Worst American: Palin or Trump?

A respected liberal blogger thinks Sarah Palin and Donald Trump are the most appalling Americans of our time.

Mike Tomasky has come up with a list of contenders  for “the most appalling American” of the last three years.  For some reason, his consideration was “limited to people involved in politics, which excludes not only murderers and such like but also Bernie Madoff and the heads of all those banks who helped ruin the country.” It’s his list, so why not?

And the winners are:

1. Certain former half-term governor
2. Donald Trump (with a bullet!)
3. Michele Bachmann
4. Andrew Breitbart
5. Karl Rove

Now, I’m probably about as right-of-center as he is left-of-center, which is to say moderately so.  Moderately enough that I’m not a fan of anyone on the list except perhaps Rove, who it strikes me was brilliant at his job–which was not public policymaking.

OTB has produced enough anti-Palin posts over the last few years to support a spin-off blog and a mock Twitter account or two.  And “Trump is a clown” posts are proliferating at a rate to catch up. Bachmann is too regional a figure to generate more than some mild head-shaking. And Breitbart is a good sensationalist who’s gotten a lot of attention from some deceptive meme generation, which we’ve called out once or thrice.

But, while Palin, Trump, and Bachmann play populist nitwits on TV, I’m not so sure I’d go so far as to call them “appalling,” much less place them atop such a list.

How about, for example, Terry Jones and Fred Phelps? They’re certainly at least as “involved in politics” as Breitbart. And they’re genuinely horrendous people advocating actually bad things with significant consequence.

And, frankly, there are much better arguments to be made against actually powerful politicians from the era–Presidents Bush and Obama, most notably–as having done more “appalling” things than any on the list. They got us into wars, supported illegal treatment of political prisoners, contributed to the bankrupting of the country, and made lots of other actually important policy decisions. Palin and Trump yap on TV.

 

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. jwest says:

    Tomasky has the same reverence for fact-based analysis as some other bloggers I tend to read. He certainly is someone website authors should strive to emulate.

  2. pylon says:

    How about, for example, Terry Jones and Fred Phelps? They’re certainly at least as “involved in politics” as Breitbart. And they’re genuinely horrendous people advocating actually bad things with significant consequence

    I posit that the people in the list did so as well. Moreso than your two examples, especially Phelps.

  3. ponce says:

    I nominate the NFL owners.

  4. Janis Gore says:

    Gee. I was satisfied with “short-fingered vulgarian” for Mr. Trump.

  5. SandSlapper says:

    So the worst american is not a rapist, not a murderer or a murder bugler but instead its a goofy political figure that you dont happen to agree with. Glad we got it sorted out.

  6. G.A.Phillips says:

    I would say Obama, but im still not sure he is one, lolzzzzzzzzz

    The cast of Glee? Lady Googoo?

  7. John Malkovich says:

    I guess Alex needs to copy James on his open letters now…

    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/an-open-letter-to-my-colleague-doug-mataconis/

  8. Axel Edgren says:

    Paul Ryan is far more dangerous and disgusting.

  9. Derrick says:

    So the worst american is not a rapist, not a murderer or a murder bugler but instead its a goofy political figure that you dont happen to agree with. Glad we got it sorted out.

    You should just admit that you read nothing but the headline and decided to comment

  10. Great, another person who conflates people who make him uncomfortable with them being evil.

  11. ml says:

    Palin and Trump will not get the nominee in 2012. We are looking for a candidate that have a experience and know about the leadership. Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota might be a good pick on the 2012 Republican Party ticket.

  12. Southern Hoosier says:

    If liberals take the time to dump on them, then they must be doing something right.

  13. Wiley Stoner says:

    Face it, Palin scares the poop out of liberals. She would reverse, remove and correct all the damage they have cursed this nation with. She speaks plainly in language that leaves no doubt about what she has to say. Her head does not toss from side to side when delivering a speech as she does not need a teleprompter to guide her. Most of the people here are so unused to hearing truth at the level Palin delivers it that is frightens them like little girls.

  14. Tlaloc says:

    But, while Palin, Trump, and Bachmann play populist nitwits on TV, I’m not so sure I’d go so far as to call them “appalling,” much less place them atop such a list.

    I’d put Bachmann as approaching appalling but yeah mostly I agree that these are clowns, not monsters.

  15. Wiley Stoner says:

    You made a statement that Palin plays the part of a populist nitwit. Could you give an example by making an arguement with some policy she backs rather than an attack on her based upon the lies of the MSM?

  16. Southern Hoosier says:

    Worst American: Palin or Trump?

    I vote for Comrade Obama

  17. Wiley Stoner says:

    Can’t answer James or maybe you are far more liberal than you will admit. Liberalism is a brain disorder.

  18. mantis says:

    What a dumb question and list. Of course, it’s stupidity has been topped by some of the commenters here, but still…

  19. Southern Hoosier says:

    Maybe Comrade Obama should attend Dr. James David Manning church.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuEc-nFULY8

  20. G.A.Phillips says:

    Axel Edgren?Tlaloc?

  21. jwest says:

    Mantis,

    “What a dumb question and list.”

    Aren’t you being a bit hard on Tamasky? He has obviously put the same amount of deep thought into his article as James does when he writes about Palin. Give the man a little credit.

  22. mantis says:

    Southern Hoosier,

    Do you just spam every thread with the same crap you find on the internet? I’ve seen your link, which I won’t bother to follow, on three different unrelated threads. You know you can just write a bot to spam sites to save yourself time.

  23. G.A.Phillips says:

    Maybe Comrade Obama should attend Dr. James David Manning church.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuEc-nFULY8

    Wow, that’s heavy…..

  24. G.A.Phillips says:

    Face it, Palin scares the poop out of liberals

    And rino’s lol….

  25. An Interested Party says:

    Where is Smooth Jazz when you need him? I mean, for the entertainment value alone…

  26. John425 says:

    “respected liberal blogger”–an oxymoron if there ever was one, Mr Joyner.

  27. sam says:

    @WileyZels

    “You made a statement that Palin plays the part of a populist nitwit.”

    I gotta stick up for Zels, GA, jwest, et al. Nitwits deserve a voice, too, you know.

  28. Pete says:

    Where are Olby, Reverend Wright, and John Edwards on the list? Hell, even Beck didn’t make it.

  29. Southern Hoosier says:

    mantis says:
    Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 17:24

    Southern Hoosier,

    Do you just spam every thread with the same crap you find on the internet? I’ve seen your link, which I won’t bother to follow, on three different unrelated threads. You know you can just write a bot to spam sites to save yourself time.

    Posted here by mistake. As I’ve admitted before I do make mistakes. Which no one else seems to do.

  30. ponce says:

    “Nitwits deserve a voice, too, you know.”

    Even if it’s a screechy, nails-on-the-chalkboard voice?

    Nobody deserves that.

  31. Southern Hoosier says:

    mantis says:
    Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 17:24

    Southern Hoosier,

    Do you just spam every thread with the same crap you find on the internet? I’ve seen your link, which I won’t bother to follow, on three different unrelated threads. You know you can just write a bot to spam sites to save yourself time.

    Let me guess, everything you post is original, right? In,say, all the birther posts, you have never said the same thing twice. I’ll bet you do a very good job of memorizing every post I ever made, right? Sorry, I don’t pay that close of attention to what you post.

  32. Franklin says:

    I’d actually pick none of the above including those in the comments, given his criteria. Someone with actual, not made-up, scandals (that’s going to catch a few of you out, I already know). Perhaps someone like Rangel or DeLay.

    If you don’t think those guys did any damage, just note that they ALSO voted for various tax-and-spend policies just like everybody else in Washington.

  33. rodney dill says:

    I nominate the NFL owners.

    ponce wins the thread.

  34. G.A.Phillips says:

    I gotta stick up for Zels, GA, jwest, et al. Nitwits deserve a voice, too, you know.

    Can I be a witnit sam, so I feel special:) maybe a nutwing?

  35. mantis says:

    Let me guess, everything you post is original, right? In,say, all the birther posts, you have never said the same thing twice.

    No, but I don’t post links unrelated to the topic in multiple threads in one day. That’s spambot behavior.

  36. Moderate Mom says:

    Interesting that the left leaning Mr. Tomasky seems to find only Republicans/Conservatives appalling. I wonder why that is?

  37. jwest says:

    24 second video clip shamelessly stolen from Legal Insurrection:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkzV5AIK8iM&feature=player_embedded

  38. Axel Edgren says:

    Damn Joyner, this must have been a sore spot for the resident freepers.

  39. Raoul says:

    Lists of this ilk are stupid- they are an easy way to generate traffic-try it JJ? I am more curious about what you said about Rove- I of course concede he is a good political tactician- though perhaps overrated- but as a person he is a vile person- he continually lies and misinforms – his current career should be titled chutzpa for he continually decries the practices he wrought. I guess I am wondering whether you think he is a proven liar and for that matter what do you think of Altwater and his death bed conversion.