Opinion

Rothenberg’s Best & Worst of 2019 Year-End Awards

This year is more than represented by the worst

Congratulations to Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who tops Stuart Rothenberg’s list of Most obnoxious Republican members of Congress for 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — It’s December, and that means it’s time for another of my “Best & Worst of the Year” columns. And since it has been a pretty awful year, there should be a lot of worsts.

As always, I’ll offer a set of nominees for each category. Then I’ll pick my winner. But you too can play along at home by selecting your choices. If you disagree with me, I really don’t care. Amuse yourselves, and send any complaints about my categories or my “winners” to Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia.

Most obnoxious Republican member of Congress

The nominees:

My winner: So now you know how difficult this can be to pick only one. It’s really a matter of personal preference.

Louie Gohmert is, well, Louie Gohmert, and that’s sort of sad, so maybe we ought to give him a break and eliminate him.

For me, this category comes down to Gaetz and Jordon, both of whom are incredibly smug.

I think I’m going with Jordan because he won’t wear a jacket and yells too much for my taste.

But I can’t argue with you if you picked Gaetz.

Most annoying Democratic member of Congress/Faux Democrat

The nominees:

My winner: I’m going with Ocasio-Cortez, who never passes up an opportunity to inject herself into controversy.

Bernie comes in right behind her because he takes himself way too seriously.

Biggest political tongue-twister of 2019

The nominees:

The winner: Quid pro Buttigieg

Most predictive Democratic electoral performance in 2019

The nominees:

  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’s reelection
  • Andy Beshear’s victory in the Kentucky governor’s race
  • Virginia Democrats win both houses of Virginia’s General Assembly
  • Republican Dan Bishop’s 51 percent to 49 percent victory in the special election in North Carolina’s 9th District

The winner: This isn’t close. Virginia, where the results reinforced the narrative about suburban voters and add to questions about President Donald Trump’s reelection prospects.

Kentucky was mostly about what a jerk Matt Bevin is, and Louisiana showed only that an anti-abortion, pro-gun rights conservative can win in the Pelican State. Few Democrats will be running on that message in 2020.

Most frustrating allegedly “moderate” or “nonpartisan” person of the year

The nominees:

  • Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins 
  • Stuart Rothenberg
  • Former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III
  • New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik

My winner: Well, Stefanik turns out to be a Trump robot, so she is out of consideration.

For me, the choice comes down to either Collins or Mueller.

I’ll go with Collins, I think, because she is a member of Congress and has built a career on being a moderate who bolts her party.

Mueller remains merely a disappointment.

Worst presidential campaign of 2019

The nominees:

The winner: An interesting category with some competitive nominees.

Harris battled criticism of her campaign for months before dropping out, while Sanford was barely in the GOP race before he ended his bid.

O’Rourke saw his stock plummet early on and never recovered, while Bloomberg hemmed and hawed before finally getting in late.

I’m going (surprisingly) with Bloomberg, who really has no “campaign” even now. What he has is a national media buy.

Worst political coiffeur

The nominees:

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
  • Stuart Rothenberg
  • President Donald Trump
  • The late Rep. Jim Traficant (perennial nominee)
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden

The winner: It all depends on the meaning of the word “worst.”

Most likely to be “Anonymous”

The nominees:

  • White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway
  • George Conway, husband of above
  • Kellyanne Conway and George Conway
  • Some guy you’ve never heard of
  • First lady Melania Trump

The winner: I’m not at liberty to tell you.

Presidential sycophant of the year

The nominees:

  • Vice President Mike Pence
  • Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley
  • Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani
  • Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy
  • Acting White House Chief of Staff and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney

The winner: Congrats! A five-way tie!

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