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Posted at 3:11 PM ET, 12/20/2010

Michael Steele wins the "Worst Year in Washington"

By Chris Cillizza

After a year's worth of "Worst Week in Washington" picks, we decided to go for the whole shebang -- the Worst Year in Washington.

There were any number of "great" contenders but one man stood above the rest. And that man's name is Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Why? Read our explanation after the jump. And, you can also check out our other winners including the person who had the BEST year in Washington.

Here's an excerpt from our writeup on Steele (the original appeared in the Sunday "Outlook" section):

"At first glance, Steele might seem an odd choice. After all, he heads a Republican Party that gained 63 House seats and six Senate seats in the November midterms, resuscitating a party that was on the verge of last rites as recently as January 2009. No surprise, Steele is making that very case to the 168 members of the Republican National Committee right now as he -- against all odds -- seeks a second term at the helm of the party next month.
But, the idea of Steele as savior misses the mark -- badly.

(snip)

First, the obvious. To describe Steele as a distraction to a party trying to keep the focus on President Obama and Democrats in Congress would do a disservice to distractions. Steele's gaffe machine - already well-oiled in 2009 - kept cranking this year.

(snip)

But those mistakes alone, however substantial, aren't what clinched the Worst Year title for Steele. Rather it was his insistence that the Republican gains were attributable to him, a direct result of the strategies -- fundraising and message-wise -- that he put in place over the last year.
'I won two governorships and a host of special elections,' Steele crowed in the wake of the 2009 elections. In taking credit for what happened last month, Steele, as well as the many within the broader Republican party, are missing the message voters sent: They didn't vote for the GOP; they voted against Democrats."

Also, make sure to check out our other winners:

Bad Year: Dan Snyder
So-So Year: Barack Obama
Better than Expected Year: Tim Geithner
Good Year: Hillary Clinton
Best Year: John Boehner

By Chris Cillizza  | December 20, 2010; 3:11 PM ET
Categories:  Republican Party  
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