Tag: Newt Gingrich

The January Surprise

For those wondering ,”Where is Herman?” I guess he is out of the dog house with his wife (his charge cards are maxed out at Tiffany’s, even with the Newt discount), so he has now decided to make himself relevant again.

For those that watched the video, did Herman goose that lady in the red top? Old habits die hard. But more importantly , is there any significance to be gleaned from the fact that when Herman came on stage, he greeted everyone except Newt? No eye contact, no hand shake, no words, no acknowledgement at all that he was even on stage, this seemed odd to me. Yeah, he made up for it later.

Naturally, the timing was propitious given the latest Florida poll results. A Newt victory there would be put Romney clearly on the mat.

The text of the speech seemed a bit odd to me as well. A 7 minute endorsement speech and all we know about Newt is that he is a patriot, not afraid of bold ideas, and he cares, that is all the qualifications he can come up with? I thought the Edmund Burke/evil reference was also misplaced. The cavalier throwing of the word “evil” around is just as bad as going to the racist well all the time. Nothing is gained with this tactic, and much is lost.

I’ve decided that, as much as I liked Herman in the past and how much he has brought to the Republican table, I hope he goes the Sarah Palin route, makes lots of bank selling books and speaking fees, but stays out of politics. I don’t even want him as a VP nod and think there are much better more qualified people (Marco, I’m looking at you).

So will this endorsement help Newt with a Florida win?

Obligatory Newt Debate Post

I have already seen many, many people, mostly on the left, in the media, but not limited to them only, complain about how unfair they find it that people reacted positively to Newt Gingrich slapping down the CNN reporter that started last nights Carolina Republican debate with the question about an interview done with Newt’s disgruntled ex-wife that was done by ABC, very likely to be aired post Carolina primary to function as a hit piece, but which got derailed by Drudge’s early mention of ABCs plans to do just that. The talking point from these members of the fifth column is that this was a legitimate question for any serious reporter to ask. So those that like me reveled in Newt slapping King down, or as the members of the LSM now all say, “deflecting” the blame to the poor reporter doing his job while not answering, miss the point completely.

It’s not whether this was a legitimate question or not: it is. It’s the fact that these scumbags in the LSM that now are trying to hide behind the excuse that they where just doing their job and reporting on news, seem to ONLY care about these sorts of “legitimate” questions when the target, and yes, have no doubt Newt was a target of this hit piece, are republicans. If you doubt this I recommend you go look at how the members of the LSM treated much larger scandalous information that make the whole Newt wanted an open marriage deal look tame, in the past. Let’s start with the 1992 elections. Bill Clinton was accused of raping someone. They gave him a fluff question he could knock out the park, and declared the matter closed. The woman accusing him was basically dismissed as trailer trash and not credible.

Fast forward to 1996. We now have confirmation Clinton is a sex fiend, after it became obvious, despite LSM’s attempts to cover for him, that he was diddling chubby interns and groping anything in a skirt. It’s now obvious that the accusation the media so nonchalantly dismissed in 1992 as false was dead on. Did they do a 180 and hammer Clinton? Fuck, they defended him. The accused everyone that dared point out Clinton was a liar and had lied under oath when questioned about this and other things, of actually being sexual prudes that were pissed Clinton was getting himself “some, some”, and dismissed this all as just stuck up shitbags making a mountain out of a molehill.

Skip the next guy, which the esteemed members of the DNC’s fifth column tried to demonize & destroy, and let’s not forget that in addition to parroting whatever bullshit lines the DNC spoke as factual some of them even got caught making up shit about Bush’s TANG service, before an election of all cases, to the 2008 election. Remember John Edwards and how interested the LSM was in his martial infidelities before the National Inquirer, a gossip rag, basically did the story its due diligence and forced the LSM to finally report on how big of a scumbag their glided hair boy was? Yeah, they avoided the story and made excuses for the guy. Though questions? Yeah, right.

And let us not forget the two other players in that election. They not only covered for the first one, they basically chose to protect him by focusing all their might on digging up any kind of dirt they could find on the VP of the other party. They got that unqualified asswipe elected to the office of the POTUS – we all know from the last 3 years how disastrous that unvetted and inexperienced marxist empty suit has been for the country – and continue even today with their insane obsession of Palin.

See the pattern yet? If you do, you understand why people like me cheered Newt for slapping down the LSM. Because despite their claim to just be doing their job, it is pretty evident to those of us that don’t have our heads firmly up our asses, that these members of the LSM seem to believe their job is to dig up dirt and attack republicans, and republicans only. If the dirt is bad enough to torpedo a democrat, they ignore or minimize it. It isn’t until recently, when the blogosphere deprived the LSM of their much abused ability to control the news and kill any damaging stories that could hurt their DNC counterparts – like the Wiener showing his wiener incident which did not go away and ended costing Weiner his job – that we finally got a break. And it is even more refreshing to see someone, even if it is someone like Gingrich, which most of us conservatives don’t feel is anything close to an ideal, let alone good candidate, finally fighting back.

Conservatives, and especially anyone that wants to be a conservative politician, need to learn that the LSM is the enemy, one that will never give them a fair shake when it counts, and that they need to be treated it as such. When they do their hit piece on conservatives call them out on it. Do not play their game. Point out the double standard. The more national exposure the podium the do this on, the more valuable the event to educate people about the fact the members of the fifth column are more interested in doing the left’s dirty work then report news. That’s the reason why so many, like me, where ecstatic and celebrated when Newt did just something like that, and pointed out the excuse that they where just doing their job when they pull these kinds of hit pieces on republicans only, was bullshit.

Get it yet?

Perry Out, Marianne In

Things got interesting for Camp Newt today. He is apparently surging in the South Carolina polls. Rick Perry dropped out and endorsed him. And, as Rich noted below, wife Number 2 is set to give a TV interview dishing on all his personal scumbaggery. I’ll let Rich’s post address the Marianne Ginrich thing, but I thought I’d post a quick thought on Perry.

This is not unexpected and I think his withdrawal speech was actually one of his better campaign moments. Looking back, I’m not sure Perry really wanted to be President. He liked the attention, but he always seemed to be fine with the idea of just going back to Texas. In this environment, I’d frankly rather be Governor of Texas, too. At least I’d have access to Austin barbecue.

The Ex Wife Gets Her Shot

I had no idea there was so many chubby chasers, and that Newt was such a stud with the ladies:

Newt Gingrich’s second ex-wife says the former House Speaker lacks the ‘moral character’ to be President.
In an interview with ABC’s Brian Ross that was recorded last week and which will air in its entireity on television Thursday evening, Marianne Gingrich claims her husband asked her for an “open marriage.”
“I said to him, ”We’ve been married a long time,’, and he said, ‘Yes, but you want me all to yourself. Calista (Gingrich’s current wife) doesn’t care what I do,’ said Marianne Gingrich in a clip released Thursday morning. “He was asking to have an open marriage, and I refused,” she said.

Is anybody else’s “icky” meter going off the charts?

I learned a long time ago that love knows what it wants and that there is no accounting for tastes. I figure when two lonely people find each other and a bond develops, good for them. But clearly, when someone gets thrown under the bus and gets dumped for another woman, praises about Newt will not be sung.

I admit that I have not kept up on all the salacious goings on with Newt and his love life (talk about a bizzaro world, who’d a thought Newt’s scandals with his women friends would be grist for the election mill?)

It also brings up that whole “The LSM is in bed and complicit with the dems in their bid to hold power” mime. Obviously this was selectively targeted to run during Newt’s high water mark, just like the Rather National Guard story, and the Bush’s drunk driving arrests, timely leaked for expediency purposes. But does this prove that the LSM fears Newt? Haven’t they been telling us all along that the dems would love to run against Newt because he is such damaged goods? Haven’t the polls shown that Newt does worse head to head then Romney?

It’s hard to keep the players straight without a scorecard, but I’m thinking (palm meets forehead) that any GOP scandal, even involving a low level staffer, would be welcome and run as a big time piece.

I know Newt has used his conjugal improprieties as his Come To Jesus moment, no one puts much stock in a spurned ex wife and the dirt she peddles, you could even argue that no one believes the LSM anyway, but this can’t be good for Newt. People don’t like marriage hucksters, and showing bad judgement in the past does not build confidence for showing good judgement in the future.

An Active Newt

This is one of many reasons why I don’t think Newt Gingrich should be President:

Newt Gingrich says as president he would ignore Supreme Court decisions that conflicted with his powers as commander in chief, and he would press for impeaching judges or even abolishing certain courts if he disagreed with their rulings.

“I’m fed up with elitist judges” who seek to impose their “radically un-American” views, Gingrich said Saturday in a conference call with reporters.

In recent weeks, the Republican presidential contender has been telling conservative audiences he is determined to expose the myth of “judicial supremacy” and restrain judges to a more limited role in American government. “The courts have become grotesquely dictatorial and far too powerful,” he said in Thursday’s Iowa debate.

Newt Gingrich is supposed to be a smart man. He tells us this often enough. But the more I hear him, the more I become convinced that he’s a blowhard — the Republican answer to Algore. He’s more interested in sounded smart than being smart. And this statement is perfect illustration — it sounds erudite but it is historically, legally and constitutionally wrong.

First, the SCOTUS docket has been shrinking for decades and is well under a hundred cases a year. This is out of more than 10,000 petitions. It is very rare for a case to be even heard by the Court, least of all overturned.

Second, the Court has shown a depressing tendency in recent years to side with government. In the last few years, for example, they have decided that apartments can be searched without a warrant based on the smell of marijuana; that prosecutors can not be sued for burying exculpatory evidence; that the sound of a toilet flushing justifies a search. They have upheld things like asset forfeiture, campaign finance restrictions and eminent domain.

I have said this before and it is worth repeating: an activist court is not necessarily a bad thing. The Heller decision, which recognized an individual right to bear arms, was one of the most activist decision in recent history. Lawrence v. Texas was a good activist decision, in my opinion. Safford v. Redding was a good activist decision. Had the Court decided against eminent domain abuse in Kelo or for state’s rights in Raich — and I believe they should have done both — it would have been very activist. If they overturn Obamacare, that will be one of the most activist decision in history.

(When pressed on the latter point, Newt waffled. It’s possible — likely even — that even Newt doesn’t believe the shit that’s coming out of his mouth and is just playing to the base. That’s almost worse.)

Newt also shows (or mimics) a fundamental misunderstanding about how our government is supposed to work. All three branches — executive legislative and judiciary — takes oaths to the Constitution. All three are bound to protect our liberty. Newt does have one point — the Supreme Court is not supposed to be the ultimate arbiter of our Constitution rights. But he missed the bigger point: all three branches are supposed to protect our rights. We’ve forgotten this because our legislatures have gotten too used to passing laws that they hope the Court will overturn. We’ve forgotten this because Constitutional questions about laws are usually waved off with a “the courts will decide”. But this tendency — which I call playing Russian Roulette with the Constitution — is a dangerous and pathetic dereliction of duty. The legislature is supposed to judge every law and refuse to pass it if they believe it is unconstitutional. The President is supposed to veto an unconstitutional law and, in extreme situations, refuse to enforce it (assert forfeiture comes to mind). The Courts, seen in this light, are not exercising “judicial supremacy”. They are our last line of defense.

A conservative, a scholar, a strict constructionist, a Republican — should be aware of this; should respect it. That the Republican front-runner will not or can not respect the sometimes maddening, often frustrating but always essential system of checks and balances is troubling.

The history of ignoring the Court is an extremely ugly one. Newt cites Lincoln for ignoring Dred Scott. But Lincoln also ignored Ex Parte Merryman and imprisoned people in violation of habeas — an ominous precedent given what Congress just passed. Jackson ignored the Court when he sent thousand of Cherokee to die on the Trail of Tears. And let’s face it: what this is really about is Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. What this is really about — and Newt says it pretty explicitly — is the bogus and dangerous neoconservative idea that the President should have basically unlimited authority when we are at war — especially in a war that has no foreseeable end. (Here is the late great Hitchens on that).

Newt is falling back in the polls right now. He deserves to. Either he is dangerous or pretending to be. Either way, he doesn’t belong anywhere near the White House.

Paul? Maybe

If you thought the Republican establishment was having kittens over the possibility of Gingrich winning Iowa, they are *really* having kittens over Ron Paul potentially winning Iowa. Despite his closeness in the polls, every commentary I’ve seen recently has been of the “he has zero chance” variety, even to the point where Chris Wallace has said that if Paul wins Iowa, it won’t count. David Frum unleashed a hard-hitting and factually questionable critique. Rush Limbaugh bizarrely said he is the only candidate who would lose to Obama. And the vitriol that flowed against his inveighing against a war on Iran was fierce.

I think it’s very possible that Ron Paul will win Iowa. In fact, I hope he does. If nothing else, watching every commentator — liberal or conservative — shit their pants would be fun. If nothing else, watching them trying to declare a second-place Gingrich or a third-place Romney the “real winner” would be fun.

I’ve liked Paul since he became a national figure in 2008. One thing he has that few have is consistency. Even liberals respect his integrity on the issues. Granted, sometimes he is consistently looney. But his opposition to war, big government and the War on Drugs; his support for basic civil liberties and strict interpretation of the Constitution is sometimes a joy to hear. It is telling that the GOP field has moved heavily in his direction. At last Saturday’s debate, several candidates sited him as having taught them about various issues.

Now should he be the nominee? Andrew Sullivan, of all people, makes the best argument here. Sample quote:

I regard this primary campaign as the beginning of a process to save conservatism from itself. In this difficult endeavor, Paul has kept his cool, his good will, his charm, his honesty and his passion. His scorn is for ideas, not people, but he knows how to play legitimate political hardball. Look at his ads – the best of the season so far. His worldview is too extreme for my tastes, but it is more honestly achieved than most of his competitors, and joined to a temperament that has worn well as time has gone by.

I feel the same way about him on the right in 2012 as I did about Obama in 2008. Both were regarded as having zero chance of being elected. And around now, people decided: Why not? And a movement was born. He is the “Change You Can Believe In” on the right. If you are an Independent and can vote in a GOP primary, vote Paul. If you are a Republican concerned about the degeneracy of the GOP, vote Paul. If you are a citizen who wants more decency and honesty in our politics, vote Paul. If you want someone in the White House who has spent decades in Washington and never been corrupted, vote Paul.

That’s about as good a case as anyone has made. But .. you know … I kind of agree with the critics. While his supporters are passionate, his broad appeal is almost non-existent. Nominating Paul could mean you’ve basically conceded the election (in fact, I would argue that the withdrawal of reasonable options like Daniels, Christie, Pawlenty and Huckabee indicates the GOP already has conceded the election).

Now maybe that’s OK if what we’re looking for is a exorcism. The demons afflicting the GOP — big government conservatism, culture war orthodoxy, overly aggressive foreign policy, selective Constitutional adherence, and a pathological hatred of all things Democrat — need to go before they get power back. Tonight’s debate featured calls from the GOP candidates for war in Iran, gutting of the judiciary, deep tax cuts while the deficit explodes, a Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage and other nuttery. And of course, they tossed out every calumny they could think of for the President, deserved or not. In 2008, Paul was on the fringe. Now, compared to these jokers, he looks reasonable.

However … Paul has baggage: his nutty ideas about the gold standard, his support of the Constitution Party in 2008, and especially his association with Lew Rockwell and some racially-charged things Rockwell said in Paul’s newsletter. Here’s what Lee said back in 2008:

I’m beginning to view Ron Paul in much the same way I viewed Jack Kervorkian, a man whose ideas I fundamentally agree with but who I think is the wrong standard-bearer for them.

I still think that’s the case. If Paul is the nominee, all of these issues will come out. And his response last time was disappointing, to say the least.

Moreover, election 2012 is not just about fixing the GOP. While it’s likely that Obama will be re-elected — Americans hate to throw out incumbents — it’s by no means certain. And we have to treat the GOP field as though it contains the next President and act accordingly.

That’s why my favorite at this point is John Huntsman. He many of Paul’s strengths but fewer of his weaknesses. He doesn’t needlessly bash Democrats but opposes their ideas. He accepts that global warming may be real but opposes radical plans for fixing it. He’s conservative in his personal life but more tolerant in his politics. He has foreign policy experience and a tax plan that would eliminate all deductions. True, his campaign has been spectacularly poor — he’s currently polling slightly lower among Republicans than Nancy Pelosi would. But he’s the better option, in my opinion.

If Paul wins Iowa or finishes close, this thing is going to go a long time. I still think Romney will win the end. He’s weathered bubbles from Perry, Bachmann and Cain so far. I can’t believe the Gingrich bubble will last or that the Paul bubble is ultimately sustainable. But if it drags out long enough, we may be looking at a brokered convention.

And in that case, anything can happen.

A Made-Up People

The Saturday Night Debate was a little more interesting than the previous debates have been. It was mostly between Gingrich and Romney. But while Romney easily punched out Bachmann, Cain and Perry, Gingrich got in some roundhouses of his own. Those of us who remember Gingrich’s vitriol from the 90’s (I grew up next to his district and have met him) were not surprised. He can be vicious, which is why he wore out his welcome at the top of the GOP so quickly.

But apart from the fireworks, Romney’s cringe-inducing $10,000 bet and Newt’s line about why Romney is in the private sector, the clip below has the most substantive thing of the night. It’s an exchange over Newt calling the Palestinians a “made-up people”.

I side with Romney (and Ron Paul). This is Newt, once again, bomb-throwing to try to demonstrate his supposed intellectual prowess.

First, as Romney noted, there are things you don’t say even if they’re true. As it is with life, so it is with diplomacy. You don’t tell your wife her dress makes her look fat, you don’t tell your boss his toupee looks stupid and you don’t tell a poor and embittered people they’re a “made-up people”. Even if it were true — and I’ll get to that — it’s just going to make a bad situation worse.

Newt cites the precedent of Reagan calling the Soviet Union an “evil empire”. But that was far smarter than what Gingrich said. The Soviet Union was powerful nuclear power, not a stateless mass of refugees. And while the hard-core Soviet didn’t care what Reagan said, the less hard-core did. In D’Souza’s biography of Reagan, he recounts Gorbachev meeting with Reagan and expressing concern not that Reagan had called them an evil empire, but concern that they might be one. It stung Gorbachev, especially because he knew it was true. Reagan’s words were a smack to a fellow superpower, not a smack-down of a people already enraged.

Does Newt think the Palestinians are going to have such a moment when they realize they are a “made up people”? Of course not. And that brings me to my second point: Newt is factually wrong.

First of all, people get to designate themselves. If the Palestinians think they are a real people, then … they are. There were no Americans until 1776 (and some would argue until 1865). There were no East Timorese until 2002. We’ve seen a massive bloody war resulting for the Russians insisting there were no such people as Chechens. Iraq and Turkey have problem with people calling themselves Kurds. All peoples are made up. A “people” is just a group if individuals who have decided to call themselves something.

This applies doubly so to the Middle East. As P.J. O’Rourke said, the nations of the Middle East are not nations as we know them but more like tribal squabbles with borders. All of the countries in Arabia are made up, carved out of the Ottomon Empire with borders drawn by French and British officials and nations created to give various royal people something to rule.

And Palestine — or something like it — was supposed to be part of this. The mandate that created Israel also created an Arab state. It wasn’t called Palestine but that’s effectively what it was. That the nation was not allowed to exist by Jordan is irrelevant. They didn’t want Israel to exist either but Israel had support.

What does Gingrich want the Palestinians to call themselves? Israelis? They’ll turn Israel into a majority-Muslim state in a generation. Jordanians? Egyptians? They don’t want them. They have to call themselves Palestinians because they can’t call themselves anything else. Nobody will let them.

(The points Gingrich makes about bombing and rocketing are a different debate. Getting the Palestinians to abandon terrorism and recognize Israel’s right to exist — sorry, I have to pause a moment to get over the likelihood of that — is a different matter. There are many nations that do not recognize Israel’s right to exist and support terrorism. We oppose those nations, but we don’t pretend they don’t exist.)

The more I see of Gingrich, the less I like the idea of him being the nominee. He’s bombastic. He says things that inflame the base but poison politics. His “private sector experience” was mostly lobbying for health care and banking interests. He’s formerly supported cap and trade and a healthcare mandate. He’s basically Mitt Romney without the looks or demeanor.

It’s telling that the more I watch these debates, the more reasonable Ron Paul seems. The more I watch, the more I like John Hunstman. I want to throw out for discussion what I said on Twitter during the debate. Look at the slate right now — Paul, Gingrich, Perry, Romney, Bachmann, Santorum. Let’s thrown in Hunstman and Johnson too. Is there anyone up there who excited you for any reason other than “he’s not Barack Obama”?

Some Choice

Oh boy, Mitt or Newt, just shoot me now.

The most important election in our lifetime, at least that is what everyone is saying, is turning into the most dreaded, ambivalent, narcoleptic election in our history.
As it stands now, barring some miracle where the party described as too dumb to live comes to it’s senses and drafts someone capable of turning the bus around, we get a choice between a shit sandwich and a poop sandwich.

Romney, who is more McCain then John McCain ( and who is dumb enough to think this is a compliment) has finally decided that this is a street fight and not a coronation. And Newt, who has:
1) Wiped his ass with the Constitution at every turn, giving (or aiding) the federal government authority (education, law enforcement, foreign aid) no where authorized by the Constitution, and, who while in office said “The American challenge in leading the world is compounded by our Constitution,” he said. “Under our [constitutional system] – either we’re going to have to rethink our Constitution, or we’re going to have to rethink our process of decision-making.”

2) Who after leading high five’s all around with his Contract With America, according to CATO :

“the combined budgets of the 95 major programs that the Contract With America promised to eliminate have increased by 13%.” Crane also pointed out, “Over the past three years the Republican-controlled Congress has approved discretionary spending that exceeded Bill Clinton’s requests by more than $30 billion.”

3) Who was the only Speaker in history who got sanctioned (Yeah, considering that Pelosi was not imprisoned makes this charge hollow, I admit, but the simple fact that he was forced to pay a 300K fine and lost the respect and support of fellow GOP’ers indicates some wrong doing on his part).

4) And probably the most damaging, he has proved himself the ultimate Washington insider, prostituting his services to the highest bidder (Fannie/Freddie, and the ethanol lobby),and paling around with enemy for personal (monetary) gain (Gore, Pelosi, Sharpton)

Here his George Will’s take on our sour predicament, he thinks Newt would have made a marvelous Marxist.

And here is Mitt’s new ad, deciding it is time to start swinging:

Personally I think we should make Daniel Hannan an American citizen immediately and draft him.

Backing Off the War

Our War on Drugs is getting stupider and more corrupting by the minute. But … there may be some people out there who are not so dumb.

Flanked by former prisoners being trained at a food kitchen in Camden, [New Jersey Governor Chris] Christie called for expanding the state’s Drug Court Program — which offers non-violent drug addicts treatment and counseling rather than prison sentences — by making it mandatory for certain offenders.

About 8 percent of those who participate in the drug courts, which are available statewide and accept about 1,400 new participants each year, are convicted again — as compared to 43 percent of drug offenders released from prison, statistics show. Also, drug court participants cost taxpayers about $11,379 a year, as opposed to the $38,900 for the average prison inmate.

Through an executive order, Christie also created a task force that will, for the first time, coordinate the state’s programs to help prisoners return to normal life.

“We’re not giving people the skills they need, and we’re not giving them the treatment they need to overcome some of the problems that led them to crime in the first place,” Christie told a small crowd at Cathedral Kitchen in Camden, which serves food to the city’s poor and needy.

I have thought for some time that if we are ever going to end the War on Drugs, the impetus for it has to come from the Right. Democrats are too spineless to expose themselves politically. Only Nixon could go to China. Only Clinton could reform welfare. Only Republicans can back off a war on our own people.

Note particularly the cost savings. The Drug War is fucking expensive. Prisons, guards, cops — they cost money. People who go from smoking a joint to full-time criminality cost money and deprive us of working taxpayers. Treating people’s addictions is both cheaper and more effective.

Even the current GOP front-runner, a notorious drug warrior who thinks we should model our policies off of Singapore and drug test for federal benefits, is starting to get the hint.

It has always struck me that if you’re serious about trying to stop drug use, then you need to find a way to have a fairly easy approach to it and you need to find a way to be pretty aggressive about insisting–I don’t think actually locking up users is a very good thing. I think finding ways to sanction them and to give them medical help and to get them to detox is a more logical long term policy.

The day we realize that this country’s drug problem is, first and foremost, a medical problem, we will have taken a step back from the abyss. It’s good to see that a few people are starting to get it.

Turkeys and Drumsticks 2011

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

For 2011:

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.

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