20) The Death Of Air America: For years, the Left has been insisting that liberal radio is popular, but is being held off the air by politically biased corporations. So, Air America was born in an orgy of spending and publicity that was every bit as glorious as the network’s slow, agonizing death in 2010 was ignominious.
19) Scott Brown Takes Ted Kennedy’s Seat: When the “Liberal Lion” of the Senate shuffled off this mortal coil, it seemed almost unconceivable that a Republican would take his place. Yet, not only did Scott Brown win — in MASSACHUSETTS — his campaign largely revolved around opposing Kennedy’s signature issue: health care reform.
18) The Citizens United Case: What started as a fight over the airing of a negative film about Hillary Clinton, turned into Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, and it finished with a hole being blown in the unconstitutional McCain–Feingold Act. From there, the Democrats complained incessantly, more money poured in to the GOP, and life got a little better for people who care about the Constitution.
17) The Obama/Republican Tax Deal: Most people have talked about the Bush Tax cuts being extended for two years, but that’s not the big story. The estate tax just went up from 0 to 35%, Social Security taxes were cut the very year the program first went in the red, and Moody’s says the deal could cost the U.S. its AAA credit rating.
16) Republicans commit to defunding Obamacare if they take the House: The GOP’s leadership publicly pledged to cut off funding for Obamacare if they took control of the House. Guess what? They took control of the House. Ready? Set? Cut funding!
15) The Rise of the Mama Grizzlies: Sarah Palin did more to promote women candidates than anyone has ever done before, Smart Girl Politics started to make a name for themselves, women candidates like Renee Ellmers and Nikki Haley drew national attention, and the GOP carried the female vote for the first time since 1982.
14) Stuxnet: It was a revolutionary development — an unbelievably sophisticated worm that was used as a cyber weapon to slow down the Iranian nuclear programs. The good is that it appears to have worked. The bad news is that Stuxnet is being torn apart and examined as we speak and it will probably end up being the prototype of a new generation of incredibly damaging cyber weapons.
13) The End of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: The Clinton era compromise that allowed gays to be in the military as long as they didn’t reveal their sexual orientation, fell during the lame duck session of Congress. This was despite that the troops fighting in the field didn’t like the idea. Unfortunately for the soldiers who’ll have to live with the decision day-to-day, the American people did like the idea, and the politicians caved to their will.
12) Haitian Earthquake: It seems like there’s always something or another horrible going on in Haiti, but the powerful earthquake that hit Haiti in January of this year killed a staggering 230,000 people. That sort of horror stands out even in a snake-bitten nation like Haiti.
11) The Tea Party Soldiers On: The Tea Party has become so influential and ever present in politics that it’s easy to forget it really only got started last year. Yet, the Tea Party played a huge role in getting Republicans elected, powerfully steered their agenda, and is scaring the GOP straight on the issues. Now the question is: Where does the movement go from here?
10) The End Of Combat Operations In Iraq: Not only did Barack Obama not want to go to Iraq, had George Bush taken his advice about the surge, the war would have been lost. Perhaps that’s why Obama hasn’t done more to trumpet the end of combat operations in Iraq. Of course, we still have 48,000 soldiers in Iraq and the ultimate success or failure of the endeavor is unknown. That being said, the end of combat operations is a major achievement.
9) Social Security Goes Into The Red: For the first time, Social Security is paying out more money than it’s taking in. Given that there is no “Social Security Trust Fund” in any meaningful sense, only IOUs for the money our politicians have already spent, 2010 may be looked at in the future as the year when the program started to shake itself apart.
8) The Ground Zero Mosque controversy: What better place could there be to build a celebratory mosque than in the shadow of a building that was knocked down by Islamic fanatics in the worst terrorist attack in history? Oh yeah, ANYWHERE.
7) Arizona Immigration law: Not only does our federal government refuse to enforce our immigration laws, it actually sued and demonized Arizona for merely passing a state law designed to do what the Feds won’t. This was followed up with court cases, boycotts, and a systematic misinformation campaign, none of which have made Arizona back off. To the contrary, 20+ other states have been inspired by Arizona’s example and are considering similar laws.
6) TSA’s strip and grope: In one of the more bizarre decisions in recent memory, the Obama administration has decided to give travelers the choice between being viewed naked or groped by TSA goons whose excuse for their inexcusable behavior is that, “We’re just following orders.” This demeaning and intolerable situation, which is undoubtedly a violation of our 4th Amendment rights and does nothing whatsoever to prevent terrorist attacks, lead to the most memorable quote of the year, “If you touch my junk, I’m going to have you arrested.”
5) BP Oil Spill: Obama got to experience his own oily Katrina with the BP oil spill and the results were disastrous. The administration’s bungling made the situation much worse, Obama’s approval rating took a hit, and the controversy over offshore drilling is still continuing. On the upside, the environmental damage appears to be much less significant than people expected.
4) Wikileaks: The only thing more surprising than finding out that there are relatively unaccomplished 23-year-olds with access to massive amounts of downloadable classified data from multiple government departments — is seeing that information posted live on the web by an organization that’s an enemy of the United States — with no significant response from the Obama administration. How long it will take to rebuild trust with foreign governments, intelligence agents, and informants is anyone’s guess.
3) The Election Day 2010 Shellacking: We saw the biggest political earthquake at the polls this year since the 1940s. The GOP added 63 seats in the House, 6 in the Senate, along with 6 governorships and 780 seats at the state legislature level. Barack Obama promised to unite the country when he was campaigning. He did, but it was against the Democratic Party.
2) Greece’s Crash: The financial crisis in Greece marked the beginning of what will likely be a turning point for Western democracies. Whether it will be merely a temporary downturn on a long-term plunge is unknown, but decades of financial turmoil appear to now be in the cards. How many more European nations will be affected? Can the Euro survive? Will the debt crisis, that began with Greece, lead to worldwide economic disaster? Will the world’s most powerful economy, the United States, manage to escape Greece’s fate? The answers to those questions may very well be one of the biggest factors shaping world history over the next 50 years.
1) Passage of Obamacare: The Democrats have been trying to pass government run healthcare for decades and finally, they’ve done it. The price for that “victory” was one of the biggest rebukes at the polls that the American people have ever issued. Moreover, since much of the incredibly unpopular program doesn’t take effect until 2014, it’s guaranteed to be a big issue in 2012 and the GOP will be working overtime to make sure it’s never fully implemented. How will it play out? We don’t know for sure, but the fate of the best health care system in the world is dependent on stopping this monstrosity from ever being implemented.