In a year in which we all read, watched, and listened to enough political rhetoric to last several lifetimes, four examples stand out. If I gave out awards for things other than being an asshole I would probably say these are the quotes of the year. What the hell – these are my favorite quotes, words by which I will remember 2008. The group includes one vicious beatdown, one clever riposte, and two examples of stupidity which must be seen and heard to be believed.

  • #4: "Hot Rod" Blagojevich

    I’ve got this thing and it’s fucking golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for fuckin' nothing. I’m not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there.

    If you knew that you were being investigated by the Feds, the above quote is the kind of thing that you would probably avoid saying into your (doubtlessly wiretapped) phone. But that kind of mentality is what keeps you out of the Governor's mansion in lovely Springfield, Illinois. Among all the Hot Rod quotes, this one wins by concluding with the grammatical and semantic nightmare of "I can parachute me there." Every time that line is read or spoken, God kills an English teacher somewhere.

    Honorable mention to his wife Patti: "Fuck the Cubs." If that is not a sentiment that can rally and unify a downtrodden nation then I don't know what is. Fuck the Cubs in 2008 and forever. Fuck them until this nation is healed.

  • #3: America's Most Popular Governortm

    (setup: Katie Couric asks a "gotcha journalism" question about whether or not the $700 billion bank bailout might be better put to use directly to aid struggling families)

    That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, we're ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy. Um, helping, oh — it's got to be all about job creation too. Shoring up our economy, and putting it back on the right track. So healthcare reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions, and tax relief for Americans, and trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, um, scary thing, but 1 in 5 jobs being created in the trade sector today. We've got to look at that as more opportunity. All of those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.

    I think we get a prize if we figure out what this means, and the prize is that Sarah Palin will run for President in 2012. In an epic, Quixote-like quest for coherence, the GovTard showed America exactly what it could expect when McCain's heart inevitably explodes. Like a Red Bull-addled college sophomore confronted with an essay question after an all-night cram session, Palin simply opens her mouth and projectile vomits a torrent of phrases drilled into her head by McCain's communications team the night before her "exam." Having no context in which to place anything she is saying (after all, the question was about neither of her areas of expertise: reproducing and winking) the quote reads like Dadaist poetry, but to hear it spoken is to hear a drowning man desperately flailing about for anything that floats.

  • #2: Ralph Nader

    (setup: after complaining that his campaign was not getting any press coverage, the editors of the Washington Post informed him that it is because he "has no chance of winning.")

    Then why are you covering the Nationals?

    It would be easier to hate Nader as we are all supposed to do if he wasn't so entertaining. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a comeback. If the context does not make this sufficiently clear to the I Hate Baseball crowd, the Washington Nationals and their 59-102 record are the worst in baseball. I would compare their odds of winning a title to Nader's odds of winning the presidency if doing so did not grievously and unfairly slander both parties involved.

  • #1: Zbignew Brzezinski on MSNBC

    Scarborough: "You cannot blame what's going on in Israel on the Bush administration."

    Brzezinski: "You know, you have such a stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on that it's almost embarrassing to listen to you."

    I am living proof of the fact that no people on this planet can be dicks quite as well as Polacks. And I'm only 30; our ability to be an unspeakable asshole increases proportionately with age. Note that Brzezinski, as my people are wont to do, disregards any effort to be witty or subtle in his response. It amounts to "Joe, you are a fucking retard." We could consider this crass and low-brow if not for the fact that so much of the pundit class needs to be told exactly this in exactly these terms.

    Fill me in if I missed any good ones, as I'm sure there are more than four examples of rhetoric which deserve our praise and laughter.