My list of Top 10 Epic Political Fails of 2008

I know there are two days of potential failure to go, so perhaps this is premature. But here is my list of top 10 epic political fails of 2008. Discuss!

#10—PUMA Movement: A “movement” in the same sense and level of importance of “bowel movement,” PUMA might be rated #1 if entertainment value and copious evidence of failure were the chief criteria. However, in my poll, consequence counts too, so PUMA struggles into the top 10 at the bottom slot. And only because I personally found them amusing. By rights, the “Bratz” vs “Barbie” kerfluffle should edge them out.

#9—Joe the Plumber: Like a cockroach scrambling for purchase in a swirling toilet, John McCain latched onto the sturdiest-looking turd in the bowl as his campaign foundered. He chose poorly. Not only did bullet-headed lunk (not) Joe the (not) Plumber say wingnutty shit that alienated the McCain supporters with triple-digit IQs (both of them!) and leave McCain in the lurch at rallies, he subsequently disavowed his erstwhile patron and made the world’s worst amateur porn flick.

#8—Fred Thompson’s GOP Presidential Candidacy: Gravitas bestowed by a rumbling baritone voice and numerous flinty-eyed performances on film and TV? Check. Confirmation of virility ostentatiously conveyed by decades-younger wife? Check. Actual vigor and energy? Not so much. The Great GOP Hope clearly preferred a scotch and a nap to campaigning. Oh well.

#7—Mitt Romney’s $35M Investment: Romney’s chief credential is his financial acumen, but what does it say about his investment prowess that he blew $35M clams on his own crappy campaign and failed to convince anyone but Hugh Hewitt of his inevitability? His campaign stunk like a stream of runny dog shit flowing from atop a Country Estate Wagon. But lefty bloggers had the Five Brothers Blog to ridicule for a few precious months.

#6—Paultards: At least their heroine Ayn Rand managed to write some crappy books that inspired a future Fed chairman to enact economy-wrecking policies. Ron Paul supporters’ only accomplishments of note were to fund a stupid blimp and organize flying monkey swarms to derail GOP internet discussions. However, their rEVOLution blimp alone entitles them to primacy over the PUMAs, who couldn’t even gas up the Mini-Winnie RV of Haka Doom.

#5—Giuliani’s Electoral Strategy: What the fuck was that all about? After focusing solely on states that start with an “F” and end with a “Lorida,” Giuliana got his ass handed to him in the state by both McCain and Romney, who each received twice as many votes as Giuliani did. A noun, a verb and 9/11 only go so far.

#4—L’affair Edwards: I long suspected Edwards of being a self-aggrandizing phony. But his focus on poverty during the primary season struck me as at least partially authentic and admirable—and remember, this was before Great Depression Part Deux struck and made it more likely that many of us will join Edwards’ displaced mill workers in the breadline. But then he had to go put a camera-toting chippie on the payroll and get ambushed in the toilet of a fancy hotel while visiting his love child. Idiot. 

#3—George W. Bush: The opposite of King Midas (Gnik Sadim?), everything he touches turns to shit. He’s topped my political fail list for the better part of a decade now, and his attempts to salvage a legacy at this late hour are as contemptible as they are pathetic. Digby said it best:  “They need accept that the best they can hope for is to end up among history’s inept clowns instead of history’s villains. It’s not much, but it’s all they’ve got.”

#2—Sarah Palin: Oh, I’ll admit, she had me worried at first. On paper, she looked good. But then she opened her piehole, launching 987,693 punch lines and finally dooming the McCain campaign. The only question now is whether the sticky little starbursts she coaxed from the (ahem) hard right will congeal into a resolve to repeat the epic fail in 2012. Let’s hope so.

#1—John McCain: To be fair, McCain had Bush around his neck like a millstone, but whose fault is that? If McCain truly possessed the principles and honor on which he bases his personal mythology, he could have set himself up as a credible opponent to Bush ages ago and had a real shot at winning this year.  But he defended the indefensible. He said dumb things and stuck to them. He needlessly alienated a sycophantic press corp. He squandered the unearned good will he’d spent decades deceitfully amassing. So he’s the top loo-hoo-hoo-ZER of 2008 in my book.

So what did I miss?

[Cross-posted at Betty Cracker]

Posted by Betty Cracker on 12/30/08 at 10:11 AM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsBushCoElection '08Giuliani is a JerkSt. McSameNuttersSarah PalinPoliblogsPolisnarkPUMAsMittens

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Love your list, Betty. I think McCain could have done MUCH better by shaking off the Pile-o-Losers Campaign Team and going for an honest, down-to-earth approach. He threw his decency and credibility right out the window when he embraced the crap they were dishing out. For a while early in his campaign, he had a lot of people convinced that he was a good, standup kind of guy and his POW record was still admirable. He turned all of that into parody.

As for Sarah Palin, I am still concerned. Lots of people continue to prop her up as a future contender in some form for 2012. Hopefully her backlog of crappity interviews and Youtube moments will be kept at the ready for when she does make another run at it.

Oh, and my kids and I were watching The Hunt for Red October last night, with a brief appearance by President-Elect Fred Thompson, no wait…


A “movement” in the same sense and level of importance of “bowel movement,”

I must respectfully disagree. Bowel movements are very important to one’s health. Imagine going a week without taking a dump.

Now imagine going a week without reading the sewage PUMAs dump into the internons.

And I’d put Bush and his Merrie Morons at 1. Hell I’d expand the list to 20 so they could be 10 through 1.

I think you got ‘em all.  The only ones I could come up with would be honorable mentions:

The Clintons: I gave up harshing on them long ago, so I feel bad about this, but it’s pretty amazing that the most politically skillful couple in modern American history screwed up something so horribly that seemed so inevitable.

Steve Schmidt: Hangs off your #1 and #2 (and maybe #9—I’m still not clear if it was McCain or Schmidt who amped up that nonsense), but, man, did he go from wonder to blunder faster than I’ve seen a strategist go before

Huckabee/Chuck Norris: Granted, I laughed at that commercial they did together, but only McCain/Plumber beat this in “huzzah?!” pairings.

Flowbee’s The Whitey Tape: Could be lumped in with #10, but you’d be hard pressed to find any blog-fueled claims made during this election that beat it for outright douchebaggery. I guess you could lump in the PUMAs’ claims that they eliminated Hillary’s debt as well, but that wasn’t odious, just deeply delusional (and comical). Flowbee’s self-generated smear was beyond loathsome.

Ashley Todd: No explanation necessary.

The Media: Watching them admit that they were being led around by their noses with campaign stunts like the “Celebrity” ad was extremely troublesome: “They made this ad because they knew we’d talk about it, so here we go…” I saw them act like ventriloquist dummies far too many times during this election cycle.

Regarding the Paultards, even though they could be as annoying as fuck everywhere on the internet (I think I saw them commenting at, I still have a soft spot in my heart for them because of that super funny fake Fred Thompson fan board they put up.

I guess you could lump together Ted Stevens, Blago and Spitzer, too.  I’m sure there are a few other disgraced politicians from 2008 I’m forgetting.

And regarding Edwards, yeah, liked a lot of his campaign proposals, but he always struck me as transparently phony. What I heard on NPR this weekend summed it up perfectly.  When he was asked by AP what his alternate career choice would be, he said “mill supervisor.”

Hillary’s henchman, the horrid, mangy pile of dirty laundry known as Mark Penn, who misunderestimated the importance of caucuses, was clueless about California’s primary system, urged Hillary to play up her blonde midwestern appeal as a proud xenophobic American in contrast to Obama’s scary, um, “exoticism”.

That of course leads to the question why was this nasty piece of work brought in and kept on? So we necessarily come to Bill the giant bouncing id who helped wreck Hillary’s campaign. Bill urged Penn on Hillary.

Which necessarily leads us to HRC, whose chaotic campaign showed a vacuum at the top, drama queens circling immediately below defending their queendoms, and who went after the nomination like a komodo dragon attacking a chained goat and still lost it.

I’m still willing to condemn Hillary and Bill. That’s just credit where credit is due. But their shameless playing on the emotions of the PUMAs-to-be led to Sarah Palin led to McCain losing to Obama, so they also get my thanks and best wishes for a well-behaved, non-divisive next eight years.

Hahahahaha! Excuse me. I meant that. Really.

Wow Betty, great work.  But now that I’m reading the comments and all the monumental fails of the year are rushing back at me, I think the problem is that 2008 is a year that simply cannot be done justice within the constraints of the “Top 10” format.

I’m confident there’s enough material for a “Top 40” or even “Top 100,” and even then there would be partisan fans upset that you left out their favorite moment of political FAIL.

For example, just today, here’s Mika’s daddy pwning Morning Blow.

I’d like to see Joan Walsh on the list, but not at the expense of anyone else.

Well, as a resident of Illinois, I’d have to add the late-under-the-wire news that Blago has just appointed Roland Burris to Obama’s seat—even though Harry Reid has already said the Senate won’t recognize whoever Blago picks.

As a friend of mine just asked me on the phone—“Is ‘Blagojevich’ Serbian for ‘retarded?’”

I’d have put Bill Kristol on the list for being wrong about…well, everything. However, you can’t blame him for being serially stupid any more than you can blame the sun for rising.

No G.W.B.? Despite the rabbit-in-the-headlights act as the economic meltdown reached China Syndrome proportions? Not to mention everything else.

Word: Ozymandias.

Ah. I see now he’s in at no. 3.

Yours, still cross-eyed, still hungover, and still somewhere in cyberspace.

I nominate Will Bowers instead, then. Not least for his affair with Harriet Christian, but also for his lack of embarrassment at being shown up as an outright liar even by Darragh Murphy. And having the most annoying smirk ever seen on a humanoid face. Lumping him in with the rest of the PUMAs doesn’t do justice. And he’s still at it.

*Sigh* Scratch “Bowers,” insert “Bower.”

*Staggers off to find beer*

For example, just today, here’s Mika’s daddy pwning Morning Blow.

That actually woke me up this morning.

Nothing to add to a fine list. I only want to salute the best use of “piehole” I’ve encountered in years.

I suspect we’ll all have the opportunity to yell “Shut yer piehole, Sarah!” many, many times over the next few years. She loves herself some cameras, and the Republicans seem stupid enough to plop her in front of as many as they can rustle up.

Future Fail

This was great, Betty.  More than worthy of a blogger on a blog that’s a finalist for “Best Small Blog”!  (Gotta keep saying it!)  Have to agree with many here that 2008 was a year filled with epic fails but I think you did a fine job of distilling them down to the essence of true failure.

P.S. In my zeal to trash Blago, I forgot to add—Great Freaking Job with this list, Ms. Cracker!

That sums it up nicely. Except that I think Alan Keyes deserves some recognition in all of this too. I always feel a little bad for Keyes because he never seems to fail in fabulous epic proportions (but more like a series of stunted schleppic fails). So I think he deserves some kind of special lifetime achievement epic fail award for his relentless pursuit of epic failure - or something like that - just for trying from year to year.


Kerry, what’s the scoop on Burris? Never heard of the guy, but I have to question the judgment of anyone who would accept this appointment.

PUMA movement only hits #10?  But…but…it’s the only PAC ever to have it’s own chant. PUMA HAKA should be a fail multiplier.

He’s a longtime Dem who won the first statewide race captured by an African American (state comptroller and then AG), but has pretty much failed at capturing bigger prizes, such as the governorship. I think Blago thought he’d be a safe pick—African American, but not someone with obvious ties to Obama, like Jesse Jackson Jr. or Emil Jones (the current president of the Illinois Senate who was also an early Obama mentor). He’s your basic rank-and-file party dude. Never been the subject of any investigation as far as I know, but not someone terribly exciting. And not someone who I think could hold onto the seat in two years, even if Reid did relent and seat him after all.

Why Blago took a step like this is mystifying. Though no more so than everything else the idiot has done.

Thanks, Kerry. From what I’ve read online, this is truly a bizarro move. And WTF is up with all the “lynching” talk? Bobby Rush and Blago admonishing the media not to “lynch” Burris with Blago taint? Un-befucking-lievable.

Except that I think Alan Keyes deserves some recognition in all of this too. I always feel a little bad for Keyes because he never seems to fail in fabulous epic proportions (but more like a series of stunted schleppic fails). So I think he deserves some kind of special lifetime achievement epic fail award for his relentless pursuit of epic failure - or something like that - just for trying from year to year.

Except for the feeling bad part I agree. Just think, were it not for Alan Keyes, his excuse for his screaming 180 on carpetbagging (God),  a steady stream of WingNutterific comments (Jesus Christ wouldn’t vote for Obama) and just generally being a nasty creep, we might be down on our knees/cavorting around standing stones/burning sage in hopes our god/godess of choice would keep McPOW alive for four years.

I guess we also owe a debt of gratitude to the dealer who sold the crack to the GOP jackass who picked Keyes.

Blago is basically taunting and daring the Senate not to seat him. Burris is essentially his human shield at this point. I don’t blame Burris (well, not much anyway) for accepting the appointment, and it’s not clear if he’d actually run again in two years even if the Senate seats him, but it doesn’t make for a great end to a respectable, if somewhat dull, career in Illinois politics.

I think Burris is an outright idiot for accepting an appointment from the walking dead. There’s no way it ends well for him.

I suspect the entire “Obama’s Birth Certificate / Citizenship Cult” should get at least a dishonourable mention.    Not to mention it’s an on-going train wreck.

I suspect the entire “Obama’s Birth Certificate / Citizenship Cult” should get at least a dishonourable mention

And since Alan Keyes has joined the “natural born citizen” circus (light the hoola-hoop of craziness on fire and Alan Keyes will dive right through it head first) I think that should earn him some sort of fail-tainment recognition for his supporting role in an ongoing geek show comedy variety spectacular.


Excellent list Betty.

What about Tom “The Tank” Tancredo? While he never became a big phenomenon to be included in the epic FAIL section, he managed to inspire the nativists into even greater depths of hotheaded lunacy.

Rushbo’s Operation Chaos is another EPIC FAIL. The closet druggie wasnt even able to inspire morbidly obese Republicans into creating chaos anywhere.

ts, i agree with you…Taylor Marsh and Joan Walsh should have their own category of racist lunkheads added to the list


When counting the electoral votes, either Congress finds by 1/8/09 that Obama, not being an Article II “natural born citizen”, fails to qualify as President whereupon Biden becomes the full fledged President under 3 USC 19 (free to pick his own VP such as Hillary) or thereafter defers to the Supreme Court to enjoin Obama’s inauguration with Biden becoming only Acting President under the 20th Amendment until a new President is duly determined.

The preferable choice, at least for the Democrats, should seem obvious.

That’s a late but possibly winning barnstormer of an entry from Tedbot.

Can he nominate himself, though? Rule clarification please, Betty or Kevin.

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