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Every year since college, my best friend Dan and I have submitted our best observations on a wide range of topics that reflect on the year that has just expired. We follow the well established template of The McLaughlin Group program. Here are my reflections on 2012.
Biggest Winner of the Year Bureaucrats. From the tens of thousands of IRS agents hired to enforce "free healthcare", to the agencies charged with writing upwards of 20,000 new regulations on every sector of (formerly) private industry, the otherwise moribund real estate market should see a boom in DC and environs in 2013 with all those government workers and their well compensated union bosses.
Biggest Loser of the Year Taxpayers. Between Obamacare, the fiscal cliff debacle, the anticipated expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts, and sequestration blowing massive unanticipated holes in state and municipal budgets around the country - we are SO screwed in 2013. There is no excuse for not getting a deal done. The only silver lining to this whole debacle is that we are actually forcing some spending cuts - a start on what NEEDS to be done. Honorable Mentions: Seniors reliant on Medicare. The $700+ BILLION stolen from that program to pay for Obamacare will inevitably lead to rationed care for our growing senior population. Also, John Boehner. Rarely in our lifetimes have we seen a Speaker of the House so politically damaged. Also, the economy.
Best Politician of the Year Clearly this goes to Barack Obama. Unemployment never dipped below 7.8% in his first term. His approval ratings hovered just above 40%. Foreign policy was an embarrassment. The economy is a disaster. There is no hope for a recovery any time soon. And yet he was 100% successful in demonizing his opponents, affixing blame on anyone else, and absolutely devastating the opposition party with a far superior ground game. The election he shouldn't have won became the election he couldn't lose.
Worst Politician of the Year Todd Akin. He may have swung every close election nationwide away from Conservatives.
Most Defining Moment Election night. And not because Obama won reelection. Rather, it was a strong reminder that we remain a center right nation. The president won reelection by a mere 370,000 total votes in 8 swing states, giving him an electoral landslide but a very slight majority in the popular vote.
Best Spin of the Year Mitt Romney as effective manager, CEO and philanthropist. Wish that he would have continued that storyline instead of retreating into relative privacy toward the end.
Most Boring Person or Story of the Year The faux outrage about the fake plight of fraudulent student activist Sandra Fluke. Enough said about her. Forever. Please.
Most Charismatic Person of the Year Mia Love, who barely lost her bid to unseat 6 term incumbent and phony Blue Dog Democrat Jim Matheson in Utah. At a mere 37 years old, she lit the conservative world on fire, starting at CPAC and culminating in a home run performance at the Republican National Convention. Her magnetic personality, combined with her strong fiscal conservative stance makes for a very bright future for this up and coming star.
Bummest Rap of the Year The War on Women. The real war on women is being waged by the central planners and statists who are destroying the economy upon which women rely.
Fairest Rap of the Year Obamacare as unconstitutional. The sophistic gymnastics employed by Chief Justice Roberts to squeeze out a favorable ruling on the individual mandate have been known to induce vertigo.
Best Comeback of the Year Right to work laws. Despite the blue wave, more states decided that forcing workers to join unions regardless of their individual desire just isn't right.
Most Original Thinker of the Year Rand Paul. A visionary with a strong voice who is able to boil down big problems to understandable sound bites. Senator Paul shows the boldness and independence to come up with common sense solutions that can attract converts to conservatism.
Most Stagnant Thinker of the Year Harry Reid. It's been over 1,300 days since the Senate passed a federal budget. Do. Your. Job.
Best Photo Op of the Year The mile-long lines of cars outside of Chik-Fil-A drive thrus, supporting a private business owner for having the temerity to express a conservative thought in public. Whether you agree with him or not, the leftist attacks revealed liberals, once again, to be the least tolerant people on the planet. Support for the First Amendment remains alive and well.
Worst Photo Op of the Year The endless visits by President Obama to burger joints across America, flying in the face of his wife's attempts to "improve" America's eating habits. See, e.g. http://obamaeatingburgers.tumblr.com/
Enough Already "The Tea Party is dead!!" How many times has the eulogy been written? We continue to reshape the debate in DC and state capitols alike, and we continue to reshape the Republican Party. It's a long process, there will be moments of disappointment along the way, but we're not going anywhere anytime soon.
Worst Lie of the Year "My plan will not raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 per year." Right...
Capitalist of the Year [award suspended until at least 2016]
Person of the Year Sandy Hook Elementary School Teacher Vicki Soto and Principal Dawn Hochsprung. Their heroic and selfless actions in the face of unspeakable horror will forever be stamped on our hearts.
Destined for Political Stardom Paul Ryan. I predict that he will buck the trend of Vice President candidates and have a long, successful career as a conservative standard bearer.
Destined for Political Oblivion The old guard of the Republican Party. The past 3 elections: 2008, 2010, and 2012 - have shown that when we try it the old way, we lose. When we choose bold leaders who stand on principle, we win.
Best Political Theater of the Year Ok maybe not the best, but certainly the most edge-of-the-seat, nailbiting, suspense filled theater - the reading of the Obamacare ruling. Going from the individual mandate being ruled unconstitutional, as expected, to it being redefined as a constitutional tax was a bigger shock than the worst horror movie ever conceived.
Worst Political Theater of the Year Susan Rice speaking at the UN General Assembly.
Most Underreported Story Benghazi; Fast and Furious; Hilary Clinton's unexplained absences from the political main stage; the true costs of Obamacare; the purge of Conservatives from committee posts by Speaker Boehner; thousands of taxpayers - especially high earners - Going Galt and dropping out of an increasingly absurd society; the pending death of the legacy media ...
Most Overreported Story The myth of America as a class-dominated society. Can we please dispense with "income inequality"? A free market produces unlimited income mobility. Every person has the opportunity to succeed, if they have the will. Please stop beating us over the head with the idea that somehow American society is unjust.
Biggest Government Waste There are so many ... so, so, so many ... the most insulting of which may be the incessant and extravagant personal vacations of the First Family on the taxpayers' dime.
Best Government Dollar Spent None.
Boldest Political Tactic of the Year Barack Obama's reelection campaign sticking with their ground game strategy. They had every reason to panic in September and October, as many polls showed Romney overtaking them in the polls, but they knew they had the ace in the hole with their ground game.
Best Idea of 2012 Taking full advantage of our energy resources in Shale Oil deposits. A rare industry that is growing despite all of the rotten policies coming out of DC that restrain free enterprise.
Worst Idea of 2012 The notion that asking those making over $1 million in salary to pay higher taxes will solve our budget woes. Raising rates to 100% would fund our government for 8 days.
Sorry To See You Go Andrew Breitbart. A toast, sir, to the man who showed us all how to reinvent the media to be more responsive and more responsible.
Turncoat of the Year This award will henceforth be retired and awarded to Chief Justice John Roberts in perpetuity.
Most Honest Person of the Year FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe: "Sometimes you have to defeat the Republicans before you can defeat the Democrats."
Most Overrated Person, Event, or Story of 2012 Karl Rove. His reputation as "The Architect", and the utter failure that was American Crossroads, have permanently ruined any political future.
Most Underrated Person, Event or Story of 2012 The federal debt having exceeded 100% of US GDP. Seriously, why aren't taxpayers more panicked about this?
Grade The Planet With the European economy imploding, four straight years of $1 Trillion + budget deficits, unemployment showing no signs of ever recovering, statist governments expanding and freedom waning across the globe, and America declining in every measure of economic strength and freedom, it is difficult to find hope in the short term. I give it a C -, and it's only that high because you cannot deny the innate desire of every individual to know liberty.
Macroprediction The next four years may be the most difficult ever experienced in our national history.