January 3, 2008 [LINK / comment]
Politics 2007: Year in Review
And what a year it was! At the national, statewide, and local levels, the Republican Party started coming apart at the seams, as the very notion of fiscal responsibility, which used to be a GOP core value, was either mocked or redefined by anti-tax advocates so as to become meaningless. The Christian Right ignored signs of trouble (moralistic hypocrisy à la Larry Craig) and went ahead flexing its muscles in the campaign of Mike Huckabee, in preparation for the Iowa caucuses. Impassioned calls for a narrow (and rather bizarre) version of ideological purity drowned out the reasoned plea to find common cause with moderates and maintain a "big tent" approach in the GOP. Meanwhile, a faction of self-styled "grassroots" campaign activists turned the truth on its head with Orwellian rhetoric, while raising the art of partisan cronyism to new heights. Yes, folks, the Party of Lincoln is in the midst of a kamikaze dive, and Honest Abe must be rolling over in his grave. As esteemed Senator John Warner said of the people who are currently running the Republican Party in Virginia, "The rigidity of this outfit is going to keep taking it down until they hit bottom."
So, for what it is worth, here is my (highly biased) ranking of the Top Ten stories in politics this past year, with links to the blog posts in question. The first item, regarding the acrimonious Hanger-Sayre GOP primary race, encompasses so many blog posts that I created a special archive page just for it.
- The reelection of State Senator Emmett Hanger, 2007
- What are the Russians up to? (Aug.)
- The death of Benazir Bhutto (Dec.)
- France & Germany (heart) U.S.A.???
- Democrats win Virginia Senate (Nov.)
- The State of the Union, 2007 (Jan.)
- Dubious deal on immigration (May)
- Hasta la vista, Karl Rove (Aug.)
- Virginia blogosphere flap (Jan. -- when the "meltdown" started)
- Augusta County Campaign 2007 (Oct.)
Other key political blog posts not related to current news:
- Novak on Luntz & GOP "denial" (Feb.)
- Mark Steyn's America Alone (Mar.)
- Immigration panel discussion (June)
News Leader's Top 10
The News Leader's ranking of top local news events for 2007 put the Hanger-Sayre race (and related strife within the Republican party) as Number 5. For the record, the meeting we held in June was not by "invitation-only," though it is true that its legality was challenged by other party members. I'm still not clear why that was, however. We did everything by the books.
I would like to take this opportunity to bid a respectful farewell to former News Leader Opinion Editor Dennis Neal. I strongly disagreed with him on a several issues, but I know he was sincere, well-informed, and above all, a man of professional integrity. I wish him the best as he takes on a new journalistic job with the U.S. Marine Corps.
Resting in peace...
- Art Buchwald (Jan.)
- Molly Ivins (Feb.)
- Lady Bird Johnson, Jack Hinton (July)
- Rep. Jo Ann Davis (Oct.)
- Rep. Henry Hyde (Dec.)
- Benazir Bhutto (Dec.; also see above)