"Thanks for the memories," as the old song goes. As 2011 winds down to its final hours, let's have some fun with a few year-end awards, both serious and not-so-serious. Here are my nominees—please let me know yours if you disagree:
Best Performance in a Drama: Street protestors throughout North Africa and the Middle East during the Arab Spring. Who can forget that scene when the men riding camels and wielding clubs raced into the crowds in Cairo's Tahrir Square? So many brave souls have lost their lives in so many countries, and it's not over yet.
Honorable mentions: Navy Seal Team 6 for the death of Osama bin Laden; hometown neighbors rescuing each other after the Joplin tornado; Rep. Gabby Giffords returning to the House floor to vote to raise the debt ceiling; rescue workers in the Japanese earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown.
Lifetime Achievement Awards
: Both posthumous, to former first lady Betty Ford and former Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, for redefining the role of women in politics with grace and courage.
Book of the Year: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I'm about halfway through it and as Jobs would have said, "The journey is the reward." An "insanely great" read.
Best Performance in a Comedy: Jeopardy host Alex Trebek describing how he chased a burglar down a hotel hallway, but only after putting his underwear on first. Too much information, but just too funny.
Honorable mentions: Wendy Murdoch diving to catch the pie flying at her husband; the viral video of the guy in the coonskin cap who witnessed the police chase and compared it to "Dale Jr."
Worst Performance in a Political Role: The Occupy Movement. They started out making a serious political point, but soon fell into disorganization and mixed messages. Now most folks think they're a bunch of hoodlums camping out. That's when they're actually in their tents.
Honorable mentions: Gov. Rick Perry forgetting which agencies he'd abolish and the name of the Supreme Court justice he likes; Herman Cain responding to accusations of sexual harassment and a long-time affair; Donald Trump resurrecting the birther issue; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich calling Paul Ryan's plan "right-wing social engineering" and threatening to subpoena federal judges he doesn't like; former Rep. Anthony Weiner denying he'd tweeted lewd photos of himself; President Obama comparing himself to FDR et al; Democratic ads showing Grandma being wheeled off the cliff and babies being poisoned during the budget fight ... let's just stop now because there are too many nominees.
Best Performance in a Political Role: Rep. Paul Ryan and his "Path to Prosperity" budget, which was the only plan in town to rein in government spending, reform entitlements, and retool the tax code. It was passed in the House and was only defeated by 17 votes in the Senate, which is more than the president can say about his budget, which didn't win a single vote there. Ryan advances the case for fiscal responsibility but does it without scaring voters or dividing Americans. He's the Happy Warrior.
Quote of the Year: "On the surface it looks like a Satan sandwich" —Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver on the debt deal. Summed up the left's approach nicely.
Best TV Moment of the Year: Prince William giving Kate Middleton an unprecedented second kiss on the balcony after the royal wedding, in response to the crowd chanting "one more kiss!" In a year of men behaving badly, hope springs eternal.
Thanks for a great 2011. I'm looking forward to joining you for a fun election year here on Thomas Jefferson Street!