From sexting scandals and cocaine admissions, to the government shutdown and alleged ethics violations—it’s been a rough year to be a politician.
Lawmakers in Washington and beyond had an excessive amount of outbursts (Toronto Mayor Rob Ford) self-implosions (Anthony Weiner) and public relations gaffes (Rep. Steve King’s Twitter page) this year that have managed to sink their already-dismal approval ratings to record-breaking levels of pathetic.
When they were actually doing their job, they weren’t doing it well. Congress’s approval rating stands at a meager 9 percent. To put their popularity in perspective, more people said they prefer cockroaches, traffic jams and the “rock” band Nickleback over our elected officials on Capitol Hill…and that was before they shut down the federal government for 16 days.
It's not just Congress. President Obama’s approval rating is hovering at an all-time-low as well. The president’s popularity (now at 41 percent) has plunged in the wake of the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, which he admittedly told reporters last week, was his biggest mistake of the year.
But don’t worry, pols—this year is almost over and there will be plenty for you to do (or not do) in 2014.
Here are 11 politicians who just want this year to be over already:
Anthony Weiner: For the second time, Anthony Weiner’s political career conceded defeat to his seemingly bizarre sexting obsession. When the former congressman who resigned amid a lude Tweeting scandal in 2010 made an attempt to win the New York City mayorship this year, his past came back to taunt him. Weiner, who looked like he had a fairly good chance at winning, self imploded after his latest sexting scandal surfaced.
Mayor Rob Ford: It’s extremely rare for the American media to pay much if any attention to a Canadian politician, but Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been tough to ignore. The mayor who admitted to smoking crack but refuses to resign has catapulted his way into the spotlight. And it looks as if he’s not leaving anytime soon. Now Ford almost routinely provides entertaining soundbites and click bait—including a video of him barreling over a city counsel woman, and another video of him dancing to Bob Marley. (So maybe it’s been more of a weird year than a bad one for the mayor.)
President Obama: It’s been a miserable year for the man in the White House, from the disastrous rollout of Obamacare to revelations of the NSA’s surveillance program brought to light by Edward Snowden. The public seems to agree--the president’s approval rating is at an all-time low of 41 percent, according to CNN’s latest poll.
Rep. Michele Bachmann: The Tea Party darling from Minnesota’s 6th district spent the year being investigated by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly breaking campaign finance rules. Bachman also kicked off the year by unexpectedly announcing she wouldn’t seek reelection in 2014. This was pretty surprising because she seemed to really like her House gig. She spent $11 million to win her last election—about $65 per vote, far more than any other congressional candidate in 2012.
Sen. Mike Lee: The Senator from Utah served as Sen. Ted Cruz’s sidekick this fall when Cruz led the charge to shut down the federal government over Obamacare. And though Cruz deemed the effort a success—Lee’s constituents were less than impressed. A post-shutdown poll by Brigham Young University shows that Lee’s approval rating among his constituents dropped to 40 percent---down 20 points from June. Some 57 percent said Lee should be more willing to compromise.
Rep. Darrell Issa: The California Congressman and chair of the House Oversight Committee spent the year relentlessly searching for a scandal to bring down the Obama administration. Issa has held countless hearings on the alleged IRS’ targeting of Tea Party groups, to alleged cover-ups into what really happened during the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Though most of his pursuits have come up empty, he’s had some success launching attacks at the White House for their miserably botched rollout of Obamacare.
Rep. Trey Radel: The self-proclaimed “Hip Hop Conservative” from Florida was arrested and charged for cocaine possession this fall. He has since announced that he will tale a leave of absence from Congress to head to rehab. When/if he returns he will likely face an investigation from the House Ethics Committee. Maybe Bachmann can give him some tips?
Sen. David Vitter: The Republican from Louisiana lost a lot of fans on Capitol Hill after he relentlessly pursued legislation that would have effectively cut pay for congressional staffers by making them foot the complete bill for their health insurance without any employer contribution. Everyone knew he was using these low income staffers as poster patsies for an anti--Obamacare campaign.
Vice President Joe Biden: The vice president received some uncomfortable media attention after a much-anticipated post-election book, “Double Down,” revealed that President Obama’s top aides had secretly considered replacing Biden with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to make the ticket stronger. (Awkward.)
Rep. Steve King: The Republican from Iowa became a thorn in the GOP’s side this summer when he likened undocumented immigrants to drug mules with “calves the size of cantaloupes.” House Speaker John Boehner called King’s comments “hateful and ignorant.” And made clear that what King says “does not reflect the values of the American people or the Republican party.”
Rep. Alan Grayson: Maybe the Florida Democrat didn’t have a bad year, politically, but financially-speaking, it was a major bummer. That’s because Grayson lost about $18 million to fraud in a massive scheme by a Virginia man that involved more than 100 victims.
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