We've looked, we've puked, we've voted! The Golden Dukes Has Triumphed Again!
I love judging this contest, produced by my favorite political blog, Talking Points Memo. Thanks to everyone at TPM for allowing me to wallow in the wickedness.
Check out the winners in the video above, and read what the other five judges had to say, in detail!
Below, are my original voting notes:
Special Achievement Award
I would like to echo the TPM reader suggestion that Sarah Palin deserves an Achievement Award all to herself.
Not since Shirley Temple burst forth in “The Good Ship Lollipop” have we seen such a prodigious ingenue. Palin’s Gothic family life, Alaska-size fibs, unshakable corruption, lunatic religiosity— all in one gorgeous package made for TV... Can’t you at least send her a t-shirt?
And don’t ask for it back!
1. Sarah Palin, Uber Alles
Sleaziest Campaign Ad
The next time I go to San Francisco— or get an abortion— I’m going to whip out my spandex glitter pants and boogie on down to the disco floor Sam Graves concocted for his commercial against Kay Barnes. What a laff riot!
However, for prize-winning impact, I will choose the Elizabeth Dole attack on "Godless Atheism" as the ultimate barn-burner.
What makes her commercial extraordinary, beyond its slander to her opponent, is that it elevates “not believing in God” to the big-time in American politicking. That hasn’t happened in existential dog years. It was only 1961 that self-proclaimed atheists were allowed to sit on juries or serve in public office in every state in the union.
Atheists really ARE angry about Bush’s “divine mission”— and this commercial, in its foaming lunacy, proves that godless heathens are making an impact. As a recovering Irish Catholic, I couldn't be more thrilled!
Honorable Mention: That evil kindergarten sex teacher, Barack Obama.
1. Elizabeth Dole
2. Sam Graves
3. John McCain
Best Election Season Fib
The word “fib” indicates that one has some knowledge that the truth is being stretched, as opposed to pure cluelessness or the messianic zeal of the True Believer.
Hillary Clinton, therefore, is the only viable candidate in this category. I respect her enough to believe she knows she wasn’t G.I. Jane in Bosnia, but she has the political penchant for hyperbole and braggadocio. It was foolish of her to think she wouldn't get caught. Like Bush, she is under the impression that she is “pre-YouTube” simply by dint of her age.
By comparison, in this category, McCain doesn’t know if the economy is strong, weak, or needs more nutmeg. Palin gets special recordings from God slipped under her pillow— and deserves her own statuette.
Outstanding Achievement in Corruption-based Chutzpah
The entire Bush/Cheney Kleptocracy has this one, dead to rights. What requires more chutzpah than to take a country right into the crapper to enrich a handful of your cronies? Dick Cheney’s recent “office-exit” interviews are mind-boggling. No remorse for the blood on your hands is what I would call the ultimate corruption.
Out of the TPM candidates, I’ll take Ted Stevens first, since he is the most powerful and wreaked the most damage. Rod is hilarious, but such an amateur— a dandelion fluff compared to Stevens. Give him a few years. I wasn’t aware of Edward "Naughty" Nottingham before this contest, but he’s irresistible trying to muscle a paralyzed woman out of her handicapped parking space. He reminds me of people I meet on the road every day.
Best Scandal -- Sex and Generalized Carnality
We don’t have the quality of X-rated hypocrisy in this category that we enjoyed in 2007, with the trifecta of Larry Craig, David Vitter, and Bob Allen. Where are our Kinky Kristian Warriors this past year? Vanilla heterosexual adultery seems like kinda a snooze. But given what I’ve got...
I’ll hand the big Dukey to John Edwards— though not because of the insult to his wife, which was grievous but sadly ordinary.
No, people do terrible things when cancer hits their family— there should be a warning brochure on the subject. The enormity of Edwards' hubris is that he led millions of people on a wild goose chase as their chosen “progressive” candidate; he had a chance. And he thought that what the Democratic Party needed right now was a Presidential Philanderer? Is he on Clinton Quaaludes? If he had slapped each of his supporters in the face, he couldn't have done more damage.
I’ll take Gregory Smith next, as a run-of-the-mill example of how Bush’s policies and appointments destroyed any semblance of good government. What a disgrace.
I guess the fame of Eliot Spitzer gets Door Number 3, but I always take it for granted that the Top Prosecutors are embedded with Top Service Providers. I mean, who else can relate to them?
Best Scandal Local Venue
This is my favorite category— and the most difficult to judge. Humor plays such a large role! If “Best” means “Best Buffoon,” I don’t know which Deadhead to pick: Mayor Funky’s wife with that unbelievable prostate exam Xmas letter or The Pisser from New Jersey.
Still, I give the Duke Award with more gravitas. If malicious destruction of working people's lives got a particle of respect in this country, then Bill Sizemore would be a household name. His union busting is extraordinary... does he think workers should be shackled to the wheel and given company script for canned goods? How despicable. He’s a crook, with a theology— and there’s nothing more dangerous.
I’ll hand Kwame the second slot, because of his Titanic disrespect and indifference to the tenacious citizens of Detroit, who’ve suffered more fools and plunderers than anyone should be asked to bear.
3. Funk by a hair
Best Scandal -- General Interest
Everyone else is just playing “follow the leader.”