For four years running, I have taken advantage of the Thanksgiving Holiday to give out my awards for Turkey of the Year and Golden Drumsticks. The latter are for those who exemplify the best traits in our public sphere. The former are for those who exemplify silliness and stupidity. I rarely give them out to someone who is evil; they are reserved for those who regularly makes me shake my head and wonder what they’re thinking. It’s a sort of “thank you” for making blogging easier.
We’ll start with the Turkeys of the Year. For reference, the past winners are:
2007: Alberto Gonzalez, Nancy Pelosi, Hugo Chavez
2008: Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin’s critics, Hillary Clinton, Congress, Joe Biden
2009: MIke Steele, Glen Beck, the State Department, Sarah Palin, Andrew Sullivan.
2010: Janet Napolitano and TSA, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, MSNBC, Lower Merion Schools, California Voters:
For this year, I’m going with:
Nancy Pelosi: This is her third award in five years. Nancy is the gift that keeps on giving, even after you’ve tried to return it to the store. To steal a joke from Bill James’ glorious Historical Baseball Abstract, Nancy is a complete five-tool silly person. She can run silly, hit silly, throw silly, field silly and silly for power. She is silly to all fields. She can silly behind the runner as well as anyone, and you talk about pressure … man, you never saw a politician who was sillier in the clutch. She is the Albert Pujols of idiocy. This is a woman who was cornered in an interview with Jon Stewart, claiming the Democrats didn’t pass a budget because Republicans would’ve filibustered it (memo to the former Speaker: budget bills can’t be filibustered. You might remember this because you passed Obamacare as a budget bill.) This is a woman who thinks unemployments benefits will reduce the deficit. There is not a month that goes by without Pelosi saying something that makes the Right Wing roar with laughter.
The Republican Presidential Field: You know it’s been that kind of year when the winner of every Republican debate is Barack Obama. You know it’s been that kind of year when the highlights of Mitt Romney clinching the nomination doesn’t include footage of Mitt Romney. About a year from now, we’re going to look at the list of people who, at one time, led the polls — Donald Trump, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich — and wonder how the Party of Reagan went so wrong. Newt’s Fannie Mae and healthcare mandate past will soon doom his candidacy. I suspect Santorum will be the next flavor of the month. This will last until people remember that he’s Rick Santorum.
And, really Donald Trump deserves his own entry. None of us were fooled that he would really run for President. And he showed himself thoroughly unfit. To me, the iconic image of Trump was his stoney face while being roasted during the White House Press Corps dinner. Presidents need to be able to laugh at themselves. Reagan could. Both Bushes could. Clinton could. Obama can. Even Nixon could laugh at himself. Taking yourself so seriously is a sign that you belong nowhere near power.
Occupy Wall Street: This is painful because I had hopes for them. I think the issue that motivates them — entrenched corporate power and wealth — is legitimate. I think it’s appalling that the banks paid so small a price for so big a catastrophe. But they’ve ruined whatever good will they had with criminal and anarchistic behavior, vague or far Left demands and mindless provocation.
Let me put it this way. A few weeks ago, the Left was crowing because OWS had higher favorability numbers among the public than the Tea Party. They’re not crowing any more because the latest poll shows them as far less popular. It took the Tea Party two years to tire the public; it took OWS about two weeks. And that was with media coverage in their favor.
Anthony Weiner: I still can’t make up my mind which is stupider: texting pictures of your dick to strangers? Or lying about it and making fools of your political allies? He’ll be back, probably with a commentary gig on MSNBC or something.
The Eurozone: If we get into a second Great Depression, it will be because of these guys. Everyone knows what needs to be done. No one can do it. But at least we know that drinking bottled water may prevent dehydration.
Dishonorable Mention: Rush Limbaugh, Andrew Sullivan, Bill Maher, Kim Kardashian, Charlie Sheen, Harold Koh, the NBA, the NCAA, Paul Krugman, Robert Reich, Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Eric Holder and the ATF, the Supercommittee.
Now the Golden Drumsticks. Here are the past awards, the first round from WVR.
2007: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ron Paul, Barack Obama, David Petraeus, Juan Carlos, Burma’s monks
2008: US Military, Jeff Flake, Ron Paul, Republican Governors, Barack Obama
2009: The American Fighting Man, Kimberly Munley and Mark Todd, George W. Bush
2010: The Tea Party, Chris Christie, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the Next Wave of Republicans, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, The American Soldiers
Seal Team Six: The biggest story of 2011 may be their execution of Osama bin Laden, carried out with incredible skill and courage. And a big bite of this goes to Obama, who gave the order.
Mark Kelly: Gabby Giffords is not all the way back, yet. Her interview, inspiring as it was, shows some remaining cognitive and functional difficulties. But that she has come so far is a God-damned miracle. On the day she was shot, I was convinced we’d next see her in a coffin or a permanent vegetative state. A lot of the credit goes to her husband, who has been a class act and shown his wife a devotion that should make us all proud. Bonus points to the parents of little Christina Green, who refused to politicize the most tragic fatality of that awful day.
The Arab Spring: It may still all end in tears and Islamofascism. But let’s be hopeful: the protesters who shook or toppled regimes in Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are what OWS deludes themselves that they are: real people putting their lives in danger to oppose brutal powerful dictators.
The Technicians at Fukushima Daichii: They made mistakes early on, but they risked their lives and their health to try to deal with this disaster. And really, the entire nation of Japan deserves recognition for responding to one of the biggest natural disasters in history with resolve, hard work and dignity.
Honorable Mention: John Boehner, Paul Ryan, the students of Penn State, the Shuttle program, Peter Schiff, Reason magazine, Hillary Clinton.