Columns

2019 Year in Review: McLaughlin Style

Former special counsel Robert Mueller arrives to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 24, 2019, before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on his report on Russian election interference. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Every year since college, my best friend Dan and I have compiled 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. We lost the venerable John McLaughlin in 2016, but the 2018 reboot of the program, hosted by Tom Rogan, features the familiar roundtable of guest talking heads to discuss the issues of the day. It is in this spirit that I offer my reflections on 2019.

Biggest Winner of the Year

Clearly it’s Donald Trump. The impeachment process – which began before he even took office – is an obvious partisan sham. Barring an economic downturn, this will cement his reelection, and possibly lead to the GOP retaking the house.

Biggest Loser of the Year

House Democrats. Under Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, they have obsessed so much over impeachment that they have completely failed to pass any meaningful legislation that would benefit the American people.

Best Politician of the Year

Mitch McConnell, who helped President Trump completely remake the federal judiciary. When you can legitimately claim to have retooled the 9th Circuit Court, that’s a serious accomplishment.

The Worst Politician of the Year Award

So many to choose from, it’s hard to narrow it down. This has to be a group award this year – the entire primary field for the Democratic nomination for president. Not an original thought or a consensus builder among them, as they fight relentlessly to lurch further to the left. It’s almost as if they’re trying to lose.

Most Defining Moment of the Year

Robert Mueller’s report and subsequent congressional testimony that revealed him as nothing more than a doddering old fool. What a waste of time, money, and the nation’s attention.

Best Spin of the Year

Actor Jussie Smollett creating a hoax about a hate crime by MAGA-hat-wearing racists in Chicago, in a desperate attempt to avoid being fired from the TV show on which he had a part. This move took what a urologist might refer to as chutzpah.

Most Boring Politician(s) of the Year

Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg. These two billionaires have proven that one can’t simply buy one’s way into the White House, especially if the campaign platform involves lecturing American voters on how they conduct their daily lives.

Most Charismatic Politician of the Year

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump clearly knows how to use his charisma and personality to get people to pay attention to him. He continues to lead the mainstream media and the DNC – but I repeat myself – around by the nose with his Twitter account.

Bummest Rap of the Year

The mindless attacks on The Salvation Army and their so-called homophobia.

Fairest Rap of the Year

Democrats can get away with anything with no repercussions in the media. Chief example: Virginia Governor Ralph Northam surviving the scandal of appearing in photos in blackface in college. The Washington Post took the time to exonerate him recently due to his “year of penance.” Barf. The mainstream media has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the DNC.

Best Comeback

The Far Side. After 25 years, Gary Larson teased a return late in 2019, and has begun publishing collections of classic strips on thefarside.com.

Most Original Thinker

Comedian Dave Chappelle, who used the time-honored method of making fun of everyone in his Netflix special, not just those deemed acceptable targets by the PC police, social justice warriors, and cancel culture.

Honorable Mention: The Babylon Bee, which has mastered the art of satire, to hilarious effect.

Most Stagnant Thinker

I’d nominate Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler, but I’d have to see evidence of thought first.

Best Photo Op

Protesters in Hong Kong waving American flags and singing the National Anthem of the United States.

Worst Photo Op

Eric Swalwell, “presidential” “candidate.” Damn near everything, really, but his bout of flatulence on live cable TV really encapsulated his entire year.

Honorable Mention: The Obamas buying a mansion seven feet from the coast on Martha’s Vineyard despite years of railing about manmade global warming.

Enough, Already (also known as the “Shut Up and Get Out Award”)

Can we just shut down the unconstitutional, extra-legal, irrevocably corrupted, and tyrannical FISA Court already?

Worst Lie of the Year

Every on-screen appearance by Jim Acosta. Goodness, just go away already.

Honorable Mention: Colin Kaepernick’s supporters continuing to claim that a conspiracy is keeping him out of the NFL.

Capitalist of the Year

Every online streaming service. Whether it’s podcasts, binging on TV shows, movies, or new content, the world has been transformed by on-demand entertainment and information choices. This has blown up the old model of cable television permanently and is threatening terrestrial radio. Like social media a decade ago, streaming gives today’s consumers access to exponentially more choice in entertainment and news. Bonus: BABY YODA!

Person of the Year

The Hong Kong protesters. Loud protests against governmental malfeasance broke out across the globe in 2019, notably in France, Sudan, Venezuela, and others. But none captured the spirit of personal liberty as laid down in the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution quite like the Hong Kong protests. Indeed, they cited the United States of America as their inspiration to create a free nation. If only the antifa and social justice types in America would realize how good they have it here.

Destined for Political Stardom

Nikki Haley, who will be on the shortlist of candidates for the 2024 presidential nomination for the GOP.

Destined for Political Oblivion

Beto O’Rourke. This guy actually thought he would win the Democratic nomination for president by saying, “Hell yes, we’re taking your guns!”

Destined for the Other Kind of Oblivion

Time Magazine. Naming Greta Thunberg as its Person of the Year cemented its irrelevance.

Best Political Theater

In a July hearing, Texas Senator Ted Cruz questioned Dr. Robert Epstein, a supporter of Hillary Clinton, who estimated that upwards of 15 million people could be manipulated by Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other big-tech companies. Talk about a bombshell!

Worst Political Theater

The exploitation of Greta Thunberg. The poor girl became the inspiration for teenagers all over the world to become depressed, angry, and deliberately ignorant about how the world works. Instead of inspiring hope, Thunberg and her handlers turned the climate debate into a reason for school children to protest things they couldn’t possibly understand.

Most Under-reported Story

The consolidation of power of Xi Xinping, and the increase in totalitarian actions against China’s citizens. The massive increase in reeducation camps in Xinjiang province should serve as a cautionary tale about how citizens should always keep government in check.

Honorable Mention: The largest pay raise for military members in a decade.

Most Over-reported Story

The Green New Deal, Medicare for All, $15 minimum wage, universal basic income, and all the other socialist dreams. No word yet on how we’ll pay for any of that.

Biggest Government Waste

Cannot be encapsulated in a mere paragraph. I’ll just use the instructive example of local, state, and federal school activists getting gender-neutral and gender-fluid language inserted into elementary school curricula. Not just sex-ed, but every lesson – math, reading, science, it’s a deliberate effort to normalize transgenderism among elementary school students, while exposing them to sexualizing content at an all-too-early age.

Best Dollar Spent

The restoration of appropriate budgeting to the United States military.

Boldest Political Tactic

Donald Trump’s gamble not to cooperate with the impeachment investigation. He calculated, correctly, that the American people would be more inclined to support him the further this thing went.

Best Idea of 2019

Uber founder, former CEO, and board member Travis Kalanick, selling 100% of his investment in the company and resigning from the board. The IPOs of both Uber and Lyft have drastically underperformed, and Kalanick can’t be faulted for divesting from a company that has veered away from his founding vision as it still struggles to become profitable. If either ride-hailing company had stuck to core competencies, they would have a chance. Instead, they continue to take turns whacking at the neck of the goose that laid the golden egg.

Worst Idea of 2019

Allowing the rise of anti-Semitic violence globally, as well as right here in the USA. Along with the increase in violence against Christians, we seem once again to be turning a blind eye to religious violence.

Sorry to See You Go

Don Imus, who got millions of Americans to work every day in a radio career that dominated the airwaves for four decades.

Honorable Mention: Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson. Oregon’s first statewide elected Republican in over 35 years was dealt the cruelest blow, a brain tumor to which he succumbed in February. A truly decent gentleman.

The Kim Jong-il Not Even a Little Bit Sorry to See You Go Award

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who died like a dog.

Honorable Mention: Robert Mugabe.

15 Minutes of Fame

Michael Avenatti, who should really have known better than to allow his character and morality to come to national prominence.

Turncoat of the Year

This one’s easy. Chick-fil-A’s new CEO knuckling under to the outrage mob and ending the company’s donations to Christian charities. He and the board of directors sold out every steadfast supporter who helped the chain overcome years of protests.

Most Honest Person of the Year

Clint Eastwood, with his damning indictment of the mainstream media in his film Richard Jewell.

Most Overrated Person, Event, or Story of the Year

Impeachment. The Democrats planned and plotted this move since November 2016, and moved ahead despite knowing they had nothing. The articles of impeachment were nothing more than a political tactic.

Most Underrated Person, Event, or Story of the Year

Nicholas Sandmann, whose lawsuit was allowed to proceed against media outlets that deliberately misreported his protest at the March for Life. Americans everywhere should applaud his courage to stand up to media bullies.

Grade the Planet (A through F, pluses and minuses accepted)

B+. Every defender of personal liberty should remain fearful of governmental encroachments, but buoyed by the global demonstrations giving voice to that fundamental human yearning for freedom.

Macroprediction

Barring an economic downturn, Donald Trump wins reelection and the popular vote along the way.

New Year’s Resolution

To create more content, and be more deliberate with my time and productivity.

 

Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy. You can follow Jeff on Twitter @ChargerJeff.