To give you a chance to come up with your own ideas, I posted 32 year in review categories here a few weeks ago.
It’s time to reveal my choices. They will be discussed in a bit more detail on this week’s edition of More Politically Alert (which airs on manchestertv23 Wednesday and Thursday at 9 p.m., Sunday at noon, Tuesday at 11 p.m. and is always available at vimeo.com). I’ll be joined by Hopkinton Democrat Denis Goddard, Canterbury Republican Rep Seth Cohn, and nhinsider blogger Rick Olson.
Six months ago, I decided that if no one else came forward, I’d go with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for Person of the Year. So it is. I imagine I’ll be alone among pundits in this choice. Angela Merkel scored well with McLaughlin group regulars, but I have a separate category for international person of the year, and she won there.
Everyone obviously has his or her own criteria for Person of the Year. I don’t buy the Time Magazine approach that it can be something like a computer or…surprise, surprise (not!)… a protestor this year. To me, that’s the ultimate cop out. I always opt for one living breathing human being, and I try to base it on the one person who symbolizes what has been happening the past year.
That’s why I had no trouble picking Massachusetts’ Senator Scott Brown in 2010. When he won that special election early in the year, it set the tone for what was to come.
In 2009, I went with Glen Beck, a year before he reached full prominence on the national scene.
Obama was an easy pick for 2008 (the obvious should never be overlooked in favor of some obscurity).
French President Sarkozy was my 2007 choice.
For 2006, I felt Carol Shea Porter symbolized the year of Republican losses, and in 2005, I went with Congressman John Murta who had just come out against the Iraq War.
My Person of the Year need not be someone I like—certainly Hitler would have been the choice in 1939, but rather someone who best sums up the year.
Thus, here are the 32 decisions, many split into national and local choices, for 2011. I took the easy way out (a tie) only once, and that was because I literally couldn’t put The President and The Assassin down all Christmas day.
1—Person of the Year—Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who brought labor issues to the fore and now faces a recall petition.
2—International Person of the Year—German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her attempts to bail out Greece and save the Euro.
3—New Hampshire Person of the Year—Secretary of State William Gardner for once against fighting off attacks against our first in the nation primary.
4—Sportsperson of the Year—Novak Djokovic. Until Labor Day, my choice was Bruins’ goalie Tim Thomas, but let’s be honest. No one has ever had a more brilliant year than Djokovic, capped by sensational semifinal and finals win at the U.S. Open.
5—Biggest Winner—Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper. After holding power through two minority governments, he led the Conservatives to an absolute majority sweeping the country (except Quebec which ousted the separatist Bloc in favor of the super liberal NDP).
6—Biggest Winner Locally—Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas. With 72 percent of the vote, he vaulted over a high bar of expectations.
7—Biggest Loser —Former New Jersey Governor/Senator John Corzine. Go to jail, creep!
8—Biggest Loser Locally—Outgoing Manchester Alderman-At-Large Mike Lopez. Losing to JKL was virtually unthinkable.
9—Best Non-Fiction Book—TIE--In The Garden of Beasts (Love, Terror, and An American Family in Hitler’s Berlin) by Erik Larson.
The President and the Assassin (McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century) by Scott Miller.
10—Best Work of Fiction—Flash and Bones and Spider Bones, both by Kathy Reichs.
11—Story of The Year Nationally—Congress Fiddles And Diddles As Debt Reaches $15 trillion.
12—New Hampshire Story of the Year—Lynch Won’t Run Again.
13—Most Over-Reported Story—Tracy Anthony Didn’t Kill Her Baby (did she?).
14—Most Under-Reported Story—Afghanistan War Continues—More American Lives Sacrificed and Untold Billions Wasted.
15—Winning Media Personality—John Stossel, Fox Business and Fox News, a true Libertarian if ever there were one.
16—Losing Media Personality (can it always be McQuaid?)—Nancy Grace, the Graceless One from Headline News.
17—Up And Comer Nationally—Congressman Paul Ryan.
18—Up And Comer Locally—Epsom State Representative Dan McGuire, on both Finance and Fiscal Committee in his first term and co-chair of the House Republican Alliance.
19—Down And Outer Nationally—Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
20—Down And Outer Locally—Former NH House Speaker Terri Norelli.
21—Biggest Outrage Nationally—Solyndra Scandal—Crony Capitalism Run Amok.
22—Biggest Outrange Locally—Speaker Bill O’Brien’s quick gavel on SB198. In violation of all House rules and tradition, Speaker O’Brien not merely denied a duly requested parliamentary inquiry, but he declared victory for the ayes before the nays were even heard. Don’t take my word for it. Listen to the steaming audio feed. It was absolutely outrageous, worse than anything Speaker Norelli ever tried to pull!
23—Happiest Moment For Me Nationally—Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repealed.
24—Happiest Moment For Me Locally—No More Tax Dollars For Channel 11. Boo hoo!
25—Funniest Something Nationally—Herman Cain’s head spinning as he tried to answer the Libya question. I still laugh at that, long after Anthony Wiener’s wiener and Harry Reid’s begonias have become passé.
26—Funniest Something Locally—I give up. There’s no sense of humor in these hallowed halls of Concord this year…help me out here. Something must have been worth a laugh. How about when His Vileness, Hudson Rep Shawn Jasper charged that I was speaking too loudly, so I whispered into the microphone. Mildly amusing, I suppose.
27—Smack Down of the Year Nationally —DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz vs. Republican African American Florida Congressman Alan West.
28—Smack Down of the Year Locally—House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt vs. The Bishop (pedophile pimp comment).
29—Biggest Surprise Nationally—No More Trips Into Space.
30—Biggest Surprise Locally –Photo ID For Voting Fails To Become Law, but we should have known. Whatever Bill Gardner doesn’t want, New Hampshire doesn’t get.
31—The Just Go Away Award (someone you’d like to never see or hear from again)—Donald Trump. Fat chance of him ever going away, but I’ll resort to Plan B. Just turn the channel whenever he surfaces (a good reason to avoid Greta the Stammerer).
32—We Wanna See More Award (someone you want to hear more from)—Presidential candidate Gary Johnson.