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Worst Week in Washington

Always wish you could know the one person, place or thing that had the absolute worst week in Washington? Us too!

Starting this week, we will be choosing who (or what) had the "Worst Week in Washington" (or WWW for short -- no one has used those initials for anything else, right?).

Our pick will run in the Sunday Outlook section of the newspaper and will post online on Fridays.

But, as always, we want Fixistas help!

Every Wednesday we are going to post an item asking for your nomination of the Democrat, Republican, West Wing dweller, Capitol Hill insider, K Street dealer, business guru, sports hero, think tank scribblers and any other inhabitant of Planet Beltway who experienced the absolute Worst Week in Washington. (Trust us, the competition is intense.)

If we use your pick, you'll earn our undying gratitude -- and maybe even a Fix T-shirt!

Nominate away. And don't forget to give us not just the "who" or "what" but the "why" too.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 12, 2010; 11:09 AM ET
Categories:  Worst Week in Washington  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Danger Incumbents Danger!
Next: The Uncertainty of Incumbents: What do you say to voters?

Comments

CC, sorry I meant John Cornyn in my entry yesterday. I get the GOP senators mixed up all the time.

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Posted by: itkonlyyou56 | May 12, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Who? GOP Incumbents.
Why? Tea Bag contesters running against them in the Primary.
Where? Everywhere in America.

Runner up: Karzai.

America has grown tired of his excuses and even President Obama knows we won't permit our troops to stay there past July of 2010.

Forget 2011, our patience has run out and the pocketbook is closing.

Posted by: WillSeattle | May 12, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Bob Bennett's the obvious choice, but there are plenty of reasons he's the obvious choice.

Posted by: SeanC1 | May 12, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Clearly Arlen Specter. Looking ahead to next Tuesday makes this a worse week than actually experiencing next Tuesday. The SCOTUS pick, the surging polls... On the upside, hopefully a guy with his amazing record of beating cancer three times probably has some perspective on what really matters in life. Life goes on either way after Tuesday.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | May 12, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Its easy to pick Allan Mollohan, given he essentially lost his seat via the primary.

However I have to go with Arlen Spector. The last week has seen his formidable lead in the polls dissolve as Sestak hammers him for his party switch. He's also fallen behind Sestak in the head to heads against Toomey, meaning its harder for him to use the 'electability' argument (he's still trying too, of course).

And, to top it off, the President picked Kagan for the SC, meaning Arlen has to justify his vote against her as Solicitor General (back in the days when he was trying to prove he was a loyal Republican).

Posted by: JayPen | May 12, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

"Ah, the infinite flexibility of English."

Yeah, well its like that and its like this*

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/05/11/travel/funny-signs.html


*rip easy e

Posted by: shrink2 | May 12, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the infinite flexibility of English. It truly is a mongrel language and I do mean that as a compliment. At least it's got hybrid vigor! As opposed to rigor(mortis).

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 12, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

It is a transitive verb,as in,

"Those Greeks peeved me," or,
"I sure got peeved by those Greeks."

but I don't think it is intransitive.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 12, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirmed that the federal government will have to spend an additional $115 billion implementing the law, bringing the total estimated cost to over $1 trillion."
---
But, but i thought the CBO were liars? So if you admit they are now telling the truth then we only reduce the deficit by $65 billion over ten years with this bill.

Posted by: JRM2 | May 12, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I didn't know that peeved was a verb.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 12, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

A very bad week for the Minerals Management Service, that is for sure.

Now that we know what they don't do, you may wonder, what do they do?

"Coast Guard Capt. Hung Nguyen, a co-chairman of the investigation panel, repeatedly asked Michael Saucier, the regional director for the Gulf of Mexico for the Minerals Management Service, about testing and regulation of the blowout preventer.

In seemingly exasperated disbelief, Mr. Nguyen repeated the conclusions back.

“Designed to industry standard, manufactured by industry, installed by industry, with no government oversight of construction or installation, is that correct?” he asked Mr. Saucier.

“That would be correct,” Mr. Saucier said.
NYT

Posted by: shrink2 | May 12, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

It has to be Arlen Specter, switches parties to get re-elected and now he's taking it on the chin in his re-election efforts.

Posted by: johnrobbins84 | May 12, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

No, there are valved ports in the stack that can be used to inject golf balls, chopped up tires, etc. (junk), but the pressure needed to inject that stuff will have to be higher than the pressure in the system already and the fear is any increase in pressure could tear that small hole there already torn at the kink, wide open. So now I heard they are experimenting with different formulas to see what can work (flow at the lowest pressure possible but still form a plug) at that depth and temperature. But yeah, no one wants to be the person with the idea that made a bad situation far worse. As for trying "all sorts of new things" at the full flow rate, I can't imagine what that means.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 12, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Barry had the worst week. He peeved that the Greeks are way ahead of his time table.

Posted by: leapin | May 12, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to beat Bob Bennett. But, I'm going to go with Mitch McConnell. Florida's gone from a solid pick-up to probable loss. Losing Bennett is going to hurt and Orrin Hatch has a target on his back. Rand Paul's looking like he will give McConnell and embarrassment in his own back yard. The Republicans will probably gain seats, but he's got to be wondering if he'll face a leadership challenge from a reshaped caucus.

Incidentally, I prefer Zouk this way. Insults directed at the President are much more preferable than personal insults directed at other Fixistas.
BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 12, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

12B, I'll bet they don't try the top kill, but the "junk shot" is a definite maybe. As I understand it, adding even a small amount of pressure to the system could blow that kink open, the place where a hole already exists. For awhile people thought the flow was as slow as it is because the BOP may have worked to some extent. Now, I think the thinking is the kinked pipe at the top is what is impeding full flow.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 12, 2010 1:59 PM
-------------------------------------
The techie blog you recommended seems to think it is only the kinked pipe that's keeping the spill down. Anything that involves drilling into that pipe definitely puts the whole thing at risk to blow apart. Isn't junk shot effectively drilling into the pipe?

Someone on the blog made the interesting point, that if the well suddenly started pumping out 60,000 bbl/day, then "all sorts of new things" would be tried. But, that BP doesn't want to be the one who is blamed for touching the pipe.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | May 12, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

12B, I'll bet they don't try the top kill, but the "junk shot" is a definite maybe. As I understand it, adding even a small amount of pressure to the system could blow that kink open, the place where a hole already exists. For awhile people thought the flow was as slow as it is because the BOP may have worked to some extent. Now, I think the thinking is the kinked pipe at the top is what is impeding full flow.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 12, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

it's not funny, shrink. right now there is a cap on liabilities for this kind of oil spill -- and more than that has been spent by US already. Obama is trying to raise the cap so we american taxpayers don't have to foot this gargantuan cleanup.

Posted by: drindl | May 12, 2010 1:39 PM
---------------------------------
BP indicated at the hearings that the $75m limit is not a limit and they would NOT be using the trust fund $1b.

Seems like the 1990 Oil Pollution Act, which established the $75m limit and the trust fund, is a good example of tort reform. We all like tort reform, until WE are the injured party.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | May 12, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

You can trust me when I say I know none of this is funny.

But if you think the taxpayers are not going to pay for this, you have not been paying attention to politics for the past few hundred years. Let's ask people who live around Prince William Sound whether Exxon cleaned up the mess and made things right again.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 12, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

it's not funny, shrink. right now there is a cap on liabilities for this kind of oil spill -- and more than that has been spent by US already. Obama is trying to raise the cap so we american taxpayers don't have to foot this gargantuan cleanup.

Posted by: drindl | May 12, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Seems like the present status of the BP gusher is this:

1. No hope in the BOP ever working.

2. Small cofferdam is at the site. This is the size of a barrel of oil. They are trying to get everything all hooked up to the cofferdam, quick put it over the leak, cross fingers. This is a Hail Mary pass.

3. Next idea--topkill. Shoveling debris into high pressure pipe, hoping it plugs up before being blown back out. Another Hail Mary pass.

4. Wait 3 months for cross drilling to take pressure off. Hope that the present piping doesn't blow off in the interim and allow the well to pump 60,000 bbl/day instead of the present rate of 5,000 bbl/day.

Number 4 is what we're looking at, realistically. Sad, sad, sad.


Posted by: 12BarBlues | May 12, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"Are BOP's on working wells? Or only on exploratory wells? In other words, how many more disabled BOP's are down there?"

Heh, heh, today everybody is a comedian.

Yeah, this is why I was making fun of the administration for holding off on awarding new offshore leases two years from now.

Well what about current operations!?

But then someone in the industry said some government regulators were flying around to make sure this couldn't happen anywhere else...and I felt safe again.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 12, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"...otherwise american taxpayers get screwed for billions..."

You are joking, right?

Besides, look at all the jobs that are being created...more proof of the job creation capacity of the private sector. Another case of less government regulation turning into more jobs. Sport fishing was dying out anyway, now those guys can lay booms and wash birds and each others' boats and stuff hair into pantyhose.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 12, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

The important thing is to raise on the cap on how much Halliburton/BP is going to pay for this, otherwise american taxpayers get screwed for billions.

Posted by: drindl | May 12, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

@shrink,

I'm just getting my coffee this morning. For weeks, BP has been trying to get the disabled BOP to work (with the ROV's)? Did they know all this time, it was disabled? I understand that Sandia Labs has been analyzing the BOP's internals. Is this how the disabled status was determined?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | May 12, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"[Stupak] confirmed that the blowout preventer had been modified so that one of its ram drivers could be used for routine testing and was no longer designed to activate in an emergency."

Then there is Haliburton's work, the failed negative pressure test. Oh this is really, really bad.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 12, 2010 12:52 PM
---------------------------------------
This really is looking bad. Systemic risk when BOP's are being installed that are disabled. There will be blame placed on EVERYONE.

Are BOP's on working wells? Or only on exploratory wells? In other words, how many more disabled BOP's are down there?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | May 12, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Zouk, don't be obvious...of course anyone who says they thought the Great Health Care Industry Stimulus bill was going to somehow "pay for itself" was lying. The bill was passed to drive massive amounts of money into creating and using health care. It was written by the industry, for the industry.

The only difference between the two parties now is the extent to which this or that industry or interest group regulates their politics...with free speech. Whether AARP, Haliburton, Pharma, Boeing, Cigna, SEIU, Trial Lawyers, politicians are liberal with their own interests and conservative with the others'.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 12, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told us just weeks before Congress passed President Barack Obama’s health care plan. Well, the nation’s post-passage Obamacare education continued yesterday when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirmed that the federal government will have to spend an additional $115 billion implementing the law, bringing the total estimated cost to over $1 trillion.

Wasn't this "under a trillion" charade something a bunch of Libs shrouded themselves in when they took this vote?

all the loons that chanted "bush lied" can now take to the streets and begin with a new call to alms: "Berry lied"

Posted by: bumblingberry | May 12, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

WWW for offshore oil drilling, turns out the sex and drugs for oil royalties (the Bush/Cheney plan for American energy independence!) had greater consequences than a political scandal.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/05/12/us/politics/AP-US-Gulf-Oil-Spill.html

We learned the blowout preventer that failed disastrously in the Timor Sea a few months ago was disabled for repairs and never fixed...and the BOP on the Deepwater Horizon was also disabled...so it could be used for routine testing!

"[Stupak] confirmed that the blowout preventer had been modified so that one of its ram drivers could be used for routine testing and was no longer designed to activate in an emergency."

Then there is Haliburton's work, the failed negative pressure test. Oh this is really, really bad.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 12, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

He lies all the time He lied about how often he attended services at Jeremiah Wright's church; he lied about how his parents met; how his uncle liberated Auschwitz; how his dad came to this country. The guy just lies about his own background and life. What a phony...and, btw, for someone who decries people's use of IPODs, why did he give one to Queen Elizabeth as a diplomatic gift - one filled with his own speeches. How priceless!


Obama appears to save his most consistent lying, in his background information. He knows that if his ordinary, unremarkable life were to be exposed, the mystique he has so carefully built up over the years would be damaged, perhaps even destroyed.

Posted by: bumblingberry | May 12, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

How about that lying weasel berry:

Mr. Obama is also the person who, when he was running for the presidency, promised all health-care negotiations would be broadcast on C-SPAN (They weren't.), that he would accept public financing for his campaign (He didn't.), that he would put an end to "phony accounting" (He hasn't.), that lobbyists will not work in his White House (They do.), that he would slash earmarks by more than half (He has not.), that he opposed giving Miranda rights to terrorists (He favors them.), that he was against an individual health-care mandate (He supported it.), and that he would resist the temptation "to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long" (He succumbed to the temptation.).

Where, I wonder, does Mr. Obama rank these statements on his cherished Truth Meter?

And what are we to make of the fact that the very paragraph from Obama's speech where he laments the lack of truth in public statements includes - you guessed it - a false statement by Obama?

In his commencement address, Obama insists he doesn't know how to work an iPod. But here's an item that appeared on the Huffington Post on June 25, 2008:

WASHINGTON - Bob Dylan. Yo-Yo Ma. Sheryl Crow. Jay-Z. These aren't musical acts in a summer concert series: They're artists featured on Barack Obama's iPod.

"I have pretty eclectic tastes," the Democratic presidential contender said in an interview to be published in Friday's issue of Rolling Stone.

Is that distant sound we hear the Truth Meter going off again?

Posted by: bumblingberry | May 12, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to have to jump on the Bob Bennett Express this week. Reliable old school conservatism apparently just isn't enough for the 3,500 people who apparently get to decide who the next Republican senator from Utah will not be.

And, with apologies to the hopeful, it won't matter who the Republican nominee is -- he will win in Utah against whatever Democrat runs. Even a resurrected Joseph Smith couldn't win in Utah right now if he had a D next to his name on the ballot.

Posted by: Gallenod | May 12, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Sen Specter: the reason why is that it looks like he will lose his primary. He has come off as a opportunist, which the video that tpm made shows. He is the the reason people are fed up with Washington, politicans who say anything to get ahead. Also he flip flops so much he forgets what party he is in! earlier he said thank you to a group of college republicans for supporting him.

Posted by: dee150586 | May 12, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

It might not have been the worst week in Washington, but it was sure the worst week in politics in any country for Gordon Brown. Not only did he lose his job, but he was humiliated in the process, and, with his own remark about a constituent being racist, he humiliated himself.

Posted by: maris9 | May 12, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

My vote is for Tom Coburn for WWW. Bennett is the obvious choice, but this was a long time coming for him. Coburn on the other hand has had two locks for the Senate (Crist and Bennett who has been his collegue for like 12 years or so) go down to upstart Tea-party folks in the recent weeks. Both of these races have made his job for the next 6 months a lot more difficult. For example does he give money to Rubio to bash Crist running the risk that if Crist wins he will vote with the Dems? And the Utah race is now no longer a lock to stay in Red column. On top of that he is still down the Chuck Schumer and DSCC in the money chase. On top of that McCain is only up by ten on a joke of candidate, and his handpicked challenger in Nevada wants to go back to bartering chickens with your doctor. Pass that guy some Excedrin he needs it.

Posted by: AndyR3 | May 12, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

the gulf. from sky blue to oily black.

Posted by: doof | May 12, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

The Afghan War is having the worst week - now that Karzai is trying to get Obama to join the Taliban.


By the way, if al queda is out of Afghanistan, and in Pakistan, we should leave Afghanistan, right? But then Karzai would fall, right?


Isn't that a Catch-22? Classic definition?


.
.

Posted by: 37thand0street | May 12, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Definitely Bob Bennett. While I am one of the few Democrats in Utah, I feel he has spent his time in the Senate honestly trying to represent his constituents as he felt they wanted to be represented. Now some opportunists saw an opening and were able to drum up enough anti-incumbent, anti- big government fervor to thank him by throwing him out. Thanks for your years of service!

Posted by: eggsaladnose | May 12, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Establishment favorite choice: Senator Bob Bennett. Spend your career as a conservative Republican in a conservative Republican state and get voted out on a breeze of anti-incumbency and an odd convention nomination system. Seems like politics in 2010 is like preparing for a hurricane: you know it's coming but there's only so much you can do to prepare for it. In Bennett's case, it clearly wasn't enough.

Posted by: F4poet99 | May 12, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Joe Biden, if you're counting family issues.

Otherwise oil company execs, for first experiencing the joy of a senate hearing, then learning that the Sec of the Interior is splitting the MMS into two groups to minimize the shenanigans.

Posted by: bsimon1 | May 12, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

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