Let’s close out the year with a recap of the most eye-rolling comments and goofs Republicans churned out in 2012, in no particular order:
1. Paul Ryan Jokes As Police Subjugate Elderly Constituent For Speaking
Missing the point of a town hall, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) charged $15 per plate at a constituent luncheon at which four different people were arrested for objecting to proposed Medicare and Social Security cuts and the lack of job creation. One of the people arrested was a 71-year-old man who police forced to the ground after he shouted at Ryan that he paid into Medicare and Social Security for 50 years.
Fun fact: Not very popular with the older crowd, former GOP V.P. hopeful Paul Ryan also was booed at an AARP event this year.
2. Republican House Votes Down Bill Giving Jobs To U.S. Veterans
If jobs for vets is Obama’s idea, it’s sure to fail – even if the people who served our country are suffering from high unemployment and homeless rates. How mature.
Senate Republicans killed the bi-partisan bill in September by making an objection which would have required a three-fifths majority to override. If passed, the Veterans Job Corps Act would have chipped away at the 13.1% unemployment rate among post-Sept. 11 military veterans by putting them to work in National Parks and on historic preservation projects.
3. Ohio Secretary of State Defies Court Order To Reinstate Early Voting
Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State, Jon Husted, really went at vote suppression with unchecked vengeance. Not only did he work to restrict early voting hours in Democratic-leaning counties, he also decided to ignore a court ruling requiring him to reinstate the early voting he had canceled on the three days leading up to the Nov 6 election.
In addition, U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley said Husted’s directive altering the counting of provisional ballots four days before the election was “a flagrant violation of a state elections law.” Husted continues to hold his office.
4. Conservative Conspiracy Theorists Claim BLS ‘Cooked’ Sept. Job Numbers
When it was announced that the unemployment rate had dropped to 7.8 percent in September, several conservatives, including former GE CEO Jack Welch, Congressman Allen West, and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, accused the Bureau of Labor Statistics of manipulating the figures to benefit President Obama.
Betsey Stevenson, the former chief economist in the Labor Department, tweeted in response: “Anyone who thinks that political folks can manipulate the unemployment data are completely ignorant about how BLS works and how data are compiled.”
5. The Unending Saga of Rep. Allen West’s Defeat
Tea-Party congressman Allen West (R-FL) gets his own spot on the list for the prolonged and incredibly child-like tantrum he threw after losing his U.S. House seat to challenger Patrick Murphy. He demanded a recount, discovered that he had lost by even a wider margin than previously thought, and still refused to concede.
Later, without any proof or details, West called Murphy a cheater, saying: “I’m not going away just because of a congressional race where he seems to have to cheat to beat me.”
6. Corporate America Tries To Steal the Election – And Fails
About a dozen CEOs of large and profitable American companies threatened employees with firings if they voted for President Obama, or otherwise used their influence to sway employees’ votes. GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney was even caught on tape asking CEOs to pressure their employees to vote for him.
Billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife ultimately spent $100 million to help Romney prevail. What a magnificent failure.
7. Karl Rove Regresses Even Further, Refusing To Concede On Election Night
Karl Rove, who was deputy chief of staff under George W. Bush and led the pro-Romney SuperPAC American Crossroads, was banking too heavily on a Romney win – and just couldn’t wrap his head around the defeat, embarrassing himself live on air.
Fox host Megyn Kelly famously asked Rove about his refusal to concede Ohio and the election: “Is this just math you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better?”
Fun fact: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner both rejected newly re-elected President Obama’s calls on election night, saying they were “sleeping.”
8. “Legitimate Rape”
Need I say more? Former Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) executed one of the most epic GOP fails of all time when he claimed that women can’t get pregnant when they are the victims of “legitimate rape.” Akin was then nicely trounced in his run for U.S. Senate by Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who beat him by a 15.5 point margin.
Other highlights of the war on women included a mostly male panel hearing all-male witnesses testify about birth control, a California judge getting a slap on the wrist for saying that women haven’t really been raped if they haven’t suffered severe bodily injuries, and the U.S. military’s serious rape problem – estimated at as much as 20,000 sexual assaults per year.
9. Saying Gay Marriage or Abortion Caused the Newtown Massacre
Some Republicans came up with asinine-beyond-words theories for the cause of the Newtown massacre of 20 children and 6 caretakers. Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, as well as James Dobson, the founder of the conservative Christian group, Focus on the Family, indicated that the slaying was the result of gay marriage and/or abortion. Let’s not even get into Westboro Baptist Church’s announcement that they would protest the funerals.
Not quite as stupid (but almost) is the right-wing/NRA idea that arming teachers would somehow prevent heavily armed gunmen from carrying out mass shootings.
10. Boehner Shamed Into Pulling ‘Plan B’ From House Floor
Figuring he could back President Obama into a negotiation corner by passing a “fiscal cliff” solution to only raise income taxes on those earning $1 million annually, House Speaker John Boehner tried to pull a fast one on the House floor. (Obama had wanted to return to pre-Bush-era tax rates on incomes $200,000 and up for individuals – a figure he later revised upwards to $400,000 in negotiations, but has withdrawn since Boehner’s “Plan B” failed.)
Boehner not only over-reached with Obama, he couldn’t even get his plan approved by his rowdy caucus. He quickly realized Tea Partiers weren’t going to budge an inch to save the national economy if it meant a slight income tax increase on millionaires. He had to pull his “Plan B” from the floor, signaling that he was still powerless in the face of Tea Party tax absolutism, even after the beating Republicans took in the election.
11. Mississippi State Rep. Says Gays Should Be Put To Death
Can you believe this is an elected representative? After quoting Bible passages on his Facebook page indicating that he supported the murder of gay people, Republican State Rep. Andy Gipson of Mississippi continued to defend his bigoted and ultra-violent position even after the hell-fire started.
12. ‘47 Percent Are Victims’
In what is perhaps the biggest electoral fail of all time, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney was caught on tape at a private donor event referring to nearly half of Americans as “dependent victims” – a faux pas that likely swung public sentiment against him and cost him the election.
Closely following the “47 percent” comment in level of political disaster was Romney’s “Hail Mary” election strategy to lie about Jeep sending American jobs to China, and then doubling-down on the lie even after Jeep publicly called out his comments as false.
I am sure I missed some gems. Add your favorite 2012 GOP fumble below.