If you were to tell me at the beginning of the year that a black man with a shitty last name would ascend to the Oval Office, that Eli Manning would produce one of the greatest upsets in NFL history late in the fourth quarter against the Perfect Patriots in Glendale, AZ, that the Tampa Bay Rays would be the AL Champions and that the Republicans could produce a candidate dumber than both Dan Quayle and George Bush Jr., I would have looked at you like you were high on weed and blow.
All of that happened this year. Shit.
For all of the amazing moments that occured, there was a fair amount of jaw-dropping stupidity and WTF moments galore, so here's my list of the dumbest things to come out of 2008.
1. Joe the Plumber - How do you try and win over the voters of America amidst an economic meltdown of historic proportions and a desire for a change in Washington D.C.? If you're Republican Presidential Nominee John McCain, you'd probably trot out some symbol to rally the ignorant masses of redneck America and con a few independent voters into buying the symbol of the everyday American. How did this man end up as my pick for the dumbest thing to come out of the crazy year that was 2008?
First - within 24 hours of John McCain toting out Joe the Plumber at the third presidential debate, we learned that Joe wasn't really a plumber; never applied for either a plumbing license, or a apprenticeship license. Hell, his name wasn't actually Joe (his real name is Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher).
Second - despite the fact that Joe was nothing but a false symbol for McCain to trot out for the debate, the campaign still made Joe into this larger-than-life caricature/rallying cry for idiot America. They even made an ad using the famous "I am Spartacus!" phrase from Ben-Hur, with the cry of "I am Joe the Plumber!" to reel in voters. More to the point, the latest smoke-and-mirrors job the GOP pulled just goes to show that in this country, after eight years of lies and manipulations from Bush & Co., there's still a sucker born every minute.
2. The Wall Street/Economic Crisis - After the disasters in Iraq and New Orleans, after the shameful reports of torturing suspected terrorist detainees at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, after the shocking abuses of power ranging from the nine fired U.S. Attorneys becasue they refused to be loyal to Clueless George to the NSA Wiretapping program, we didn't think this walking disaster we had to call "Mr. President" for eight years had one more giant fuck-up in him before he rode off back to the ranch in Crawford. As it turns out, he did. Our economy is in freefall, many thanks to the billions spent in fighting a meaningless war in the Middle East and Bush's 'brilliant' idea of handing out tax breaks to the wealthiest 1% of Americans. Heck of a job, Bushie!
3. Sarah Palin - To state that the Governor of Alaska is the dumbest person to be chosen as a party's running mate since Dan Quayle, would be an insult to Dan Quayle himself. John McCain's selection of Palin can be described in football terms: his hailmary pass down the endzone was throw perfectly, but the ball was knocked out of the receivers hands by the safety. We all know why this woman makes the list: the interviews she gave to Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric, her performance at the VP Debate with Vice-President-Elect Joe Biden, her shocking ignorance of the role of the Vice President, and the fact that she loves killing animals atop of a helicopter, using a high-powered rifle. The selection of Sarah Palin also outlines the complete and total cynicism dripping from the GOP: prop up a knuckle-dragging foot soldier for the extreme base of the party name, dress its puppet up as either good ol' holmetown boy or gal, and just for good measure, make the candidate of choice sound simple and stupid, and the American citizen will lap it up.
4. The Jonas Brothers - Jesus Christ. Jesus fucking Christ Almighty! Please people, quit referring the Jonas Brothers as band! They're not a fucking band, they're just product placement from Walt Disney. Real bands like Radiohead and Coldplay and Death Cab For Cutie have the following ingredients: talent (Death Cab), a sound that, although borrowed or inspired from other bands, is entirely their own (Coldplay), and strives to put out albums that are are as good, if not better, than their predecessor (Radiohead). The Jonas Brothers have none of these ingredients. They're just teeny-bopper magnets designed to suck out a twelve year old's allowance and suck out money from the ATM of mom and dad through the middle school girls of America. Where's John Lennon, Tupac and Johnny Cash when we need them the most?
5. Sandy Alderson (C.E.O., Padres) and A.J. Smith (Chargers General Manager) - What could these three geniuses have in common? Both have taken the home team Padres and Chargers from competitive playoff bound teams to a bunch of overrated athletes and ghastly, embarrassing seasons we wish, as San Diego sports fans, could forget. Both men have made boneheaded moves when it came to coaching a team.
In the case of Alderson, it was when he fired fmr. Friars skipper Bruce Bochy because he told Sandy to but out when it came to managing his team. As soon as San Diego was bounced out of the postseason to the soon-to-be World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals in four games, Bruce was told to hit the road and brought in a yes-man in Bud Black.
With A.J. Smith, his ego fits with then Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer reached a fever pitch after San Diego lost a heartbreaker to no. 4 seed New England in the AFC Divisional Playoff game when Marty wanted to bring in his brother to replace Wade Philips as Defensive Coordinator instead of the awful Ted Cottrell. Marty was sacked in January of '07, and brought in a head coach who A.J. could play nice with: Norv Turner.
These two will soon share another similarity if they don't get their respective teams back on track: spots in the unemployment line.
6. John Edwards & Elliot Spitzer - Every year, we get a few politicians who become the contradiction of their principles. Edwards and Spitzer are no different....well almost. The Governor of New York cheated on his significant other with the traditional prostitute, who just happened to be worth $5,000 an hour (that's not how much he got paid at the end of her services, that's how much she's receiving as long as she's with the customer!) In my opinion, if you're paying $5,000 for meaningless sex with a whore, she'd better be hotter than Angelina Jolie and Scarlett Johansson combined, so you say to yourself, 'yeah, I may be a scumbag for fucking someone that wasn't my wife, but it was worth every pleasure-filled moment.' John Edwards' offense was much worse, though: he cheated while his wife while she was in remission....during the campaign. And to cap it all off, the woman she was cheating on with isn't even that decent-looking!
At any rate, these two are class 'A' morons of the first order, and it should put the rest of these politicians who preach family values and morality on the rest of voters. You want to prove to us that you have family values? Lead by example.
7. Gov. Rod Blagojevich - To quote Thom Yorke: "You had to piss on our parade/You had to shred our perfect day." Just what the fuck were you thinking, Governor, selling off President-Elect Obama's senate seat off to the highest bidder? Dude, we just had a historic win a month ago, and before Obama can take the Oath of Office, the Repubs will try and hang your mess around his neck! Did this even cross your mind, you selfish asshole?
8. Heidi and Spencer from The Hills - They're sadly my generation's version of Bonnie and Clyde, and we owe our thanks (or our hate mail) to MTV for making this possible. How these two even became famous is about a mystery to me as how Americans could have possibly voted for George W. Bush twice. Anyway, Speidi (the combination of Heidi and Spencer) bombarded just about every gossip rag this year, from the 'OMG, did u hear wat Heidi said about LC on 'The Hills' last night?! texts and blogs we read, to their wedding, there was almost no escape from Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
9. The Republican Party - I've gotta hand it to the GOP: you guys went all out for this one. The Spears/Hilton celebrity ad? Nice. Choosing Sarah Palin as the your party's running mate? Her speech at the convention was a great work of political theater. Joe the Plumber? With the wind at your backs and a shiny object desperately needed to rally idiot America to your candidate? Well played. And as always, scaring the daylights out of Americans is always a nice touch for any party about to have their asses handed to them on a silver platter. You guys made the stupid list for one simple reason: did you honestly believe, that for one minute, playing the politics of division and fearmongering would actually work?? You should have realized two elections ago that, unless you rejected the Karl Rove-playbook of divide and conquer, you would loose in a big way come 2008. So let's give the GOP a box of chocolates and roses for not learning from their mistakes in 2006!
10. Blogs for Victory.com - Rounding out the list is a fringe right-wing website that the Count and I have monitored thought the election season.
Trust me, these guys are off their rockers. Here's a taste of some of their diatribe:
Why A Liberal is Unpatriotic
Is the Obama Presidential Seal Illegal?
Here's the link to read more of their nonsense, and you'll see why Matt Margolis and Mark Noonan made the list.