“The Sunday Political Brunch” -- December 1, 2013


(Providence, Rhode Island) – Thanksgiving week may be over, but that won’t stop our annual tradition of giving out the “Political Turkey of the Year" awards. There are lots of nominations this year – from both sides of the aisle – so here we go, in no particular order:

“Health Care Deform” – Was there anything worse politically this year than the failed launch of the Obamacare website, www.HealthCare.gov? Yes, they have time to get it fixed and maybe to right the ship, but it’s a very real possibility that may not happen until another President and another Congress are elected. In the age of high-tech with all the brain power in Silicon Valley (not to mention all the friends Democrats have there), this never should have happened. It reminds me of that dreaded message we get when our computer or software fails, “irrecoverable error.”

“If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep It!” – In the world of politics, it’s always dangerous to promise in absolute terms. There are always exceptions, loopholes and outliers. President Obama (and millions of health care customers) learned that lesson the hard way. Former President Gerald Ford (photo above at White House turkey pardoning) used to say: “Promise no more than you can deliver; and deliver all that you promise.” That should be one of the Ten Commandments of politics. President Obama is certainly not the first to violate this principle; nor will he be the last.

“Bang Your Head” – As bizarre as the Obamacare saga has become, Republicans nearly killed the proverbial goose that laid the golden egg. They spent a lot of time this year trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, even though they don’t have the votes in the Senate. In fact, in recent years, they have voted in the House 47 times to repeal the law, but it always fails in the Democratically controlled Senate. The standoff has led, in part, to such phenomena as the “fiscal cliff,” the sequester, and, more recently, the government shutdown. For these issues, the voting public has laid most of the blame on Republicans, so much so that - when the Obamacare website bombed on October 1 - the GOP had a hard time seizing the advantage.

“He Lives the Life of Danger!” – No, we are not talking about James Bond. We’re talking about former Democratic Congressman and failed New York City Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. He was ousted from Congress for taking lewd “self-portraits” of himself naked and then sending them to women he met on Twitter. Then he ran for Mayor, and more “selfies” came to light under his pseudonym “Carlos Danger!” Did Weiner drop out of the race then? Nope. He continued to embarrass himself and to humiliate his wife and daughter right into a last place finish. Will he run for public office again? Probably!

“Opportunity Knocks” – Perhaps the only ones more shameless than politicians who misbehave are the “victims” who try to make a quick buck. Anthony Weiner had a Twitter paramour named Sydney Leathers (yes, her real name), who tried to launch a career as a porn actress. Almost equaling Leathers in chutzpah was former New York “madame,” Kristin Davis. Davis ran an escort service that provided prostitutes to then Governor Eliot Spitzer (D-NY). Spitzer was forced from office by the scandal, but this year tried to resurrect his political career by running for New York City Comptroller. Davis then decided to run for Comptroller, too. Neither she nor Spitzer, was elected.

“Things Go Better with Coke?” – Well, not everything, including politics. Florida Republican Congressman Trey Radel pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine in the District of Columbia. He then went into rehab for his coke habit, with plans to rehab his political career, too. Question: Why doesn’t Congress just vote to expel people like Wiener and Radel, instead of waiting for them to resign or to be voted out? (The latter almost never happens in Congressional scandals.) Congress has never been able to police its own ranks. It’s little wonder that approval ratings for Congress are now at less than ten percent.

“It’s a Stretch!” – Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is in the fight of his political life. Not only does he have a primary challenger, but he has a well-financed Democrat taking him on, too. The Democrat’s father – a prominent former State Senator - once gave a campaign donation to the aforementioned Congressman Weiner. So, McConnell tried to link his opponent to Weiner. That would be kind of like blaming Roger Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky scandal. As I said, it’s a stretch.

“It’s a Stretch, Part II” – Some Democrats who want to put the first woman in the Oval Office think Hillary Clinton can't quite make it. So they are trying to push first-term United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for President. Okay, let’s review resumes here: Warren, U.S. Senator for 11 months. Clinton: First Lady eight years; U.S. Senator eight years; Secretary of State four years. Are they serious? The comparison isn’t even close. This idea is a political turkey that won’t fly!

“Four More Words” – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

So, who are your nominees for “Political Turkey" of 2013? Write to me with your list by clicking the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

© 2013, Mark Curtis Media, LLC.

Dr. Curtis, don't know if it's just my computer. But when viewed online, SPB text is blurred by copy that should be on the right column being superimposed on the left column thereby rendering the text difficult to read. Email feed is fine. Noticed issue the last couple of weeks when following the link from Facebook. Keep up the good work!

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