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"Worst Week in Washington": The Nominations!

It's only Wednesday but there is already a panoply of potential choices for the Fix's "Worst Week in Washington".

Could it be Sen. Arlen Specter (D) who after 29 years as a Republican watched as Democratic voters sent him to a clear defeat last night?

What about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) whose chosen candidate for Senate -- Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R) -- was pummeled by tea party favorite Rand Paul (R) in Kentucky?

Then there's Indiana Rep. Mark Souder who announced his plans to resign after admitting an affair with a former member of his staff.

It's an embarrassment of riches -- or something.

Offer your nominee for "Worst Week in Washington" -- and why that person, place or thing really deserves the "award" -- below. If your nomination is particularly insightful or creative, we will send you an official Fix t-shirt.

Nominate away!

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 19, 2010; 12:05 PM ET
Categories:  Worst Week in Washington  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: How (and why) Arlen Specter lost
Next: Winners and Losers from the May 18 primaries

Comments

Can I nominate Richard Blumenthal? He's only running for Senate, he's certainly not here yet - and it looks like he won't be.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | May 20, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

don't think she lives in Washington, but I'll nominate Drindl. Ecstasy over a pro-gun, pro-life, anti-HCR Democrat winning a seat for six months in a district that is overwhelmingly Democratic has pushed her over the edge.

Posted by: Brigade
-------------------------------------------
She is completely dependent on Washington though.

Posted by: leapin | May 20, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

when the shouting is over the "tea party" folks will have to actually have a program to get the things they say we need.
First,reduce the deficit. This means some tax increases (we have a 20% gap with spending and taxes). This means changing SS and medicare (accounts for 50% 0f budget),this means reducing defense spending (most earmarks to states are related to this),this means cutting back on food stamps,childs medical care. Ultimately they will have to deal with Foreign oil use,and the long term wars with corruption and increase billions spent.
It will be hard to undue the medical care changes once people get used to them. This means taking back benefits and giving the profits to Insurers.
It will also be necessary to convince the people that corporations should be left alone to do what they want as more and more abuses come out. Drill baby drill will be a hard sell.
As corporations send more jobs overseas and unemployment increases it will be hard to explain.
The real challenge is do we continue to give government to the corporate world or do we demand an efficient and honest government for the people of this country?

Posted by: ephetsgma | May 20, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

arlen specter(his last name means GHOST) IF HE ISN`T THE POSTER BOY FOR TERM LIMITS NO ONE IS,SWITCH PARTIES TO STAY IN OFFICE,HOW LOW CAN YOU GO!!!

Posted by: SISSD1 | May 20, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Not Arlen Specter--he's long past overdue for retirement and when the dust settles, hell feel a lot more relief than pain.

I vote for Mitch McConnel. He ran our Bunning and picked his replacement, but it seems that the Republican leader's policy of all-no-all-the-time came back to bite him on the behind. Now in his shame(if he was capable of shame) he goes back to the Senate and has to face everyone with a big hole in his pants.

Rand Paul's win was a referendum on Republican obstructionsm--Kentuckians want someone who will actually go in and work for the people instead of corporations and the GOP. They rejected Grayson as McConnell-lite.

Posted by: wd1214 | May 20, 2010 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Not Arlen Specter--he's long past overdue for retirement and when the dust settles, hell feel a lot more relief than pain.

I vote for Mitch McConnel. He ran our Bunning and picked his replacement, but it seems that the Republican leader's policy of all-no-all-the-time came back to bite him on the behind. Now in his shame(if he was capable of shame) he goes back to the Senate and has to face everyone with a big hole in his pants.

Rand Paul's win was a referendum on Republican obstructionsm--Kentuckians want someone who will actually go in and work for the people instead of corporations and the GOP. They rejected Grayson as McConnell-lite.

Posted by: wd1214 | May 20, 2010 1:06 AM | Report abuse

At first thought Specter came to mind, as it appears the decisions he's recently made all aimed for one end: reelection (which of course didn't happen)...
But after reading over some of the posts, I have to agree with AndyR3...if Jeff Sessions/NRCC keep up this kind of "winning streak"...

Posted by: doro2 | May 19, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Brigade, if you look at the Plum Line you will find that the Times' big Blumenthal story is collapsing on itself. A full video of that speech was found and earlier in the speech Blumenthal states that he served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam era. Blumenthal's well-spoken acceptance of responsibility for misspeaking seems mighty graceful in comparrisson to how he has been treated by the Times andmany columnists. The Fix, you'll notice, did not jump on this story -- he was smart not to.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/05/times_defends_posting_of_clipp.html#more

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/05/blumenthal_told_truth_on_same.html

Posted by: margaretmeyers | May 19, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Though Specter had a pretty bad week, I've got to nominate Mitch McConell.

For a man who is the king of the Kentucky GOP (its headquarters is named after him); he has gotten deposed by his own party.

Here is the man that PERSONALLY made Bunning leave the race and brought Grayson in, but all he has to show is a loss from a man who has never even ran for public office.

Overall, this race shows the muscle and strength of the Tea Party in action. After all, these group of libertarians have managed to cream the hand picked candidate of the establishment.

As McConell pushes for unity in his party, not even he can bring
a group of anti-Washington conservatives and Washington insiders together as one.

Posted by: pinwizard39 | May 19, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Nominees (loser): Specter, Souder, McConnell, Lincoln.

The envelope please.

Mitch McConnell! Being explicitly rejected in his own state (he and Orrin should be nervous) is not good. The general election becomes more difficult to win and prospective new senators won't play nice. A dozen Tom Coburns anyone?

Nominees (winner): Sestak, Clinton (Bill), Critz, Paul.

The envelope please.

Joe Sestak. Persevered in his fight and gets the general election he deserves. The party will fall in behind him and secretly sigh in relief.

Sports special.

Loser of the week - Washington Nationals. Lost all five games this week to slump back to .500. Good enough isn't good enough any more.

Winner of the week - Irene Pollin & the Washington Wizards. This #1 pick won't be blown.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 19, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Noacoler wrote,
"Nomination One: Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, whose pimping of the "Bad News for Democrats" message got completely repudiated by the facts."

What facts are those? A right-wing Democrat, running as far away as he could from Obama, wins a congressional race in a district that has been in the Democratic column since the founding of the republic?
Great facts. Oh, I guess the Blumenthal expose is "Good News for Democrats", eh?

Posted by: Brigade | May 19, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

All this talk about Blumenthal is just a very expensive PR campaign dredged up by porn queen Linda McMahon.

She wants to divert attention from the millions she has made on her steroid-pumped porn, violence and necrophilia empire.

Posted by: drindl | May 19, 2010 1:46 PM
-------

See what I mean?

Posted by: Brigade | May 19, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't think she lives in Washington, but I'll nominate Drindl. Ecstasy over a pro-gun, pro-life, anti-HCR Democrat winning a seat for six months in a district that is overwhelmingly Democratic has pushed her over the edge.

Posted by: Brigade | May 19, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

You're welcome.

I'll go back to watching Hamlet, now. :)

Posted by: Gallenod | May 19, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Every author of every "Introduction to American Government" textbook written since, well, ever. They ALL contain a variation on the following wisdom "The status of already holding office-known as incumbency-strongly influences a candidate's ability to raise money and is probably the most important single factor in determining success in a congressional campaign."

uh...not so much.

Posted by: BillSwinford | May 19, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Ah, I think I understand.

You are saying neither the person who screwed up the worst, nor the one who just had the worst luck should win.

You are going for political tragedy, as distinguished from disaster or pratfall.

A meaningful distinction, I like it, thanks for taking the time.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 19, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

What in the world is an Anti-Washington Politician? Or an Anti-Status-Quo Candidate for public office?

Has anyone ever seen an Anti-Sports First Baseman of the Dodgers? An Anti-Corporation Manager of a Wal-Mart Store?

Posted by: hrayovac2 | May 19, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Shrink2,

I'll try.

I'm more inclined to nominate people for Worst Week if their bad luck isn't of their own doing. Souder made his own bed (or unmade, as the case may be) and did himself in. Spector switching parties was his own choice that came back to end his career. If he'd stuck it out as a Republican and lost to Toomey, it would have been a different kind of bad luck.

I nominated the senators from Maine this week because they're now stuck, without having done anything particularly stupid themselves, with a state party platform that is so far to their right that it almost circles the globe and sits on their left shoulders.

Senator Bennett was my nominee last week for the same reason: torpedoed by activists within his own party despite being a serious Conservative legislator for the last 17+ years.

That's not to say I wouldn't rank Mitch McConnell (for backing a candidate who got thumped), Michael Steele (for guaranteeing PA-12 would go Republican) and Mr. (not quite the Marine he presented himself as) Blumenthal rather highly for getting hoist by their own petards.

In addition to whether a potential Worst Weeker did themselves in or not, I also consider whether the misery is short or long term. With the exception of Souder, most of the rest of the people with troubles this week should recover their equilibriums fairly soon through a combination of strong self-images and support from people around them.

Collins and Snow, on the other hand, just got blindsided inside their own state party by activists who's next goal will be to replace them. That's an environmental change and the associated misery is going to linger for a while.

Does that help explain my rationale?

Posted by: Gallenod | May 19, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Chris,
My choices are not very original, I fear:
Worst Week (month, year, decade):
Arlen Specter (whom I tended to admire when he was a Republican)

With 'runner-up' status a toss-up between Tim Burns/NRRC, who failed so miserably to beat Mark Critz in PA-12; and Mitch McConnell, whose efforts to squash Rand Paul were so ham-handed and misdirected.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | May 19, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Republican Strategy - until last night they expected to dance through the 2010 elections expecting anti-Obama feelings would be enough to shove the Democrats out of office. PA-12 was a wake up call.

Steele guaranteed PA-12 and today was reduced to saying this "This race should serve notice to Democratic office holders everywhere that no seat is safe and that voters will not accept business-as-usual."?????

Now Republicans have to face the fact that the Tea Bag people are for real even if their positions remain unknown, unknowable or are sometimes conflicting. After Bennett, and now Grayson, the HQ must be wondering WTF.

Rand Paul is a LIBERTARIAN first and a Tea Bagger second but others are less focused and some variously support both keeping the government's hands off their medicare and others want to destroy it.

There is no there there yet with only months to go. The current mantra is more like Groucho would say: " Whatever it is, I'm against it! That is no foundation for a strategy and it can be very destabilizing for a real organization that has to have a consistent message to manage a national fund raising and election apparatus.

They will miss the day when they could simply chant lower taxes, more god, no abortion, more guns and terrorists are everywhere. Where is Bush now that they need a stratergy? Watching Glenn Beck for guidance and investing in gold are poor substitutes for a real good bumper sticker statement to feed to the press.

Being in the party of no has not been good enough for the Tea Party wing. They want at least the party of hell no and that may not wash with independents that hold the key in many elections and want the country and its government to progress.

As a result, Republican strategy or stratergy had a so-so week.

Posted by: BobSanderson | May 19, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

What about Sen Jim Bunning ? He let Mitch force him out of running again.Then Mitch's hand picked guy loses to a teabagger who wouldn't have run if Bunning had sought re-election. Yes, he has to be smiling that Mitch's guy lost, but HE could have held that seat! Strike 3 , Jim !

Posted by: jmsbh | May 19, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"I tend towards people who had a bad week through no fault of their own..."

Gallenod, I am trying to figure this out.
Why? Just bad luck, wrong place at the wrong time?

If a politician had to resign from office because she got T-boned in an intersection by a drunk running a red light, might that top the list?

Help me out, I know you didn't mean that.


Posted by: shrink2 | May 19, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Nomination One: Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, whose pimping of the "Bad News for Democrats" message got completely repudiated by the facts. Not that it will slow down, of course. Expect more chasing after people nobody cares about like Pawlenty and Thune with roses and chocolates, and expect more aplomb given to hillbillies like Palin and DeMint.

Nomination Two: Souder by a mile. While Specter gers retired in honor, Souder leaves office in deep disgrace, another antigay progun creationist nutjob exposed as 100.00% hypocrite.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 19, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Bob, re your 12:36, one could say another incumbent victory yesterday was that of Dr. John Kitzhaber (one day he remembered my name at Zupans!). He may not be the incumbent, but he was and he will be.

He is no outsider, that is for sure, he was just laying out, woodshedding.

Hanging around trying to push health care reform for eight years after his two terms as OR Governor, he announced he wanted his old job back late in the game, when he saw there was no one serious in the line up to run for the office...and he won the primary without (trust me) trying and that means, he'll get his third term.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 19, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I nominate the Roll Call - CQ Group, for losing the best political reporter they had - Shira Toeplitz - to Politico. How will they compete now?

Posted by: hfienberg | May 19, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Look's like Washington's had the worst week in Washington. Its incumbents and party picks got defeated on an anti-Washington message, Republicans are stalling on financial reform, and the Sunday morning shows have started fact checking.

Posted by: thecorinthian | May 19, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Not quite sure if this is a vote or not, but here's the link to Mark Souder being "interviewed" by his mistress about abstinence education. The last 30 seconds or so is worth the price of admission:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2010/05/18/VI2010051803377.html?

Is there a Christian, right-wing word for chutzpah?

Posted by: Bondosan | May 19, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I tend towards people who had a bad week through no fault of their own, so Souder, Blumenthal and Spector would be lower on my list.

I'll nominate Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. The Maine Republican Party got hijacked by the Tea Party last week and their new state party platform has to be making the two moderate Republican senators (RINOs to some, old school R's to others) more than just a bit queasy. For more details, see Dana Milbank's interesting column from May 8th: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/14/AR2010051402450.html?waporef=obinsite.

I can't see either of them being happy this week or looking forward to challenges from their hard right in their next primaries.

Posted by: Gallenod | May 19, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Dutch Cleanser - made a short but sweet entry in gero-politics and disappeared once again.

Posted by: BobSanderson | May 19, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I nominate Congressman Pete Session (head of the NRCC) as of right now having the worst week. Yes, Specter lost and Lincoln is in the fight of their lives, but they knew that was coming. Sessions has now lost 6 special elections in a row and he and NRCC dropped one million on the PA-special only to be beat by 9%. This was a race that they used their strategy of running against Obama and Pelosi in an area that is friendly to GOPers and they got smoked. No way to spin this one Chris Van Hollen is wiping the floor with Sessions and he knows it.

Note: A GOP win in Hawaii tomorrow should void this entry, but a loss should lock it up for Sessions.

Posted by: AndyR3 | May 19, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

All this talk about Blumenthal is just a very expensive PR campaign dredged up by porn queen Linda McMahon.

She wants to divert attention from the millions she has made on her steroid-pumped porn, violence and necrophilia empire.

Posted by: drindl | May 19, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

CT attorney general and Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal lying about his service in Vietnam. Can't wait to see Linda McMahon's new ad. Republicans need to keep it alive.
Also, CT Supreme Court disqualifies Secretary of State Susan Bysciewiz from running for Attorney General, overturning lower court ruling. It was expected that she would be a shoe-in to replace Bluementhal.
Two favorites going down!

Posted by: lindad2 | May 19, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Here's a dark-horse candidate: John Wall. Did you see how unhappy he looked when DC won the NBA lottery, meaning that he will have to play for the disfunctional Wizards and be a teammate of that disturbed, walking freak-show Arenas?

Posted by: Dan4 | May 19, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

The Republican party leaders.

With the political winds blowing at their backs, and in a year were they believe the House and Senate are within their reach, The hand pick candidate of the Republican leader in his state lost badly, they could not pick up Murtha's conservative district, and Mark Souder hurts their chance to both win one of their own seats and play the "moral high ground" party card. The tea party slapped them, a conservative district slapped them, and the Conservative Christians are going to be reminded of all of the other Republican "Family value" candidates that betrayed their beliefs. All this will also affect their war chest. Man... and they thought it was going to be a "slam dunk"! Wait? Where have I heard that before??

Posted by: mcfield | May 19, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

If you are in Congress presently, and involved in this raping, robbing and enrichment of Wall Street via the U.S. Tax payer, YOU ARE GONE! GET THE F OUT! We the People ARE TIRED OF NO REPRESENTATION AND YOU ALL PANDERING TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER!

THROW ALL THE INCUMBENT BUMS OUT!

VOTE FOR CHANGE IN 2010 AND 2012!

Posted by: Impeachbush99 | May 19, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I was all wired to nominate Mitch McConnell as having had the worst week, having lost his BFF and consilieri Robert Bennett and his handpicked choice for the other Kentucky Senate seat picking up an embarassing 35% of the vote in yesterday's primary. In comparison with others, though, he actually came out pretty well.

Arlen Spector lost a Senate seat he has held for almost 30 years, and Richard Blumenthal's spotless career spanning decades may have imploded, prectically overnight.

Having the absolute worst week, however, is Mark Souder. You will recall that just earlier this month he had been renominated for his Indiana house seat (though barely) and was now cruising to re-election. Not only is he now resigning because of his sex scandal, the self-described family values champion Souder achieved instant fame last night when Jay Leno played the clip of Souder being interviewed by his alleged mistress on the subject of abstinence. Leno then added the cherry by showing a photo of Souder and commented, very much tongue in cheek, on how studly Souder was. What wouldnt he give to change places with McConnell, or even Spector or Blumenthal, for that matter? If we had read any of this in a novel, we'd have all put it down as laughably farfetched.

Posted by: efjsdo | May 19, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

The MSM -- for their utter failure to grasp the actual mood of Americans, which has not changed much since Obama's election, and their foolish embrace of the radical rightwing lout baggers.

And the Republican establishment, who took it on the chin in every race.

Posted by: drindl | May 19, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

The Media who toyed with "Incumbent Armageddon" and all those, (Dan Balz can you hear me?) who can't stop that meme despite having very little data to show.

Exactly one incumbent lost their job yesterday and in the only contest that decided a real job, the machine candidate won to retain the long held Democratic position that was Murtha's.

Posted by: BobSanderson | May 19, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Arlen, sure, but dishonorable mention has to go to Richard Blumenthal.

If the Republicans had a serious candidate up against him, he might have actually snatched defeat from the jaws of victory this week.

People in his job put people in jail for lying about important matters all the time.
There is no possible way he made a mistake, or his memory lapsed on this topic. The difference between getting deferments and going to war is well, unforgettable, you do that for a reason: you don't want to fight.

That is fine with me, the world is full of people who won't fight, I wish there were more of them, but to lie and say you went to war, now that those who did are being lionized: yuck factor off the chart.

So I won't defend what he did, but Linda McMahon? CT couldn't be that stupid, or?

Posted by: shrink2 | May 19, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

A certain someone that trusted Dem leadership.

Posted by: leapin | May 19, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Specter - no one else is close.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 19, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

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