The demise of the Iowa straw poll won Stuart Rothenbergs 2011 award for most noteworthy political development.
Each year I try to give my own awards for the best and the worst, the silliest and the oddest. There were plenty of strange developments this year — heck, the entire Republican race for president has bordered on the bizarre — so there is more than enough material. This year, each category includes, where possible, some strong runners-up, as well as a winner. If you disagree with my picks, please send your complaints to Charlie Cook or Chris Cillizza.
Worst Mistake by a Presidential Candidate The runners-up: Michele Bachmann — Confusing Concord, N.H., and Concord, Mass. Tim Pawlenty — Dropping out Mitt Romney — Wanna bet? Rick Perry — Brain freeze
And the award goes to: Herman Cain — Uzbecki-becki-becki-stan. As a general rule, it’s best for presidential candidates not to make fun of other countries’ names.
Most Noteworthy Political Development The runners-up: The rise of the weekly presidential debate The firing of the chairwoman of Arizona’s redistricting commission The retirement of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)
And the award goes to: the demise of the Iowa straw poll. Finally, this inane fundraising event that measures almost nothing worth measuring will be relegated to the junk pile ... at least until the next time the GOP nomination matters, when no doubt a bunch of silly but influential people will decide it is a big deal.
Worst Rothenberg Column of 2011 The runners-up: This one The last one No need to be selective. They are all pretty bad.
And the award goes to: [Put your own choice here].
Most Entertaining Political Scandal The runners-up: ex-Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) ex-Rep. Chris Lee (R-N.Y.) ex-Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.)
And the award goes to: ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.). Not a hard choice.
Biggest Flop of the Year The runners-up: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) Brilliant Businessman/Investor/Former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) New York Assemblywoman Jane Corwin (R) The Boston Red Sox
And the award goes to: Solyndra. How embarrassing.
Best Member-Vs.-Member Contest Created by Redistricting The runners-up: California: Rep. Janice Hahn (D) vs. Rep. Laura Richardson (D) Iowa: Rep. Leonard Boswell (D) vs. Rep. Tom Latham (R) Louisiana: Rep. Charles Boustany (R) vs. Rep. Jeff Landry (R) Ohio: Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D) vs. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D)
Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS, arrives for a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the investigation of the IRS' targeting of political groups. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right to not testify and caused a protest from some committee members when she offered an opening statement and engaged in dialogue with members before invoking the right.
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