New Years Eve is here. Andrea Tantaros aptly looks at politics and the economy for the year 2010.
JRH 12/31/10 (Hat Tip Newsmax)
Sarah Palin, Tea Party, China among 2010's winners, but Obama, taxpayers, Europe lose big time
Thursday, December 30th 2010, 4:00 AM
This year has been a tumultuous one, particularly when it comes to politics. The economic pain has continued and has seemingly awoken American voters, who voiced their frustrations at the polls in November. After about 365 days of ups and downs, here's who came out on top, and who didn't fare as well.
Tea Party: They were dismissed as phony as "astroturf" by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and "manufactured outrage" by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, while the ever-smug Anderson Cooper made crude "teabagging" jokes. But who's laughing now? The Tea Partiers are the political phenomenon of the outgoing year, responsible for tipping dozens of elections and giving voice to a significant portion of the population that feared its message of smaller government and fiscal responsibility would never be heard in Washington. Watch for Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky to become a champion of government responsibility and restraint.
Sarah Palin: When it comes to making money and kings, she's mastered the art of both. Many of her candidates (though, admittedly, not all) prevailed in the 2010 midterms: for example, Sen.-elect Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). Her fundraising ability packs a punch, and nobody can drive a media cycle better (next to President Obama) or more thoroughly drive our media crazy. Oh, and as her reality show proved, she knows what to do with a caribou.
Diversity Republicans: The era of the old, white GOPer was replaced with a fresh crop of new faces. From governors-elect Nikki Haley of South Carolina, who is Indian-American, and Susana Martinez of New Mexico, who is of Hispanic descent, to Florida's senator-elect Marco Rubio, the child of Cuban refugees, the Democrats saw their claim as the party of diversity slip away.
Big government: Record deficits and a vast new entitlement program in Obamacare have expanded federal power and increased the size and scope of an already out-of-control Washington. Politicians have been putting their hands in your wallets for decades; this year, they're even putting their hands down your pants in the name of security with the intrusive new Transportation Security Administration measures. Expect this category to be a loser in 2011 as backlash mounts.
Wall Street: Though many scoffed at the billions of dollars in bailout money that was funneled to big business, the Street is back in business and booming as it races toward two-year highs. Goldman Sachs, a recipient of federal largesse, and is now flush with cash again. And bigger bonuses, a favorite target of the left, mean bigger disposable incomes - a clear economic good.
China: The Chinese are emerging as global leaders, and their manufacturing might continues. China has become our nation's de facto credit card if you consider the amount we borrow from them to pay for things we don't need on both a national and personal level, from wasteful public projects to that new car.
President Obama: After promising to focus on the economy time and again, the commander-in-chief became distracted with healthcare as unemployment rose and his stimulus failed. Though he had a generally productive presidency in his first two years, the productivity wasn't where it was needed most, and his policies still aren't popular with much of the American populace.
Global warming: Though climategate started in late 2009, it continued into 2010. Much of the data global warming alarmists used to scare us has been disputed. Plus, if you're still digging out from Sunday's blizzard, it's a little hard to take their claims seriously.
Europe: From Greece to Ireland, the continent finally paid the price for its bad budgeting and bloated, socialist governments. Expect the in-fighting of Eurozone members to continue as countries like Portugal face their own fiscal troubles and Germany and France buckle at having to pony up.
Republican women with cash: They are some of the smartest and most accomplished women in the country, but for former corporate CEOs and multi-millionaires Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina and Linda McMahon, money couldn't buy them enough love from voters in their blue states (California for the first two, Connecticut for McMahon) to propel them to victory in November's elections.
Nancy Pelosi: Though she successfully put major points on the board for her party with the passage of Obama's key agenda items in the House- health care, cap and trade and financial reform - her caucus took a major beating in the midterms, which earned her a very public demotion.
British Petroleum: From failure to comply with industry regulations to a profound lack of crisis communication skills, BP showed the world that it is one of the most dysfunctional, unprepared organizations on the planet. Head dunce Tony Hayward is thankfully gone, but that's hardly a solution.
Taxpayers: Even though they escaped a tax increase in a last-minute compromise between Obama and Republicans in the lame duck Congress, there is still no permanence to the tax code, and we're still faced with footing the bill for our mounting debt, fees associated with Obamacare and the ever-present problem of government waste at all levels.
Political correctness: From a public outcry over the proposed mosque near Ground Zero to Juan Williams' admission that Muslims on planes make him "nervous," which got him unjustly fired from NPR, people weren't afraid to stand up and speak their minds - even if it earned them the ire of self-righteous liberals.
While we don't know what 2011 will bring, we can be sure there will be no shortage of political drama. But my best hope is that we, the people, regardless of our political affiliations or beliefs, will come out on top.
Andrea Tantaros, whose column appears on Thursdays on NYDailyNews.com and often in the print edition of the newspaper, is a political commentator as well as a corporate communications executive. She previously served as a senior advisor on a number of political campaigns and as communications director for former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, Congressman Thomas Reynolds, and on Capitol Hill as press secretary for Republican leadership. Tantaros lives in New York City.
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