Time Magazine can have its ebola doctors as "Person" (?) of The Year, and those on the McLaughlin Group can go with Vladimir Poutin and Pope Francis for all I care. My criteria would not allow me to pick the ebola doctors; I insist that the Person of the Year be a single breathing human being, one who exemplifies what happened in the past year.
On November 4, I decided on the first female elected to go to Washington D.C. from the state of Iowa, the woman who was on nobody's radar screen last winter but who, on the merits of one single commercial, stunned the political world and guaranteed Republicans would take control of the United States Senate. Most pundits predicted that Louisiana, Arkansas, Alaska, and North Carolina incumbents were in trouble, but the Republicans sweep only appeared to take firm fold when Joni Ernst played the role of hog castrator to perfection and took the lead over Bruce The Anti-Farmer Braley in the race to replace Iowa legend Tom Harkin. It was the Democrats seat to lose, but in fact, not only did Ernst win it, but she won it handily, by 8.5 percent (52.2%-43.7%) and by 95,213 votes (586,921-491,708). For comparison purposes, that's six times as many votes as Jeanne Shaheen won by in New Hampshire.
Since I rate the Republican sweep as story of the year, it's only fitting for person of the year to be the woman who exemplified that sweep, the woman who is about to go to Washington "to make 'em squeal". We can only hope she lives up to the billing; if so, she could be a rising star around for a long time, making us think "Sarah who?"
As always, I challenge Time's criteria. Rather than picking a single person, at least the magazine went with real people this year. Back in 1983, Time's "Person" (?) of the Year was the computer. Go figure. We do a dis-service to living breathing human being when we go with a consortium or a thing as "Person" of the Year.
Here are my choices for Person of the Year in recent years.
2013--NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden
2012--Chief Justice John Roberts
2011--Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
2010--Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (for winning the "Ted Kennedy" seat)
2009--Media star Glen Beck (before he really hit it big)
2008--President Barack Obama
2007--French President Nicolas Sarkozy
2006--Congressperson Carol Shea Porter
2005--Congressman John Murtha (for coming out early against the Iraq War)
I also choose an international person of the year and a New Hampshire person of the year.
Putin would certainly be near the top of my list, but for international person of the year I went with the woman who won re-election in a country more populous than Russia. With 220 million people, Brazil is the fifth most populated country in the world. After hosting the tumultuous World Cup in the summer, a competition Brazil was expected to win but then was stunned 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals, People's Party President Dilma Rousseff survived a two-tier re-election struggle by a 51.6-48.4 margin over Social Democrat Aexio Neves.
She also made news during the year when word leaked out that the American government was spying on her.
No one on McLaughlin seemed to mention Dilma Rousseff, but I've been watching her all year, and she edges out Putin as my international person of the year. Apparently winning re-election in a Latin American country is not all that unusual. The Economist of London reported that only three Latin American Presidents had lost re-election bids in the last 30 years.
Anger over the World Cup, if you can believe it, was supposed to hurt Rousseff's chances, but she was credited with leading this huge country with a low unemployment rate, rising wages, and falling inequality. She won most of the poorer areas in the North and Northeast of Brazil while Neves won by a 64-36 margin in the heavily populated Saa Paulo area.
For my New Hampshire Person of the Year, I leave the world of elective politics behind. When you come to think of it really, businessman Arthur T. DeMoulas is the only logical choice for this honor. Who would have predicted how the Market Basket employees would stand by him for the long weeks for control of the company with the other Arthur DeMoulas. For a David vs. Goliath story, nothing beat this one and Artie T. deserves more than any politician to be New Hampshire Person of the Year.
I also pick a sports person of the year, but I think I'll include that with the list of three dozen other items to recap the fast fading year of 2014...coming soon.