Your Best and Worst of 2012

We’ve reached that trough in the holiday season where we fill the void between the Christmas drinking and the New Year’s drinking by clicking, with Pavlovian fervor, on itemized run-downs of the year that’s slipping away. God knows I have some whiskey to get back to, so here’s mine. Add your thoughts or categories in the comments:

Best Political Development of the Year: The erosion of public-sector labor’s power, as evinced by the failure of the effort to recall Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin and the passage of right-to-work laws in Michigan.

Worst Political Development of the Year: The Supreme Court’s Obamacare ruling. Mitt Romney’s loss and the underperformance of Republican Senate candidates both stung, but it was Chief Justice Roberts’ elevation of “institutional integrity” over constitutional fidelity that will have the deepest long-term effect on the state of American liberty.

Best Rising Star of the Right: It’s an unfortunately thin field, but this probably has to go to the newest U.S. Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz. Honorable mentions to South Carolina’s new representative in the upper chamber, Tim Scott, and the failed Utah congressional candidate Mia Love.

Republican Pol You’d Rather Forget About: Todd Akin. Richard Mourdock artlessly expressed a fairly basic belief of the pro-life community — that the value of a human life is not contingent on the nature of its conception. Akin, by contrast, managed to suggest both a halting misunderstanding of biology and a casual disregard for the gravity of rape. He is a template for how not to talk about social issues.

Democrat Who Scares You the Most: In terms of political views, Elizabeth Warren. In terms of prospects for future political success, Cory Booker. 

Democrat That’s Not Getting the Props They Deserve: Rhode Island Treasurer Gina Raimondo, who almost single-handedly led to the Ocean State getting its public pension system under control.

Favorite Ricochet Moment: Apart from the outpouring of support we received earlier this month, I’d probably have to go with Lileks suggesting to John Yoo on the NR cruise that he toy with the left by running for the “water board” in Oakland.

2012′s Leading Sign That We May No Longer be a Serious Country: That any of us knows the name Sandra Fluke. 

2012′s Leading Sign That We Remain a Serious Country: Give me a minute …

Best International Development: The election of Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma and that country’s steps towards democracy. 

Worst International Development: The continued devolution of the “Arab Spring” into chaos, totalitarianism, and islamism.

State That Impressed You Most: Texas, in absolute terms. Apart from the aforementioned Wisconsin and Michigan, kudos also to Louisiana for passing Bobby Jindal’s sweeping education reform and Indiana for becoming a right-to-work state.

State That Depressed You Most: California, which, despite its current travails, increased taxes and defeated a ballot initiative to rein in its regnant unions, sending an unmistakeable message that the blue state model will have to be pried from its cold, dead hands.

Cultural Meme You Hope You Never Have to Reference Again: Gangnam Style

Best (Non-Fiction) Book of the Year: Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson’s Why Nations Fail.

Best Movie of the Year: You got me. For the first time in several years, I can’t think of a Big, Important Film that I’ll want to revisit in years to come. I had hoped it would be Lincoln, but I found it bloated, questionably cast (Sally Field as Mary Lincoln?), and prone to occasional fits of schmaltz. Only Daniel Day-Lewis’s hypnotizing performance redeemed it for me.

Hope for 2013: In political terms, that we control the damage. In personal terms … well, basically the same.

  1. EJHill
    Troy Senik, Ed.  Cultural Meme You Hope You Never Have to Reference Again:Gangnam Style

    I don’t understand…

  2. Knotwise the Poet

    Ditto to both of your choices for best and worst political developments.  

    Signs that we may no longer be a serious country: Related to your Sandra Fluke comments, the fact that the War on Women meme was actually persuasive to some people; and that Obama won because “he cares.”  

    Best Movie of 2012: “The Avengers”- yeah, it’s not an “important” film, but it’s (in my opinion) a near-flawless piece of popcorn-escapism that should not have worked, with plenty of wonderfully quotable bits and terrific character-writing courtesy of Mr. Whedon.  I have already “revisited” it several times and will continue to throughout the years- it’s fun and satisfying every time.  I also enjoyed “Lincoln” a lot and was deeply moved by “Les Mis” (in spite of its flaws).

  3. Bereket Kelile

    Could you elaborate on Sally Fields? What made you say that? I’m asking purely out of curiosity.

  4. Bereket Kelile

    By the way, I’d pick Act of Valor as my favorite film of the year, even if it wasn’t the best.

  5. EJHill
    bereket kelile: Could you elaborate on Sally Fields?

    Mary.jpg

  6. Scott R

    Sign that we remain a serious country: Fracking.

  7. RushBabe49

    Why was the re-election of Obama not the worst political development of 2012?  He will be able to nominate and get confirmed at least one more and perhaps two Supreme Court Justices, practically assuring the move away from Constitutional government.

  8. Casey

    Hey, I just caught on to Gangnam style a week ago and just now caught on to the EJHill reference… Do I have to give it up so soon?

  9. Edward Smith

    I hear Sandra Fluke is dating the twin brother Harvey & Maurice Fisch.

    Oy!  She’s sleeping with the Fisch’s.

    I’ll be here till next Friday.  Be sure to tip your waitress.

  10. DocJay

    I agree with those choices Troy. I suppose Argo was the best until that idiot Carter jabbered on during the credits. California doubled down on socialism and union thuggery. Their beggars bowl will be held high these next few years.

  11. Bereket Kelile
    DocJay: I agree with those choices Troy. I suppose Argo was the best until that idiot Carter jabbered on during the credits. California doubled down on socialism and union thuggery. Their beggars bowl will be held high these next few years. · 58 minutes ago

    That was a good movie too. Everyone in the theater was applauding when the plane took off. For me, that was an indicator that we’re still a serious country.

  12. Joseph Eagar
    Troy Senik, Ed.:

    Favorite Ricochet Moment:Apart from the outpouring of support we received earlier this month, I’d probably have to go with Lileks suggesting to John Yoo on the NR cruise that he toy with the left by running for the “water board” in Oakland.

    That would be unbelievably awesome.  He should totally do it!

  13. Troy Senik, Ed.
    C
    bereket kelile: Could you elaborate on Sally Fields? What made you say that? I’m asking purely out of curiosity. · 5 hours ago

    The first point — and the one that made me squeamish even before seeing the film — was that Abe was nearly 10 years older than his wife. Daniel Day-Lewis is more than 10 years Sally Field’s junior.

    Beyond that, she doesn’t quite match the hard aesthetic of the White House era Mary Todd Lincoln. The performance itself wasn’t awful, but I remained constantly cognizant of the fact that I was watching Sally Field rather than Mary Lincoln, which is exactly the opposite reaction that I had to Daniel Day-Lewis.

  14. Troy Senik, Ed.
    C
    RushBabe49: Why was the re-election of Obama not the worst political development of 2012?  He will be able to nominate and get confirmed at least one more and perhaps two Supreme Court Justices, practically assuring the move away from Constitutional government. · 4 hours ago

    The silver lining with presidents or supreme court justices is that eventually you’re rid of them. Alas, you can’t say that about massive entitlement expansions. 

  15. Troy Senik, Ed.
    C
    Scott Reusser: Sign that we remain a serious country: Fracking. · 4 hours ago

    That’s a very good pick. Although the width and depth of the opposition may also be symptomatic of our unseriousness (I agree with Joel Kotkin that a Clinton-style Democrat would be trying to surf this energy development wave rather than blocking it).

  16. tabula rasa

    Worst Political Development.  Obama’s reelection trumps everything else.  I agree wholeheartedly that the Roberts decision upholding Obamacare was right up there.  A true defining moment for Roberts, and he flunked.

    Best Rising Star of the Right: I agree with Troy’s picks but would add Jeff Flake.  I think he’s going to be a major player. 

    2012′s Leading Sign That We May No Longer be a Serious Country:  Yet another trillion + deficit and we re-elected the man most likely to see that trend continue.  Truly baffling.

    2012′s Leading Sign That We Remain a Serious Country: Republicans continue to succeed on the state and local level.

    Best (Non-Fiction) Book of the Year: Charles Kesler’s I Am The Change.  I posted on it here.

    Best Movie of the Year:  I love The Hobbit, though I’m not going to argue that it’s an artistic triumph. The scene with the eagles was stunning.  

    Best kid’s movie:  Wreck It Ralph was a lot of fun.

    Hope for 2013:  (1) My confidence that still God loves America, though  He’s probably getting a bit discouraged with us and (2) that Ricochet will survive and thrive.

  17. Casey

    2012′s Leading Sign That We Remain a Serious Country: May we never become a serious country.

  18. Conservative in CA

    2012 Leading Sign We Are No Longer A Serious Country: 3rd straight year without a budget, enough said. Sign #2: No budget + economic stagnation + fiscal cliff = re-elected president. Really?

  19. Albert Arthur, 16th Earl of Tuftonboro, Lord Dime-Hacker, etc.

    I really liked Sally Fields. She was the best part of the movie, in my opinion.

  20. EJHill

    And then, Marilyn Monroe makes headlines again today. Let me check… Yep. Still dead. And even less in her head than Ashley Judd, if that’s even possible. I can appreciate keeping great art alive and celebrating the artist, but that’s not America’s obsession with Marilyn. It’s just creepy.

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