Turkeys and Drumsticks 2018
Over at the old Right-Thinking blog, I would take advantage of the Thanksgiving Holiday to give out my awards for Turkeys 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 make me shake my head and wonder what they’re thinking. It’s a sort of “thank you” for making snarky tweeting easier.
It was one of my favorite traditions. So I’m more than happy to be able to continue it here at OT.
Turkeys of the Year
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.
2011: Nancy Pelosi, Republican Presidential Field, Occupy Wall Street, Anthony Weiner, the Eurozone.
2012: The Culture Warriors, Unions, The Poll Unskewers, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, MSNBC
2013: Healthcare.gov, the Platinum Coin, the Shutdown Caucus, the National Park Service, Fiscal Cliff Panic Mongers.
2014: Jonathan Gruber, Lamenting Democrats, Barack Obama, Jim Ardis, Paul Krugman
2015: The Presidential Field, College Students, The Election Media, Rolling Stone, Barack Obama
2016: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Clinton Supporters, the Clown Panic
2017: Donald Trump, the Resistance, Anti-Anti-Trumpers, Congressional Republicans, David Mueller
This year was tough. I knew, all along, that the President would do well. But as the year went on he developed some stiff competition. Ultimately, I can’t give him the prize every year, tempting as that may be. So, without further ado, the winners of the 2018 Turkey of the Year are:
- Michael Avenatti
Two months ago, Avenatti was flying high, portraying himself as the one man who could fight Trump and win. Since then, it’s all gone to hell. He blundered his most prominent client — Stormy Daniels — into a garbage defamation suit for which she will now have to pay massive legal fees. He went public with a poorly-sourced and ultimately unbelievable gang rape story that was a big reason Brett Kavanaugh survived his confirmation hearings and possibly a reason the election wasn’t as bad for Republicans as it could have been. And literally five minutes before I was going to submit this post for editing, he was arrested for felony domestic violence. Even before all that, his Presidential aspirations were a potential nightmare for the Democrats; the last thing this country needs is another self-aggrandizing ignorant publicity hound in the White House. I have to think he’s close to finished now. Rarely have we seen a more rapid or deserved fall from grace.
- Jacob Wohl
I’m currently reading Bad Blood, the story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos. Elizabeth Holmes is who Jacob Wohl mistakenly thinks he is. He’s become internet infamous for bizarre claims of Los Angeles area hipster coffee shops where the clientele secretly love Trump. He’s become famous for bizarre stories about him pretending to be an accomplished hedge fund manager at age 18. And he finally blew up into the public sphere with an accusation of rape against Robert Mueller that was so incompetent and so poorly executed, I’m still not convinced it wasn’t a giant troll.
- Donald Trump
Do I need to say more? No. No, I don’t think that I do.
- Delicate Trump Supporters
I’ll be fair. Most Trump supporters aren’t particularly enamored of him. And the Outrage! brigade that responds to any slight against him is small. But, boy they are fun. Smashing their own products, burning their own shoes (sometimes while wearing them), and looking around for a fainting couch anytime someone disses the President.
First, they tried to kill Ronan Farrow’s reporting on sexual abuse. Then they buried a report that would have cast a bad light on Kavanaugh’s third accuser. Not a good year for them, to be honest.
Dishonorable Mention: Rudy Giuliani, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie, Paul Ryan, Jeremy Corbyn, Kate McClure and Mark D’Amico, Michelle Wolf, Boris Johnson, Bill Donahue, The Academy, Twitter, Elon Musk, the various cities competing for Amazon’s second HQ, Jim Acosta, Facebook.
Here’s a summary of the past recipients of the Golden Drumsticks (links above). Some of these I’ve eventually come to regret. Praising anyone in politics is bound to backfire on you eventually. But I put them out in the interest of honestly owning up to my past blogging.
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; American Soldiers
2011: Seal Team Six; Mark Kelly; The Arab Spring; the Technicians at Fukushima
2012: Down Ballots; The Sandy Responders; Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods; Mathew Inman
2013: Francis I; Edward Snowden; Rand Paul; The American Military; The Institute for Justice
2014: Ebola Responders; Francis I; Rand Paul; David Brat; The Supreme Court
2015: New Horizons and Dawn; Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler; Amnesty International; Video and Body Cameras; The Non-Crazy Presidential Candidates
2016: Dallas Police Chief David Brown and Dr. Brian H. Williams; Disillusioned Democrats; Kellyanne Conway; Nate Silver
2017: Women Speaking Out; Ronan Farrow; Jake Tapper; the Competent Trump People; Houston
For this year … well, I guess I’m already on the Trumpists’ naughty list, so let’s go with:
- Robert Mueller
Mueller has been a very quiet force in the center of the tempest. He’s avoided sensation. He’s only indicted those he knows he can get. He’s handed off investigations to other authorities when appropriate. He’s avoided leaks, which is remarkable. And now it’s looking like he will wrap up the investigation within a few months. I stick to my prediction that, like Bill Clinton before him, the scandals surrounding Trump will destroy many people around him but leave him untouched. In the end, I think even Trump critics will come around and admit that Mueller’s done a fair job under extremely difficult circumstances.
- Justin Amash
By far, the most consistent conservative in Congress, one of the few who will openly oppose Trump and his party. Why do I like him so much? It can be summarized in a tweet.
Congress hasn’t authorized war against Syria. Unless Pres Trump expects imminent attack on U.S., use of force is unconstitutional & illegal. https://t.co/AY3EiVhGFq
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) April 9, 2018
- Justin Trudeau, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron
Trump has abdicated his role as leader of the free world. Thankfully, others are stepping in to fill the gap. They’re not perfect, but they’re all we’ve got.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) November 10, 2018
- The Sane Republicans
Dan Crenshaw decided to bypass the outrage brigade and show a spirit of humor. Martha McSally resisted pressure to indulge conspiracy theories and conceded a hotly contested election with grace. Ben Sasse has been putting forth a solid conservative message. John McCain resisted Trump until the end. There’s been some criticism of Republicans because many of them vote with Trump on various things. This seems misguided. The things they are voting with him on are standard issue Republican policy positions. On many of his fronts — the Wall, for example — his proposals have died in Congress before even getting to a vote. I don’t expect Republicans to suddenly vote liberal. I do wish more of them would stand up against the madness that has engulfed much of the party and take back Congress’s power on war, on trade and on budgeting.
- The Thai Soccer Team and their Rescuers
I said on Twitter that I thought they would never get all those young men out alive. I have rarely been happier to be wrong.
Honorable Mention: Stormy Daniels, Robert Kelly, Jim Gattis, Ebola responders, Priest abuse whistle blowers, marijuana legalization.
Be sure to put your nominees in the comments. OT has a much broader readership than RT so I’m very curious to see the diversity of answers.