Our team here at The Daily Banter has spent the last few days pondering the events of the year and have put together the definitive guide to the highs and lows of what was supposed to be the last 12 months of human existence. There were some amazing moments in 2012, and some not so amazing moments. Some were inspiring, others annoying, and there were the big events that took the country by surprise. All in all, it was a good year, because, well, most of us are still here.
There are 10 categories we deemed appropriate to judge the year by, ranging from the biggest winner to the most annoying. We value independence here at The Daily Banter, so we all gave individual responses to each category (although we all agreed Sandy Hook was the worst moment and had broad agreement that the Republicans didn't have a great year). Here are 'The Daily Banter's 2012 Awards'!:
1. Biggest winner
Ben: The American public. They avoided a Mitt Romney Presidency.
Bob: The American Healthcare System. The Supreme Court and Chief Justice John Roberts upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. In spite of the fact that most old people inexplicably voted for Mitt Romney, the Affordable Care Act saved 5.2 million seniors around $4 billion in prescription drug savings, and an additional $687 million they would’ve otherwise paid in the Medicare Part-D “donut hole.” Meanwhile, vast numbers of Americans began to receive medical coverage without deductibles or co-insurance, such as preventative care and contraceptive care.
Evan: The athletes at London 2012. Something worked there, and it worked well, and it was a nice sight to see, NBC's inability to properly talk about the rest of the world be danged. (And let's not even talk about their howlingly transparent interstitial 'Moment'-mongering.)
Chez: Barack Obama. Yes, it's obvious but it's also true. Not only did he beat Romney like a bad dog, he secured a hell of a lot of progressive political capital and proved that the face of America truly is changing, which means that the politics of America are likely changing as well.
2. Biggest loser
Evan: A surprising dearth of "FROYOLO" jokes.
Ben: Karl Rove. Rove managed to lose all his credibility on election night by a) getting his prediction completely wrong b) wasting hundreds of millions of his rich friend's money and b) having a meltdown on live TV when the Ohio results came in.
Bob: Tie goes to Mitt Romney and the Republican Party. Not since the post-New Deal era has the Republican Party been in greater disarray. And Mitt Romney’s candidacy represented all of the reasons why. But perhaps the most satisfying thing to observe was the surge of Republican hope following the first debate and the subsequent crushing of that hope on Election Day.
Chez: The GOP and the modern conservative mindset. Also obvious but there's just no way around it. The Republicans got spanked in a way that crushed not just the party but their entire worldview and the result is that they're now essentially rudderless. They're trying desperately to hold on to power via a fading demographic -- resentful, aging white men -- and it's simply not working. They're staring down political extinction and it's scaring the hell out of them.
3. Worst moment
Chez: No doubt -- the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. The worst moment of this or any other year.
Ben: The massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown. Awful beyond words.
Evan: Agreed with Ben, Chez and Bob. Sandy Hook.
Bob: Definitely Sandy Hook, along with all of the other firearm massacres including Aurora.
4. Biggest disappointment
Ben: The 2012 election. The mind numbing process, another dog and pony show financed by millionaires, saw perhaps the weakest Presidential candidate in history get close to the White House solely by virtue of how much money he had and how vigorously he campaigned on the behalf of millionaires.
Bob: Joe Biden mentioning that 2012 might not be his last campaign. There were so many disappointing moments, but when Biden hinted that he might run for president in 2016, I experienced a sudden falling sensation at the notion of watching Biden utterly disintegrate in four years thus paving the way for President Chris Christie.
Evan: Weirdly insider-y political stories that break late at night on twitter that you know are going to be A1 stories tomorrow and completely and thoroughly gone from our minds the day after that.
5. Most surprising moment
Bob: Greg Gutfeld cockblocking Eric Bolling’s wild conspiracy theory about the Benghazi consulate attack. When a bullshitter like Gutfeld calls bullshit on an even bigger bullshitter – on Fox News no less – it’s always a shocker.
Ben: Joe Scarborough's announcement that he was changing his position on gun control in light of the Sandy Hook massacre.
Evan: Learning that there's a food truck in DC that only sells milk and cookies.
Chez: I have to go with Ben on this one: Joe Scarborough's impassioned monologue in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting. It was a change of heart that had the potential to resonate across a wide political spectrum and if there was one reaction to the shooting that really did make it clear that it was different this time and that something had to change, this was it.
6. Best moment
Evan: Watching Clinton riff at the DNC.
Chez: The wheels coming off of the entire Fox News operation the night of the presidential election. Rove arguing with the results. A bitter, crestfallen O'Reilly blaming welfare queens. Megyn Kelly having to walk back to the nerds to demand answers. The knowledge that Mitt Romney's campaign and the entire conservative movement had put absolute faith in the epistemic bubble Fox generated. It was as glorious as it was weird.
Ben: Karl Rove's meltdown on Fox News live on election night (see above).
Bob: Chris Christie repeatedly praising President Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy.
7. Most annoying
Bob: “Double down” and “teachable moment.” I’m going with political catchphrases on this one because they’re so overused and clichéd, they must be destroyed. Please stop it, people.
Ben: Megan McArdle. Week after week after week, Megan McArdle churns out meaningless drivel disguised as 'business reporting' for The Daily Beast. She really outdid herself after penning the most thoughtless piece of garbage imaginable after the massacre at Sandy Hook arguing there is nothing to be done about America's gun violence other than train kids to run at gun men.
Chez: Twitter. I was going to say political coverage, but really that folds nicely into Twitter. I hated the fucking thing to begin with but once it became an engine for turning every little perceived offense into a vast public outcry for justice or revenge or whatever, I just wanted it to go away and never come back.
Evan: Tim Parks. He repeatedly argues against literature in the pages of the New York Review of Books -- against the Nobel Prize, plot, literature's global reach, the fact that authors have facebook pages, the need to finish reading a book -- and while one can appreciate frustration and avant-garde daring, it's another thing entirely to whine about the hand that feeds you in a manner about as deft as a brick wall trying to dunk.
8. Biggest comeback
Ben: Mitt Romney after the first debate with President Obama. He went from being a national joke to a serious challenger in the space of about 90 minutes. He couldn't sustain it, but the polling numbers were nothing short of miraculous.
Chez: The Miami Heat. Thank God. The first season with LeBron wasn't exactly stellar. The second was what fans had been promised.
Evan: The Transit of Venus. (If by 'comeback,' you mean, 'Came back after a 243 year wait.')
Bob: Rick Santorum. He lost his Senate seat in 2006 by huge margins after repeatedly embarrassing himself. And this year, he was the bottom tier crazy candidate and, instead, actually managed to be the last frontrunner standing with the potential to overtake the eventual Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
9. Most pathetic
Chez: Wayne LaPierre. I'm not even going to slam the NRA in general because I'm not willing to believe that most of the group's millions of members are insane. LaPierre, though, is a joke -- and watching him scramble like a crazy old man to blame every single thing for Sandy Hook other than the actual weapons that killed 26 people was both infuriating and oddly satisfying.
Ben: The NRA. After perhaps the worst gun tragedy in US history, the NRA held a press conference and argued the solution to the extraordinary number of gun deaths in America was to have armed guards in high schools.
Evan: Donald Trump. Unending racist trolling and the bullying of Scottish residents to build a golf course does not a good man make. I'd be hesitant to even call him a 'man.'
Bob: Mitt Romney Pumping Gas.
10. Most promising
Ben: The potential for serious gun control reform. After the horrors of Newtown, something serious may actually pass in the new year.
Chez:The possibility that America, despite her belief in freedom of speech and expression, may be rising up with one voice and demanding that the Westboro Baptist Church be labeled a hate group. Also, the fact that religious affiliation in general is down. Oh -- and Star Trek Into Darkness. That's gonna rule.
Evan: Where to start?
Bob: Barring a fiscal cliff recession, the economy will significantly improve over the next 12 months on its way to an era of prosperity throughout the rest of the president’s second term – at long last.