By Pablo Fanque (All This Is That National Affairs Editor) and Jack Brummet (Illustrations, "fact-checking," and research)
Here are All This Is That's top fourteen political scandals of 2009. It wasn't quite up to the high bar set during the Monica-gate year, but 2009 was pretty good; by a wide margin the fallen, debilitated, resigned, and neutered were from the "Republican Family Values" wing of the G.O.P.
John, with son
Baby Daddy John Edwards - After dropping out of the Presidential race in early 2008, Edwards steadfastly denied paternity of Rielle Hunter's baby. However, a DNA test apparently proved otherwise. Edwards wanted to admit he was the father, but his dying (and pretty cool and smart) wife didn't want him to do that. I guess it's in limbo. This almost doesn't qualify as a scandal. No one really cares. But we consider it a scandal, since we were among the dupes who actually supported Smilin' Ex-Senator John Edwards. . .and even sent him money. The scandal, really, is how could we have been so dumb when we think we're so astute?
click to enlarge Crazy Joe
Pants On Fire! - Republican Representative Joe Wilson's shouted "You lie!" during President Obama's speech to Congress on health care. Wilson said it was "completely spontaneous," and he apologized. [Jack note: If you believe the laughable claim it was spontaneous, then you must admit, this guy is spooky]. It was highly disrespectful, and an egregious breach of Congressional Rules. but I kind of like it. On the other hand, this isn't England. On the other, other hand, Joe Wilson has always been, and is now officially, a deranged and dangerous no-op.
Ex-Representative William Jefferson, headed for the hoosegow
The Freezer Cash Dude - Ex-congressman William Jefferson, hid $90,000 in dirty cash in his freezer and was sentenced to 13 years in prison for accepting bribes--the longest sentence ever imposed on a congressman for bribery. And there have been a few of them!
It's all about the ice
Climate-Gate - Late in the year, a scandal erupted over e-mails that suggest global-warming scientists used "tricks" to boost their warming theory. The scandal permeated the climate summit in Copenhagen and gave new hope and vigor to the flat-earth movement of climate change doubters and skeptics.
The President, VP, Cop, and alleged miscreant Gates share brewskis
Obama's Suds Summit - The arrest of Obama pal and one-time Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates by a white Cambridge, Mass., cop, prompted the president to hold a race-laced "beer summit" outside the Oval Office. Since the summit, tensions in the case have eased. This wasn't a scandal so much as just weird.
Live Mike Nightmare - Republican Mike Duvall, an Ex-assemblyman in California resigned after his hot sex comments were picked up by a live microphone during a September assembly meeting. In the video, the married family-values crusader (of course!) from Yorba Linda talks in graphic detail about two women he said he slept with -- at least one of whom was a lobbyist with business before his utilities committee. He sounded amused that he was cheating on both his wife and a
“Oh, yeah, Sher, Shar, Shar,” Duvall said. “Oh, she is hot! I talked to her
yesterday. She goes, ‘So are we finished?’ I go, ‘No, we’re not finished.’ I go, ‘You know about the other one [Barsuglia], but she doesn’t know about
Hiking the Appalachian Trail - Yes, hiking the Appalachian trail was how South Carolina Gov. Mark "Hasn't resigned yet" Sanford explained it to his wife, family and aides. He was actually heating up the sheets in Buenos Aires with his Argentinian mistress. He's been reprimanded by the legislature and dumped by his wife. U.S. News and World reports that his South American love quest may have even jeopardized his Top Secret security clearance.
Sen. John "hasn't resigned yet" Ensign's Affair - Nevada Sen. John Ensign's extramarital affair with an aide who is the wife of a former aide. The Senate Ethics Committee is investigating.
The State dinner gate crashers - Michaele and Tareq Salahi, are under various investigations, including one by a House committee probing how they got in without an invite and skated past the White House Social Office. The Secret Service seems largely to have sloughed off any blame. It looks like it will be the WH functionaries and bureaucrats who take the fall on this one. Yeah, it's not a big story really, and much like the Balloon Boy story. . .just a bold plea for attention, and their own reality show.
ACORN - What can you even say about this one? First they were attached by the right-wing, and were later seriously caught with their pants down.
Ex Governor Rod Blagojevich - The former Illinois Gov. was impeached on charges he sold, or tried to sell Ex-Senator Barack Obama's seat in the Senate. Rod had a notable head of hair, and has been seen on at least one reality TV show (joining Tom DeLay) since leaving office.
Ex Governor Sarah Palin - Sarah Palin's unexpectedly quitting as Alaska governor, months after a brutal and losing vice presidential campaign, was a shock to most everyone. She's gone on to make millions with her autobiography, Going Rogue, a mega-bestseller still riding the charts, and is toying with a presidential bid in 2012. Maybe.
Liz Becton -click to enlarge
"Don't Call me Liz!" - Elizabeth Becton, office manager for Jack's personal congressman--U.S. Representative Jim McDermott, (Seattle-Democrat) is a complete freak. On May 22, 2009, Becton sent a snarky email to an executive assistant at McBee Strategic in response to the individual calling her “Liz” in an email instead of Elizabeth. The alternately pissed-off and apologetic chain of e-mails went on for about nineteen volleys, with the assistant apologizing six times if she had somehow “offended” Becton. The emails went viral all over the internet and around Capitol Hill. Time magazine posted one particularly twisted one:
“In the future, you should be very careful about such things. People like to brag about their connections in D.C. It's a pastime for some. It's also dangerous to eavesdrop, as you have just found out. Quit apologizing and never call me anything but Elizabeth again. Also, make sure you correct anyone who attempts to call me by any other name but Elizabeth. Are we clear on this? Like I said, it's a hot button for me. And please don't call the office and do not leave a message. My colleague told me you called while I was away. ... I do sometimes leave my desk.” — "Don't call me" Liz Becton
The Birthers - OK, I guess someone needed a new wack cause, as the US did the 9/11 attacks movement started to die out. And the birther movement was launched.