EDITOR’S NOTE: We asked some family and friends to name their picks for best and worst political moments of 2005. Here’s what they came up with.
Worst political moment: The near instantaneous politicization of the response to Hurricane Katrina. The media’s ready acceptance of the proposition that all responsibility for the flawed response and recovery effort rested on President Bush’s shoulders and none of it with the hapless duo of Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin and the delusional race-mongering of Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, and their acolytes intimidated lawmakers from shining a long overdue spotlight on the unmitigated failure of Great Society “anti-poverty” programs in New Orleans and elsewhere.
–Michael G. Franc is vice president of government relations for the Heritage Foundation.
I cannot think of a worse political moment during the 2005 than the astounding behavior of two Alaska Republicans: Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Challenged to defend the indefensible $223 million project to run a bridge to an island populated by 50 people and an airport, Stevens exploded. “I don’t kid people,” he spat. “If the Senate decides to discriminate against our state . . . I will resign from this body.” His argument, apparently, is that if the federal government is going to squander money in other states, Alaskans have a right to insist on squandering it in their state. Viva the Republican Revolution! For his part, Young reacted to a proposal to redirect money for another wasteful bridge with the following: “They can kiss my ear! That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” Kiss my ear? Assuming Young could hear himself, his two sentences were contradictory.
–John Hood is president of the John Locke Foundation, a public policy think tank in Raleigh, N.C, and the author of Selling the Dream: Why Advertising is Good Business..
Best: Conservatives refusing to accept and ultimately defeating the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.
–Laura Ingraham hosts a nationally syndicated radio show.
Worst: Castro/Chavez lackey and coca farmer Evo Morales winning the Bolivian presidency. Not only are crack dealers everywhere doing a happy dance, but South America continues to melt into a pile of Marxist mush.
Probably the worst moment was whenever Howard Dean opened his mouth.
Best: Besides political progress in Iraq and Afghanistan, John Roberts sworn in as chief justice. Love the kids. Love the family. Love the justice. Love the president.
More seriously: The jury’s out, but I have a good feeling about the potential for the Roberts Court.
–Kathryn Jean Lopez is the editor of National Review Online.
Worst Hollywood racial demagoguery: Kanye West’s barely coherent Hurricane Katrina slam of President Bush.
Best fake hearings: The “Bush engineered 9/11″ crackpot-fest convened by Rep. Cynthia McKinney in July 2005.
Most cowardly Howard Dean moment: His failure to condemn the abuse heaped on former Pentagon adviser Richard Perle during their Portland debate in February 2005 (an antiwar protester threw a shoe at Perle and called him a “motherf**king liar” as the crowd cheered).
Worst troop-smearing by an elected Democrat: Tie between Dick “Troops at Gitmo=Soviets in the gulags” Durbin and John “Troops=terrorists” Kerry.
Worst smear of law-abiding Americans by an elected Republican: President Bush’s March 2005 attack on the Minutemen as “vigilantes.”
Worst MSM photo-shop of a Bush official: USA Today’s vandalism on Condi Rice’s eyes.
Worst photo-shop by an unhinged liberal: Hateblogger Steve Gilliard’s Sambo rendition of Maryland GOP Lt. Gov. Michael Steele.
–Michelle Malkin is a syndicated columnist and author of Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists Criminals & Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores. She blogs at michellemalkin.com.
Worst political moment: Anderson Cooper of CNN asking Sen. Mary Landrieu, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, “Who are you angry at?”
–John J. Miller is national political reporter for National Review and the author, most recently, of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America..
Best Political Moment of 2005: Republicans Scheduling Quick Vote on the Murtha Amendment and Forcing Democrats, Including Murtha, To Vote Against Pulling Troops Out of Iraq
Word Without Which Andrew Sullivan Could Not Write a Blog Item in 2005: Waterboarding
–John Podhoretz, a regular contributor to NRO’s “The Corner,” is a columnist for the New York Post and author of Bush Country: How Dubya Became a Great President While Driving Liberals Insane.
The worst political moment? There have been so many awful ones it’s hard to choose only one, but I would say that DNC Chairman Howard Dean’s announcement that the war in Iraq was unwinnable–on the eve of true democratic elections there that for the first time involved the Sunni–has to be the worst. Dean has shown time and again that he and the party he leads simply cannot be trusted on matters of national security or, indeed, any other matters of any level of importance at all. To the contrary, the Dean Democrats can be counted on to throw al Qaeda a rhetorical lifeline at every major turning point in this war.
–Bryan Preston is a writer and television producer. He is also the author of Junkyardblog.
The best moment of 2005: Seeing an increase in federal revenues that proves once again that reductions in taxes on capital create economic growth, which creates more revenues
–Veronique de Rugy is a research scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
My best is obviously the spread of democracy in the Middle East. The fact that this story hasn’t defined 2005 is I think a testament to the tenacity with which the media oppose Bush’s foreign policy.
–Stephen Spruiell reports on the media for National Review Online’s new media blog.