Wednesday, November 08, 2006

How the Rolling Stone "10 Worst" fared

The day after the Democrats came back, I re-read Matt Taibbi's cover story in the Nov. 2 Rolling Stone, headlined "The Worst Congress Ever." It's full of eyebrow-scorching Mencken-style invective, for example the description of James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis., as "an ever-sweating, fat-fingered beast who wields his gavel in a way that makes you think he might have used one before in some other arena, perhaps to beat prostitutes to death."

Sensenbrenner was listed as one of the magazine's "10 Worst Congressmen," all but one of them Republicans. Before the election, my assumption was that all 10 would sail through the election unscathed, in spite of -- or because of -- Rolling Stone's dudgeon. But it didn't work out that way: Two were voted out of office, one was forced into a runoff, and four others, while re-elected by the loyalists back home, will lose their positions of national power, namely their chairmanships, to Democrats. Here's the Rolling Stone "10 Worst" list, with the nicknames the magazine assigned them and their fate in Tuesday's election.

  • Dennis "The Highway Robber" Hastert, R-Ill., re-elected with 60 percent of the vote but lost his position as speaker of the House.
  • James "The Dictator" Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis., re-elected with 62 percent of the vote but lost his chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee.
  • Don "Mr. Pork" Young, R-Alaska, re-elected with 57 percent of the vote but lost his chairmanship of the Transportation Committee.
  • William "The Bribe Taker" Jefferson, D-La., led a crowded field with 30 percent of the vote but now faces a Dec. 9 runoff with the No. 2 candidate, a fellow Democrat (more on that below).
  • Jerry "The King of Payoffs" Lewis, R-Calif., re-elected with 66 percent of the vote but lost his chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee.
  • Tom "Mr. Bigotry" Tancredo, R-Colo., re-elected with 59 percent of the vote.
  • Dick "Enemy of the Earth" Pombo, R-Calif., chair of the Resources Committee, lost with 47 percent of the vote to his Democratic challenger's 53 percent.
  • Curt "The Conspiracy Nut" Weldon, R-Pa., lost with 44 percent of the vote to his Democratic challenger's 56 percent.
  • Hal "Homeland Security Hog" Rogers, R-Ky., won with 74 percent of the vote -- the biggest winning margin on this list.
  • Marilyn "The Queen of Gay Bashing" Musgrave, R-Colo., won with 46 percent of the vote -- the smallest winning margin on this list. (Her Democratic opponent got 43 percent.)

    Jefferson was running against eight Democrats, three Republicans and a Libertarian. The three runner-up Democrats got 52 percent of the vote among them. Had all those rivals within his own party drawn straws, played rock-paper-scissors, etc., and put all their resources behind a single non-Jefferson Democrat, Jefferson would have lost this race outright, and Rolling Stone's batting average would be even higher.

    But as it stands, at least 20 percent of the magazine's list was ousted, and another 40 percent of the list was demoted -- which still looks pretty prescient, in hindsight. I'll be interested to read Rolling Stone's "10 Worst" list in 2006.

    (Thanks to Bob for pointing out my error in the original version of this post.)
  • 1 comment:

    Bob said...

    There's going to be a run-off for Jefferson: