2013: Year of the Asshole

It’ll be up to historians to decide whether 2013 actually reached a sort of Peak Asshole event, from which there had to be an inevitable decline, or whether it was simply another new high before year another new high, as Complete Asshole levels rise in correlation with global temperatures. Whatever the historians decide, however, from the inside it certainly seemed like the assholes were out in force in 2013, mad to leave the streak marks of their existence all over the pages of the year. What’s terrifying is it wasn’t even an election year. This makes me want to hide under a blanket for the whole of 2014.

Who’s on my finalist list of complete assholes for 2013? Well, let me tell you — and then you can vote for which one of my finalists you’d choose.

Barack Obama: Surprised? Don’t be — between the NSA stuff and the complete bungling of the Healthcare.gov Web site, he’s earned the spot. The NSA issues are the more existentially troubling items, but it’s the Healthcare.gov thing that makes me want to smack the dude upside the head. It’s like, Jesus, man, you just crushed the GOP on the government shutdown thing, now all you have to do to rip out their spines for the whole next election cycle is just have a fucking Web site that works. It’s like his finishing move was tripping at the finish line into a flaming pit of spikes and alligators.

(And no, he didn’t code the thing. But you know what? If I were president and the way that people were going to connect with the one thing that will cement my legacy as the leader of the nation was through a Web site, I would have damn well made sure the thing actually functioned. And yes, I know about the DDoS attacks. If Obama’s team didn’t know those were coming after everything leading up to the site going live, that’s indicative of a larger problem).

Look, I think the ACA is a good thing. So when even I am exasperated with this fuck up, there’s a problem. His saving grace with me is that I think he’s less of an asshole than others on the list. But at this point, five years into your presidency, not being ready for prime time makes you an asshole, period.

Rob Ford: You know, down here in the United States, we have a surplus of asshole politicians, so it really takes effort for one from Canada to not only impinge on our consciousness but also to impress. And partly that’s our fault; if the Harper administration has shown us anything it’s that Canadians are just as capable of electing assholes into office as we are. So, sorry, Canada. But on the other hand Rob Ford really is something special. It’s like if Chris Farley lived, lost any shred of loveableness, dropped 30 IQ points and started bragging about his oral sex skills. There’s nothing there that doesn’t scream “asshole.” So thank you, Toronto, for letting us know this uptick in assholes isn’t just a US thing.

Tech Dudes: 2012 had comic book and science fiction dudes front and center as assholes of the year, but this year they got tapped out of the ring by tech dudes, who have more money and apparently even more social entitlement, whether crapping on women or the homeless, or pushing to break up an entire state of California so they don’t have to deal with, you know, the dirty dirty people who do other things they don’t. Sure, they apologized (except the one trying to break up California, who is still at it). That’s nice. You shouldn’t need the whole Internet to drop on your head before you realize you’re being a jackass.

You know, I love tech and I have many friends and fans who make their living in tech-related fields — hell, I’m working on a video game as we speak. And not nearly everyone in tech is an asshole, thank God, just as not nearly everyone in comic books and science fiction are assholes. But there are some days when what I’d really like to do is tell all the ones who are that we’ve approved their sea-stead, let them float out into the Great Pacific Trash Gyre and then watch their pocket nation of assholes burn once they figure out some of them will have to gut fish and clean sewers, and then fall in on themselves in an utterly vicious game of “not it.” Don’t worry, in their absence Silicon Valley would be fine — turns out you don’t actually have to be a smug, fake-meritocratic libertarian in order to innovate and code. Funny about that.

Justin Bieber: Who knew that being young and rich and famous with no one on your payroll to tell you “no” would turn you into a complete asshole? Well, in point of fact, nearly everyone knows that, since it’s a tale as old as time. Justin Beiber is the one who got to tell it in 2013, just in time for his teen idol shine to transfer over to One Direction, who should enjoy their next couple of years. Save up your money, guys! Justin can tell you why. Let’s hope in a decade he’ll re-emerge as not a total tool of a human being.

Ted Cruz: This guy, I tell you. He’s like the Platonic ideal of an asshole. He’s the poster child of assholes everywhere, the one that young ambitious assholes look at and say, wow, he’s not about anything other than himself and wants what he wants because he wants it and I wish that was me. It take a special sort of asshole to talk for 21 hours on the Senate floor and have it not be filibuster but to pretend it is and also pretend that it did anything other then self-aggrandizement, but that’s Ted Cruz for you.

Likewise, there’s only one name for the sort of asshole to maneuvers to shut down the government without an end game planned out, and again, that’s Ted Cruz. He’s like Newt Gingrich minus the charm or political saavy, which is saying something absolutely terrifying. Gringrich is famously known as a “dumb person’s idea of a smart person”; Cruz is an asshole’s idea of a principled statesman.

(This is the spot where I’m supposed to insert a joke about Texas, but at this point I feel mostly sorry for Texas. Maybe they intended to elect an asshole to the Senate, but I don’t imagine they understood the magnitude of the asshole they actually sent along. Some things are too big even for Texas.)

What really burns me about Cruz is that he’s one of my generation — a Gen-Xer, and it embarrasses the shit out of me that the two most prominent national politicians in my age cohort are him and Paul Ryan, i.e., the current poster boy for the GOP’s Intellectual Poverty. Seriously, Gen X, what the hell.

Also: Cory Booker, speaking to you as a fellow Gen-Xer, you have a lot to make up for here. Get to it, please.

And now, a poll:

If you want to nominate someone else as the biggest asshole of the year, go ahead and do it in the comments. Do me a favor, however, and limit it to actual public personalities, i.e., don’t nominate a co-worker or some random dude you saw online. Thanks.

225 thoughts on “2013: Year of the Asshole

  1. RELEVANT NOTICE:

    Why, yes, I will be having the Mallet out in this thread, so if I see you being an asshole while nominating someone as asshole of the year, I will whack your comment out of existence. This is an excellent thread to be aware of the commenting policy here.

    Also, and related, someone may nominate someone for asshole of the year, and you may disagree wildly with their choice. If you use that as an excuse to be rude to the original commenter, I will Mallet you.

    Finally, again, stick with public personalities, please. It’s not fair to your co-workers or private individuals for you to take a smack at them here. I’ll Mallet the nominations of people I think are on that end of the spectrum.

    Seriously, people. I’m all about the Malleting in this thread. So play nice.

    Also: Why, yes, you can totally nominate me for Asshole of the Year, if you like.

    Update: Some folks have suggested to me that calling Ted Cruz “The spirit animal of assholes,” could be seen as unintentionally offensive to Native American folk. Well, fair call; I’ve amended in the text and in the picture. Bear in mind that me calling Ted Cruz an asshole will likely to offend other folks entirely; they, however, will just have to suffer.

  2. There are SO many other 2013 assholes to choose from…but personally, I nominate Rick Perry. His reckless, self-obsessed mission to obliterate health care for women alone gets him the Gold Star of Asshole-dom in my opinion. A secondary nomination goes to Mike Krahulik at Penny Arcade, because nothing says “asshole” quite like RECOGNIZING that you are an asshole and then continuing to be one anyway.

  3. As a Canadian, I went for Ford because his bumbling idiocy was the biggest boon to the Conservative Party of Canada. People were so busy pointing at Ford that the CPC’s scandals got relegated to background noise.

  4. I’m real comfortable with BHO as asshole, though I was prepared to nominate him shortly after voting for him what with that whole Guantanamo failure thing. I dunno I’d include the ACA website as a reason; to me ‘asshole’ requires a certain degree of malice & effort, where I’ve come to believe that the Obama administration is just organizationally incompetent.

    But the NSA mention, as disappointed as I am in his handling of it, leads me to my lead candidate for biggest asshole of the year: Senator Dianne Feinstein of Calfornia. Cruz is a piece of crap but we match so little ideologically that I just can’t get as exercised over his malfeasance. Feinstein on the other hand is from a party that theoretically aligns better with me on social issues.

    But instead she’s a constant shill for the entertainment industry to a degree that offends the most sturdy of sensibilities on the issue of technological freedom. I’d kind of gotten used to that and expected it somewhat, as she comes from the homeland of Disney & MPAA & RIAA. But now she’s stepped up into the most unabashed supporter of the NSA overreach, despite being among the group NSA has consistently been proven to be lying to. To be that opposed to DOING YOUR JOB of providing oversight and so completely lacking skepticism about corporate AND government overreach? That meets my ‘malice’ metric.

  5. I’m gonna nominate UK Premier David Cameron for, at a banquet (banquet!) where he literally sat on a gilded throne and ate with gold cutlery, said that the poor were costing too much money and everyone needed to stop wanting so many things. Made somehow even worse when a picture was leaked of him loosening his pants after haven eaten so much. Yeah, I bet the kids in line at the foodbank, and those whose Christmas welfare checks got cancelled (yeah, that was an actual thing), really sympathized with him.

    Now that, everyone, is an asshole.

  6. I INSIST ON WRITING MYSELF IN.

    Side comment: a friend was Ted Cruz’ roommate in college and gave a couple of quotes about how annoying he was back then. As a result, he was nominated the Worst Person in the World by a number of conservative sites. This is amusing, as he’s libertarian/hawkish. He just doesn’t suffer assholes well.

  7. Incidentally, about that DDoS of the Obamacare website, how come the NSA weren’t able to spot the organizers and stop them? Isn’t that the exact kind of cyber attack on infrastructure they say they are right on top of and need to monitor us to avoid? NSA, incompetent assholes too.

  8. Rob Ford is amazingly entertaining, though, that it’s hard to have really bad thoughts about him. The NSA thing almost made me vote for Obama, but Ted Cruz is just so malignantly ambitious that I had to go for him.

  9. Does anyone else think Obama might be playing a long game to try and get congress to put the boot to the NSA? If he does it, there is nothing preventing the next president from changing the policy, if congress (or SCOTUS) tells the NSA to knock it off it’ll be far more effective at limiting executive power in a meaningful way. Maybe I just want him to be a hero on this issue…

  10. “…turns out you don’t actually have to be a smug, fake-meritocratic libertarian in order to innovate and code.”

    As a Silicon Valley techie who sometimes wants to pretend he’s not, THIS.

  11. Got to go with mandary with electing Rick Perry. Yeah, we Texans elected Ted Cruz. Yep, we blew it and got an idiot. But we keep re-electing Rick Perry. Whereas Cruz is off in Washington pissing off Congress, Perry is HERE calling for extra sessions of the State legislature to pass his extremist crap. And the asshole had already decided that he was retiring. So in his last year what he decided to do was, to make up for a failed presidential bid, was to piss all over Texas. And the rural republican bobble heads here go yup, yup, yup.
    Astounds me.

  12. Good list. Here are some other worthy nominees (there are many, many possibilities):
    Rush Limbaugh – He called Pope Francis a Marxist, for crying out loud. I’m generally not a fan of organized religions, but the new Pope at least seems to have rock solid principles and is setting a fine example.
    Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (Boston Marathon bomber) – You have to be an incredible asshole to want to kill and/or main innocent people, even if you say your brother talked you into it.

  13. I went with Tech Dudes, especially given PG’s comments as of late. Though I agree with mandaray, the PA guys in specific are a special case … it’s like they alternate between being utter jackasses and well-meaning jackasses.

  14. As a Canadian, and former resident of Toronto, I’m obliged to vote for Rob Ford. The best/worst part about his election is that he’s been on city council for YEARS, and been in trouble for racist comments, public drunken behaviour, etc. It’s not like people in Toronto didn’t know what they were getting. I’m just glad I fled the city before his reign of shame began.

  15. I think ol’ Vlad Putin over in Russia could use a real nomination too. I mean, sure he’s been around being a giant ass for awhile now, but his smug superiority playing with the whole Syrian debacle is just infuriating. The dude, and his government in turn, make little token gestures of “good will” and “decency” here and there (think releasing Mikhail Khodorkovsky) but then continues to be a giant dick in other ways (see stirring the pot in the Ukraine, arguably making a bad matter worse). He just strikes me as entitled and smarmy and really an absolute prick with too much power and pride. Oh, and he’s got an Olympics coming up, isn’t that nice for him (that’s a major “fail” to you Olympic Committee).

    I’d also put in a nomination for lil’ Kim Jong-un but isn’t he kind of just like if Bieber was the dictator of his own country with the legal authority to have relatives executed?

  16. While voting for Obama was tempting, Paul Ryan catapulted over him by doubling down on his proposal to reduce earned veterans’ retirement compensation after many veterans spent years deployed overseas sponsored by Ryan’s chick hawk pretensions (see http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/12/22/veterans-retirement-paul-ryan-budget-deal-column/4164713/). Then, to add insult to injury, after taking money out of veterans’ pockets, he hits them up for campaign donations (see http://www.examiner.com/article/veteran-to-paul-ryan-viral-letter-liberal-democrats-an-enemy-to-america).

    I’m all for reducing the budget (and would be greatly in favor of raising the retirement age for my generation’s social security benefits to 80), but certain things are just beyond the pale. My friends, some of whom are already dead having paid the ultimate sacrifice to a nation which has entrusted its leaderships to amoral weasels like Ryan, have families who rely on this earned compensation. As a Republican, I would’ve thought that the Republican Party would support its veterans, but apparently, veterans can’t rely on them anymore either.

    So, my vote is Paul Ryan.

  17. Rob Ford is at least entertaining, and Justin Beiber is young and has the potential to become a better person (not that anyone will still be paying attention to him in ten years). Of this list, Ted Cruz gets my vote.

  18. Having worked in federal government for (geez) 23 years, now, I must stick up for the poor slobs tasked with creating a website. Congress and W decided that we didn’t need any in-house expertise in IT. That we should always hire contractors to develop IT products.

    That’s great. Except you really need another contractor to watch the contractor you hired because program people have no IT training. So you are forced to believe what you’re told.

    Having said that, I totally agree with you. This should have had a White House staffer attached to it at the program level. Because what person is going to tell their boss in straight enough terms that things aren’t going well? (Assuming that you know, of course.)

    I’ve seen how straight talk that comes out of the programs gets changed to political niceness as it moves up the chain. It’s kinda sad.

  19. I HAVE to nominate the Texan Senate. After that nonsense with Wendy Davis’ filibuster (both the questionable strikes that they called in an attempt to end the filibuster AND the pushing through of the vote anyway until the good people of the internet said WAIT A MINUTE HERE), their treatment of their female senators (as outlined by Leticia Van De Putte during the filibuster), and then actually passing the law anyway, I can’t let them fly without a nomination. As a general collective, much like the tech dudes, they are assholes to an extreme. Some are not bad – some are even good. But the whole is unacceptable.

  20. It seems to me that the asshole of the year should be someone from whom you expected great things, who completely and utterly failed at every level to live up to your expectations. Someone who, in fact, apparently put their own self-interest so far above the interests of their supporters and countrymen that they have actually acted AGAINST the will of those who were expecting them to be heroes.

    So, if you are a liberal the choice looks pretty clear to me, but I’m not a liberal. I’m a conservative, and that means one guy is my asshole of the year.

    I’m looking at you Chris Christie, you fat, back-stabbing, Obama-hugging turd. I don’t know how Mitt Romney is still walking around with your knife sticking out of his back, you worthless two-faced bully-boy. You’re one of the smoothest liars I’ve ever met, and as such, convinced a lot of conservatives that Mitt was the only one who had a chance to take down Obama, and then, right at the most critical moment of the election, you sidled up to him like a plus-sized Brutus and slipped the knife in with a twist. All so Mitt would lose and you could waddle onto the platform in the top spot in 2016.

    Well, think again pal. We know what you are now, and you aren’t getting the nomination.

    Liberals may hate Cruz and think he’s an asshole. But at least he’s not a traitor to his own cause.

  21. Vladimir Putin, Ted Cruz and John Boehner are my top three. Also anyone who thinks balancing the budget on the backs of those who can least afford gets on this list, too.

  22. This was a tough one, because assholes were in incredible abundance. I voted for Cruz (after debating about BHO or the Biebs), but after reading the comments here, I think I have to throw a hard second vote to Putin. I can’t believe I didn’t think of him on my own. But really…there were just so many to choose from. Let it be noted that this year was rich and abundant in its assholery! I can only hope it’s a high (low?) point.

  23. As a knee-jerk, bleeding heart liberal, I so want to defend Barack Obama, but really, “disappointed” doesn’t really cover how I feel. I don’t have the apparently righteous right-wing-nut hatred of him that seems to scream “racism”, but really, I’m with you on the, you-couldn’t-even-get-a-website-to-work thing, and by the way, what exactly does it say about our federal government when they can’t-even-get-a-fucking-website-to-work? You really want them building bridges and high-tech weaponry if they can’t-even-fucking-get-a-website-to-work?

  24. I voted for Cruz in this election, unlike either the 2012 primary or general elections. But I will agree with my fellow Texans on the list here that Rick Perry deserved at least a nomination in this fine contest.

    Unfortunately, though, we have *SO MANY* worthy candidates among political officeholders here in Texas. Perry, yes. But Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, who violated both the state Constitution and State Senate rules in an attempt to shut down Wendy William’s epic filibuster. State Senator Dan Patrick (not the sportscaster), who, in the wake of that, pulled a page from the Ted Cruz playbook and is running for Lt. Gov. against Dewhurst by positioning himself on the very narrow ledge to the right of Dewhurst. Attorney General Greg Abbot is running for Governor and is already positioning himself to the right of anyone who dares step into the ring. Abbot, of course, has made a name for himself fighting anyone who wants that pesky anti-establishment clause in the First Amendment to hold true in Texas. And Rep. Steve Stockman, hot off having his campaign headquarters cited for a truly impressive variety of health- and building-code violations (the former motorcycle repair shop was apparently residence for several of his unpaid campaign staffers), announced his challenge to senior Senator John Cornyn (on the grounds that Cornyn, consistently in the top 2 or 3 “most conservative” Senators and proud of it, isn’t conservative *enough*). Again with the Cruz Gambit — a term I hope catches on to describe self-proclaimed Tea Partiers running right of already-very-conservative incumbents.

  25. Obama. But not for partisan reasons, but for FAILING AT EVERYTHING WE WANT A DEMOCRAT TO BE GOOD AT. I’m a libertarian, and if we’re going to have a Democrat in office I at least want them to be functional on things like:

    * Not bombing random countries and claiming it’s just “kinetic military action.”

    * Being rational with the drug war and not siccing the Justice Department on states where the people there have said “You know what, pot’s not that big a deal.”

    * Not bailing out egregious corporate failures.

    * Not pumping increasing amounts of funding into local police departments to equip them with military-grade gear that isn’t needed for traditional policing.

    * Not being the worst administration in history for denying FOIA requests.

    * Not buying into anti-immigrant hysteria and deporting more people than ever before.

    * Not claiming that internal discussions within the executive branch are sufficient “due process” to execute an American citizen with a drone strike.

    * Not running a terrifying Panopticon of surveillance.

    From my perspective, both parties suck. But if I can’t even get a Democrat to act like a Democrat on the things on which we agree, then yeah, he’s an asshole.

  26. I am a Texan. I plan on voting in the Republican primary.

    No, I am not a Republican. But doing this will give me the chance of voting against Ted Cruz twice, and I can’t pass that up.

  27. I’m looking at you Chris Christie, you fat, back-stabbing, Obama-hugging turd. I don’t know how Mitt Romney is still walking around with your knife sticking out of his back, you worthless two-faced bully-boy. You’re one of the smoothest liars I’ve ever met, and as such, convinced a lot of conservatives that Mitt was the only one who had a chance to take down Obama, and then, right at the most critical moment of the election, you sidled up to him like a plus-sized Brutus and slipped the knife in with a twist. All so Mitt would lose and you could waddle onto the platform in the top spot in 2016.

    Heh, heh, heh. Schadenfreude never gets old, you know.

  28. The thing about the ACA is that it’s just not the website; that’s just the tip oft he iceberg. It’s also at least 5 million people losing their healthcare. It’s severly restricted pools of doctors and hospitals. It’s dramatically raised premiums, deductibles etc. and let’s not forget about the employer mandate. AND, of course, there’s the needing 7 million ( now 12 million) enrollees with at least 40% need to be young enough to rarely use it. By the WHs own numbers they have 1.1 million unconfirmed enrolled with it highly skewed old.

    Then there’s the fact that it was sold on an out-and-out lie; undeniable fraud on the presidents part.

    2013 was bad for the Dems but the ACA will make 2014 Hell on earth for them. I hope the GOP rips their worthless, lying spines out.

  29. That’s the only vote Ted Cruz will ever get from me. I’m a Texan and I sure as heck didn’t vote him in. He’s an embarrassment to the US, not just this state. What terrifies me are how many people *did* vote for that asshat.

  30. @BQ – Christie isn’t a traitor to his cause, as his cause is Christie for President. He’s the most rational of the clown car inhabitants, since you have the frothy mixture, the granny starver, etc etc.

    Got to be Ted Cruz – I’m hoping he really is extremely smart, cunning, and manipulative, because otherwise I’d expect the sheer weight of assholeness to collapse into a reverse goatse event horizon. I could cope with him as an evil genius, I’m not sure I can cope with him really being that stupid.

    As for Ford, mental illness/drug dependency is not funny, the bloke needs intervention and rehab.

    Feinstein is a worthy number two, in all senses.

  31. What about Prez obama and John Kerry for wanting to start a war with another Arab nation who never attacked us or anyone else? Oh, and John Kerry for lying about his Iraq war II vote.

  32. Ouch! Two (or three) of my fellow Canadians made your list. I voted for Ted Cruz because I think his agenda – depriving people of affordable health care – is the most evil of the available options.

    I’m relieved that the other big Canadian story of 2013, the Senate expenses scandal, didn’t make the news beyond our borders. Otherwise, your list would be drowning in Canuck assholes…

  33. So many to choose from (sadly), it is really hard to pick just one. Many have mentioned those that would top my list, but I think I would have to go with the republican party just because it is so full of arseholes. Yeah Ted would probably get top billing for inDUHvidual arsehole, but I think this should be a group honor since they so richly deserve it.

  34. I was gonna get mad at you for nominating two Canadians, but then Mary chimed in, and I had forgotten that technically Ted Cruz is One of Us. Not for much longer, as he’s taking steps to formally renounce his citizenship.

  35. Unemployed middle-aged tech gal living in Silicon Valley. One of these choices affects my bottom line far more than the others.

    So, tech dudes, you win.

    This. Time.

  36. One of the things I find detestable in the President is that he is ignoring the Constitution, especially when it comes to the ACA. He’s rewriting the law AFTER it was passed by Congress, AFTER he signed it, and AFTER it was reviewed by the Supreme Court. That’s how laws are supposed to work in this country. However, he is using a “line-item” veto to rewrite the parts of the ACA that are, shall we say, controversial at best. Article I, Section 7 of the United States Constitution reads in part, “Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. ” There is no provision for a “line-item” veto anywhere in the Constitution, and he cannot write executive orders to countermand a law that was passed via constitutional means. If he could, that would imply that the Presidency has more authority than Congress or the Supreme Court, and our “checks and balances” system of government is a sham. That’s only one bitch I have about Obama. I absolutely abhor the idea of using an unmanned aerial vehicle to pick out enemy combatants and then use missiles to destroy those combatants. Let’s see, I’m sitting in a nice air-conditioned room 10,000 miles from wherever it is my drone is flying. My screen isn’t the sharpest image, not like my 60″ HDTV at home, but that guy looks like he’s carrying a rifle along with a few other people. Better not take a chance, I’ll take him out with a Hellfire missile as a preventative measure. When we get the after-engagement report, we find out that it was a group of people carrying shovels to dig a grave, not a bunch of enemy combatants. Or that group of people dancing around weren’t chanting themselves up for a suicide attack, it was a wedding party. Damn, and yes, we could say “Dubya” was as guilty, but how does that make Obama any less guilty?

  37. Ted Cruz is clearly the asshole of the year.

    However, I would like to give a dishonorable mention to Mike Jeffries, the Abercrombie and Fitch guy, whose photo you will see in the dictionary next to the term “elitist jerk”. His whole business model is based on not wanting anyone in his stores who isn’t one of the cool kids – if you’re not young enough (over about age 20;, not thin enough, especially if you’re a woman (if you can’t see your bones, you’re too fat, apparently); and not cool enough (he’s been quoted as saying that there are just people who don’t fit in and who will never fit in). And, oh, you can’t be the “wrong” ethnicity or religion, either, and if you have any sort of handicap or irregularity of your physical being and you do manage to get hired to work for him, he’ll hide you back in the storeroom. In fact, your best chance to work on the sales floor at one of his stores is to be young, attractive, and male.

  38. I would like to toss in Scott Walker, and his puppet masters, the Koch bothers to vote on, but I kept to the original list, and went for Cruz. He has retained council to help him figure out how to renounce (maybe) his Canadian Citizenship, but if he fails to get the GOP nod for POTUS, he won’t be able to run for mayor of Toronto! Would the good folks of Texas really foist him on Washington again just to keep him out of Texas?

  39. For global asshole of the year it is hard to beat Bashar al- Assad, for ruthless dictatorship, killing tens of thousands, displacing millions and highly probable use of chemical weapons.

  40. I really, really, really wanted to click Barack Obama but in all honesty his assholeness, while having a greater impact, just couldn’t compete with that of Bieber or those tech dudes.

  41. Looks like other people already got to Putin, Cameron, and Perry. But let us not forget Boris Johnson, mayor of London. This “charming” man has come out swinging to defend the sadly maligned rich person and income inequality in general. He also does not understand how statistics work, as far as I can tell. But he sure is in love with sexism, racism, and IQ scores.

    Favorite quote: “Whatever you may think of the value of IQ tests, it is surely relevant to a conversation about equality that as many as 16 percent of our species have an IQ below 85, while 2 percent have an IQ above 130. The harder you shake the pack, the easier it will be for some cornflakes to get to the top.”

    I like to haul out Boris as an example every time my UK in-laws and relatives start getting on me too much about what crazy, racist assholes American conservatives are.

    Bonus: The way he seems to get a pass with alarming frequency thanks to a bizarre, almost boys-will-be-boys attitude.

    Double bonus: I don’t know what to call that thing on his head, but I think it’s got to be genetically related to Donald Trump.

  42. I would add exploitative contractors to the list. Not all contractors for the government are horribly incompetent and corrupt – I’m friends with too may of them to fall for that particular trap – but there are enough that it wrecks things for everyone.

    There are companies out there who get jobs, despite horrid performance failures, because they just know how to navigate the contracting system. Or, because they know people who knew people. or are made up of folks who retired from government and went private, so they could charge the government twice as much for what they once did as feds.

    So, for example, you’re a project manager bidding out development of a website. You’ve been given money for the development and for a consultant to make sure the developers are actually giving you accurate information.

    The developers bids in no way have to reflect reality. “One month for testing? Sure. If we juggle the numbers this way we can get a manpower savings. Don’t listen to those other guys – they can’t even figure out the contracting process. We’ve been here for years!”

    And because they know the process, they can shield their monies so they get paid no matter what.

    Then, there are the consultants, who get paid a huge sum of money to review the project plans and OK them. They can say, “What, yeah, this whole month testing thing will work. Trust me, Mike, I used to be where you were” and, in their contract, have it set that their review in no way is assured to be accurate or substantive. They could be completely wrong, and still get paid.

    No clawbacks, nothing. The contractors could build a terrible website with no testing and lie to the project manager’s the whole time, but still get their money. And they will do it again and again because they invest in navigating the contracting system – not actually fulfilling their contracts.

    Meanwhile, the folks who do work hard and try their best get tarred by their brush.

    My apologies for the rant, but the “Why do it in-house when my private sector buddies can do it for twice as much” attitude is rather rampant amongst some…

  43. The problem with Healthcare.gov was more a problem of how the government does tech procurement than anything else. The procedures developed decades ago for things like mainframe applications and data warehouses don’t translate well to creating a modern, horizontally-scalable web application that needs to handle huge amounts of traffic and communicate with dozens of different backends (which is something that most private-sector-developed web applications also don’t have to do). So I’ll give Obama a pass for that specifically as not being his fault, and for actually making peaceful progress with Iran (I think we’ve all learned here not to listen to anything scorpius says), but there are still questions to be asked about the NSA.

    Ted Cruz and Justin Bieber, on the other hand, have a total of 0 redeeming qualities between them, but Cruz has a disproportionate amount of potential for damage he could do. He’s more than an asshole, he’s a megalomaniacal sociopath. Thus, he gets my vote.

  44. Katie Couric, for inexplicably providing a respectable platform to antivax nonsense, thereby putting kids (and others) in needless danger. Assholery of the highest order.

  45. As a Canadian, though thank god not a Torontonian, I’d like to nominate all the Toronto voters who say, after all the crack-smoking, drunken stuporing, and domestic pussy-eating, that they’ll still vote for Rob Ford.

  46. Skeffles, I’ll see your David Cameron and raise with George Osbourne a true asshole of the first water

  47. I nominate Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin (close to Canada, but not quite) for, among other things, his efforts to stymie the ACA that included dumping everyone off the state’s BadgerCare who are above 100 percent of the poverty level (around $11,000 single/and $15,000 family), some 75,000 plus people, who otherwise qualify for Medicaid based on ACA equations, but will now fall in a doughnut hole of Walker’s making where there will be no coverage available for them. He has also decided that Indian mascots are great and overturned a law that allowed people to petition school districts to abandon them. He took wolves off the endangered species list (there are 800 of them) and has people hunting them with dogs (more than 400 killed in two years). He is trying to shove iron and sand mines down people’s throats by removing local control over development and rewriting environmental laws to allow no restrictions on resource extraction companies, I could go on … Scott Walker wants to be your next president. He is trying to force voter ID (in court), outlaw collective bargaining (in court), restrict free speech (in court), etc., etc…. It’s a tight race with Cruz, but as a governor, he has the power to really push the assholery.

  48. I would like to nominate Nikki Haley, governor of South Carolina. She flies a little under the radar, because she’s state government, but the level of corruption under her administration, her own ethics violations, and her anti-human rights politics make me ill. Sarah Palin dreams of being Nikki Haley, in her wildest fantasies, and the scary thing is that Haley is not only setting herself up for the VP nod in 2016, but she’s very likely to get it. I have nightmares about a Cruz/Haley ticket winning and the US turning into Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Shiver me timbers!

  49. Speaking as a Quebecer, I had to vote for Ford. Finally, we got to stop being the national political laughingstock for a few weeks.

    … though, frankly, I would vote in Pauline Marois and her “Quebec Values* Charter”. Ford hurt himself. Mme. Marois is trying to make us hurt each other.

    *Not the values of MY Quebec, Mme Marois, thankyou.

  50. I voted Ted Cruz. Because, well, I think I actually know this dude’s philosophical doppleganger. And the dude I know was that dude who always had out the RPG handbook when you were playing and always cried about the rules not being followed except when he wanted to skirt the rules and then he had this magical thing that allowed him a loophole. And you could Count on whatever it was to be about the most obscure thing ever. Yeah, Cruz is That Dude to me. It just astounds me that anyone trusts this guy to do anything in their best interest. He’s only out for his own interest. And his war chest.

    I’m nominating two other folk as well though.

    1. Rick Perry. Slick Rick has no problems spending tax money to call special sessions so that his personal agendas can get voted in. I can’t believe that fiscal conservatives weren’t just frothing at the mouth over that! Also, pretty much anything that happens in Texas his family and friends gain financially from. Talk about cronyism!

    2. Jodie Laubenberg. This woman was front and center in the Texas abortion bill kerfuffle and she didn’t even know what a rape kit actually does. And she was barely able to even form words to defend her bill when there was a special session called dedicated pretty much just to abortion. This is the sad state of government right now. People just playing around for status and not even really knowing what the hell they are talking about. Shameful!

  51. Does anyone else think Obama might be playing a long game to try and get congress to put the boot to the NSA?

    Er, no. After a while, it’s a lot easier to plump for inability versus cunning. Mind you, I think the office of President has become so circumscribed that getting one or two big things done is about the limits of anyone, and the Military-Industrial-Intelligence complex is beyond control. Obama “did as well as can be expected”, but that is a really low barrier these days.

  52. Never thought I’d get a third chance to vote for Obama, and I’m very sad to have to do it here. It’s the gigantic gap between potential and delivery, in so, so many areas. I know the President is not a King, and can’t order things by fiat. But he’s apparently decided to hold fast to the Dems’ credo of “Never pass up an opportunity to pass up an opportunity.”

  53. Although I voted for Cruz–and Rick Perry and David Cameron certainly deserved nominations too–I was strongly tempted to vote for BHO for the reasons John listed. If we get pissed at our favorite sports teams for blowing 4th-quarter leads, certainly we should get REALLY pissed when our political leaders do it.

  54. I went to the Beiber link, and cracked up. Entertainment Weekly needs new ad people. In bold it said:

    GET EW ON YOUR TABLET:

    I try not to get ew on my tablet, actually.

  55. You know, Fuck It. Can we just nominate politicians as an entire class? I mean, by now we all know they suck but this year just seemed particularly, spectacularly, bad.

  56. Too bad you didn’t do ranked voting; some of the original nominees would have dropped right off the list. The commentariat-proposed nominees are excellent (as assholes, I mean, not in the usual sense).

    So. For AotY: Mr. Cruz (can someone parody “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” or is the substitution of name sufficient?) with Tech Dudes in second and Pres. Obama third (I am…dismayed by the President at the moment). (DiFi is awful. Her electoral opponents are worse. ‘Nuff said.)

    Oh, and @Chris, “reverse goatse event” is the name of my next band.

  57. I voted for Obama in this poll because I completely agree with what you wrote here. The chance to make improvements in our quite-broken health care system comes along once in a generation, and he completely screwed the pooch. Furthermore, his campaign in ’08 and ’12 very expertly used technology, so I know he’s capable of being competent at this stuff. It’s fashionable on the right to view Obama as a bumbling incompetent, but his campaign operations disproved that–I have to conclude that the HealthCare.gov problems are from the fact that just didn’t give a crap. Which is much worse. Much, much worse.

    It’s enough to make me wish for a time machine to go back to the ’08 primaries and vote for Hillary Clinton.

  58. Can I nominate Anthem in my state? Because they’ve taken the ACA as an excuse to close down the PPO I was on, instate restrictive HMOs, and STILL have not sent us any form (or even cashed our check) to indicate that yes, we’re on insurance now. (Spouse is, this very moment, on hold to talk to them. Probably like everyone else in the state.) Oh, and the plans on their own website were consistently $200 a month more expensive than going through healthcare.gov, for virtually identical plans.

    The healthcare.gov site wasn’t bad by the time I got to it, and improved a bit, even — but Anthem is basically a monopoly in the state and they’re lazy and miserly at best, and passive-aggressive more likely. They didn’t need to eliminate PPOs; they could’ve added them at a higher price-point. But noooooo, they’re being a bunch of control-freaks, shaking down the various hospitals and doctors in-state or cutting them out of the network. (I am fortunate; the in-town hospital is covered. But hospitals here often have specialties; the one 30 minutes away, with the heart-specialists, is not covered.)

    I swear, I’d love to have Anthem BC/BS (so much BS!) nationalized, just for the hit of schadenfreude.

  59. As a liberal from NJ, I’m inclined to vote for all of the elected Dems who supported Christie’s re-election. Traitors much? Even if they didn’t particularly want Buono to win, they could have just stayed on the sidelines rather than endorsed her opponent.

    I’m inclined to grant Obama some leniency on the ACA website, as it was meant to only be a portal to the state websites, then when the Supreme Court said states could opt out of the Medicaid expansion and Exchanges (and many of the republican controlled states did), they had to scramble to integrate those into the site. On the other hand, I am less than thrilled with his rate of deportations, his drone wars, his continuation of the war in Afghanistan, the NSA expansion, his going after whistleblowers, etc.

    I think though that my final vote has to go for Paul Ryan and his budget deal that hurts those who can least afford it.

  60. Wait, no Koch brothers? The gnomes behind all the corporate money in politics. The guys who have lead the fight to make the political spectrum one where assholes like Cruz, Perry, and Ryan can thrive.

    I’d like to throw them into the ring!

  61. SweetChuck: Are you kidding? After 5 years any continued suggestion that the President knows what a “long game” is, let alone knows how to play one is absurd. He wasn’t qualified to be President in 2008, he still wasn’t qualified 2012 and remains unqualified to this day.

    The fact that the ACA website was a debacle, though, does not make him an asshole.

    Not sending people to help in Benghazi does. Targeting “Tea Party” folks for extra IRS scrutiny does. And misleading people about the ACA law most certainly does.

    Billy Quiets: Yikes! I’m thinking Chris Christie’s “cause” was the people and state of New Jersey. Which, to me anyway, is as it should be.

    If you think he was the reason for Romney’s demise as a candidate, you have another think coming.

    Or should.

    aiede: Well there’s that.

    fuzznose: Well there’s that too.

    In general: I’m thinking Obama would have been better off if Ted Cruz had got his way.

  62. For the Brits, I concur that Cameron and Osbourne are both fine choices, but would like to nominate the repellent Iain Duncan Smith, and for the female asshole, Nadine Dorries, anti-abortionist Tory MP who went on an umpteen-week, unauthorised by Parliament or her constituency appearance on ‘I’m a Celebrity, get me out of here.’

  63. Can I jointly nominate Virginia gubernatorial candidates Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinnelli for between them running an incredibly nasty crap-throwing campaign even though they were technically opponents? This might not have been an election year for everyone, but for some of us the end of October and beginning of November was an exceptionally painful time.

  64. You were really reaching using the ACA clustermess as a reason for Barrack Obama. Wow, he made the list and Rick Perry and the candidates for the “what stupidity can I allow to flow out of my mouth regarding women’s bodies” award got a pass? Those fellas could have been Group Asshole of the century surely over the President’s website problems (which seem to be mostly fixed I might add). But I voted for Ted Cruz cause ya know – he should know better. And worse? I think he does.

  65. I’m sure lots of folks on the Internet will tell you this, but I didn’t see it addressed in the comments so far. Using “spirit animal,” even in a flippant way, is offensive. It’s a microagression, but is worth talking about.

  66. I was going to add another vote for David Cameron, but I think Putin takes it – he’s rolling back Russia’s rights, and crushing dissent like a great big dissent-crushy thing.

  67. A few more nominees:

    Keith Alexander, who ran the NSA as it violated the 4th Amendment, and James Clapper, who lied to Congress about it.

    Lara Logan, for her completely (and obviously) inaccurate report on Benghazi that bolstered the nonsensical right wing conspiracy theories. And, for that matter, Dylan Davies, her source who apparently made up much of what he said about the event.

    Stuart Varney, for complete and utter insensitivity to fast food workers and other poor people.

    The Sarah Scaife Foundation executives, for taking over the lead on funding climate-change denialism.

  68. “He’s like Newt Gingrich minus the charm or political saavy, which is saying something absolutely terrifying.”

    Dear Interwebs,

    Please find a bucket of ice and send it to Cruz for this wicked burn.

  69. I picked tech dudes just because that’s my industry, so their fail has a major impact on my life. But other folks on your list have definitely had a larger negative impact than they have.

    Also, ditto Tortoise on ‘spirit animal’–I’m sure you didn’t mean anything by it, but some folks on The Twitters recently explained what’s wrong with using it like that, because Jezebel just did it (again).

  70. Hi, John
    Ted Cruz has the vote for 2013 but Rick Perry is in a completely different category. He truly owns the decade for total assholedom. I think Rob Ford is too stupid to qualify for this level of assholehood.

  71. I had to go with Mr. Ford. Not only did he admit to smoking crack while in office, which is what a lot of people hope/pray Politicians are doing anyway when they make the boneheaded decisions they inevitably make, but was so unrepentant about it that it made all other Politicians look bad for not being so “honest.” I could have gone with the Obama option for the NSA and the Healthcare.gov things, but that was a group effort which wasn’t an option.

  72. Re: “Spirit Animal” —

    Interesting, and noted. I went ahead and changed it in the text; I’ll change out the picture after I get back home from errands.

    Update: Picture swapped out.

  73. I’m kind of disappointed that healthcare.gov is big enough to warant a mention, but the ongoing existance of illegal torture-camps and the ongoing death-from-above drone-campaign just fell under the table.

  74. Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Bill O’Reily, Et Al. All the right wing talkers should tie for Asshole of the year.

  75. I voted for Ted Cruz, but I wish I had voted for Those Tech Dudes. Those Tech Dudes represent all of the big business assholes who will do anything to increase profits. Ted Cruz, Rick Perry and all of the other ultraconservatives are merely the dangleberries revolving around the big business assholes.

  76. I’m voting for Cruz because, well, wow, what an asshole.

    But I’d like to add to the list of the runners-up: As a group, everybody willing to intentionally and insistently lie in order to “win”, particularly in politics and/or finance. Way to fuck things up for the rest of us, assholes.

  77. Can I nominate all of Canada? It would make it easier than having to choose between Ford, Beiber, and Cruz (and Harper, who in spite of mere peripheral mention in Scalzi’s post really is a major league asshole). As a Canadian myself, I’m willing to shoulder the label if it means we can get all the deserving Cancukistani assholes in the category as well.

  78. My nominees are Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, and Paul Ryan, but my top asshole of the year is Pat Robertson, on the strength of this quote alone: “Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians. It’s no different. It is the same thing. It is happening all over again. It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-based media and the homosexuals who want to destroy the Christians. Wholesale abuse and discrimination and the worst bigotry directed toward any group in America today. More terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history.”

    I still can’t deal with that.

    And instead of “spirit animal,” call him a “patron saint.” That way you’ll only have the Catholics mad at you, not the Indians. (I’m both, so I get to say that.) (Actually, “patron saint” fits better, I think.)

  79. We Canucks are always complaining we don’t get enough international attention. Hey, be careful what you wish for, people.

    I’d add Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin, who are at the entitled heart of the Senate expense scandal and seem to have absolutely no idea what they did wrong, or why people would find it objectionable.

    However, Ed Burkhardt is an even stronger contender for Asshole of the Year. Who’s he? He’s the chairman of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic railway, one of whose trains – carrying crude oil at the time – derailed in the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, causing a massive explosion that leveled much of the downtown area and killed 47 people. It took Burkhardt four days to show up in the town after the disaster, and when he did he joked he should probably be wearing a bullet-proof vest. He wasn’t joking when, at the news conference that followed, he unhesitatingly threw the train’s driver to the wolves, blaming him for the disaster, even though the official investigation had barely started (it’s since revealed that there’s more than enough blame to go around, such as MM&A mislabeling the cars carrying the crude, and slashing staff levels on their trains). The most disgusting part, however, is Burkhardt now complaining that he’s a victim of the disaster as well. How? Well, MM&A is now insolvent, and as the biggest shareholder, Burkhardt has lost his entire investment. “But what [the people of Lac-Mégantic] didn’t know was that I was equally upset and I was also a victim of this whole thing,” Burkhardt said in a recent interview. “That’s a big pile of money, I might say. It’s reduced me from being a fairly well-off guy to one that’s just getting by.” Just a reminder that 47 people died in the disaster, and scores more lost everything they had as their homes and businesses were destroyed.

  80. Much as everyone else has made strong arguments that Obama deserves the nod for AOTY, I still can’t give it to him unreservedly. The best I can hand in on him is ‘deeply disappointed'; some of the gaffes are purely him, but he had a supporting cast of almost every Republican congresscritter sticking out feet and throwing banana peels in front of him. The NY Jets should hire them for their blocking line.

  81. You know, you’ll never win Asshole of the Year if you insist on doing things like reasonably responding when you inadvertently cause offense.

    I hadn’t noticed until people pointed it out in the comments just how Canadian this list is. It really defies the common stereotypes.

  82. There was no way that the healtrhcare.gov website could ever work properly at launch. You make a big IT project work by either not announcing the launch date until it launches or by not announcing what it will do when it launches — and neither of those options is acceptable politically, and so no big government IT project can ever have a successful launch.

  83. “Whatever the historians decide, however, from the inside it certainly seemed like the assholes were out in force in 2013, mad to leave the streak marks of their existence all over the pages of the year.”

    Well done! Made me chuckle, and it’s hard to do that when I’m swallowing bile from looking at a picture of Ted Cruz.

  84. Paul Ryan whose idea of a war on poverty is actually a war on the poor and has no fucking clue what it means to be poor, struggling to raise a family, and trying to find a job while people like him are telling you that you’re lazy and deserve neither food nor health care. Deciding to balance the budget primarily by making cuts to programs that help the poor (where I’ve been and am only a step away from again), the disabled (I care for an autistic child), and the elderly (oh, hey, we’re all heading there) while leaving in subsidies for corporations (including the farming corps) that are higher than any money given in aid to actual PEOPLE is just wrong and at the height of assholeness in my book; esp while supposedly mouthing about Christian virtues that forget Christ’s compassion.

  85. My vote as a New Yorker is for Mike Bloomberg for tone deaf statements as he leaves. Reason one is him saying “I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little. It’s exactly the reverse of what they say,” in regards to stop and frisk.

    Then he defended his record on homelessness and said this about Dasani, the homeless girl in the New York Times story, ““This kid was dealt a bad hand. I don’t know quite why. That’s just the way God works. Sometimes some of us are lucky and some of us are not.”

  86. One thing I’m, as a Brit, unclear on. Why are people so vehemently opposed to subdividing States? From an outside perspective (albeit someone who’s studied the US constitution and constitutional history alongside UK stuff), it seems strange to me that while some have divided and that’s OK, others are seemingly stuck, despite it being, from at least a Federal level, a clear benefit to the voters of larger States to increase their representation.

    The Senate gives massively disproportionate power to smaller states, and through that the Electoral College likewise—surely decreasing that in favour of individual citizens would be a Good Thing? California, Texas, etc are massive polities, breaking them up would undoubtedly have drawbacks, but also massive benefits, yet all I ever see on the saner side of the web is discussion of drawbacks and dismissal of benefits.

    For that reason, while I’d like to vote for Tech Dudes as a category, I’ve reserved judgement, although the nomination of both BoJo and Osbourne are good calls.

  87. The Koch brothers – its only fair to have two assholes since they spend their time finding ways to double penetrate the country. It is Koch money that created the Tea Party, it is Koch money that funds the Club For Growth, Citizens for a Sound Economy, FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, and they also support, or are members of, the Mercatus Center, the Institute for Humane Studies, the Institute for Justice, the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, the Institute for Energy Research, the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the George C. Marshall Institute, the Reason Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Fraser Institute and the Federalist Society. Add in the tens of millions these and other groups funnel to assholes like Ted Cruz and I think you can see why they are deserving of lifetime achievement in assholery.

  88. You know, someone I’m surprised is missing from the list and the discussion – the NRA. Between making it impossible for sensible gun reform laws that a majority of the country believe in to be passed into law, claiming that “only a good guy with a gun” can stop “a bad guy with a gun”, I think the NRA deserves a vote.

    @MatGB – I’d be all for splitting states up; California could make 3 decent-sized states (land and population); New York City is practically its own state as it is; Texas could be split; heck, even New Jersey could be split into North & South Jersey without too much heartburn I think. Not sure why there’s not more serious discussion about it, other than politicians are generally comfortable with the status quo.

  89. Here in Arizona, we of course have the Asshole-In-Perpetuity, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. If you can’t think of a reason to call him an asshole, wait five minutes and try again.

    But for this year’s Asshole of the Year, Arizona Division, I nominate our Governor, Jan Brewer. The big scandal of the year here has been that the Child Protective Services agency, over about the last four years, took about six thousand reports of child abuse and essentially shit-canned them, taking no action at all.

    Jan Brewer has been all up in arms about this since it came out, appointing committees and Taking Action. And also taking lots of credit for taking action. Not the first time she’s tried putting on Hero of the Day lipstick.

    The thing is, one of the biggest reasons why CPS failed to act on so many cases over the last few years is that mandatory state-budget cuts in 2009 gutted their (and other state agencies) budget and staff. Even before that, CPS tended to be under-budgeted, understaffed, and overworked.

    Who was it that led the charge in 2009 to impose those mandatory cuts? Who insisted that it had to be done? Who painted herself as Hero of the Day back then, as saving Arizona from economic ruin?

    Oh, hey, that was Jan Brewer then, too.

    So fuck you, Jan Brewer, for trying to make political hay out of a scandal and crisis YOU were instrumental in creating.

  90. Wow. Three Canadians on the list (Cruz, Beiber & Ford). This must be some kind of record!

    And everyone says Americans don’t care about us up here! Hah! We showed them. And on a per-capita basis, based on this poll, we’re #1. Take that ‘Mericuh!

    The only problem I have with the poll is that it’s a missing an “All of the above” button.

    If I had to add to the list I’d add all the finance ministers worldwide who, sitting on cushy pensions, guaranteed jobs, awesome pay and perks, go around claiming that “austerity” is key. Assholes.

    Or the likes of David Suzuki and his ilk who scream about the planet, global warming this and carbon emissions that all while screaming that anyone who disagrees with them should be jailed; after which they cavalcade down to the airport, hop into their jet planes and go home to their umpteen thousand square foot homes. Assholes.

    Or all the libertarian and other right wing assholes who spout their various beliefs (religious or otherwise) pontificating about how the disadvantaged should be cared for, which obviously includes everything from jail to starvation, what with cuts to social programs, food stamps, etc. Of course, these self-same folks get all pissed off at the likes of Pope Francis who goes and says we should, you know, stop being dicks to the poor. That we should treat them with the dignity all humans deserve. But then again, what does the Pope know about Christ or Christianity, eh? That’s reserved for the right wing fundamentalists who know the “true” Jesus.

    It’s all so frustrating. If that old saying that for evil to succeed all that needs to happen is for men of good will to do nothing, I guess we’ve seen what happens when that adage actually becomes reality. And for some reason we’re electing these assholes by the bus-load. Argh…

  91. It’s a funny coincidence that within two days, I voted for Ted Cruz as Asshole of The Year and I voted for Rafael Cruz (Ted’s father) as “Dim Bulb of the Year”. The “Dim Bulb of the Year” contest is being conducted by Claire at the WildwoodClaire1 YouTube channel.

  92. Crap, that’s right, the NRA! But then, they’re perpetual assholes. They run full-tilt asshole all the time, so can they simply be nominated for a year? Or should they be given some kind of award for being out of touch with reality and assholes at the same time?

  93. Neglecting the Australian assholes here. Since the 2013 election and a new government (called Liberals, but unlike the US concept of “liberal” – more like Republicans) Australian politics has been a veritable festival of assholery. Our current PM Tony Abbott is a grinning fool who likes to parade his Toned Abs in small swimming costumes or dress up in firefighting / factory working costume for photo ops. What “ideas” manage to percolate through his small brain are characterised by gratuitous cruelty and stupidity.

    The “education” minister, also a grinning fool, is winding back the new scheme to properly fund public education, mainly because this kind of thing is characterised as “class warfare” by these people, but also because he’s too damn lazy to try and get his head around it.

    Under this government, the treatment of asylum seekers, always terrible, has gone from terrible to… worse than terrible. Pregnant women refused medical treatment. Glasses, prosthetics and other medical aids confiscated from children.

    Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop, Cory Bernardi, Christopher Pyne and others, come on down!

    Dis-hononourable mention, also, to all the shock jocks and print/online media trollumnists who have either valorised these people or appointed themselves scourge of “the left” and have spent the year unhelpfully dumping on feminists. Piers Akerman, Andrew Bolt, Helen Razer, I’m looking at you but you’re not the only ones.

  94. Nominating Tom Scholz of Boston, because the new recording, Life, Love & Hope, is really lame and was, apparently, recorded in a well; a deep, dark well of overworked digital morass.

  95. Maybe the NRA can get a lifetime achievement award in assholery… but at the ceremony to receive their award they will be picketed by the Westboro Baptist Church on the basis that they should have done more for the cause.

    Also, this video I watched the other day is a nice catalogue of smaller-scale epic assholes who have conducted individual acts of complete douchbaggery: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvxkYP0rgOs

  96. Ooh, ooh, can I put in a few Australian nominations?

    Okay, let’s start with the one closest to home for me, Colin Barnett, Premier of Western Australia. Mr Barnett went into an election at the beginning of the year full of all kinds of promises of this, that and the other thing. Improvements in our public transport system to lower the vehicle load on roads which weren’t built to handle such things, new stadium, new boating lake on the Swan river, lots of infrastructure spending, fancy new train line out to our main airport, etc etc etc. His party got elected. In fact, his party got re-elected, with a massively increased majority (so that rather than depending heavily on the votes of their coalition partners, they had an independent majority of their own).

    Note the “re-elected” there. That’s what makes this next bit genuine arsehole territory: about two weeks after getting re-elected, they discovered a multi-hundred-million dollar hole in the budget. Ooops. Sorry folks – all that infrastructure spending we were promising? Can’t do it. Oh, and we’re going to have to raise prices, and cut services, even when we promised faithfully we wouldn’t be doing that. Oh, and did we mention we were giving all the Premier’s media staff a huge pay increase? Oh, and the local government amalgamations we promised faithfully we wouldn’t be doing? We’ve changed our minds on that one. Oh, and we’re removing the solar power buy-back (and then putting it right the fuck back again after everyone who’s spent masses of money installing solar panels on their roof for the last few years basically yelled “you’re WHAT?” in unison). I’m sure you get the picture.

    Next candidate: Kevin Rudd, two-time former Prime Minister of Australia. Now, Kevin was elected to power back in 2007, but before he’d even completed one term as PM, his party had come to see him as a complete and utter nightmare. He was always more interested in the press details than the practical ones, and he managed to piss off pretty much the entire staff of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet within less than a term. By the middle of 2010, his party basically came to the decision that no matter how popular Mr Rudd was with the voters (and he was very popular with the voters, particularly in Queensland) he was an absolute disaster as PM, and they sorted things out to replace him. Which they did, with Julia Gillard. Ms Gillard, in an effort to soothe ruffled feathers, gave Mr Rudd the plum job of Foreign Minister, and hoped that would persuade him to sit back and let her get on with running things.

    Unfortunately he wasn’t. For the next three years, Mr Rudd and his cronies basically ran a non-stop campaign to get Julia Gillard removed as PM – a campaign which ran alongside a horribly misogynistic effort by the leader of the Opposition at the time (see below), as well as the mainstream media here in Australia (dominated in particular by the newspapers of Rupert Murdoch). Eventually he succeeded, about three months out from a scheduled election (which he then called off, because … well, the public reason was that the election coincided with Yom Kippur, but the Jewish community in Australia pointed out that was a non-excuse – anyone who was observing Shabat on election day had generally already registered for postal or advance voting; the more likely reason was that it wasn’t something he’d ordered and thus he wasn’t going to stand for it). Crowning moment of arsehole? Having successfully manipulated his party’s leadership structures (and made at least three attempted leadership challenges using the old structure) to regain the Prime Ministership, he then effectively pulled the ladder up behind him, by changing the structure completely.

    Unfortunately for the ALP, Mr Rudd wasn’t successful at the subsequent election he called (a week earlier than the previously set date), and he lost…

    Our new PM, Tony Abbott, is my next nomination for Arsehole of the Year. Now, Mr Abbott had been the figurehead of the campaign to get rid of Julia Gillard from the start (and quite frankly, the behaviour of the entire federal Liberal Party of Australia was basically that of a bunch of kiddies who haven’t been given the toys they want – synchronised foot stomping, pouting, dummy-spits and toys being thrown out of the pram). Unfortunately, the main argument they had for getting rid of her appeared, in every instance, to boil down essentially to “girl cooties”. She wasn’t doing the job right because she was a girrrrrrrl. Sadly for Australia, he was backed by a lot of our mainstream media (in particular the Murdoch newspapers) and the right-wing shock-jocks, and his work wasn’t hindered by the white-anting of Kevin Rudd and his cronies in the ALP. So when the election was finally held, Australia collectively voted the Liberals in, and we wound up with Tony Abbott as PM.

    Since when we have been treated to an expanse of “the dog ate my homework” policymaking on the fly. The main things the Abbott government wanted to do were to remove the carbon tax, turn back the boats of refugees attempting to enter Australia via sea, remove the carbon tax, set up a paid maternity leave scheme which ensures “women of quality” are paid their full salaries of up to $150,000 in order to take time off and have children, remove the carbon tax, ensure perpetual government for the Liberal party for at least twenty years (in a return to the glory days of Menzies), remove the carbon tax, guarantee massive kickbacks for their corporate mates, and remove the carbon tax. Watch as we Aussies head back to the golden days (in the minds of the Liberals, at least) of the fifties – the sixteen-fifties, I suspect.

    Meanwhile, they’ve been choking off traditional media reports (“Operation Sovereign Borders”, the one to stop all those dirty brown foreigners from arriving in boats, has a once-a-week press conference, in which the minister responsible basically doesn’t answer questions asked by the media because it’s all “matters of operational security”), and from the look of the parliamentary expenses claims for 2012, they basically have the opinion that it’s the bounden duty of the Australian public to support them in the style to which they’ve become accustomed – Mr Abbott alone had over $70,000 in claims for travel expenses relating to sporting and charity events he either observed or participated in.

    Fortunately for us, Mr Abbott has been saying repeatedly that he’s willing to push to the point of a double-dissolution election in order to get the carbon tax repealed – we live in hope.

    (And of course, there’s the usual nominees from the media: Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones, Howard Sattler etc)

  97. Mandaray really nailed one: Rick Perry! (Although Mike Krahulik needs to get some sort of Lifetime Achievement Award just for his efforts over the years.)

    So far as the tech dudes go, like HELL will they break up my state. I’ll be with the Californio Unionistas on this one, wearing my light grey hoodie and waving a fistful of ZED cards, like Cmdr. Rebecca Jordan of the Smog Town troopers in Sandow Burke’s brilliant paintings.

    But I respectfully nominate the National Rifle Association, the entire organization, from the chief asshole down to the littlest kid with a brand-new pink or blue .22 rifle and Junior NRA membership card from the folks. (And I’m a lifetime long-rifle-owning supporter of the entire Second Amendment, although I always stress the importance of ‘well-regulated’ when I’m talking about any right I may claim to bear arms.)

    The NRA. In all seriousness, how many little kids need to be piled up in a classroom before the membership steps back and says, “hang on… what right are we actually protecting here?”

  98. Not sure this will be malleted, but I’m willing to take a shot to the head. I nominate for asshole for the year, public sector unions. Public sector unions are an oxymoron (and I should know because I tragically belong to one) in that all they know how to do is destroy guv’ment budgets, local or state (personal experience), keep bad employees employed and let good employees get fired (personal experience/observation) and basically sell out their members whenever the old guard (out here, some of the same people who lead the unions have been doing for 20+ years or more. can anyone say, dictatorship?) feels threatened.

    While I would love to see my state become a “right to work” state like in Wisconsin (did I mention I like Scott Walker), the public sector unions will fight it tooth and nail, ’cause hey, anything that reduces their power to screw things up is a bad thing.

  99. Hillary Clinton, for “What difference does it make?” I imagine it makes a lot of difference to the families of the four murdered in Benghazi while she did absolutely nothing. And BO deserves mention as a co-conspirator in that.

    Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid also deserve at least a Dishonorable Mention.

  100. @G.B.Miller: Be careful what you wish for. In a “right to work” state, you can be fired for the same reasons you stated, as well as for no reason at all. That’s what right-to-work actually means: employees can be fired at any time for no reason.

    As a result, companies regularly cycle through their entire workforce below AVP level every 12-18 months. It’s cheaper to rehire desperate unemployeds and new grads at starting salaries than give merit and annual COL raises. They can also force the departing employees to train their replacements, or lose their extremely minimal severance. There is also a huge contractor/contingent-worker industry that feeds this same machine.

    At least with a union you have by-laws and recourse.

  101. Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald.

    Just to take the other side of the argument.

    It’d be one thing if Mr. Snowden had innocently stumbled across a vast conspiracy and brought it to light. But he instead, with malice and forethought, sought employment as a contractor at the NSA and unilaterally derailed programs that had previously been approved by all three branches of government and did so in a way that put people working on our behalf in foreign lands in danger.

    In addition to the egotism inherent in “Snowden knows best” (speaking of tech assholes), he and Mr. Greenwald have flat out lied about the NSA’s capabilities to create the impression that the NSA was doing much, much more than it actually was. Diverting attention to a series of arguments about things that the NSA wasn’t doing instead of instigating a reasonable discussion of what it should be allowed to actually do. In particular, Mr. Snowden never had the ability to simply enter an email address and see what you were typing right now. Some analysts at the NSA had the ability to fill out a form requesting research be done, said form was then routed to one of 22 people who could approve it, and then another set of 30-some-odd analysts could execute that query and examine the results. This, by the by, was done approximately 300 times in 2012. Hardly “eavesdropping on every phone call”.

    In any case, the economic impact of Snowden’s unilateral outburst is estimate to end up costing the US economy nearly $200 billion by 2016.

    Frederic

    PS: Whereas Mr. Greenwald is also a coward. Having realized that if had been working with Mr. Snowden as early as he initially claimed that he had in fact conspired to commit treason, he very quickly changed his story. But that’s another story…

  102. My vote would be for Andrew Cuomo. When you use your emergency powers to pass anti-civil rights legislation in the dead of night, you are a terrible person.

  103. I vote Tony Abbott, the PM of Australia. I know that he isn’t really appearing on the radar of a lot of people in the US, but he is the Asshole to end all Assholes. Just a few of his highlights include:
    -Removing environmental protections on heritage-listed forests to allow more logging.
    -Removing environmental protections from the Great Barrier Reef to allow shipping, oil exploration and mining in the area.
    -Trying to eliminate Carbon-pricing in favour of paying corporations if they reduce emissions.
    -Insulting most of our neighbouring countries either during his election campaign or since being elected, with the highlight of his massive mishandling of being caught spying on Indonesia.
    -Neutering the planned upgrades to the national broadband infrastructure by offering a less effective plan that will take longer to implement and cost more.
    -Accusing the opposition of being financially irresponsible and making backroom deals with the Greens to sway the senate while making a backroom deal with the Greens to have our debt ceiling raised so they can borrow $200 Billion more dollars.

    Honestly, the only thing more terrifying than what he’s done already is that he has has another few years in office to do even more damage.

  104. Was Ford actively trying to drown out the positive example set in word and deed by Chris Hadfield?

    Some of us up here are wondering that out loud, believe it or not.

  105. I voted for Mr. Cruz, as his October dance definitely cemented him the award for the U.S., though there were many, many contenders. However, the real leaders in the field remain the heads of the gigantically monied fossil fuels industry, who, in the last few decades especially, have done more damage to the planet and its peoples than possibly any other group in human recorded history, including buying Cruz and countless other politicians. Way to go with the mercury spread in the oil sands and the flammable water, guys.

  106. Bytowner: I have to admit to a feeling of disgust and dismay when ‘Maclean’s’ magazine named Rob Ford its newsmaker of the year. On reflection I can see the logic, but my first thought was ‘Why, oh why, wasn’t it Chris Hadfield?’ Cmdr. Hadfield represents what I think we, as Canadians, would like others to see us as, but I suppose that quietly doing something extraordinary will always be trumped by noisily doing something disgraceful.

  107. The competition to be the Nominee From Texas for Asshole Of The Year has been FIERCE, but I have to agree with your choice of Ted Cruz. You have to understand that ordinary assholes are thick on the ground in this state, so it takes a truly special asshole to stand out here, and Cruz has made that effort. Cornyn seems to be tired now, and Perry blew his shot with his incomptent performance in the Presidential election, so Cruz is the front-runner. Make no mistake, though, there are challengers. The next Governor (sorry Wendy, you really have no shot) Greg Abbott is a standout of an asshole, as will become clear to the rest of the nation soon.

  108. Bytowner, Barbara Roden: I am one USAnian who will continue to see the good Cmdr as more representative of your people than Ford.

    Seconding the request for a “good person of the year” post.I think it would be good for everyone.

  109. “He’s like Newt Gingrich minus the charm or political saavy, which is saying something absolutely terrifying.”

    Awesome. :) I agree with your entire list, though mine would be a lot longer.

  110. I’d have to vote for Rick Perry. Did you SEE his 2013 Christmas card? Or hear about the huge push to limit access to health services? But no, it was the “women can’t bring feminine hygiene products into the state capitol” that I feel earned him asshole of the year prize.

  111. Just a small point – there’s not much anyone can do about a DDos attack. Hackers take over millions of private pc’s and then use them to attempt to access a site, all at the same time. The site’s servers can’t cope, and either have to be shut down, or they crash. There is not a site in the world that can withstand a DDos attack. Other than that small niggle, I wish you a Happy and Safe New Year. :)

  112. If I didn’t live in Wisconsin, I’d have voted for Ted Cruz. As it is, I have to agree with the others who have nominated Scott Walker, Our Dear Leader here in the frozen tundra. Meg (2:33 pm 12/30/13) did a depressingly great job of listing some of the highlights of his first term to date. And it’s only getting worse.

    Couple of years hence, don’t say we didn’t warn ya.

  113. I voted for Ted Cruz, who grandstands pointlessly, and helped architect the shutdown, which cost the economy billions…even though he knew it wouldn’t work. Even John Boehner was mad about that.

    I wish I’d read the thread though, because I’d be seriously tempted to vote for Putin, who really could turn out to be another Hitler, or at least another Stalin.

    Justin Bieber? He doesn’t make the grade at all. He didn’t cause any widespread suffering of any kind. Also, some of the gender-baiting of him early in his career may have led (in part) to his current acting out, so I’m inclined to cut him some slack.

    Obama? He’s got lots of strong negatives (drone strikes and not curbing the NSA among them), but I think his positives (ending DADT and the ACA, among others) still outweigh. A glitchy website? Pffft! Not like starting two wars, one of them utterly unnecessary, and getting thousands of Americans killed (never mind the deaths on the other side). You have to have a certain amount of assholism to be President at all, and Presidents go he’s doing pretty well.

    (Parenthetically I’d just like to say that Healthcare.gov would have worked better if it had been properly tested with all the data cases, and proper load and volume testing, in a properly constructed test environment. They needed more QA professionals…like me. And I’d’ve been happy to take the job!)

    I disagree with those who’ve said Rick Perry deserves a nod. He’s an asshole, all right, but he hasn’t been very effective (this year, remember) outside Texas. If you’re a Texan I can definitely see why you’d want to nominate him.

    Jerome O’Neil, Ike was actually a pretty good POTUS (Google “cross of iron” if you want to know why I think so). I agree that Obama has been better than any of the Republicans we’ve had since, but that’s also true of all the other Democratic Presidents.

    Billy Quiets, I think this is the first time we’ve agreed on something: we both hate Chris Christie. But of course you hate him for one of the few things I like about him, which is that he gave credit where it was due at a time when his state (where I live) needed and got federal help. Obama took action promptly after Sandy, and it really helped New Jersey. Chris Christie acknowledged that.

    Now of course Republicans who live elsewhere don’t think that was a good thing to do.

    Also, fat-shaming is kind of assholic, even if the fat person is also an asshole.

    coo1b1ue, I think you missed the boat on Benghazi. And I don’t know if you noticed, but people across the political spectrum who had certain key characteristics were targeted for additional scrutiny by the IRS; it wasn’t politically biased at all.

    You’re right on about BQ’s Christie comments, though.

    Theresa, hear hear.

    Tortoise, you’re right. Besides, IIUC he can’t be a spirit animal until he’s dead (if humans can even be spirit animals, which I don’t think they can).

    MatGB, we don’t want MORE Senators from Texas! Look at the ones we have now. Fucking disasters. No, no, increasing Texas’ representation in the Senate is not a good thing…unless one of the subdivided States was mostly Austin.

    Avilyn, I agree on the NRA. They used to be a good organization (and were in favor of sensible gun control), but they’re now an astroturf organization wholly owned by the gun industry and dedicated to promoting racist fear to sell guns to white people. (Local chapters vary widely, and some are still pursuing the NRA’s original goals, teaching gun safety etc. I’m speaking of the national organization.)

    New York City has a huge tax surplus with the rest of the state, as you may know. If New York State were divided, I’d propose calling the Albany-centered part Albania, since that’s approximately what its economy would be like…a dirt-poor Eastern European hellhole. Dividing New Jersey is ridiculous; it’s a tiny state as it is.

    mintwitch, It’s probably useless to argue with people who are in favor of right-to-work (which as we both know really is right-to-work-for-lower-pay-under-worse-conditions-with-no-job-security-or-safety-regulations).

  114. My nomination?

    Your (and certainly others that I care about) own representative, John Boehner.

    He certainly has the capability and the power to reign in some of the assholishness that we’ve seen this year, and all he did was sit there and cry (proudly!) about it.

  115. But bytehead, he does get a little credit for lashing out at the Tea Party assholes for their stupidity and sabotage. Not much, but a little. Too little too late, maybe, but not if he refuses to put up with any of their shit in 2014 (hey, I can dream).

  116. Koch Brothers. Let us know when you finally have enough money. And if there are those of you out there that really believe they are interested in libertarian politics I’m sure they could sell you a bridge or 2.

  117. I’m with Helen Balcony, Megpie71 and Scott. If I only have one vote for Arsehole of the Year, it goes to Tony Abbott, the current Australian PM. It could go to any one of those arsehats on the front bench — Pyne, Bishop, Morrison, Hunt, Hockey, Brandis, Turnbull, Joyce and so on — or to associates like Credlin, Bernardi and the execrable Speaker. But Abbott once referred to the Suppository of All Wisdom, so Arsehole of the Year is a fitting appellation.

  118. I read this email with interest and concluded that John Scalzi is the Asshole of the Year. On his own blog!

  119. I think we are nowhere near Peak Asshole, seeing how there so many other worthy nominees were mentioned in this thread. I think we’re going to see a kind of Asshole Cascade in 2015 as everybody and their corporate backers start up the 2016 Election Machine. The assholes running for office and their asshole stenographers on cable and their asshole donors will beget assholes all the way down to That Asshole Neighbor Running For School Board (Yet Again).

    I just hope we can survive until the Asshole Singularity comes and all these assholes are sublimed into software, where they will then be shut off because none of them bothered to pay the maintenance staff enough money to make them care.

  120. I’d like to nominate the North Carolina legislature and Gov. Pat McCrory, for setting the state back 50 years. Highlights include passing the most restrictive voter ID bill in the country, passing other limitations on voter registration and voting opportunities, eliminating tenure for public school teachers and approving record numbers of charter schools, turning down federal funds for Medicaid expansion (700,000 citizens affected), cutting unemployment benefits, refusing to participate in an ACA-related health exchange, eliminating income deductions for small businesses, repealing the Racial Justice Act (which allowed inmates on death row to appeal based on racial bias in sentencing), reducing corporate income taxes but expanding the state sales tax base for individuals, loosening environmental regulations, and oh, yes, reducing womens’ access to abortion. How’s that?

  121. I would have to agree with you on Obama. Specifically on the NSA debacle. It is predicted that the NSA’s activities will cost the United States billions in US Technology sales. The last straw for me was the hacking of SSL encryption. I also heard they tap into crash dump files that are created when Windows crashes with a serious error. The NSA has even gone as far as intercepting laptops during shipping and modifying them. It is downright scary! Once all this stuff is baked into the chips that go into computers, routers, and the myriad of other communication devices, you will not truly own your devices because they will own you. It is enough to drive a person to linux.

  122. I voted Cruz. While I agree that Rick Perry is probably a bigger asshole, for the most part Perry only f***s up the people of Texas, who have voted him in repeatedly. Cruz manages to f*** up the whole country.

  123. I voted for Obama for all the reasons you listed plus dozens more. However, what really spun me up was the laughing and joking and the selfie at Mandela’s funeral. What a complete embarrassment he is.

  124. And, I gotta admit I’m surprised Scalzi has so many right-wing and anti-union assholes among his readers. I thought this group was supposed to be clever.

  125. For asshole of the year, I pick the internet mob for responding completely out of proportion to social gaffes.

    In this vein, I just wanted to point out that a gross generalization is occurring with regard to The Tech Dudes(which is being generalized as the character of Silicon Valley), the same kind of generalization they’re being accused of with respect to women, low skill labor and the homeless. Even though I might personally be considered one of them (male, white, tech degree, worked in electronics industry), I don’t think they/I need defending. We might need some understanding though.

    I say we, because I know what it’s like to say more dumb things than you could ever apologize for. You hit critical mass so fast that there seems to be no point to digging out. A lot of these guys are my kind of impaired, autistic spectrum special kids. I can’t speak specifically for the individuals of concern, but we’re generalizing, so I guess I’ll jump in and pretend they really are who I think.

    Communication is not our strong suit and our sympathy is situational rather than emotional. Growing up socially and communicationally inadequate in a world and education system (taught by people that think in a completely opposite way from you) that doesn’t understand you makes you feel like a disadvantaged minority (the early grades are extremely difficult for many). This has maybe changed in the last decade, but probably less than everyone thinks. It used to be that no one knew what autism and asperger’s syndrome were, so problems weren’t dealt with at all. I’ve seen a lot of reasonably intelligent boys and young men, smarter than many of the people I met in college, that have been thrown in the dumpster by our education system because they can’t memorize and vomit and can’t adapt well enough to thrive in school, or just learn to hate it. But they’re male and have an advantage, so it’s OK.

    When you overcome and excel despite the roadblocks, whether they are real or imagined, it makes it harder to accept the rest of the world and those that can’t overcome their disadvantages in particular. As a result, when I look at a homeless person, there is a war. On one hand, I know that small changes in behavior could have averted the situation for many and they have no excuse for their situation. On the other hand, I know many were broken, intrinsically or through repetitive abuse. The problem is that it takes time to see that second part, especially if people start telling you how awesome you are. I imagine many people in Hollywood get caught up in the same thing.

    What bothers me is how irrationally acrimonious the discussion about different groups is. Generalizations are part of the architecture of the human brain. There needs to be a way to make a decision with minimal information. Therefore, we generalize to create the default answer. The problem is that too many people think their first impression of something is uncanny. Selection bias is in full force and it gives them license to be lazy and not evaluate individual situations, to challenge their expectations.

    Then in come the “stop generalizing about ” crowds. A world of gray gets turned into black and white emotion and no discussion other than complete agreement can happen at that point. This serves no one and creates a vicious cycle of emotional, dug-in, mutual hatred.

  126. @acflory
    There are ways to mitigate a ddos attack. There are companies that specialize in just that. A quick search turned up this large one. http://www.prolexic.com. I work in the industry, but I have no affiliation with that one. There are many more. Obama and his people could have done more.

  127. You know how investigators always say “follow the money?” In this case, Follow the Assholery.

    It will lead you to the chief enabler and cheerleader for most of them: Fox News.

    That’s my vote.

  128. Personally, I voted for Ted Cruz. I think it takes a special sort of asshole to ensure the shutdown of the entire U.S. federal government and put people (however temporarily) out of work for a cynical act of political gamesmanship. (Cruz is, after all, a damned smart fellow — he has 2016 in his sights, and he knows very few of us will remember this when the time comes.) In addition to that, I think it takes a special kind of asshole to run for high elected office to enact a political agenda that specifically includes making government run badly because you don’t believe in government. What a scumweasel.

    As far as the other people on the list, I do loathe the Tech Dudes, and had he been an option I would have seriously considered voting for Tony Abbott (as an American living in Australia, I do loathe that man so very very much), and… well, I’m partisan enough to not vote for Obama, but I am sorely, sorely disappointed in that man. It seems to me that he’s going to end up in that special category of presidents with Carter and Hoover and Grant and Taft — good human beings who made really lousy presidents.

  129. Enabity:

    “I just wanted to point out that a gross generalization is occurring with regard to The Tech Dudes(which is being generalized as the character of Silicon Valley)”

    Well, except the part where I write, “not nearly everyone in tech is an asshole, thank God,” suggesting that I am talking about specific people in Silicon Valley, not everyone in general. But I do understand you have a soapbox you want to stand on, and you thought this would be a nice place to set it down, so.

    Likewise, I imagine that people with autism and aspergers do get frustrated with the idea that there are people out there who will defend someone being an intentional asshole by suggesting they have either of those, suggesting that willful public denigration of women and the poor is part and parcel with being neurologically different. I mean, speaking of offensive generalizations. And of course, not nearly everyone in Silicon Valley is autistic/aspergery, so even if that was an accepted excuse for being a complete asshole to people you consider lesser than you, the number of people eligible to use it would be smaller than you think.

    Also, in the cases I linked to, we have a CTO of a major media organization and a CEO of a tech company taking public dumps on women and the poor, which is to say, people of prominence airing their opinions publicly. Should not C-suite-level people be considered public individuals, thus eligible for public criticism, when they post their opinions in public? These dudes are not special flowers, man.

    In all: Not 100% convinced with your police work, there, enabity.

    Eric RoM:

    Remember when I noted at the the top of the thread that people here might nominate things that make you unhappy, and you shouldn’t use that as an excuse to be uncivil? Yes, that.

  130. Erg….not nearly enough time to read through all the comments which I am certain will be entertaining and disappointing in turns.

    I did want to pop in to note that it isn’t healthcare.gov that is the problem. It is the ACA. The website is a subsidiary problem.

    Although I do agree that it would be nice if someone that was elected under the premise that he was a masterful administrator could actually demonstrate that skill once.

    Not once in a while…just once.

    Regards,
    Dann

  131. I have to vote for the NRA overall (hey, hey, LBJ^H^H^HWayne LaPierre, how many kids did you kill today?), but among the poll-listed ones it’s got to be Cruz.

  132. The Koch brothers, who have done more to discredit their own beliefs than a thousand leftist college professors ever could.

  133. @enabity, speaking as a guy who is probably undiagnosed ADHD (when I was growing up, the term and diagnosis didn’t exist, yet…I was called ‘Hyperactive’ at the time, but the symptoms are pretty clear) and who is the father of two children (one with ADHD and the other with Asperger’s)…I’m not inclined to accept that the tech dudes just can’t help it and so should be free from villification. I don’t believe that having Aspergers or being on the spectrum,excuses you from apologizing when you realize you’ve said something that is, at best, insensitive. The idea that you simply can’t help saying things and should be completely shielded from criticism because you’re not as socially adept is a bit hard for me to swallow about multi-millionaire tech magnates, CTOs and social media company leaders. We’re not talking about indie programmers like Notch, we’re talking tech venture capitalists. One does not use racial slurs agressively on twitter and expect to evade criticism. This isn’t a ‘you look good since you got fat’ kind of gaffee…these are “In The Passion Of The Christ 2, Jesus gets raped by a pack of n*****s. It’s his own fault for dressing like a whore though.” That’s inexcusable, IMHO.

    I think there are cases where the internet mob rushes too quickly to judgement, but that has less to do with the Internet and more to do with a group that reacts too quickly on insufficient information…that is to say, MANKIND. One only need look at the print, radio and television media output of the last century or so to get an idea of that. The Internet has merely made that echo chamber much faster in reaction time. The judgement of the tech dudes, though? I don’t think the Internet is off about them.

    I think Ted Cruz did more demonstrable harm, though, and voted for him.

  134. Had to go with Cruz, despite lots of great competition. Just too much deliberate assholery from him to go with someone else.

    Mr. Scalzi, about Cory Booker, he isn’t doing much for your generation. You know that bill in the Senate to increase Iranian sanctions? The one that will completely derail the current negotiations and is possessing off the Iranians? Guess who one of the Co-sponsors is.

  135. It’s a shame this has to be a named individual because I’d like to nominate “those gamer dudes”. The ones who gave Sarkeesian such crap and the ones who make Xbox Live such hell and the ones who constantly whine about any realistic depiction of women or (*gasp*) same-sex attraction in games.

    If I must pick one thing to represent this entire vile sewer muck that infests my hobby I nominate Wartune who put together an entire ad campaign with the text “male gamers only”. Yes, really.

  136. While I voted for Ted Cruz, I’d like to second Pat F’s nomination of Pat McCrory and the NC General Assembly. It seemed, for a little while in the mid-aughts, that a sea change was coming to the area. This culminated with the state flipping blue in 2008 (say what you will about how that turned out, it was still a big moment for progress in the state). Sadly, the backlash was swift and fierce. I’m pretty sure the Democrats fielded a candidate for governor in 2012, but I have no idea who it was. They essentially conceded control of the state to the very looniest members of the far right wing who wasted no time undoing 50 years of progress for women and minorities. It’s sad, really. So Cruz is the clear winner, but McCrory and his cronies definitely need to be in the conversation.

  137. So, so many worthy (?) contenders for Asshole of the Year, and internationally, too! Tough competition. If only we had some kind of ensemble award.

    I had to go with Tech Dudes, although given the very strong field I could have gone a different way (and for some of these contenders, I think we’re well out of “asshole” and into “evil fucksack” territory). They’re not directly contributing to nationwide evil in the way that, oh, Ted Cruz is or would like to, but they are certainly creating assholery on a scale greater than ‘that guy who cut me off in the carpool lane this morning’. Witness the #1reasonwhy hashtag or Fat, Ugly or Slutty for some examples. And locally, they’re contributing with both hands to an atmosphere where people falling down the economic ladder have stopped hefting protest signs and started picking up bricks.

    WRT the “oooo but what about Aspergers” apologia – I find it interesting that this gets busted out every time a geek/tech dude behaves badly, even if there is no indication whatsoever that said dude is on the spectrum, and even if said dude’s bad behavior is clearly nothing to do with the kind of social awkwardness characteristic of an ASD. Having Aspergers or any other autism-spectrum disorder does not doom one to a life of being a selfish jackwagon afflicted with secular Calvinism, or turn one into an accidental-rapist-in-waiting. Likewise, technology (and Silicon Valley) are not magical touchstones whose mere contact transforms “colossal douchestaple” into “poor misunderstood Aspie why are you picking on him“.

    (And, of course, protip that the tech world in general and Silicon Valley in particular have a pretty solid percentage of people who are not dudes. No matter how much certain Tech Dudes of the asshole variety would wish otherwise.)

  138. (Dis-)honorable mention to Jim Bridenstein, R-Okla., “Just because the Supreme Court rules on something doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s constitutional.”

  139. MatGB, I oppose the division of states because I don’t trust those in power to draw the lines fairly or logically. In theory the idea sounds great. But when I look around I see at every level that those with money and power are influencing the process to hurt the poor and powerless.

    Common sense would dictate that public transit is most needed by the poorest communities. Bus and rail routes are often laid out to avoid these neighborhoods entirely or to prevent the poor from having access to the preferred shopping and entertainment areas of the wealthy, the same places the working poor often, well, work!

    School districts here in Ohio are very dependent on local property taxes, so the district boundaries are designed and adjusted intentionally to concentrate the highest value properties in one district for the children of the well off. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled the system of funding unconstitutional in 1997 and gave the state a year to change but nothing has ever been done.

    Ohio redraws its political districts every 10 years, and the Ohio congressional lines are drawn by the state legislature, not by an independent committee. The legislature votes on the lines and the governor can veto. With both halves of the legislature and the governorship held by the Republicans, they used this chance to strongly reinforce their power by concentrating the areas that traditionally support Democrats in the fewest districts possible.

    So, yes, the idea sounds reasonable. In practice it would be used as a weapon against those without power, money, and influence.

  140. @Elgion: Obama didn’t attend Mandela’s funeral, he attended the memorial, along with the other international state leaders. The memorial was a joyous celebration of Mandela’s life and legacy, that included dancing, singing, and much laughter. The funeral, a few days later, was a more domestic affair, though not much more somber.

    Cultural norms for end-of-life differ. Within my own family, close and extended, wakes/memorials take place before the funeral and are characterized by joy and laughter, with everyone telling the funniest stories they know about the deceased. The funeral takes place later, and is for mourning.

    Perhaps your cultural traditions are different, but Obama behaved appropriately in the context of the event he attended and spoke at.

  141. @Ahabig: in theory, the particular idea Scalzi mentioned – dividing California into six states – does not really sound great, and is profoundly assholish in both theory and fact. If you look at the map, it’s pretty clear that dude didn’t think much about anything north of San Francisco, and just sort of drew lines horizontally because *handwave*. It also displays a profound ignorance about the geographical, political and economic interconnectedness of the various parts of the state; others have mentioned the water-supply issue, but there’s also a certain level of “my powers fade if I go outside of Mountain View” stupidity in deciding that, say, Orange County has more in common with Imperial County than it does with LA. It’s not a seriously thought-out proposal so much as a strong upvote for Tech Dudes getting the AOTY award.

  142. I can make a liberal case and a conservative/libertarian case for breaking up California. States are allowed under the Constitution to break up into smaller states. This is how Vermont was formed, so there is precedence for this.

    Liberal case: The smaller a state is, the more federal dollars it receives per-capita. This is because of the Senate. Every state gets two US Senators, regardless of population. California has more than 65 times the population of Wyoming, but both states have the same number of Senators. Breaking up California into smaller Californias will increase the number of Californians in the US Senate, and therefore increase West Coast influence in Congress.

    Also, let those right wing pinheads have their own state so that we can have gay marriages in Hollywood.

    Conservative/libertarian case: California’s large population means more people coming up with new ideas for laws that hurt businesses. With five new states that don’t have Hollywood in them, we can create an environment that is friendly to small start-up- and established corporations alike.

  143. Thank you John, for not making a cheap crack at Texas. For most of my life, I’ve been proud to call myself a Texan. It became increasingly harder after W. came into the spotlight. After Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, Ron Paul and the other assorted assholes made public spectacles of themselves, being a Texan has become a source of shame.

    Life in Texas these days is hard enough. We don’t need hate from the rest of the nation on top of everything else. I didn’t vote for any of these assholes, but I constantly see ignorant comments against my home across the web.

  144. I almost voted for Obama. His campaign promises that got him elected were the promises of a progressive thinking, smart, principled, politician. And then he got into office and I think he’s broken every single promise, and has gotten a reputation as one of the worst political negotiators of all time for preemptively surrendering important goals in an apparent attempt to make the right meet him in the middle, which never happens.

    But as bad as Obama is, he is, as I’ve said a number of times before, one of the best moderate right-of-center politicians we’ve had in a long time. If he had been a republican, he might have been viewed as John McCain was viewed years ago (before he sold his soul trying to become president), as a smart, principled politician.

    Instead, I voted for Ted Cruz, because that man is insane. He is so far right wing that we would need an exponential scale to plot him on the graph.

    Actually, I would have rather voted for the Koch Brothers. Because Ted Cruz is just an insane foot soldier in the Koch Brothers’ army. If it weren’t for all the Koch brother money being pumped into extremist lobby groups and extremist political groups like the Tea Party, then we wouldn’t have assholes like Ted Cruz in the first place.

    So, the Koch brothers get my write in vote as biggest assholes of 2013, but since they’re not on the ballot, and since write in candidates seldom win, I went with Cruz.

    Scalzi: calling Ted Cruz “The spirit animal of assholes,” could be seen as unintentionally offensive

    isn’t it a little too late to say cross cultural pollenization is not allowed? That’s what I learned from kindergarten anyway.

  145. Xopher Halftongue: people across the political spectrum who had certain key characteristics were targeted for additional scrutiny by the IRS; it wasn’t politically biased at all.

    Then I wonder why the IRS came out and told us that political bias was what they were in fact doing?
    And I wonder why the President came out and said, in relation to this, “Americans have a right to be angry about it, and I’m angry about it.”

    Further he promised to work “hand-in-hand” with Congress to invesigate this. (You didn’t hold your breath, did you? Oh. that’s right…)

  146. Would it still be insensitive to say instead that Cruz’s spirit animal is an ass? Wonderfully ironic since the jackass is a Dem symbol ;-)

  147. GLAAD. They mounted a massive, bullying campaign to get a man fired for crude, off-color but innocuous remarks; ended up getting their ass handed to them when A&E backed down and made it that much harder for us right-of-center folks who support gay marriage and gay adoption.

    And it wasn’t about homophobia; it was about the Kafkaesque squelching of free speech and free thought they find “offensive”.

  148. @scorpius: The First Amendment’s coverage of free speech means that the /government/ cannot punish or otherwise infringe upon your freedom of speech. However, freedom of speech does not mean freedom from social (or other) consequences.

    If you open your mouth and act like an asshole, you get to deal with the consequences from anyone not-the-government.

  149. [Deleted because, awwwwww, the adorable little dude thinks he’s going to be all big and tough and threaten me. Dude, shoo -JS]

  150. @Thorn, what you’re expressing is the canned response I call “I gave at the office” response; as long as the government takes care of it (or isn’t involved in this case) I have no personal responsibility. The problem is that for a liberal civil society to develop and flourish individuals and non-governmental institutions need to be respectful of free speech and tolerant of differences in opinion. What good is the 1st Amendment if well-funded zealots set out to use any means necessary to destroy you for speech and though crimes?

  151. @Scalzi,

    Believe it or not, I’ve not been scheming to place a soap box on your blog. I’ve mostly been reading to take lessons on what makes a successful blog. In fact, the number of posters here probably has been a deterrent to my posting rather than otherwise. I considered deleting the post numerous time.

    My post was generally addressed to more than just your words, but the linked articles as well. I unfortunately also went with brevity and lost nuance I intended. The link to the two guys being insensitive during a sensitivity meeting (the women link seems to not go to the article anymore) isn’t the kind of gaffe I’d likely commit, but I personally understand the mistake they don’t realize they made. If you’re condemning guys that might have that kind of lapse to your Pacific flotilla, you will have to include more tech guys than the US can spare. Coding well takes a lot more ability and focus than you might think. Managing huge code bases and data sets is not for the faint of heart. Coding in school is easy play time by comparison and few enough do well there.

    Regarding the autistic spectrum, it’s technically diagnosed as childhood disease. It isn’t something physical, but the extreme brain morphology that accounts for a big chunk of the cases, many which were never diagnosed, is extremely common in tech. If we identify the endpoints of the continuum as to and bottom up is the end where functional autistics reside, the majority of people in tech are pretty far into the bottom up end of the spectrum. They might not be diagnosable, but they’re there and they share the deficits as well as the strengths of that brain configuration. You might consider them/us assholes for not being adept at communicating thoughts in a politic manner, but at least you know you won’t get stabbed in the back or without warning.

    @Scalzi+others,

    When single-minded focus leads you make too harshly frank an assessment of someone else in public, it isn’t so easy to fix as an apology. This is especially the case when you may not realize until days or weeks have passed or until the second time or later. What it requires is amends. This means making an effort to vocalize the positive things as often as possible. It also means doing things that demonstrate how you value them. Apologies aren’t enough.

    I realize that this is no great insight and is how people treat friends, but the point is that when you aren’t the easiest person to be around it’s most important to be the best friend possible.

    I’m not suggesting that insensitive statements be ignored. However, they shouldn’t be viewed as a look straight into the core of who a person is either. They are a sampling that isn’t representative. Certainly, far less telling than how a person acts when they have real power to screw someone over or are acting without being watched or regulated. The guys on the left coast(SF) are pretty tame in that department compared to the guys on the right coast(NY & DC).

  152. My vote, this year and every year, is for the TERFs, or if I have to pick one, Cathy Brennan specifically, for calling trans women’s employers and doctors to try to get them fired or have their medical care terminated, and for being a censorious asshat to Phylicia Sampson through the courts by getting a false peace order and then reporting her for harassment for Tweeting that CB works for payday lenders, which is an absolute fact.

  153. There are so many to choose from that I can’t vote, though I agree with almost all of your nominations.

    I’d remove Beiber from the list – not because I support (or even pay attention) to what he does, but because his childhood was fed into the celebrity machine. I remember when the actor playing a certain under-aged ensign on Star Trek was getting a raft of crap from the fandom. Turned out to be a pretty cool dude, maybe you’ve heard of him? I give younger celebrities a break on perceived bad behavior, at least until they’re old enough to know better. I will admit that in part this is because our culture dumps on them pretty hard.

    I’d agree with Alan Wexelblat too. Responding to a critique of sexism in games by being sexist assholes just made me say “aaaand there’s her data.” I’m inside the industry, though, so this particular spike in asshole hit close to home.

  154. I can’t believe how fast Bob Filner fell off the asshole radar this year – should he send Mayor Ford a basket of muffins?

  155. I decided to wait on responding to enabity’s (first) misguided comment until my Silicon Valley tech dude spouse could read it and give me his thoughts, but as I expected, by the time I got his response Scalzi and Mythago had made their characteristically succinct replies. As always, the best I can say is “What she said.” And yes, tech dudes got my vote as well. Thanks also to Dru, who said some of the things I was thinking as well.

    I also much appreciate Alan Wexelblat’s comments. That particular ad was on some site I had some reason to refer to frequently, and every time I saw it I wanted to reach through the Internet and slug someone.

  156. MatGB,

    The U.S. Constitution does provide for the separation of one state into two or more. It requires the approval of the both the State legislature and the Congress. This was intended to create a barrier high enough that it had to be a really good idea, that everyone agreed on, before it would happen. AFAIK, only one State has ever successfully been carved out of another (under the Constitution): West Virginia. Given that that occurred in 1863, I think you can appreciate that it was precipitated by some unique extenuating circumstances. (see: American Civil War, 1861-1865)

    It’s easy to get people to agree, in principle, that forming a new State is a good idea: more representation in the Senate, more focus on local issues, taxes spent locally. But when you describe the challenges – less representation in the House, less tax base, only one of the States will get to keep the existing Capital and its bureaucratic infrastructure – they are significantly less enthused.

    Both you and the Tech Dude in question seem to key on the Senate representation thing. A few points on that:
    1. Most serious thinkers do still consider the system of fixed representation in the Senate and proportional representation in the House to be a feature, not a bug. (Gerrymandering in the House, though, is a bug, and tough one to squash.)

    2. Draper seems to think he can sell the idea of 6 Californias to the state on the basis of 10 new Senators from California. But that ignores how very different these regions are from each other. They’ll only represent a voting bloc in the Senate for maybe a generation, if that. Hell, they won’t even be in the same party. Looking at the map, I suspect you’d get 2 solidly Democratic states, 2 solidly Republican states, and 2 swing states. It terms of partisan politics, it’s at best a wash, and more likely a net loss for Democrats.

    3. But, think about how that “increase Senate representation” scheme looks like to the rest of the Senate. Even if we take Draper premise as true, and assume that the entire Congressional delegation (House and Senate) from the 6 Californias hold onto a sense of loyalty to the old State, to everyone else, it will look like California is trying to increase it’s influence on the Senate from 2 votes out of 100 (2%) to 12 votes out of 110 (11%). No one is going to stand for that, even for just in the short term.

  157. Yeah, Ted Cruz, and second place isn’t even on the same lap. Rob Ford is a buffoon but mostly harmless. Ted Cruz would render the whole government inactive for a little more time in the spotlight. That’s prime assholedom.
    I’m in Texas at the moment, for about the 6th time this year. People are nice to me and I love the food. Plus it’s not Michigan in December, so bonus there.
    But I saw a bumper sticker saying “TEXAS IS THE AMERICA OF AMERICA”. That’s assholery.

  158. @Scaliz, don’t you think Obama deserves to at least share the assholeness over the Government shutdown? It takes both the legislature and executive to be at odds to cause this. And it isn’t the Congress’ job to simply do what the President decrees. And fights over funding wars, programs etc. are more common than not in debt ceiling debates. He’s as much at fault as the House Republicans. But you must admit he deserves actually extra asshole points for shutting down the WWII memorial when no staff is required to keep it open and it’s open air, shutting down privately run parks that have no Federal staff, making people who own homes on Federal land homeless as they are kicked out of their own houses. These are things he did not need to do but he did it anyhow to cause pain in a petulant temper-tantrum.

    And he deserves the first-place asshole award on the shutdown since he refused to negotiate turning down any delay of the individual mandate; a mandate which piece by piece is being waved. Did Obama really need to shutdown the government since he’s doing what the GOP anyhow?

  159. Yeah, sure, Obama deserves ALL the blame for refusing to cave to irrational GOP demands. I’m sure that makes it all his fault.

  160. Scorpius after careful consideration of your argument. No.

    No. All GOP. A stupid waste of $20bn that didn’t need to happen and all on them.

  161. Daveon, it’s “irrational” to delay the implementation of the individual mandate considering he delayed the implementation of the employer mandate? It’s “irrational” when we now see him, piecemeal, doing exactly what the GOP wanted? This word you keep using, I don’t think it means what you think it means.

    Look, it’s both parties fault, and the polls showed that. Americans approval of the GOP, Reid and Obama dropped significantly after that event; it’s just that it dropped significantly more for the GOP. Only partisans think it’s “all on” the GOP; moderates and independents cursed both parties houses.

  162. @enabity
    “I’ve mostly been reading to take lessons on what makes a successful blog.”
    Better is for you to not do a TL:DR.
    I’m here because I like it here. Good and interesting people, even the those who hate me, and have blocked themselves from seeing what I say.
    To do a good blog do not do TL:DR, and most definitely make your blog more interesting than me trimming my toes is to you: At that!? I got a new ceramic knife! It’s almost as sharp as a razor blade! I used that knife to trim that callous on my toe that starts really itching when when I don’t run enough! It was 39.95 US dollars. Plus shipping which wasn’t much because they aren’t that far away!
    Such a great knife!

    BTW. I’m Shawn D! I’m not Shawn M! Why Are you calling me about Shawn R’s debt?! Goddamn father rapers.

  163. I’m currently stranded in Texas, so can I just nominate the ENTIRE Texas GOP? Rick Perry, Ted Cruz get nominations for sure, and a special mention goes to State Senator Donna Campbell, who keeps mailing me newsletters that send me into a frothing, incoherent rage.

    Senator Campbell is a medical doctor, yet she cites utter bullshit, pseudoscience as her reasons for restricting abortion, family planning information, birth control and access to all kinds of healthcare for Texas women.

    Kids that are already here, or who are born because of all the restrictions she helped put in place? They aren’t her problem. Their mothers should’ve thought twice before becoming pregnant.

    And she brags about all of it. Senator Campbell would make a fine asshole of the year.

  164. To Mintwich: I’m talking about public sector unions. Different animal than private sector, which there are a rare few here in CT that I do respect. If you talk to the average rank and file here in CT, you will find a lot hate/animosity towards the governor and the various heads of the public sector unions for all the double dealing that was done back in 2011. No sane governor would suggest to their unions to change the bylaws so that a simply majority, as opposed to a weighted majority, would approve any concession package. No sane union, unless joined at the umbilical cord, would agree to changing the rules then put the package to another vote. I can go on and on about public sector unions here in CT, but this isn’t my blog, thus it wouldn’t be right to make an attempt at hijacking this discussion.

  165. “Poster Child for…”
    “Paragon of…”
    “Superdelegate of…”
    “Consumer’s Choice Selection for…”
    “Exemplar of…”
    “Maxxed out their levels in…”
    “Patron Saint of…” (well, maybe not, Catholic rather than Native, so a no-go)

    Any of these are a fine substitution for “Spirit Animal of…”

  166. I’m going to decree a ranked vote and stick “people for whom everything has to be about their politics” as #3 under NRA and Cruz.

  167. Hate your President, but be aware that Canada’s Prime Minister is a MUCH bigger asshole. Harper is destroying environmental protections left and right, promoting the tar sands, lying, cheating, hiding from the press, destroying libraries (literally), muzzling scientists, and just being generally psychopathic and evil. He keeps such a low profile that uninformed citizens don’t even realize the terrible things he is doing, and since we don’t have term limits he can continue to get elected until he has destroyed the country entirely. Also, he is buds with Rob Ford.

  168. I mean, Rob Ford is a moron of the first order, but his bone-headedness, while entertaining, is utterly eclipsed by the evils of Harper. I am sure the Prime Minister is thrilled that the Canadian press is distracted by Ford and not discussing the Senate scandal, environment, destruction of libraries, legal action against environment scientists, etc. etc. as much as they would have otherwise. Harper is _working_ at being an asshole. Ford just kind of stumbles in to it.
    But I admit to being dismayed at the news coming out of Australia lately. Seems like their PM and ours were separated at birth. Fingers crossed our respective countries survive the damage they are doing.

  169. Scorpius: Look, it’s both parties fault

    The lies, the bullshit, the propaganda, the deliberate effort to spread misinformation with the specific intent to stop health care reform reform no matter what, and the right wing hypocrisy that “anything Obama does is bad, even if turns into exactly the same thing Romney did in Massachusetts”, and given that about 40% of Americans in a poll in 2012 still thought “Death Panels” are real, I think it’s safe to say that

    No, it’s no both parties fault.

    Not by a long shot.

  170. Ted Cruz tries to bring “awareness” to an issue you admit is a problem (ACA) and you tag him but as a champion of all that is wrong in the world for women and you leave San Diego’s Filthy Filner off the list? Sloppy, very sloppy.

  171. Ted Cruz would bring “awareness” to a city street needing repair by nuking the city. Without, of course, mentioning that his buddies had been using that street for racing tanks, throwing beer bottles at the pedestrians.

    And the fact that you had to reach all the way down to an *ex*-mayor to compare to a sitting U.S. congresscritter and Republican Party leader is pretty amusing.

  172. Greg,

    No, Romneycare and Obamacare are not the same thing. O-Care demands uniformity in plans; R-Care doesn’t. O-care demands the individual mandate; R-care worked to have a lot of flexibility in that also. Those are the two biggest things in O-care and are the policies in O-care that are resulting in millions (both net and gross) LOSING their insurance and seeing their rates rise.

    Death Panels. Do you even know what a “Death Panel” is? It’s a rationing agent for end-of-life patients. In the partially-free market healthcare system we had insurance boards, hospital boards, government boards and, heck, market forces acted as rationing agents to limit money spent on care. Heck, in England there’s huge scandals due to the fact that people with various diseases end up “using up” all of their allocated dollars for treating a certain disease and are cut off; many times to simply die.

    I’m not surprised that 40% believe in “death panels”; I’m surprised in this world of scarcity that 60% don’t believe that there will always be a rationing agent and limits on care.

    But, anyhow. Those are side issues to the fact that both parties were operating within the law and within their constitutionally defined roles. But, it was Obama who refused to accept a compromise; a compromise he is now putting into effect slowly.

    He’s the biggest liar of the year having won Politifact’s and WaPo’s “lie of the year” award (as well as the 5th and 3rd spot in WaPo’s top-10 list), and he should be the biggest asshole. And I would submit that he’s also the biggest loser if we Americans weren’t losing out due to a completely incompetent and corrupt President.

  173. Scorpius: If congress had presented a bill to Obama to sign, and he vetoed it, then he could share in the blame for the shutdown. If you want to portray the government shutdown as a bipartisan clusterfuck, you need to look at Pelosi,Reid, McConnell, Boehner and Cruz along with their respective adherents. But because the real purpose of the shutdown was either grandstanding by the Tea Party or an insane expectation that they could pass a budget that defunded the ACA, I disagree.

    If you contrast the negotiating process in October with the negotiations on the recent bipartisan budget, you can see the difference.

  174. I would like to nominate the entire congressional system of the United States, not just the people (although a number of them undoubtedly qualify) but the system itself.

    The entire environment is geared towards maximum assholeishness and minimum competency making anyone who comes through the system without assholery of some sort, a minor miracle.

    There are better ways! Not perfect ways, but better ways and nobody is seeking to change the current system because it incentivises its own stupidity and venlity.

    So yeah…congress and (almost) all who sail in her.

  175. It’s irrational to shut down the government to demand something you’re not going to get then not matter how hard you hold your breath. Seriously. I’ve got friends with toddlers with better impulse control.

    As for the rest of it. I’ve come to a conclusion that for 2014 anybody you wants to argue against moves to universal healthcare can be ignored as a dick.

    If you want to condemn people to death go for it, but don’t mind if I hold you in utter contempt.

  176. Oh and Scorpius, nice try on the England comment. Pull up an example that doesn’t involve payments for a treatment unlikely to give more than a few extra months of life in somebody already terminally ill.

    Gah! Alright, this is heading off topic and I’m too annoyed with the asshatery, so time to exclude myself from this thread.

  177. I agree that Obama’s long game confuses many. But folks seem to have forgotten that stuff like the NDAA was veto proof and would have simply stopped payment to our troops. He doesn’t have a magic wand.

    The GOP, especially those who signed the Norquist Pledge, are all assholes.

    I’d highlight Boehner (who loses his pants when he takes graft) over the heartless scheming Paul Ryan. But Ted Cruz is a good frontman for the turds.

  178. Well, since you didn’t like me nominating someone for a specific posting (fair do – I failed to notice your objection to that right at the top) then I feel obliged to nominate The Entire Human Race. Or, at the very least, the subset that actually voted for or otherwise supported the depressingly long and unpleasant list of bastards from posts above. Shame on you.

  179. Well, I’m sure it will interest no one here but I have to nominate the whole of the current Spanish goverment and almost all members of the party in power. It is really hard to find out who is more deserving of the award over here.

    – President Mariano Rajoy, for basically being a complete idiot whose method of management consist on doing nothing and let things “solve” themselves, for giving “press conferences” via a monitor, for congratulating himself on getting us out of the crisis when no such thing has happened, and a thousand more ?
    – Gallardon, Justice Minister, for his new anti-abortion law that not only turns the clock to 1969 or something like it, but then justify it with a ton of “for the freedom of women” JUST IN ALL THE PLACES where it cuts the rights of women? Oh, you now cant abort a baby for documented medical conditions? Thats for the freedom of women. And you need 2 doctors to review your case? Thats for the freedom of women. And if you are 16 you cant get an abortion without the consent of your parents? Freedom of women
    – Diaz Fernandez, Interior Minster. Asked about the current polemic centered on the instalation of barbed wire in the border with Morocco, he justified himself with something like “I’ve won that debate; fill the street with inmigrants and see who gets the people on his side”.
    – Montoro, in Finances, which regularly threatens critics with veiled references to having their tax records so shut up?
    – Wert, in Education, for so many things but well, for example, cutting a lot of grants for students abroad JUST WHEN THEY ARE REACHING THEIR DESTINATION AND STARTING THEIR COURSE, but then giving 30000 € in prices to a bullfighter?

    And a ton of boring etc but you get the idea.

  180. Gotta go with Obama. As POTUS, he has more power than any mortal. I don’t pretend to understand all of the pressures he is under, or variables in his decisions, but he could do the following:

    1) Manage the ACA websites well enough that they worked Day One.
    2) Stop, or at least drastically scale back drone strikes. Want to make the big bad decisions to kill suspected terrorists? Put American boots on the ground. SEALS or other operators would love to be the ones to do it. They live for that shit. And with the level of training they have, they are far better than NAMELESS DRONE OPERATOR
    3) Offer a clear and concise cost/benefit analysis of NSA programs to Americans, and then shut down the extra stuff that molests privacy. Yeah, sorry, when you can’t even give me a concrete number of plots your program has stopped, then why would I support your dumb policies?
    4) Try Guantanomo detainees in court. Whether federal, or military, make the results public record and give the innocent some dignity. Then close this festering pit of indignity.

  181. @Daveon: who said this
    Do it yourself.
    I hope that the cases of such that I’ve seen on Matt Drudge’s site are outliers for the UK health care system but have no reason to think that they are or are not.
    Outlier: not near the middle of the bell curve; something that happens, but is unusual.

  182. scorpius, I note that you’re careful to only imply that the ACA implements Death Panels, presumably because you know that if you stated it outright, so blatant a lie would (probably*) be Malleted in short order.

    In fact, as you very well know, the ACA outlaws lifetime limits on care.

    And I would submit that he’s also the biggest loser if we Americans weren’t losing out due to a completely incompetent and corrupt President.

    Yes, it’s true that Americans are still losing out due to the completely incompetent and corrupt President who left office in 2009, and Obama can’t be called the biggest loser because he’s been repairing some of the damage. Uncharacteristically evenhanded of you to point that out.

    Daveon, I hope you stayed long enough to see me say “Hear! Hear!” to what you just said.

    *Have to qualify since I do not wield the Mallet nor have any authority to say how it should be wielded. This is speculation on my part, nothing more.

  183. My vote for Asshole of the Year goes to Australian PM Tony Abbott for reasons too numerous to mention but let’s see:
    Prime Minister does interview in budgie smugglers
    Gives a personal reference for a paedophile priest
    Tells voters they should vote for him cos he’s got sexy daughters
    Tells 14yo girls to get up close to him cos there’s nothing wrong with physical contact
    Lies pretty much every time he opens his mouth
    Will say anything to get what he wants, irrespective of its truth
    Gets massive publicity for “charity” work, but claims “expenses” from taxpayers
    Claimed expenses for publicity tour for his book
    Said “shit happens” when asked about a soldier’s death
    Wants to pay women on $150,000 a year income $75,000 to have a baby cos they are “women of calibre” and so should be encouraged to breed
    Criticised previous PM for taking four days off at Christmas to visit her mother as it was shortly after her father had died and first for her mum as widow, then took his family on a three-week skiing holiday when elected PM himself
    Referred to chairwoman as “chairthing”
    Punched the wall next to young woman’s head after she beat him in an election
    Plenty more, plenty more where this came from

  184. PM Harper has my unhappy vote, and I’m not even a Canadian. If I understand correctly, he hasn’t just destroyed libraries, but original data — possibly the only full copies of some irreplaceable long-term observations of several parts of Canada. And it’s obvious that he’s doing this because he doesn’t like criticism of fossil fuel extraction. It makes me sick that Google didn’t swoop in and rescue the files.

    In the US, Sen. Feinstein, for being part of the surprisingly thorough work to destroy the USPS.

  185. [Deleted for being needlessly rude to other commenters here. You can express your enthusiasm for Cruz better, Mr. Cousins – JS]

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