(Just a quick note: I felt like we all outgrew the previous name of the annual award given to the worst example of a human being, so it has been re-named in honor of perennial finalist and one-time winner Joe Lieberman. I'd like to take a moment to recognize Senator Lieberman for his long career of being a d-bag. If you're having a rough day, sit back and remember that Joe Lieberman is no longer an elected official. That's something.)

medalElection years are absolutely lousy with assholes, and the selection process for this award is a veritable embarrassment of shitheads. This year we met Jerry Sandusky (and his facilitators), E.L. James, Gotye, Paul Ryan, Karl Rove, Peggy Noonan, and perennial favorites like David Brooks, Mitch McConnell, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum. How does one choose a single name from that pantheon of human detritus? This isn't even accounting for bleedingly obvious choices like Mitt Romney, Rush Limbaugh, and Eric Cantor pretty much any House Republican. And that's not even expanding the search outside of the United States.

I was very tempted to offer the award to Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler (oh, go ahead and just try to guess which party) for running on a jihad against the nonexistent problem of "voter fraud"…and then using public funds to travel to the RNC and to a voter suppression conference administered by an association of right-wing lawyers. Then I strongly considered Karl Rove, who challenged Budd Dwyer for the title of Most Emphatic Suicide on Live Television on election night. In reality, though, it was way too entertaining and enjoyable to serve as a year defining act of assholery.

Though I dislike the idea of giving the award to more than one person, the honest choice for 2012 has to be the GOP Rape Caucus – the candidates for the House and Senate who decided that the best way for the GOP to stay ahead of the social and demographic changes in the electorate is to take really, really batshit insane positions on abortion. Furthermore, if there's anything women voters (or non-voters) love, it's when a gray, wrinkled, dour-faced 65 year old white guy explains to them what rape is along with his special theories on the workings of the female reproductive system.

Three men in particular drove home this point in 2012. First, Todd Akin rejected exceptions in abortion legislation for rape because women cannot become pregnant from rape ("From what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment. But the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.") Never before has the phrase "maybe that didn't work or something" been more indicative of a person's intellectual underpinnings. Richard Mourdock, running in a slam dunk Senate race in Indiana, then decided to tell everyone that pregnant rape victims should be forced to have the baby. Now there's a popular stance! Then Joe Walsh, running in a safe Illinois congressional district, told us that abortion is never necessary to protect the life and health of a pregnant woman. Tell us more, fellas!

Just so we're all clear, these three old rich white guys want to stand before rape victims and tell them you have to have that child. Because I said so. You take it from here, Joe Pesci in Raging Bull:

You've heard of Akin and Mourdock, but they were hardly alone among GOP Senate candidates in 2012. Turns out that 12 of the 33 opposed rape/incest provisions in abortion legislation. Akin and Mourdock became the poster boys for today's Republican: a reactionary, sanctimonious Know-Nothing trying his damnedest to drag the United States back to the 18th Century.

Their actions are in keeping with the smug, self-satisfied, and unctuous tradition of Joe Lieberman himself. Truly they are assholes of year-defining proportions.


  • Excellent choice. The award is particularly well named because most of the highest-profile advocates of the "rape, shmape" went down in electoral flames in November. Claire McCaskill should run out and buy a thousand Powerball tickets, she's so goddamned lucky.

    In other news, it's early but I think I just discovered the worst song I'll hear this year: Gwyneth Paltrow's just-above-karaoke-night voice covering Kate Bush's "This Woman's World". Love or hate Kate, you can't deny she has a hell of set of pipes, especially when she blows 'em out on a big melodramatic weeper like TWW. Listening to Paltrow try to follow with her mousy little barely-adequate voice is…clarifying, in a lot of ways. And I thought Scarlet Johansson's album of Tom Waits covers was excruciating…

  • Maybe re-color the award medal the shit-brown and moldy green of corroded brass?

    But, yeah, the Rape Caucus is a "winner," all right. Too bad they're now gerrymandered in so tight it will take a blowtorch to remove them.

  • Spiffy McBang says:

    Scarlet Johansson has an entire album of Tom Waits covers? No one should try to do an album of Tom Waits covers in the first place, but someone who's not even a singer? Jesus. Play the Pesci clip for her, too.

    Oh yeah, thank god all those douchebags lost too and stuff.

  • Let's not forget the lesser-publicized, but still impressive comparison of rape to having a baby out of wedlock. Same thing, you know. Or very similar.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    Well chosen new title, and appropriate winners for the newly-named award.
    I might suggest calling it "The Joe 'Quisling' Lieberman Award," but that would be quibbling.

    One wonders how many of these misogynistic boys mama's, if they could see them now, would wish that they had a choice when they were pregnant with them?

  • I spent most of last year in a perpetual state of shock caused by the things that people were willing to say out loud and in public – in front of cameras and microphones – over and over again. They're STILL talking about it; it boggles the imagination.

  • An unfortunate side-effect of cable TV and the internet, one can be largely cut off from disagreeable opinions and facts. This can happen to folks anywhere along the political spectrum, but it reaches train wreck proportions with the right wingnuts.

  • I don't get it. Why is Gotye listed with those other assholes? Is there some controversy about him that I didn't hear about?

  • Well earned by the Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight. It's fitting that Romney not win (see what I did there). And Limbaugh will win the Lifetime "Achievement" Award, so better to reward these one (s)hit wonders. They aren't coming back for another year of eligibility.

  • I like gulag's "Quisling" suggestion–we could call it a "Vidkun" like the "Oscar".

    You could have sub categories in "best supporting asshole"etc.

    But why not nominate Mitt himself? In one secretly taped speech, he unmasked the actual Republican agenda for the past 40 years!

  • regarding Gotye:

    I did find this complaint about his music:

    Every time I hear this song, it sounds like a million cocks slapping against a wet wall of tile.


  • IMO these f—wits, shouldn't be constantly pilloried as they have been.

    Just one über awesome shellacking every 2-4yrs should do, then just sit back.

    I want them to keep talking and talking and talking… and never, ever learn. This way we get these honest candidates who blithely go wandering into the minefield. What we don't want are the ones who publicly say nothing, or talk a good line. Then on their first day on the floor the first 100 bills are for overturning RvW. Not like the 2010 jobs platforms that have now brought us these insane gerrymandered districts.

    So CU, not in the mood to quibble over a Quisling?

  • Can we give an Honorable Mention to my representative, Phil "Just Relax and Have a Glass of Wine" Gingrey for saying that Akin was "partly right"? He's a doctor, ya know.

  • I'd add Tom Smith's name to the list. He's the asshole that compared rape to having a baby out of wedlock. When pressed, he responded "Put yourself in a father's position". Oh, well then. I can totally see how *from a father's position* a daughter having consensual sex and a daughter who gets fucking raped is exactly the same thing. Thanks for clarifying Tom.

    And in case anyone wasn't convinced what a brain dead cretin Tom Smith is, these comments were made during a press conference where he "condemned" Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comments. You'd think that watching Akin's campaign crash and burn would be a cautionary tale that Tom Smith would tread lightly around the subject. You'd be wrong.

  • Supportive nodding at the re-naming of the award–as I've said in the past, calling someone a cocksucker is potentially a compliment (or at least, a neutral statement of service provided), while calling someone a Lieberman never is. Much better.

    As for this years winners, I concur, but like Xynzee, I do so with mixed feelings. That is, while I despise these men and what they believe and the fact that they legislate according to this (profoundly stupid and cruel) belief, I'm also deeply grateful for the fact that they are addicted to opening their mouths on record and saying stuff out loud. Not for them the 'dog whistle' form of bigotry–they just come right out and say it. Makes them easier to identify, and they serve as a wonderful motivator for getting otherwise apathetic voters to the polls. (I'd make a larger point about how women need to take advantage of the fact that they're 51% of the electorate, but that would suggest that men don't have an equal responsibility to show up and vote these dipshits out of office, which we do. The political violence these idiots would inflict on women is not, in fact, a 'women's issue'–it's a issue of humanity, and guys like me don't get off the hook because we will never know the joys of having, or being denied the right to have, a D&C.)

    My vote for the Silver medal this year would go to Sandusky's facilitators (Sandusky himself is sick and evil–but that, oddly enough, is better than just being evil. The world would be better off without him, but the world would have been without him if football wasn't more important to some people than condemning children to an abbreviated lifetime of self-injury and drug addiction.)

    Bronze goes to the producers/programmers of TLC, who are doing everything they can to make us dumber and more cruel as a nation, while encouraging us to enjoy this devolution.

  • @Spiffy:
    ScoJo's Waits tribute is very real, and a horrible thing to contemplate.

    I also support the award's re-christening. Cocksuckers generally make the world a happier place.

    Speaking from some experience, this was a *very* tough year, in terms of the media climate, for anyone with PTSD symptoms related to sexual assault. I hope that something meaningful was accomplished by the relentless attention to that issue, and that lessons were learned from Akin and Mourdock's self-immolation. If I'm not mistaken, both would have coasted to victory had they not walked into that neighborhood.

  • The forgotten champion of this rhetoric is former Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams. Back in the 90's, while sitting around a campfire, he told a group of reporters that "rape is like bad weather; as long as it is going to happen you might as well enjoy it."

  • I thinks it's rather unfair to include Gotye on a list of people deserving Lieberman awards. Although he may be annoying, his douchebaggery doesn't cause actual harm. Lieberman actively helped to get the US into a war in Iraq and provided cover for W. His petulant behavior also helped to sink the public option and almost torpedoed any health care reform.

    The rape caucus on the other hand definitely deserve the "Golden Scrotum" as I think the Lieberman Awards should be called from now on.

  • he Senate Rape Caucus is a worthy winner, but come to think of it, I'm GRATEFUL to the men of the golden scrotum. — good phrase, that –

    If it weren't for them, there would be more elected Republicans .

  • I will also add that Gwyneth Paltrow should just stick to raising her produce and biblically-named children and unburden us with her attempts to do anything else.

  • My favorite legislation from the rape caucus has to be the immunization for companies like Halliburton from being sued by women who have been raped, a;though this predates 2012.

  • Hey Ed:

    Do your students know that you write this blog? Do you encourage them to read it?

    Would be interesting for them to get a touch of contemporary reality to go with whatever is in the text/curriculum…

  • I shudder when I recall that that oleaginous little shit was the Democratic VP nominee in 2000.
    I voted for the ticket.

  • what a wonderful idea. if any agent of evil deserves such an Award, Lieberman is a great choice. one of the top notch grifters out there.

    such a wonderful blog. really has great topics.

  • This pro-rape society horse shit is one of the reasons why I am an ex-Catholic. I did my confirmation classes with a female instructor who believed that pregnant rape victims should be forced to give birth. After all, they wouldn't have to raise these babies, just give them up for adoption!

  • If the Academy Award is called the Oscar, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Awards is called the Emmy, the CMA Awards, ACM Awards, CMT Music Awards and American Country Awards collectively called the Cletus, what should the nickname of the Lieberman medal be? The Droopy?

  • Put me down as seconding "the Golden Scrotum" as the other name for this fine award. You'd be hard-pressed to top that.

    Hey, Mo!
    "Too bad they're now gerrymandered in so tight it will take a blowtorch to remove them."
    You can get even the tightest tick out with a bit of effort; these guys can be removed, too. Actually, tick might be too complimentary a comparison. Maybe Hookworm would be more appropriate.

  • And I thought Scarlet Johansson's album of Tom Waits covers was excruciating…

    Wait. What?

    Well, I got into Tom Waits from Holly Cole (not the 'wild horses' girl) doing covers of him. Granted when an accomplished jazz singer does covers they usually can do a pretty good job.

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