-By Warner Todd Huston
Top ten lists at year’s end are always subjective, to be sure. But some lists seem rather obviously out of whack at first glance. Politico’s “Top 10 political blunders of 2011” is one of those lists that is glaring for what isn’t present as opposed to what is. And what isn’t seems to bespeak that Politico wanted to avoid focusing on Democrat failures in a year when there are so many Democrat failures.
Politico bills this list as one of the “worst political strategic decisions” of 2011. Strangely enough, this list contains fully seven GOP “blunders” yet only three Democrat goofs. Some of the GOP blunders are also questionable for any top ten list considering what is missing from the thing.
First we need a rundown on what is on this list, and in the order Politico places them.
- Obama pivots to deficits
- Republicans vote on the Ryan budget
- Tim Pawlenty bets it all on Ames
- Mitt Romney hides
- Rick Perry debates
- Jon Huntsman returns from China
- Mr. Daley goes to Washington
- Mitch and Haley stay home
- Dems pick Charlotte
- John Kasich pushes S.B. 5
Isn’t it fascinating that some of these “top blunders” did not actually result in a major reversal of great import of some type or another? Take the Jon Huntsman point, for instance. Jon Huntsman is not consequential and his decision to enter the GOP primary race instead of staying in China is not going to make much difference to anyone, anywhere. The Mitch Daniels point is also specious for such a list as Daniel’s decision to sit out 2012 did not necessarily end his career. Further the blunder of Democrats picking Charlotte, North Carolina, while certainly a messy proposition fraught with mistakes, is hardly any kind of end of the world goof, is it?
Now let’s talk about what is not on that list. Solyndra is not on that list. How can this be? This is a political blunder of epic proportions. Even the left-wing Washington Post is saying that the decision supposedly based on science and good economics was instead “infused with politics at every level.” Millions of tax dollars were thrown away during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression at a failing company just to suit Obama’s desire to tout his fantasy of “green jobs.”
If you don’t want to pick Solyndra, why you can reach for the debacle of Fast And Furious for inclusion on such a list. Here we have a program that was supposed to track guns used by Mexican narco-terrorists so that these evil cretins could be ferreted out deep in Mexico. Instead, thousands of American guns sold to these criminals right here in America were lost in the Mexican interior and then were turned to kill hundreds of Mexicans and perhaps two U.S. law enforcement officers. Then, making matters worse, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder — an Obama appointee — has lied repeatedly about what he knew about the program and when he knew it. Now over 90 government officials are calling for Holder’s resignation. If this isn’t a major political blunder, what is? This has made Eric Holder an embattled Attorney General, at the least. Yet, it makes no spot on this top ten blunder list.
Another thing missing is GOP House Speaker John Boehner’s blunder with the recent tax fight that seemed to show that he had no control over his own majority in the House of Representatives, revealing him to be somewhat hapless. I’d think that blunder outweighs anything Jon Huntsman could do and it is most certainly a worse blunder than Rick Perry’s debating style in import to the country
I’d also like to assign a bad strategic decision to Obama’s Osawatomie, Kansas speech that he disgorged onto the nation, a speech so filled with class warfare and un-presidential, overly harsh rhetoric. Also, where is Anthony Weiner on this list? Weiner went from one of the most up-and-coming, young Democrats in Congress to a resigned disgrace over his decision to claim that his Internet account was hacked instead of admitting that he sent nudie pictures of himself to some young woman clear across the country. It totally torpedoed his bid to step from Congress to higher office and greater fame. That seems like a major strategic blunder to me. How about you?
While I agree with the Kasich example — his effort to mirror Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s success at paring down union power was a major legislative abortion — I should say that the Democrat’s efforts to recall all sorts of GOP officials in Wisconsin is a bigger failure. Not to mention the idiotic flee-bagging engaged in by Indiana and Wisconsin Democrats during Walker and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniel’s efforts to enact those same fiscally sane measures. Democrat’s fleeing their states early this year to attempt to hamper Republicans efforts to cut state budgets was a huge strategic flop and likely led to their inability to recall Republicans in Wisconsin. It may also lead to stronger GOP support in both Indiana and Wisconsin.
In any case, I could go on and on with blunders that occurred in 2011 that Politico ignored, but I think you get the picture. Granted it is hard to settle on a mere ten examples of any top blunders, but it just seems that some of the “top blunders” Politico chose are not so consequential as those they left off the list.