15 Most Loathsome People of 2008
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The Buffalo Beasthas released its 50 Most Loathsome People in Americalist for 2008. We here at AlterNet rounded up 15 people from their list that we thought most deserved the insulting honor. Read through our top picks from their list, go check out the Beast's full list, and then drop some of the folks you think are the most loathsome people in America in the comments below. Happy hunting.
15. Michele Bachmann
Charges: Exemplifies the simmering, all-American fascism lurking behind the forced smiles of uptight church ladies throughout "real America." Echoing Sarah Palin's alarming hints about "helping" the media do its job, Bachmann's casual call for a "penetrating" press investigation into "anti-Americanism" in congress was so fucking dumb it made Chris Matthews seem smart. Once it occurred to the Oral Roberts University graduate that calling for witchhunts against Democrats might be a tad extreme for election season, she decided to just pretend she didn't say it, and then she blamed Chris Matthews. Then she just blamed words. Then she denied it again. Then she won. Way to go, Minnesota's 6th.
Exhibit A: BACHMANN: Actually, that's not what I said at all. COLMES: Well, I'm just -- I'm reading your exact quote. BACHMANN: Actually that's not I said. It's an urban legend that was created. That isn't what I said at all. COLMES: We have -- it's on tape.
Sentence: Assigned to conduct her own "expose" on anti-American views, in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
14. Bernie Madoff
Charges: Normally, the idea of a bunch of billionaires getting robbed blind for believing in a free lunch would amuse the hell out of us, but Bernie Madoff stole a lot of money from charity endowments, and is responsible for two suicides so far. Here’s a tip, Bernie: If you’re running the biggest scam since the Catholic church, handling billions of dollars, and all it takes to get busted is that some of your marks ask for their money back, you really should take some of that money and set up an escape plan. Still, he gets some credit for making Mort Zuckerman look like a jackass. The real villains here are Christopher Cox and the SEC, who investigated Madoff eight times, the last time specifically on suspicion of running a Ponzi scheme, each time “finding” no wrongdoing, which begs the all-too-familiar question of the last eight years: Satanically corrupt or grossly incompetent? Either way, Madoff was finally brought to justice… by his kids.
Exhibit A: "In today's regulatory environment, it's virtually impossible to violate rules ... but it's impossible for a violation to go undetected, certainly not for a considerable period of time."
Sentence: Sold into slavery.
13. Mark Penn
Charges: The most overpriced gravedigger in the world. As Clinton's Chief Strategist, this too-creepy-for-TV pollster steered what was initially considered a cinch presidential campaign with all the talent of Joseph Hazelwood at the helm of the Exxon Valdez. His laziness was explained by his strategy: Inevitability. Penn's cheap, backfiring smears of Obama as a coke-snorting Islamic radical teenager, coupled with pathetic whining about the mean old press, gave Clinton's campaign an odor as repugnant as his own playground-flasher looks. Like most reptiles, Penn was slow to adjust to environmental changes, racking up millions in direct mail fees while Obama plundered the internet, which Penn predicted wouldn't have any impact in 2008. His very employment signaled a total abdication on the corruption/lobbying issue. But it gets worse: Mark Penn didn't understand basic electoral arithmetic, announcing to colleagues that Hillary would win easily by gaining California's 370 delegates, assuming, wrongly, a winner-take all vote tally. Despite the revelation of his woeful lack of elementary knowledge, Penn did not adjust his big-state strategy, ignoring the caucus states that Obama rode to victory, and to the end, seemed utterly baffled that a candidate could win without "any of the significant states."