Best Political F@#$-Ups of 2011

Politicians. They make us laugh, they make us cry (but mostly they make us laugh).

One thing everyone loves more than lists? Watching politicians step in their own poo. Lucky for us there was a lot of that going on in 2011—enough to make a list actually.

Weiner’s johnson
The media just can’t seem to get enough of Anthony Weiner.  Seven months after the New York congressman self-destructed following his admission that he tweeted and texted photos of his crotch to at least six women and then blamed it on a hacker, the New York Post reported yesterday that the randy Democrat told Georgia cheerleading coach Traci Noble that he wanted to have a threesome with her and another man. Oh, and he also masturbated in his congressional washroom. His buff pecs notwithstanding, Weiner is definitely not a man whose hands I want touching my legislation. I’m thinking he should have accepted that job offer from Larry Flynt.

Rick Perry’s oops moment
Let’s face it: The Texas governor and aspiring leader of the free world (cue record-needle scratch) could very well be the subject of his own list. God’s favorite politician has had so many cringe moments that I can’t help but feel a little sorry for him; I mean let’s face it: Sometimes, in just the right light, head cocked with his best clueless, aw-shucks smile, he actually looks kind of cuddly—in a muppety sort of way. But then he goes and does something like release a homophobic video, or propose upending the entire judicial branch of government and the horns start to grow back.

Washington Post‘s Alexandra Petri described it best when she said:

“Watching Rick Perry campaign recently has been something like watching an irate kitten go through a wash cycle. It’s funny, then sad, then funny, then hilarious, then you just want it to stop.”

I’d like to say it was tough to decide which of the Governor’s flubs was most list-worthy (was it when he said the voting age was 21? Or maybe when he forgot how many justices are on the Supreme Court?), but that would be a lie. Not a single one of them comes close to the absolutely grueling 53-second brain fart he let loose during a November 9th debate in Rochester, Michigan. In what the Daily Telegraph would go on to call “the worst gaffe in the history of televised debates,” Perry tried to list three government agencies he would eliminate but could only get through two (the Departments of Commerce and Education). Recently Perry decided to stop trying to recall that elusive third agency and simply dispense with the entire legislative branch instead.

Rep. Christopher Lee’s Facebook flexing
Democrats didn’t hold the monopoly this year on creepy Internet behavior, but apparently New Yorkers did. Months before Anthony Weiner was asked about the size of his penis during a nationally televised news conference, two-term, family-values Republican Christopher Lee (who represented New York’s far west 26th District in the House) posted shirtless pictures on Facebook under his real name in an effort to woo a 34-year-old Maryland woman. Lee represented himself as a single, 39-year-old lobbyist when he was actually a married, 46-year-old lawmaker. (I’m not sure what’s worse, his philandering or his breach of dating netiquette). Unlike Weiner, Lee didn’t even try to weasel out of his predicament; he resigned his seat within hours of the pictures being posted on Gawker.

Lee’s online dalliance might not be as bad as Weiner’s behavior (and as far as we know there was no self-pleasuring in the Rotunda), but he definitely takes the cake for stupidity, which is not exactly a quality we value in our lawmakers.

The object of Lee’s affection, Yesha Callahan, thought there was a lesson in the whole affair: “The lesson is if you’re going to do dirt, do it anonymously. People cheat every day, but only dumb people get caught.”

Joe Biden’s ill-conceived overture to the Taliban
Joe Biden is famous for saying things he shouldn’t (just Google ‘Biden foot-in-mouth’ and you’ll see what I mean). But it seemed for a while there that his tendency to incite damage control from administration officials was in remission. That is, until last week when he had a realization that he probably should have kept to himself. During an interview with Newsweek’s Leslie H. Gelb, Biden remarked:

“Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That’s critical. There is not a single statement that the President has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy.”

Now, that technically is true. We’re only fighting the Taliban because they wouldn’t turn over Osama bin Laden, and now that he’s dead, the point is kind of moot right?  But then again, when does an enemy stop being an enemy? I think it’s probably when they stop shooting at you, and last I checked there’s about 1,700 U.S. soldiers who would attest to the fact that the Taliban hasn’t done that yet (if they were alive to do so, that is). Even accepting the fact the Taliban is only our “enemy by association,” I can’t help but ask: What took you so long to figure it out, Joe? Remember two years ago when you  guys sent an additional 30,000 troops to fight our “non-enemies?” What were you thinking? Why not hug it out and bring the boys home? I’m sure you’ll figure it out, but hopefully we won’t lose another thousand-plus young men to people we apparently shouldn’t be fighting at all in the meantime.

Michele Bachmann’s … um, where do I begin?
Love her or hate her you have to admit Michele Bachmann is one entertaining chick. I mean, if it wasn’t for her misquotes, verbal stumbles and outright fabrications of scientific fact, this whole GOP primary campaign would be a lot less interesting. Like Rick Perry, Bachmann’s race to the White House has been littered by foibles, flubs and one foot after another in her toothy lipsticked mouth. She’s mistaken the date of Elvis’s death for his birthday, confused all-American actor John Wayne with serial killer John Wayne Gacy, claimed that the founders (many of whom owned slaves) worked to end slavery, blamed God for Hurricane Irene, and apparently forgot Libya is in Africa (if she ever knew it at all). And those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head.  She’s made so many mistakes that there is an entire website devoted to them. To choose just one would only detract from the brilliance of all. Instead, Bachmann gets my vote as the single-most most embarrassing person in American politics, ever.