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 we are cheered by the recent news that TMG will be returning to the air in 2018.
Here are my reflections on 2017:
Biggest Winner of the Year
The victims of sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace. The Harvey Weinstein revelations prompted an avalanche of women coming forward to tell their stories. It was the bursting of a dam. Women everywhere found the courage to step forward and publicly say what happened to them, speaking truth to power. Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Garrison Keillor, John Conyers, Al Franken, Kevin Spacey, Charlie Rose, Dustin Hoffman, Ben Affleck, and many others were finally forced to face the consequences of their actions.
Biggest Loser of the Year
The mainstream media. Time and time again they were caught promoting the worst lies about what was actually going on in Washington, D.C. They couldn’t have undermined their own legitimacy more if they tried. Throughout the year, liberal bias overwhelmed the motivation to dispassionately report the facts.
Best Politician of the Year
Donald J. Trump, love him or hate him. His agenda has met with mixed results, but his mastery of the media is unquestioned. He tweets, they jump and ask how high. It’s amazing to watch journalists allowing themselves to be led around by the nose by a Twitter account.
Worst Politician of the Year
Disgraced ex-mayor of Seattle, Ed Murray. In 2017 alone, Murray:
- Allowed Antifa to riot unchecked, as a proxy for his sense of desolation over the election of President Trump;
- Pushed for a municipal income tax on people who made more than $250,000 per year, which was later found unconstitutional;
- Had to resign over several accusations of sexual assault by young men.
You know you’ve had a bad year when Amnesty International requests an investigation of your trip to Belfast and Wales in which you were a chaperone… in 1974.
Most Defining Moment of the Year
After the environmental protesters left the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camps in February, they demonstrated their love of the earth by leaving gargantuan smoking mounds of burning garbage behind. It took weeks to clean up their conservation-minded protest.
Best Spin of the Year
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who controls the podium for the president better than every press secretary since Tony Snow. The press has no idea what to do with her — by design.
Most Boring Politician of the Year
Hillary Clinton. Even Democrats are tired of her. As P.J. O’Rourke once opined, she is America’s ex-wife.
Most Charismatic Politician of the Year
Benjamin Netanyahu, who stands as a rock for the security and peaceful existence of Israel.
Bummest Rap of the Year
Everything the mainstream media has said about the actual policies of the Trump administration. From tax cuts to health care to net neutrality to border security — the Trump Derangement Syndrome is in full force, showing no signs of slowing down.
Fairest Rap of the Year
The NFL and ESPN are suffering huge ratings hits because of their embrace of social justice politics. Yes, there are structural problems that both organizations struggle to overcome, but the ratings drops are exacerbated for both in proportion to the level to which they accept players kneeling for the anthem and insulting America’s first responders. To say otherwise is to ignore the obvious. I mean, when you’re so in the tank that you remove play-by-play man Robert Lee from a University of Virginia football game because he happens to have a similar name to that Civil War general, you know you’ve really jumped the shark.
Steve Scalise. A hate crime perpetrated by a crazed leftist couldn’t keep this good man down.
Honorable Mention: The New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Down 28-3 at halftime, they staged the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Incidentally, that may be the last NFL game many conservatives ever watch.
Most Original Thinker
Scott Pruitt, EPA director. From pulling out of the Paris accord to reining in the out-of-control EPA to de-emphasizing anthropogenic climate change at the federal level, Pruitt is bucking trends in both political parties.
Most Stagnant Thinker
Those who want to see Confederate statues remain in public squares. Personally, I’ve done a 180 on this issue. The vast majority of these monuments were erected 50 years after the Civil War by those who pined for the days of the Antebellum South and advocated for the modern oppression of African Americans. Enough already. Appreciating our history is one thing; advocating for a return to oppression is quite another.
Best Photo Op
The solar eclipse that cast the moon’s shadow across America in a path that started in Oregon and departed from South Carolina. This was the first solar eclipse to traverse America in 38 years, and it didn’t disappoint.
Worst Photo Op
Charlottesville. Alt-right and white nationalists versus The Resistance. A young woman died in a phony conflict that caused us all to take stock of what we stand for in America.
Enough Already (also known as the “Shut Up and Get Out Award”)
Colin Kaepernick. Comparing first responders to pigs and then wondering why nobody wants you around? Come on, man.
Worst Lie of the Year
Pretty much everything coming out of Democratic leadership. The outrage machine finally proved to be the gender-fluid person-entity that cried wolf.
Capitalist of the Year
Every investor who has come off the sidelines to get in the game. Since Trump was elected, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has jumped to almost 25,000. This kind of activity is almost foreign to everyone who lived through the malaise of the past eight years.
Person(s) of the Year
Stephen Willeford and Johnnie Langendorff, the two men who chased down the Texas church shooter and neutralized him as a threat. Good guys with guns stopped a bad guy with a gun.
Honorable Mention: J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans. Instead of taking a (servile) knee like so many uninformed protesters, Watt took action in the face of a natural disaster. Initially hoping to raise $100,000 for hurricane relief for Houston, at last count he had raised over $37 million.
Destined for Political Stardom
This one is a no-brainer: Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. When she speaks, the world listens.
Destined for Political Oblivion
Al Franken. Good riddance, creep.
Best Political Theater
Amid the Sturm und Drang of President Trump announcing the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, other nations are beginning to follow the lead of the United States. So much for that being the worst thing ever in the Middle East peace process.
Worst Political Theater
The outsized, misplaced outrage over the repeal of net neutrality rules. The way the institutional Left told the tale, we all died the day after the FCC vote. Mere days later, we all died again when tax cuts were signed into law.
Most Under-Reported Story
Uranium One, the Clinton Foundation, and the real collusion with the Russians. The Podesta Group quickly closed up shop after WikiLeaks revealed that Tony Podesta had continual high-level contact with Russia. Nary a blip on the radar of the mainstream media, of course.
Most Over-Reported Story
The Russian collusion nothingburger. The desperate clinging to any hope of impeachment proceeds apace, despite overwhelming evidence that there is no “there” there.
Biggest Government Waste
Every dime spent to prove the theory of anthropogenic global climate change. Leaving the Paris accord is good for science and good for the American budget.
Best Dollar Spent
Comcast, AT&T, Fifth Third Bank, Boeing, Wells Fargo, PNC Bank, and a whole host of other corporations celebrating the passage of the Trump tax cuts by giving out bonuses and pay raises to thousands of employees.
Boldest Political Tactic
This is a payoff of 2016’s boldest tactic — the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. President Trump was able to nominate the natural successor to the late Antonin Scalia due to the Senate postponing any nominations until after the election. The voters sure were given a voice on that one.
Best Idea of 2017
President Trump’s executive order requiring that for every new regulation, two more must be retired. Honorable mention: expedited approval of pipelines that ensure continued access to affordable energy.
Worst Idea of 2017
Bowe Bergdahl’s reduced sentence for desertion. He has blood on his hands and deserved a fate far more severe than he received.
Sorry to See You Go
Charlie Gard, the one-year-old whose parents the National Institutes of Health refused to allow to seek treatment. Let his memory never be forgotten.
The Fidel Castro Not Even A Little Bit Sorry to See You Go Award
15 Minutes of Fame
Antifa. At some point, even residents of liberal cities are going to tire of their domestic terrorism.
Turncoat of the Year
John McCain, for doing everything in his power to stop the repeal of Obamacare, despite seven years of Republican promises to do so.
Most Honest Person of the Year
Clay Travis, host of the sports radio talk show “Outkick the Coverage.” He hammered Colin Kaepernick and Michael Bennett, correctly calling them out as liars. And by repeatedly hammering ESPN for its embrace of social justice, among many poor moves over the past few years, he demonstrates for all the world to see the bad decisions that are driving the company into the ground. The brand that once had the Midas touch now has the opposite. It shouldn’t be revolutionary to say that alienating half of your audience is a way to lose consumers, but here we are.
Most Overrated Person, Event, or Story of the Year
The rise of hatred trope that’s being pushed by far left outlets like ProPublica, Media Matters, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Clickbait headlines (fed to the mainstream media by phony non-partisan groups) pay the bills, but the reality of American society is far different from what’s being pushed by those who have an agenda to undermine this nation.
Most Underrated Person, Event, or Story of the Year
Mistrial in the political persecution of Ammon Bundy. The government’s full-court press to preserve its authority was given a welcome rebuke.
Honorable Mention: The progress made in making an Article V Convention of the States a reality.
Grade the Planet (A through F, pluses and minuses accepted)
B-. We are living in a time when information, wealth, and technology are more available than at any time in human history. That’s the good news. The bad news? Instead of coming together, we seem to be coming apart. Humans seem to have forgotten in 2017 what holds us together. We’ll see if this is a phase or a permanent condition.
The biggest loser of 2018 will be Kim Jong Un. The Hermit Kingdom will finally be exposed to the sunlight of freedom.
New Year’s Resolution
To continue to expose agendas designed to undermine our social cohesiveness, and to become a published author (of a book).