If you had a sense of humor, this was a pretty good year

                    AUSTIN -- Traditionally, when one bids adieu to the year just past,
                    a tone of cynical good-riddance to 12 sorry months is da rigor, as
                    they say in Lubbock.

                    Well, forget tradition -- I say 2000 was a glorious political year from
                    start to finish and can think of few years more packed with delight
                    than the one we have just skinned through. Here's to Y2K, arguably
                    the beginning of the new millennium and inarguably a mighty fine
                    start on something, whatever it was.

                    Here's to the National Egg On Your Face, How Wrong Can You Be,
                    How Many Times Can You Be That Wrong, Let's Go On Television
                    and Make Fools of Ourselves Year-Long Pundit Pratfall!

                    From Who's-John-McCain to who won Florida, the most striking
                    feature of the political year was the evitability of George W. Bush.

                    All the king's horses, all the king's men and all the Republican money
                    in the country could barely drag the poor guy across the finish line.
                    Special thanks to Jeff Greenfield of CNN for having the common
                    sense to observe at several points, "None of us has any idea what's
                    going to happen now."

                    Easiest Way to Be Right All Year: Denounce the conventional
                    wisdom, whatever it happened to be for the moment, and head in
                    the opposite direction -- an infallible guide to rectitude.

                    Best Candidate of the Year: The late Mel Carnahan of Missouri, and
                    may I say I think he'd make a better attorney general than John Ashcroft, too.

                    He Won Anyway: The new sheriff of McLennan County is named
                    Lynch (First name Larry).

                    Impossible Subliminable Choice: Best Bushism of the Year -- let us
                    pass over such publicized favorites as "Is our children learning?" and
                    "Tear down the terriers and bariffs." I prefer the less-cited but more
                    surreal charm of such thoughts as, "Will the highways on the Internet
                    become more few?" and "Families is where wings take dream."

                    Best Political Actor of the Year: Former Secretary of State Jim Baker,
                    the Bush family consigliere who was furious at the presumption of the
                    Gore people for wanting to count votes!
                    Perfect in the role of Man Faced With Outrageous Demand.

                    Saddest Comedown of the Year: U.S. Supreme Court.

                    Most Hilarious Putsch Attempt: The Florida Legislature for
                    conducting an illegal, unconstitutional and patently anti-democratic
                    exercise, while simultaneously being hilariously funny in the
                    immemorial fashion of really bad legislatures.

                    Worst Idea of the Year: George W. Bush's contention that the U.S.
                    Congress should become more like the Texas Legislature. Quick:
                    stake, cross, garlic, pesticide.

                    Biggest Lie by Gore Camp: At 2:15 a.m. EST on election night:
                    "Gore's top advisers say it's all going according to plan."

                    Most Overcovered Race: For New York Senate, Hillary Clinton vs.
                    Rick Lazio. Lost all its charm after Rudy G. dropped out -- boring
                    cautious campaigns by both candidates, much more fun to be found
                    elsewhere, though you could have fooled the media.

                    Man Having a Wonderful Time in the Most Improbable
                    Circumstances: The Unsinkable Bill Clinton. No matter how you feel
                    about him, you can always think of 2000 as Clinton's Last Year.

                    Great Loss: The death of Lars-Erik Nelson, political writer whose
                    essence is found in a quote offered by Pete Hamill in `The New York
                    Review of Books': Nelson to Hamill: "The enemy isn't conservatism.
                    The enemy isn't liberalism. The enemy is bull----."

                    First Annual Lars-Erik Nelson Award: Sen. John McCain of Arizona --
                    thanks for telling the truth.

                    Tom Loeffler Memorial Award (in honor of Loeffler's immortal
                    campaign motto "Texas will always be Texas"): Rep. Ron Paul of
                    Surfside, the only member of Congress to vote against presenting
                    the Medal of Honor to the late cartoonist Charles M. Schulz.

                    Special honors to the citizens of the United States for surviving the
                    Elián González debacle, the campaign and the post-election
                    campaign all in one year. Every now and then we have to read
                    stories from abroad that claim in alarm, "Foreigners are laughing at
                    us!" Hey, foreigners, you think you think this is funny?

                    The Smooch, the sighs, New Hampshire, traction, Bob Jones
                    University, "He can't take the high horse and then claim the low
                    road," goodbye Bill Bradley, Michigan, Roman Catholics, the lockbox,
                    Grecians, earth tones. It just kept getting better and better.

                    First we had to have a tax cut because we had this huge surplus;
                    now we have to have a tax cut because the economy is tanking --
                    "A tax cut is really one of the anecdotes to coming out of an
                    economic illness."

                    While we were trying to figure out if Gore has a bellybutton, Bush
                    was informing us that Gore's tax cut would require "numerous IRA
                    agents" and "They want the federal government controlling Social
                    Security, like it's some kind of federal program."

                    And as though all that were not enough, as though we had not had
                    as much political fun as a nation can stand, then we got the
                    36-Day War, featuring Katherine Harris' eye shadow, lawyer Joseph
                    Klock's inability to identify members of the Supreme Court, and a
                    Republican riot at the Miami courthouse.

                    My favorite moment came after it was all over and I found a piece
                    in `The New York Times' by Sen. Bob Graham about the difficulties
                    that Latin American legislatures have in grasping democracy.
                    Graham represents Florida.

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