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.