The Year That Was 2009

Yes, it’s time for the 2009 Awards….and since this is the only “best of the decade” list I’m giving you, we’ll just deal with 2009.

Last year’s post is available here, the one from 2006 here, and the one from 2005 is available here.

Best Move of 2009: Sheila Dixon convicted

2008 Winner: John McCain picks Sarah Palin
2007 Winner: Peter Angelos hires Andy MacPhail
2006 Winner: Ravens trade for Steve McNair
2005 Winner: John Roberts Appointed as Chief Justice

I was as stunned as anybody that a Baltimore City jury actually convicted an elected official in the City of Baltimore. It was just amazingly stunning because, no matter how corrupt it seemed Sheila Dixon was, I always figured that somehow, some way she would beat the rap. Now we know that there are some legal wranglings regarding a boneheaded juror, but the fact of the matter remains that this jury proved that nobody, not even the Mayor, is above the law in Baltimore. I hope (but doubt) that some of these elected Democrats will get the message.

Honorable Mention: Jim Pelura resigns; Orioles acquire Kevin Milwood; Release of the Droid

Trending: Candidate Survey: Chris Chaffee for US Senate

Worst Move of 2009: Bracack Obama wins Nobel Prize
2008 “Winner”: Federal Bailouts

2007 “Winner”: General Assembly, Leopold impose School Board “reforms”
2006 “Winner”: Harriet Miers appointed to Supreme Court
2005 “Winner”: Rafael Palmeiro’s testimony to Congress

There is nothing I can say here that hasn’t already said, but let me tell you this; the fact that Barack Obama can win a Nobel Prize under the following conditions…

  • Being nominated eleven days into his administration
  • Two wars in the Middle East
  • On the date of the first interplanetary bombing run

…pretty much tells you how credible the Nobel committee is these days. Not that they didn’t lose that awhile ago. But never has one man been so feted for having accomplished so little…..

Dishonorable Mention: Anne Arundel County Council approves Arundel Mills slots parlor; Justin Ready fired as MD GOP Executive Director; Martin O’Malley unable or unwilling to control state spending; Levi Johnston continues to get press coverage

Strangest Move of 2009: Congress moves on Health Care “reform” without checking their backyard
2008 Winner: Being Rod Blagojevich
2007 Winner: John Flynn keeps job as MD GOP Executive Director

2006 Winner: Don Dwyer’s May and June
2005 Winner: Martin O’Malley thanks MD4BUSH

The funny party about health care reform is not the fact that President Obama and his cohorts in Congress supported government-run health care and tried to implement it; the left in this country has been pretty adamant about their support for socialized medicine for quite some time now. No, it really has more to do with the fact that the hubris and the arrogance of the Obama White House and the perceived omnipotence of Speaker Pelosi combined to create a perfect storm for Democrats; a situation from which there is no escape.

Had anybody in the Obama/Pelosi camp bothered to ask anybody in the House or Senate Democratic Caucuses, they might have realized how much trouble they were really in. Because if there is anything that we have learned through this process it’s that:

  • Moderate Dems won’t vote for health care if it funds abortion
  • Far Left Dems won’t vote forth health care if it doesn’t fund abortion
  • Some Senators won’t vote for health care if there is a public option
  • Some Senators won’t vote for health care if there isn’t a public option
  • Some members of Congress won’t vote for health care if it increases the debt
  • Nobody agrees on whether or not health care will increase or decreases the debt.

All in all, it should have been painfully obvious that the votes were not there for Obamacare. As a rational American, that’s a good thing, however it is one of the more brazenly bizarre decisions, particularly when in all likelihood it is going to severely backfire for Congressional Democrats at the ballot box this November.

Honorable Mention: Zina Pierre blows her chance to be Mayor of Annapolis; Martin O’Malley plays concerts while incapable of controlling spending; Memphis signs Allen Iverson;
Jim Rutledge drops out of, back into Senate race within a week;

Gal I Feel Bad For for 2009: Trudy McFall(D), former candidate Annapolis Mayor
2008 “Winner”: Dean Barkley
2007 “Winner”: Arthur Blank

2006 “Winner”:
Rick Neuheisel
2005 “Winner”:
Rick Neuheisel

How can I feel bad for a Democratic Candidate for Mayor of Annapolis who lost in the Primary? Probably because she, more than anybody else, got screwed by the Zina Pierre debacle. Clearly, an overwhelming majority of the Democrats voting in the Annapolis primary did not want Josh Cohen to be Mayor. However, when the irregularities of Pierre’s background came to light, the establishment immediately rushed to Cohen’s side. Never mind the fact that the majority of voters voted for an “outside the box” candidate who was not part of either the city or county Democratic establishment.

And I think head to head, McFall would have beaten Cohen. Hands down.

Honorable Mention: Doug Hoffman, Jenny Sanford

Best Run Campaign(Local Division): Chris Fox(I), Candidate for Mayor
2008 Winner: None
2007 Winner: Fred Paone for Alderman (R-Annapolis)

2006 Winner: Nic Kipke for Delegate (R-31)
2005 Winner: Jeff Holtzinger for Mayor (R-Frederick)

Chris Fox is probably the one local candidate statewide who exceeded expectations. Sure, he did not reach the same numbers that Gilbert Reneault received in the 2005 General Election when he also ran as an independent. But Renault was also running against a Republican’s whose consultant-driven campaign barely had a pulse. Fox ran a real, sustained campaign. And yes, his presence may very well have put Josh Cohen in City Hall. But that’s a story for a different time. The fact of the matter is that no local campaign had as much of an immediate impact as did Fox’s campaign. It’s hard to say whether or not this has any impact whatsoever in 2013, but the short-term effects are real and obvious.

Best Run Campaign(Statewide Division): Andy Harris for Congress (R-1)
2008 Winner: Donna Edwards for Congress (D-4)
2007 Winner: Donna Edwards for Congress (D-4)
2006 Winner: Michael Steele for US Senate (R)

Oh what a difference a year makes. For two years running, the Harris Campaign couldn’t get out of it’s own way. But in the past year, no campaign has better served itself in keeping their eyes on the prize and focusing on the work that needs to be done in order to prepare themselves for the next election. It’s a pretty drastic turnaround, and positions Harris well to unseat Frank Kratovil in the 2010 General Election (with the caveat, of course, that there is still a chance of a competitive primary in this seat…)

Honorable Mention: Eric Wargotz for U.S. Senate (R)

Best Run Campaign(National Division): Doug Hoffman for Congress (C-NY)
2008 Winner: Barack Obama for President (D-IL)
2007 Winner: Bobby Jindal for Governor(R-LA)
2006 Winner: Barack Obama for President (D-IL)
2005 Winner: Paul Hackett for Congress (D-OH)

Doug Hoffman found himself in an unusual position. Since New York allows “fusion” candidates who run under more than one party banner, Hoffman found himself for the special election in the 23rd District handed the nomination of the New York Conservative Party, but denied the nomination in his own Republican Party. Hoffman managed to take that defeat and turn it into a positive, corralling national support from many Republicans and conservatives across the county, and nearly defeating Democrat Bill Owens in the General Election. Sure, Hoffman’s loss led to the election of a Democrat, but there were two fundamental items of importance that came out of this race; the fact that conservatives remain an important force in our body politic, and that the most liberal candidate in the race (the Republican Dede Scozzafava) didn’t win…

Honorable Mention: Chris Christie for Governor (R-NJ), Bob McDonnell for Governor (R-VA)

Worst Run Campaign(Local Division): Dave Cordle for Mayor (R-Annapolis)
2008 “Winner”: None
2007 “Winner”: Kieffer Mitchell for Mayor (D-Baltimore)

2006 “Winner”: Don Dwyer re-election campaign (R-31)
2005 “Winner”: George Kelley for Mayor (R-Annapolis)

I hate to pick on a good guy who had good people running his campaign, and I hate to give this award to a second straight Republican nominee for Mayor of Annapolis. But the fact of the matter is that the Cordle Campaign barely registered prior to the Primary Election. Instead of aggressively meeting and engaging voters all summer, the campaign waited. A frustrating way to see a campaign be run, particularly with a good candidate who should have won the election had the strategy not be to sit and wait to see who the Democrats nominated…

Honorable Mention: None

Worst Run Campaign(Statewide Division): Gov. Martin O’Malley re-election campaign (D)
2008 “Winner”: Andy Harris for Congress (R-1)
2007 “Winner”: Andy Harris for Congress (R-1)
2006 “Winner”: Steven Abrams for Comptroller (R)

This almost has more to do with O’Malley’s governance and decision making than it does his campaigns ability to campaign. But think about this; what campaign operative in their right mind cannot find themselves a way to convince their candidate that jumping around on stage with their band is a bad idea in the middle of a recession and in the middle of a dig-out from a snowstorm that has a paralyzed their state. True, maybe the problem is a candidate stuck on vapor lock all of the time, but people don’t forget simple stuff like this…..

Dishonorable Mention: Rep. Donna Edwards re-election campaign (D-4), Jim Rutledge for U.S. Senate (R)

Worst Run Campaign(National Division): Creigh Deeds for Governor (D-VA)
2008 “Winner”: Andy Harris for Congress (R-MD)
2007 “Winner”: The Al Gore Draft Campaign (D-TN)
2006 “Winner”: Sen. George Allen’s re-election campaign (R-VA)
2005 “Winner”: Jerry Kilgore for Governor (R-VA)

I honestly can’t write any more articulately about the Deeds campaign than Chris Cillizza did, so take a loook at his thoughts on Creigh Deeds.

Dishonorable Mention: Terry McCauliffe for Governor (D-VA), Dede Scozzafava for Congress (R-NY), Gov. Jon Corzine’s re-election campaign (D-NJ)

Best International Development: Climategate
2008 Winner: The Surge Continues to Work;

2007 Winner: The Surge in Iraq works
2006 Winner: Saddam Hussein Convicted and Executed
2005 Winner: Free Elections in Iraq

For many years a lot of pundits have considered the idea of global warming and the idea of anthropomorphic climate change to still be an open question. Sadly, many scientists and many political leades had decided that the question was a closed one, that it was a “known fact” that the planet was warming and that it was a “known fact” that humans were the cause of it (much in the same way the heliocentrism was a “known fact”). It’s gotten so bad to discuss climate change in some circles that those discussing skepticism of climate change sufering the same ridiculue that one would have received if they dismissed the existance of God in the 1600’s.

Of course, when the Climategate emails were released, a lot of regular people became much, much more skeptical about the whole matter. Sure, scientists and politicians are still attemptinmg to remain as true believers on the subject. But there is a reason that a majority of Americans are now skeptical or dismissive of the science on climate change. It’s not that people think it may or may not be happening. It’s the fact that people think that scientists and politicians are lying to them. That’s a big deal.

Honorable Mention: None

Worst International Developments: Copenhagen Climate Conference
2008: “Winner”: World economy goes to hell
2007 “Winner”: Vladimir Putin consolidates power to outlast term/The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto
2006 “Winner”:
Russian President Vladimir Putin begins murdering critics
2005 “Winner”: Vladimir Putin’s Reforms in Russia

And this dovetails with our previous mention about Climategate. In the face of tremendous opposition, and the revelation of the falsification of data on climate, leaders from countries around the world flew their jets to Copenhagen in an effort to hammer our a successor to Kyoto. I don’t say that this is a bad development because of the agreement Barack Obama negotiated with China; that agreement, in the long run, is rather pedestrian.

No, this is a bad international development because a majority of the nations of the world sent representatives to a conference predicated on an idea that may have been completely fabricated. And that is a sad statement on modern society…

Dishonorable Mention: America become even less respected in the world; North Korean saber rattling; Iran’s continued punishment of dissidents; Russia remains uppity

Best News of 2009: Citizens Express desire for Fiscal Discipline
2008 Winner: Ravens make the Playoffs
2007 Winner: Rise of Maryland Blogosphere

The voters of America are fed up. They are fed up with out of control spending. They are fed up with taxes. And in a lot of places, the people are making their vocies heard. They are doing it not just with protests, and blogs, and emails to their representatives. But they are doing it in town halls, and at the ballot box too.

I think we may very well see a paradigm shift in the body politic in 2010. Candidates who support fiscal restraint may find it much, much easier to run this coming year.

Honorable Mention: None really

Worst News of 2009: Debt, Spending Remain out of Control
2008 “Winner”: Federal Bailouts

2007 “Winner”: O’Malley, General Assembly Democrats Screw Taxpayers
2006 “Winner”: Democrats take Congress, Government House

Maryland is again “America in Miniature” when it comes to spending. Find a deficit; raise taxes; raise spending; revenues decrease; wonder what went wrong.

The American people are sick and tired of their taxes being raised, and they are sick and tired of out of touch elected officials continuing to spend money that the state and federal governments do not have. You have to wonder if there is any situation where these elected officials wouldn’t spend money if they continue to make the situation more dire for middle and working class families in the middle of these economic times…

Dishonorable Mention: Barack Obama as incompetent as we feared


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