabinet-level), much like Pete Buttigieg managed.

Trump's pet social media site Truth Social seems on the verge of collapse, but then this has been true pretty much ever since it got started (with a website launch that was actually worse than the Obamacare marketplace's, which is really saying something).

But again, we're going with one geographical and one personal. Unsurprisingly, the geographical is the flip side to the coin -- Iowa is Destined For Political Oblivion, at least as far as Democrats are concerned. Their removal from their early-voting status is going to make them just another unwinnable red state that the national party mostly ignores from now on. No more flocks of reporters going to see the butter cow at the state fair, no more solidly-booked hotels once every four years (although the Republican contest staying put will mitigate the blow).

But our choice for Destined For Political Oblivion is soon-to-be-"ex-" Representative Madison Cawthorn. He experienced what can only be called a brutal political takedown this year from within his own party. The GOP essentially dragged Cawthorn into a back alley and violently assaulted his character.

Think that's overstating the case? We don't. The opposition research campaign against Cawthorn was the most vicious thing we've ever personally seen in politics. We would call it a "smear campaign," except it seemed to all be true. Here's the list we put together (which is by no means definitive).

Madison Cawthorn:

Lied during his campaign about his personal life, including lying about the car accident which left him partially paralyzed.

Went to visit Adolf Hitler's vacation house because it had been on his "bucket list for a while."

Had 150 alumni of the college he attended sign a letter accusing him of "sexually predatory behavior."

Tried to take a loaded gun through airport security -- twice.

Got pulled over for speeding and driving with expired tags and an expired license and various other driving offenses -- three times.

Was alleged to have conducted insider trading.

Accused his fellow Republicans in Washington of holding cocaine-fuelled orgies, while he refused to name names.

That last one, more than the others, is probably what convinced the Republicans to come down hard on him, it's worth mentioning. And we're not even sure that's a complete list, we could have easily missed three or four more big scandals!

In any case, the back-alley mugging of Cawthorn then began in earnest. First, photos were released of Cawthorn partying in public wearing women's underwear, on a cruise ship. Then a British tabloid (the Daily Mail) took it up a notch. Here's how we recounted it, at the time:

All of that is pretty hard to top when it comes to outrageous scandals -- especially the photos of Cawthorn wearing lingerie -- but today Cawthorn managed this feat. Fittingly, it appeared in a British tabloid, the Daily Mail. Here's the story:

New video of scandal-ridden GOP Rep Madison Cawthorn having his crotch felt by a close male friend and staff member is at the center of a complaint calling for an investigation into him and filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics today, can reveal.

The extraordinary footage, obtained exclusively by and seen here for the first time today, shows Cawthorn, 26, in a car with his close aide and his scheduler Stephen Smith, 23.

Cawthorn sits in the driver's seat apparently filmed by Smith as he adopts an exaggerated accent and says, "I feel the passion and desire and would like to see a naked body beneath my hands."

The camera then pans back to Smith who says, "Me too" as Cawthorn can be heard laughing. Smith then films himself reaching his hand over and into Cawthorn's crotch.

The video is one of several exhibits filed in support of the ethics complaint drafted by political group Fire Madison Cawthorn.

. . .

Among the many allegations is the claim that representative for North Carolina's 11th district provided thousands of dollars in loans and gifts to Smith, a staff member, with whom, the complaint states, he is engaged in an improper relationship characterized by steamy postings on social media and so close that the staffer joined Cawthorn on his honeymoon to Dubai in April 2021.

According to the filing Cawthorn has provided free housing, travel and loans to Smith, none of which have been declared or repaid.

The complaint also requests an investigation into the nature of Cawthorn's relationship with Smith stating that the junior member of staff lives with Cawthorn.

Um... "joined Cawthorn on his honeymoon"?!? Wow. No wonder his marriage only lasted eight months! And then there were all the Venmo payments. Which came with flirty little suggestive notes to explain the payments, such as:

Getting naked for me in Sweden

For loving me daily and nightly

The quickie at the airport

The stuff we did in Amsterdam

...and one that was more concise, consisting of a single word: "Nudes."

Nothing like the "party of family values," eh?

You'd think that would have been enough. But there was one final shoe left to drop:

Most recently, another staff scandal popped up (apparently Cawthorn is hiding a bunch of money he's been paying to his chief of staff, prompting another ethics complaint). But the third bombshell was the release of a video of Cawthorn naked in bed with another man, while Cawthorn apparently forcibly performs pelvic thrusts on the guy's face, with a third guy (the one filming, perhaps) saying: "Stick it in his face!"

Cawthorn's explanation? He was just "being crass with a friend, trying to be funny."

Cawthorn went on to lose his primary race. So he's about to make his final exit from the political stage. And we rather think his next destination is indeed going to be "political oblivion." Cawthorn is radioactive both within the Republican Party (this whole leak campaign was done by his fellow Republicans) and in the general world of conservatives as well (for obvious reasons). Madison Cawthorn is, thankfully, Destined For Political Oblivion.


   Best Political Theater

This can be interpreted in various ways, of course. For sheer amusement, there were things like the statue of Senator Ron Johnson made out of poop, which toured Wisconsin during his run for re-election (which, alas, he won). There was the whole "Russian warship, go fuck yourself!" thing in Ukraine, but we gave an award to the stamps last week, so that's already been covered. In a more serious vein, there was a line of empty school buses which slowly drove by Senator Ted Cruz's house to represent all the empty seats there were on school buses due to children being killed by gunfire (with a photo from above that was easily worth 1,000 words).

If we had interpreted it for sheer amusement value, we would have given the award to Chicago comedian Kim Quindlen, who had the best reaction to Mehmet "Dr." Oz's infamous "crudités" video (in which he couldn't even get the name of the store right, confusing well-known Pennsylvania chains "Wegmans" and "Redner's" into "Wegners"):

The internet, of course, had an absolute field day. Best comment we saw: "Clean up on Aisle Oz." But, hands down, the funniest reaction was from a Chicago comedian, who posted a video of herself dressed in a grocery-store employee smock, pretending to be helpful to a bizarre customer while the Oz soundtrack runs in the background (example: "Do you need a basket or anything?"). It is absolutely hilarious, and we highly recommend you take a look.

There's already a fake Twitter account for the non-existent "Wegners" which proudly proclaimed the comic was their new "Employee of the Month."

Hands down, the best comedic political theater of the year!

But we chose (as did several readers) to interpret it differently, in a more serious vein.

Because the real Best Political Theater of the year was (collectively) the presentations by the House Select Committee on January 6th. Now, the argument can be made (as one reader who suggested it, Kick, pointed out) that "that term denotes a stunt, which the committee definitely wasn't." We agree in principle, but we don't define the term that narrowly.

The hearings were political theater. They were a production. They were storytelling. They were choreographed (and excellently so). And they likewise will probably change the nature of congressional hearings forevermore (at least for important ones). Instead of the usual "everybody gets five minutes to fire questions at the witness," they adopted a different framework and just had one or two members run each of the hearings. Live witnesses were produced, video clips were intertwined, video of the insurrectionists was made public, the entire thing caught your attention and never meandered off into being so boring you fell asleep.

And the picture they painted -- which is being fully released to the public even as we write this -- is a damning one indeed. Donald Trump's centrality to the entire thing was made plain for all to see.

The hearings worked. They were effective. They caught the public's attention in the way few other congressional hearings ever have. And so we have to award them Best Political Theater of the year.


   Worst Political Theater

We got some interesting ideas for this category from readers. Trump's N.F.T. trading cards (andygaus, John M, Kick), the purchasing and dismantling of Twitter (nypoet22), and Kanye West (John From Censornati) were all worthy of consideration, to be sure. As was the Ketanji Brown Jackson hearings, but we covered them last week under "Bummest Rap."

Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert heckling President Biden during his State Of The Union address -- while he was memorializing his dead son -- was pretty bad as well.

But we're going for more the "worst theater" aspect of the award, and we have to hand it to the American version of the Canadian trucker protest.

The Canadians, at least, had something concrete to protest. Some of the Canuck-i-truckers were upset about mandatory COVID regulations for their profession, so they drove their big rigs to the capital and made a god-awful nuisance of themselves for as long as they could get away with. Rightwingers in America cheered, because it fit perfectly into their "macho-versus-weenies" way of thinking. So a bunch of people then tried to organize a similar protest down here.

It didn't go well, and that's an understatement.

In the first place, there simply wasn't anything to protest. It was, in Seinfeld-ian terms, a protest about nothing.

There were no mandatory vaccinations or even mandatory mask requirements for truckers in America. So they tried to shift to just a sort of free-floating, generic "anti-pandemic-measures" theme. But by the time they had gotten their act together, all the COVID regulations here were either over or soon to be over. Omicron had come and gone. People were ready for normalcy again. Vaccines were widely available. Public health restrictions disappeared one by one.

But the truckers already had planned to protest, so protest they did. They drove across America, using donated money for their incredibly-small convoy, and they arrived just outside of the metropolitan D.C. area. There were rumors that they had planned on arriving for President Biden's State Of The Union address, but they were late. Even if they had gotten here on time, after what happened on January 6th, 2021, there was little tolerance for any perceived threatening move against the United States Capitol, and the response would indeed have been overwhelming (in one way or another). Which was all avoided, because they didn't get here on time.

When they finally did get here, they didn't even venture into D.C. Some wanted to, but a show of force made them think twice about it and few trucks even attempted to get off the freeways and enter city streets.

What they did instead was drive slowly around the Beltway. Once a day, they'd venture out from their campground and circle the Beltway. Slowly. With all the other traffic, also driving slowly (it's the Beltway -- there is almost always heavy traffic!). Sooner or later, they got tired of all the drivers flipping the bird to them, and they got tired of essentially doing nothing but burning fuel (without getting paid to do so), and the protest -- against nothing, we hasten to remind you -- just kind of withered up and blew away.

It was, without doubt, the Worst Political Theater of the year. It was also, in a word, pathetic.


   Worst Political Scandal

We thought about mentioning the January 6th hearings here, but the scandal itself was really last year and we already gave the hearings an award....

The Secret Service conveniently "losing" a whole bunch of text messages from January 6th was one of the new items uncovered, and it was indeed scandalous to learn.

But the scandal of Donald Trump stealing tens of thousands of government documents -- including hundreds of pages of classified material (at the highest classification, including nuclear secrets) -- and then refusing multiple times to give them back resulted in the first-ever search warrant served on a former president. Which is indeed scandalous -- that a search warrant should ever have even been necessary. We still don't know that all the classified documents have been returned, as a matter of fact -- two were just handed over mere weeks ago, from a self-storage locker in Florida.

These documents are the property of the United States government. Or, to put it another way, they belong to the American people, not to Donald Trump. Which he still hasn't quite grasped the concept of. This is absolutely indefensible, and sooner or later Trump may have to make the attempt at defending his behavior in a criminal court of law. Which is why it is clearly the Worst Political Scandal of 2022.


   Most Underreported Story

The media, once again, fell down in several big ways this year. The fact that the economy is going gangbusters even if inflation did spike was buried in all the attention paid to the one negative in all the economic data, for instance. Climate change, as usual, was underreported. And the price of gas went up, which was breathlessly covered every single night as somehow "breaking news" worthy of the lead story, while when it went back down again the media largely yawned. The supply chain issues the country experienced last year at this time have been solved, but again the media took little note of the fact.

Joe Biden's agenda passing in fits and starts brought a lot of good news that was (for the most part) largely ignored in the media. Hearing aids are now over-the-counter rather than prescription, which is saving millions of Americans thousands of dollars each. But it was just a one-day story to the media. The governor of New Mexico announced that all child care in the state would be free -- which will change the lives of many parents for the better but was almost completely ignored by the national media.

Even scandals were underreported, such as the discovery that Jared Kushner was entrusted with $2 billion in Saudi money to run a hedge fund -- an occupation he has no experience at whatsoever, and which happened soon after his father left office. One hopes that Senate Democrats will pick this story up if the House Republicans start going after Hunter Biden next year, but we'll have to wait and see.

Our runner-up for the Most Underreported Story was the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the start of the year, we were still being crushed by the Omicron variant and the Republicans thought that masks and mandates would be a gigantic issue for them to run on in the midterms. But the issue quickly faded away, and wasn't even a concern for most voters by November. We are in the holiday season once again and there is no spike concordant with the past two years, and nobody's wearing masks anymore and life has returned to normal for most people. COVID is still out there, people are still getting it (some of whom have escaped it until now), but it's no longer as frightening as it once was to the general public. And yet this enormous sea-change was barely even mentioned by the press.

But to us the Most Underreported Story was the complete lack of any Republican economic plan whatsoever. The political media ran with a storyline throughout the election, that went something like: "Inflation is so bad it is crushing the Democrats' midterm chances, because the public feels that Republicans would do a better job of steering the American economy." They simply never asked the follow-up question: "How are the Republicans going to do this?" at all. It was just assumed: GOP good on economy, Democrats bad.

Republicans did not have any ideas for bringing down inflation or gas prices. They just didn't. They had no quick fixes. They had some anodyne mush about "let's drill some more oil" and that was about it. But the pundits hammered their message home nonetheless, without ever even bothering to examine what the Republicans would do differently. So our Most Underreported Story is the fact that Republicans had nothing, and yet were treated like some sort of economic geniuses by the press.


   Most Overreported Story

Inflation! Recession! No recession yet? Well, it'll get here soon! The economy's in the toilet! What, the unemployment rate is still at 50-year lows? Well, never mind.... Inflation! Recession looms!


We were treated to an inordinate amount of news about the British royalty, from Harry and Meghan (noted by nypoet22) to the weeklong mourning of Queen Elizabeth II on American television. At times we felt like shouting: "Hey, didn't we fight an actual war so we wouldn't have to pay attention to these people ever again?!?"


But being politically-centered, we have to say that the conventional wisdom drove one storyline all year long which turned out laughably wrong. We were told time and time again that Democrats were toast in November. History dictated it. Joe Biden's low job approval ratings guaranteed it. The loss of abortion rights was merely a momentary thing; women surely wouldn't actually base their vote on it in November. Joe Biden was a fool for talking so much about protecting democracy, since all the voters cared about was the price of gas and food.

The Most Overreported Story of 2022 was the red wave that wasn't.


   Biggest Government Waste

We're going to go off on a bit of a tangent here, and judge "biggest" not by the amount of money involved but rather on a scale that might also be called "stupidest."

The Biggest Government Waste was in all those Republican states where they either created or beefed up their "elections police" units to fight a crime that is almost non-existent.

Florida's governor was the most glaring example of this, as he set up a group of state cops that answer directly to him and were charged with finding all that rampant voter and election fraud going on. They had millions of dollars to spend looking for just this, and they have only managed to come up with a relative handful of cases, most of which were ex-felons who were told they were eligible by government officials -- so they registered to vote and voted.

The fact that they weren't eligible was never explained to them in any way, shape, or form. And many of their cases have been either thrown out of court or dropped by state attorneys.

To recap: the governor set up his own personal police force. He told them to look into a crime that is virtually non-existent and nowhere near the problem that opportunistic Republican politicians try to make it seem. They looked and they looked and they found a couple people who were wrongly told they were eligible to vote. They didn't find "widespread election fraud." They didn't find anywhere near the criminal activity it would have taken to change any Florida election result. And they were only the most prominent of these newly-minted elections cops.

Easily, this was the Biggest Government Waste of the year.


   Best Government Dollar Spent

We got one nomination each for COVID boosters (nypoet22) and vaccinations (John M), and one for a perennial favorite of ours too, the National Parks (Kick).

We also came up with the new Webb Space Telescope, which is already beaming back amazing and astonishing photos of the Universe.

But it came down to two nominees, for us. The first has a very strong case behind it. Reader andygaus suggested Ukraine aid, and it's easy to see why. Money spent to beef up Ukraine's military is directly contributing to the degradation of the Russian military. That is a wonderful investment, when you think about it. No matter what the final outcome turns out to be in Ukraine, Russia will have to spend years rebuilding to even get its military back to the sorry state it was in, pre-invasion. They just refuse to learn the battlefield lessons and keep doubling down on classic Russian tactics (which can be summed up as: "send as many thousands of men as you can into the fire as pure cannon fodder in the hopes of eventually wearing the enemy down").

This has exposed not Russian strength, but Russian weakness to the world. As we said, an easy case can be made that that's a great investment for the United States to be making.

But we're going to go with something closer to home. Because even red states are slowly having to improve their voting processes now. One good thing COVID brought was the awareness that early voting and mail-in voting is just a lot easier than voting in person on a Tuesday. The convenience ushered in by necessity in the midst of a pandemic has led the citizens of many states to demand such ease in future elections as well. For many states (most of them on the East Coast, and many of them blue) this has caused a sea-change in the way they do things.

Think about it. This November, stories about long lines at voting sites were almost non-existent. The media, over about the past decade or so, has belatedly done their job and explained how people in poorer counties (usually) sometimes have to wait in line for hours and hours just to cast their ballot. This constant exposure has had an impact, and a lot of places have improved dramatically on wait times. The places where long waits now happen seem to be where there was some snafu or problem that delayed things -- not in precincts that the state budget had starved of resources. Also, a whole lot of those people who used to patiently wait in line to exercise their franchise are now assumably voting from home, or at early-voting sites before Election Day (to avoid the rush). All of this together is a gigantic improvement for millions of people, which is why we are giving the Best Government Dollar Spent to all the dollars spent on making voting easier and more convenient.


   Boldest Political Tactic

We don't agree with our winner, we want to state that up front. But "boldest" doesn't mean we have to like it....

Before we get to the winner, though, we had a lot of excellent choices here. Such as Joe Biden moving South Carolina to the front of the early-voting presidential states line, while dissing New Hampshire and totally ostracizing Iowa. That was bold and unexpected, too, but it's obvious Biden wants to reward the state that (more than any other state) secured the nomination for him in 2020.

Biden again, for nominating the first Black woman to the Supreme Court, following through on a campaign pledge. That was historically bold.

Reader nypoet22 nominated the Republicans for "doubling down on Dobbs and forced-birth," while John From Censornati chimed in with Donald Trump's call to become the "Constitution Terminator."

John Fetterman's campaign was already on our list but was seconded by John M. Because Fetterman ran a campaign that could be described as "in-your-face, all the time" against Mehmet "Dr." Oz, which was spectacularly successful. Democrats aren't usually this feisty, which is why it was such a notable campaign. Fetterman hammered home one message above all else: Oz was nothing short of a carpetbagger who had no idea what the people of Pennsylvania were like or wanted. That's a powerful message, and it won Fetterman the race.

From Europe, we got two sides of the war coin. Reader Kick suggested "Putin's disinformation campaign" while we had "Ukraine taunting Russia during the conflict." Putin tried to boldly tell his own people a complete lie about his land-grab war, while Zelenskyy told the world the truth, with masterful presentation. This culminated in his speech to Congress this week, but his efforts all along were boldness incarnate.

But we're going to give this to a tactic we disapproved of in 2022, and one we hope is not repeated in future elections. Various fundraising entities within the Democratic Party tried a very bold tactic this election cycle -- spend money in the Republican primaries. By not-so-subtly urging GOP base voters to vote for the most extreme MAGA-fied candidate on the ballot, Democrats figured they'd have an easier time beating their opponent in the general election. And they spent millions of donors' money to achieve this goal.

It didn't work everywhere they tried it in the primaries, but it did work in quite a number of races. The extremists won the GOP nomination. And then (and this is the crucial bit) each and every one of those candidates went on to lose in November to the Democrat running. They had a perfect record where it counted, to put this another way.

But the tactic isn't just bold it is risky. What if it had backfired? What if one or more of those extremists had been elected, to the Senate or to a governor's office? Democratic money would have helped extremist election-deniers win, and the Democratic donors might have a few things to say about the strategy afterwards.

This time it worked perfectly. But it is a dangerous tactic, and it shouldn't be used again (in our opinion). At its heart, it is fundamentally dishonest -- meddling in the other party's nominating process. It is unfair, plain and simple. And Republicans could find a way to use it against Democrats in the future, so it could have set a very bad precedent.

But we do have to admit, it was the Boldest Political Tactic of the year.


   Best Idea

There were a lot of good ideas to choose from last year. There some good scientific ideas, to begin with, such as getting fusion to put out more energy than is put into it, for example. Or testing the concept of creating a planetary-defense system to divert asteroids or comets or just other big space rocks from slamming into Earth. Or the first steps towards humans going back to the Moon.

Then there were good political ideas that actually got implemented, such as putting a Black woman on the Supreme Court. Or reforming the Electoral Count Act to avoid a corrupt president ever again trying to steal an election via his vice president. Joe Biden pardoning simple marijuana possession convictions was a fine idea, as was his (stalled, in the courts) idea to forgive either $10,000 or $20,000 of student debt. Early voting and mail-in voting were great ideas as well, and they expanded and continued after the COVID election in 2020.

Two readers agreed with us on our runner-up this year, which was the new Alaskan election system. We wrote (and raved) about it way back in February, actually. The system combines two ballot reforms and, by doing so, keeps the best of both of them while jettisoning the worst of each as well.

Alaska's primary is now a "jungle primary" instead of separate partisan contests. Every candidate (no matter their party) appears on the same primary ballot. Only the biggest vote-getters advance to the general election. But in (say) California, this system is patently unfair to both third parties and Republicans, because the Golden State only allows the top two to advance -- and it is often two Democrats. This means Republican voters don't get a choice in the general election -- which, as we said, is unfair. In Alaska, the top four advance, which allows for a much wider political spectrum in the general election.

In the general, since there are four candidates, "ranked-choice voting" is used. This is sometimes mistakenly called "instant-runoff voting" because while it is indeed an automatic runoff, it is by no means "instant" -- it often takes a week or more to determine the winners. But it means there will be no further election that people have to get out and cast ballots in, it's all handled in one ballot where voters mark their first, second, and third choices.

The drawbacks for ranked-choice, in an open general election with lots and lots of candidates, is that it takes too long and is too complicated. But with only four candidates on the ballot, voters only have to choose 1, 2, and 3. And it means only the possibility of a maximum of three rounds of vote-counting before the result is announced.

Alaska has found the sweet spot. Other states should move to emulate them. But even though we raved about it back then and continue to rave about it today, there's an even better Best Idea of the year: putting abortion rights on the ballot.

The proponents of the forced-birth ideology have long been way too smug about how many of their fellow citizens support their hardline approach. "States' rights" was supposed to be a magic answer because then at least the red states would totally and utterly ban abortion.

Except that's not what is already happening. Where people have had the chance to vote on it, pro-choice positions have won in every election. In places like Montana. And Kansas -- the biggest and earliest shocker of them all. A Kansas anti-abortion ballot measure failed by almost 20 points, even though polling had said it was going to be close. Kansas is a pretty red state, to state the obvious.

Look for abortion to be the wedge issue in the 2024 elections. Because the pro-choice forces are on the march. And they've got the people behind them. Putting abortion rights on the ballot is a proven winner. And that's why the concept of allowing the voters to decide was indeed the Best Idea of the year.


   Worst Idea

The Dobbs decision, obviously was in the running. Republicans were like the dog who caught a car... and didn't know what to do with it.

Rick Scott releasing his own personal agenda for the Republican Party, which included taxing all poor people and forcing Congress to vote on Medicare and Medicaid every five years. To Democrats running, this was an absolute gold mine of bludgeons to use against the GOP.

Truth Social (Trump's social media company) which had a rollout that was worse than the Obamacare marketplace rollout, and has been tied up in financial freefall ever since. The whole thing could collapse for lack of funding at any time, and has been nowhere near as popular as Trump thought it was going to be.

Elon Musk taking over Twitter was nominated by more than one person, and we have to agree. Much like Truth Social, Twitter hasn't completely collapsed yet, but it could at any moment.

Russia invading Ukraine was a pretty bad idea, and also got multiple nominations.

Ending the Child Tax Credit "checks in mailboxes" program was a monumentally stupid idea that we have Joe Manchin to thank for. A last-ditch effort to reinstate the plan in the end-of-year budget bill failed, which is a shame because the program cut child poverty in America by a whopping 40 percent.

All the Michigan Republican candidates that signed up with a shifty signature-collecting company would probably agree that doing so was a monumentally bad idea. Candidates that needed, say, 10,000 signatures to get their names on the primary ballot turned in 20,000 "signatures," but then most of them were found to be bogus or otherwise invalid. So they wound up with only a few thousand -- and therefore a whole lot of the top candidates for statewide races didn't even get onto the ballot. This made the Democrats' job much easier, and they wound up sweeping Michigan for the first time in decades.

But the Worst Idea of the year was the continuing cowardice from the Republican Party. Over and over again, they just refuse to condemn political violence. They called January 6th "legitimate political discourse," they excuse threats to people trying to vote, they egg on the extremist White supremacists in their ranks, all because they are afraid that Donald Trump will say mean things about them if they show even a shred of decency or basic humanity.

Political violence should be condemned by all. Such condemnation should be universal, but sadly it is not. Political violence from the right just gets a huge pass -- either Republicans refuse to even address the subject or they have some smarmy way of excusing violence committed by their followers.

This is dangerous. It is not acceptable. It is a crisis in American politics.

And it was also the Worst Idea of the year.


   Sorry To See You Go

This, of course can be read two ways. The first is non-fatal, just "sorry to see you exit the stage" in some way. In this category we'd place Justice Breyer of the Supreme Court, Jen Psaki from the White House briefing room, Dr. Fauci from his government job, and Nancy Pelosi from her historic House Democratic leadership position (including being speaker, twice).

We'd add a few "not sorry to see you go" people as well: Tulsi Gabbard and Kyrsten Sinema, both formerly of the Democratic Party.

And then there are deaths. We suppose we are obliged to mention Queen Elizabeth II, since everyone else did. There are a few people we actually weren't sorry to see shuffle off the mortal coil, but de mortuis nil nisi bonum and all of that, right?

Anyway, roughly grouped by when during the year they died, here is our personal Sorry To See You Go list:

  • Richard Leakey
  • Sidney Poitier
  • Ronnie Spector
  • Meat Loaf
  • Louie Anderson
  • P.J. O'Rourke
  • Don Young
  • Victor Fazio
  • Madeleine Albright
  • Gilbert Gottfried
  • Orrin Hatch
  • Norm Mineta
  • Vangelis
  • James Rado
  • Mark Shields
  • Shinzo Abe
  • Nichelle Nichols
  • David McCullough
  • Mikhail Gorbachev
  • Ashton Carter
  • Jerry Lee Lewis
  • George Booth
  • Gallagher
  • Michael Gerson
  • Robert Clary
  • Keith Levene
  • Christine McVie
  • Aline Kominsky-Crumb (wife of R. Crumb)
  • Stuart Margolin ("Angel" from The Rockford Files, who is now an actual angel)
  • sadly, from Sesame Street: Luis (Emilio Delgado) and Bob McGrath
  • and finally, from reader andygaus: the iPod.


   15 Minutes Of Fame

Um, First Cat Willow Biden? Willow was unveiled to the world in January, and then promptly disappeared off everyone's radar. First pets (especially cats!) are not usually this media-shy....

Mehmet "Dr." Oz? Herschel Walker? Maybe "15 Minutes Of Infamy," instead?

There was that whole trucker protest, both in Canada and here, but we think we've covered that elsewhere... although reader nypoet22 did suggest Jim Watson, the mayor of Ottawa, for breaking up the "stupid trucker protest"....

We chuckled when we heard that Richard Nephew was going to lead the American strategy on fighting against global corruption at the State Department... because as MSNBC reporter Hayes Brown tweeted: "I'm sorry, but 'Rich Nephew' is a very funny name for an anti-corruption czar." Excellent point! (heh)

But we have to say, the 15 Minutes Of Fame award this year simply has to go to Liz Truss, the prime minister of the United Kingdom for precisely four Scaramuccis... a new record for "shortest term ever," which more than qualifies her for this award.


   Best Spin

There was actually a lot of good spin from the Democratic side of the aisle this year, which is a rare occurrence indeed. Senators Rick Scott, Lindsey Graham, and Ron Johnson all graciously helped provide the fodder for this spin, by admitting what the Republican agenda truly consisted of. Democrats gleefully spun it all quite effectively on the campaign trail: Republicans wanted to raise taxes on poor people, ban abortion, and kill Medicare!

But there was one particular bit of spin that took off like a rocketship. What used to regularly be called the "pro-choice" activists within the Democratic Party were as shocked as everyone else when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. But they rose to the occasion and anger at this decision did a lot to damp down the supposed red wave in the midterm elections.

Somewhere in the process, though, a new political definition appeared. What used to be called the "anti-abortion" side of the debate had successfully lobbied the media (over the course of decades) to stop using such a negative term to describe them and instead call them "pro-life." But this year, they were branded with what they actually stand for, after a series of high-profile actual cases of pregnant women seeking to terminate their pregnancies -- the most notable being a 10-year-old rape victim in Ohio who had to travel to neighboring Indiana to get an abortion.

That's when the pro-choice side started calling their opponents "pro-forced-birth." This almost immediately caught on, and our guess is that it's going to stick like glue. Because this is what the anti-abortion side is arguing for: a Handmaid's Tale dystopia where a rapist can choose the mother of his children at random, and they will be forced to give birth to his child whether they want to or not.

That is some powerful spin. Which is why "forced-birth" was the Best Spin of the year.


   Worst Spin

There were good suggestions in this category that we had to pass up, including the most egregious, the attempts by Vladimir Putin to try to justify the Russian invasion of Ukraine (from nypoet22). John M suggested all the Republicans who tried to redeem the unredeemable Herschel Walker's campaign (including Lindsey Graham, who came up with some truly stupid comments). We thought of Kevin McCarthy's pathetic attempt to rebottle the "Contract With America" lightning, in the midterm campaigns as well. And Joe Biden (to be fair), calling the concept of Congress just straight-up permanently abolishing the debt ceiling "irresponsible" (when in fact it would be the most responsible thing they could have done).

But one particular bit of spin was so noteworthy it will go down in history. When Liz Cheney insisted on being faithful to her oath to the United States Constitution even if it meant exposing the criminal and seditious behavior of the Republicans' Dear Leader, the party itself successfully drummed her out -- out of office (by being primaried) and out of the party's favor, with a "censure" they passed last February.

The reason for the phrase has already mostly faded in people's memory, but the phrase has not. Because in the text of their censure resolution, the Republicans had the jaw-dropping temerity to call an insurrectionist mob forcibly seizing control of the United States Capitol on January 6th, 2021: "legitimate political discourse."

That is just shameful, and we have no doubt that the history books will reflect this opinion. Without question, a major political party trying to somehow make a silk First Amendment purse out of the pig's ear of a violent attempt to overturn an America presidential election was the Worst Spin of 2022.


   Most Honest Person

We're going to have to agree with andygaus and nypoet22 here, and declare Liz Cheney the Most Honest Person of the year. For the second year in a row, we might add.

Cheney knew what being honest was going to cost her. She didn't care. She knew it might be the end of her political career within the Republican Party. She didn't care. She knew it would make her enemies, but she brushed it all aside and did her duty, to her constituents, her Constitution, and her country.

Cheney pulled no punches as co-chair of the House Select Committee on January 6th. She dismantled Trump's lies methodically and ruthlessly, for the whole world to hear. She warned us all of the danger of allowing Donald Trump anywhere near public office again. She will go down in history as a profile in courage.

Cheney put her country above her party (which shunned her), above her own personal political career (which could now be over), and above all the lies from the legions of Trump supporters. She dug for the truth and she exposed that truth to the cold light of day. There weren't even any other real contenders. Liz Cheney was, once again, the Most Honest Person of the year. And we are grateful to her for being so honest.


   Biggest Liar

Originally, we were all prepared to hand this award to all the Republicans who actively campaigned on money for their district which they had voted against. They hypocritically portrayed themselves as bringing home the federal bacon, when they actually had voted against that outcome. This included such lowlife senators as Rick Scott and Ted Cruz, because (of course) those two have no shame at all.

Then we got a nomination from andygaus for Marjorie "Three Names" Taylor Greene, or as andygaus put it, the "Space Laser Lady," for all her complete hogwash during the course of the year. And we had to agree, she was a monstrous liar -- even challenging the ranks of liar extraordinaire Trump himself. Her lies were just too numerous to even attempt to keep count or explain.

But the consensus among the readers was right -- the real Biggest Liar of the year was none other than Vladimir Putin, for all the whoppers he told his domestic audience to explain why Russia had to forcibly invade another country for no real reason other than a land-grab. Putin tried to convince the Russian people that Nazis had somehow taken over the Ukrainian government (which was rather ludicrous, seeing as how the Ukrainian president is Jewish), or that "ethnic Russians" were somehow at risk from "genocide perpetrated by the Kyiv regime" or any other moose-poop he could think up.

What was truly astounding is that Putin's lies only had a limited effect. He has been challenged all year by military bloggers within Russia who are generally pretty pro-government, but who are aghast at the fallout from this ill-conceived invasion plan. The cracks are beginning to show, in other words, even in the sterile world of a totalitarian state. Damn that pesky internet!

Putin has always wanted control of Ukraine to be back in the hands of Moscow. He's never hidden this ambition. But the thin excuses he's offered to his own people for why he the Russian military had to act now have been just pathetic. They all earn him the Biggest Liar of the year.


   Most Overrated

Elon Musk?

Ron DeSantis? Well, one can hope... (suggested by John From Censornati).

But we find we have to agree with Kick's two-part nomination:

The Reds

(1) The GOP's Red Wave/Tsunami that was supposed to take over Congress bigly. Count the defeated incumbent Senate Democrats.

(2) Putin's Red Army that was supposed to take over Ukraine. Count the dead Russian generals.

We did consider both of these for other awards, but they fit so nice together here we're going to let them stand. The red wave that wasn't was the political story of the year, and it turned out to be utterly wrong and overrated. The whole punditry completely missed the deep significance of the Dobbs decision and decided (amongst themselves at their oh-so-chic inside-the-Beltway cocktail parties) that women losing a basic constitutional right they had held for half a century would be but a fleeting thing, and that they'd all forget about it and vote instead on the current price of gas in November. This conventional wisdom proved to be monstrously wrong, as did much of the polling (for the third time in a row).

In fact, the only one who called it right seemed to be the same guy who called it right the last time around -- Michael Moore, who predicted a big Democratic midterm victory (just like he predicted Donald Trump was going to win in 2016). Everyone laughed at him and considered him crazy, but he had the last laugh, once again.

As for the Red Army... well, it wasn't completely exposed as a paper tiger, but it certainly is looking a lot less formidable since they began their invasion. A combination of kleptocracy, incompetence, poor training, poor equipment, and zero morale all proved to be much more consequential than the sheer number of human bodies they were able to throw into the conflict. Refusal to change tactics wasted Russian soldiers' lives in dozens of ways. Vladimir Putin still holds onto power in Russia, but the cracks are showing. He has planned a long war of attrition, which he could actually win; but that would require public support, which seems to be slipping away from him even in his totalitarian society.

For whatever reasons, though, domestically the red tsunami (that turned into a pink bathtub ring at best) and, internationally, the stunning Keystone Kops nature of the Russian military were both the Most Overrated stories of the year.


   Most Underrated

John Fetterman -- especially after his stroke -- was vastly underrated by many.

The Ukrainian resistance was also vastly underrated (from nypoet22 and John M, who added "and Western resolve and unity" for good measure).

Georgia's Brian Kemp "beat Big Orange," John From Censornati pointed out, quite correctly.

But we have two interrelated winners for this category. One is (in a way) a subset of the other.

From reader Kick we got "women's fury," and we have to fully agree. Hell hath no fury like a woman denied a basic human right -- something that roiled and seethed from June through the election, but something which virtually everyone in the political media completely missed or discounted (even after the surprise in the Kansas election). This is going to be true going forward, too, but from now on it likely won't be in the Most Underrated category any more.

One man did believe in the power of women's fury, though -- Joe Biden. Our second (related) award for Most Underrated was Biden's midterm campaign strategy. It wasn't just underrated, it was pooh-poohed or ridiculed or ignored. But in the end, it worked.

From the beginning of the year to the election, Biden was seen as out of touch with the electorate. He gave a speech on the anniversary of the January 6th insurrection attempt and followed up on the theme of American democracy under attack in a big way all year long. He gave two major campaign speeches on the subject of the dangers to our system of government by the MAGA extremists, and the pundits rolled their eyes and declared the voters simply wouldn't be moved by the issue. They were wrong.

Biden sent Kamala Harris out to bolster support for abortion, which also paid dividends. He kept saying "Republicans have no idea of the power of women voters -- they're about to find out," and the pundits also rolled their eyes. Once again, they were wrong and Biden was right.

Biden did what he could on getting gas prices down and inflation down as well, but his options from the Oval Office were limited. Even so, by the time of the election, both had begun to fall so it's fair to say that voters saw things at least headed in the right direction again and gave Biden and the Democrats the benefit of the doubt.

Joe Biden has been underrated before, and he no doubt will be in the future as well. But we have to say (with the clarity of hindsight) his campaign strategy -- which was almost universally discounted and brushed off by the political media -- actually worked in November. The red wave did not materialize. By some measures, Biden had the best first midterm election since F.D.R.'s first term. Which is why Biden's campaign strategy was also the Most Underrated of the year.



As always, let's start with a scorecard of what we got right last year and what we got laughably wrong. Here's our list of 2022 predictions, from last year's column:

The supply chain issues will disappear for good, but the media will yawn and not report on it.

Inflation and prices for things like gasoline will come back down, but again, the media will be too busy chasing shiny objects to care.

The economy will continue to improve, until indicators such as the unemployment rate are actually better than they were under Trump. Few Republicans will ever admit this fact.

One Greek-lettered variant of COVID or another (our money is on upsilon, for no particular reason) will become dominant and drive all the others away, and it will become no more dangerous than the seasonal flu. The pandemic will be declared over, and life will (finally!) return to normal -- or as close as we can get, these days. Masks will be stored away and eventually forgotten. The ones who will remember it best are the "COVID Generation" of kids who have been so severely impacted by having their schooling and large chunks of their childhood and/or young adulthood interrupted.

Donald Trump will maintain his iron grip on the Republican Party, and will not fade from view no matter what else happens in his life -- it simply won't matter whether his anointed candidates win or not; the GOP will still be the Party of Trump all year long.

Trump will introduce his social media site, and it will immediately be swamped with trolls and attacked by hackers. It will do nowhere near as well as the mainstream social media sites, so Trump will shut it down by year's end, blaming the hapless Devin Nunes (who has been named C.E.O. despite having zero experience).

Trump will be indicted for at least one serious crime (again, our money is on tax fraud, personally). But no trial will even begin in 2021, since Trump is such a master of causing delays in the judicial system. He'll probably not be forced to see the inside of a courtroom for many years, in fact, as he files motions and objections and appeals until the end of time.

A very stripped-down version of Build Back Better will pass both the Senate and the House, but it will be so disappointing to the Democratic base it will not help the party build enthusiasm at all in the midterm campaign. Thank you, Joe Manchin.

Kamala Harris will be ensnared in a completely phony and made-up "scandal," in a Republican effort to tarnish her so she can never be president (see: Hillary Clinton, for reference).

China will make a major military encroachment on Taiwan, but will stop short of a full invasion. The United States will support Taiwan, but not send any ground troops.

With all the gerrymandering and voter suppression, Democrats will lose control of the House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi will immediately announce her retirement.

However, in a surprise upset, Democrats will pick up two Senate seats and thus be able to completely ignore Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema forever. Manchin will immediately announce he has switched parties and become a Republican.

Sadly, while Roe v. Wade won't be completely overturned by the Supreme Court, it will be so gutted by their June decision that it will be virtually meaningless in red states.

Now let's see how we did.

Our first guess was spot-on, as you simply don't hear the term "supply chain issues" anymore. Inflation and gas prices are indeed down and heading lower, and indeed the media is ignoring this story too. But we can only award ourselves a half-point for this one, since both inflation and gas prices went way up this year before they started coming back down again.

Likewise the next one, where Biden matched Trump's low of 3.5 percent unemployment, but so far has not actually beaten his number. So another half-point there. But a clear win on the COVID prediction, although the scientists moved away from Greek letters to alphanumeric designations, so we never did get an "Upsilon variation." Even so, we got the broad picture exactly right (thankfully!).

Next year things may change, but we're going to have to call the next one a win too -- the Republican Party is still the "Party of Trump," by and large.

The next one we have to count as a loss, though, since Truth Social is still up and running (barely). The launch was a disaster, for multiple reasons, and it certainly isn't as popular as other social media sites, but it's still around (for now) so we get zero points for this one.

The next one, we're probably just going to (mostly) cut and paste for this year. Trump still hasn't been indicted (criminal referrals from the House Select Committee don't count), but that day seems to be approaching soon. But again, for last year: zero points.

Half-credit for the next one, as a stripped-down Build Back Better bill did pass the Senate (after obeisances were made towards the altar of Joe Manchin). It did actually help Democrats in the fall campaign, too, although not as much as the Dobbs decision helped, probably.

Kamala Harris was not hit with a scandal, so no points for that one. China saber-rattled but did not actually make a serious military move on Taiwan, so no points for that either.

We're giving ourselves a full point for calling the House right, even if Nancy Pelosi didn't fully retire (she will merely become a back-bencher). However, we're only giving ourselves a half-point for the Senate prediction, since the Democrats only picked up one seat, instead of two.

No credit for our Supreme Court prediction, since they did go ahead and overturn Roe v. Wade.

By our count, that means we got five completely wrong, four half-right at least, and four clear victories. That adds up to 6 out of 13, or 46 percent. That's about par for the course (although last year we did manage 62.5 percent!) for these crystal ball predictions.

Onward to next year! What do we think will happen during 2023? Here's our list:

Kevin McCarthy will not be elected speaker of the House on the first ballot. The radical Republicans who hate him will put up an alternate candidate, who will lose too. The House will then immediately be gavelled into recess and the wheeling and dealing will get fierce. They'll return eventually and hold a second ballot, but that too will be torpedoed at the last minute. On the third ballot, the disaffected extremists will be convinced to vote "Present," which removes them from the total (if five vote "present" then a simple majority is half of 430, or 215, plus one). McCarthy will win this third vote, but shy of the 218 that would be needed with the full House voting on a candidate. This will start McCarthy's tenure with the same theme that will continue all year long: weakness.

Proxy voting will continue in the House, although it will be curtailed from where it is now. McCarthy is promising to end the practice entirely, but too many Republicans have discovered how useful it can be, so he'll rein it in but not get rid of it entirely.

At some point before the end of spring (as reader John M suggested), Donald Trump will be indicted and arrested for something. Best guess is that the first of these will happen in Georgia. The federal special counsel will also charge Trump with (at the very least) obstruction in the documents case.

From reader andygaus comes: "If he is taken into custody, there will be violence," which we're going to agree with, but our guess is that this violence will not be major or widespread and will die down soon enough.

But no trial will begin all year long, as Trump deploys his team of lawyers to delay, delay, delay. Motions will be filed, appeals made, and it all will throw sand in the gears of justice.

From reader Kick we got: "If [Trump] doesn't drop out of the GOP presidential race before the primaries, Trump will be left off ballots in some states in America citing Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution." We're going to agree with that one, although we would change it to read "some blue states...".

Ron DeSantis will jump into the Republican presidential race, as will: Mike Pence, Chris Christie, Larry Hogan, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Glenn Youngkin, and Mike Pompeo. Liz Cheney, however, will not run.

Joe Biden will run. If he doesn't have some major public stumble/embarrassment, he will not be seriously challenged by any prominent Democrat.

The war in Ukraine will drag on all year, but the Ukrainians will retake more ground and eventually cut off Russia's "land bridge" to Crimea.

And finally, Senator Dianne Feinstein will have some spectacular "senior moment" that makes her continuation in the Senate unthinkable. She will quietly be convinced to step down, and Gavin Newsom will replace her with... himself. Since he won't be able to challenge Biden in 2024, he'll figure that the Senate will be a better place to launch a presidential campaign in 2028 than as the governor of California.

OK, those are our guesses for the year. We wish all our readers a happy holiday season and a spectacular new year! And, as always, to end in true McLaughlin fashion, we now say to all of you:


-- Chris Weigant


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

2022 -- [Part 1]
2021 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
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


3 Comments on “My 2022 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 2]”

  1. [1] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    A Merry Christmas to everyone and a mea culpa...

    comments were turned off inadvertently, sorry!



  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Yeah, likely story ...

    I'm kidding. Merry Christmas to you, Chris and Mrs Weigant and the whole family!


  3. [3] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    A merry & happy to you and yours (incl quadrupeds).

    As one might say, looking at a year of your columns, thanks for the memories.

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