5 Times Politicians Said Terrible Things in 2014

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

As the year rolls to a close, Washington D.C. is looking ahead at a number of changes for the coming year. The Senate and House have been flooded with Republican faces, new and old. There have been quite a few staff changes to the White House staff, and a number of nominations and appointments Obama has had to contend with. With so many changes on the Hill and under the president, the New Year really will be something of a new year in Washington for many people.

As with everyone and everything, the New Year marks the beginning of a fresh start; the slate is wiped clean — and one could say this will be true of politicians this year as well (though it’s likely most Republicans won’t be forgetting animosity with President Obama so soon). Given the political tension, gridlock, and difficulty over the last year, there may be just a bit too much to sweep under the rug this time around. Let’s look at the five worst things said or done in politics this year, and why it may be a little difficult to completely brush away the refuse.

1. Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer (R)

2014 was not the best of years for Governor Brian Schwitzer’s spin team. The man should write a book: “How to Lose Your Shot at the Presidency in One Interview.” He has not one, but two of the worst quotes for 2014 in terms of sensitivity and political correctness, not to mention the fact they insult those who already lean away from Republicans. Offending women and members of the LGBT community — not to mention the whole Southern United States — may not have been the wisest political decision.

After House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) lost his bid for re-election, Schweitzer was contacted by the National Journal for comment, and came up with this little gem: “Don’t hold this against me, but I’m going to blurt it out. How do I say this … men in the South, they are a little effeminate,” said Schweitzer. “They just have effeminate mannerisms. If you were just a regular person, you turned on the TV, and you saw Eric Cantor talking, I would say — and I’m fine with gay people, that’s all right — but my gaydar is 60-70 percent. But he’s not, I think, so I don’t know. Again, I couldn’t care less. I’m accepting.” Accepting or not, the comment was hardly relevant to a political loss.

In a separate interview on Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Ca.) insistence that she was a nun when it came to spying being done by the U.S. intelligence community, he made similarly unwise remarks. “She was the woman who was standing under the streetlight with her dress pulled all the way up over her knees, and now she says, ‘I’m a nun,’ when it comes to spying!” followed by a quick, “I mean, maybe that’s the wrong metaphor — but she was all in!” Yes Schweitzer, it was the wrong metaphor.

2. Hillary Clinton (D)

The former-Secretary of State joins the list of presidential potentials who should have checked their words more carefully. Back in a June interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC, Hillary Clinton spoke about money troubles she and her family had faced upon leaving the White House. “We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt,” she said. “We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea’s education. You know, it was not easy.”

As a possible candidate for Democrats — the party better known for its empathy with the middle class struggle — Clinton hardly made herself seem empathetic. Instead she came across as the voice of privilege, correctly taking criticism for ascribing to being “dead broke.” It takes quite a bit of nerve to describe your “struggle” to afford multiple houses as being dead broke. Like Schweitzer, she later said she “regret[ed]” her comment, but also like Schweitzer, it was too late.

3. Lindsey Graham (R)

Our strategy will fail yet again, this president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham. He was among a number of individuals to ramp up fear mongering surrounding events in the Middle East. Yes, terrorism and ISIL are serious threats, but dramatic panic-inducing commentary is hardly a useful political contribution.

Graham’s comments in the Fox interview quickly led to comedic critique from the news industry and late night hosts alike. The Atlantic Journal had a piece entitled “Lindsey Graham: OMG we’re all gonna die!!!!!” and Forbes published “How Lindsey Graham Succumbed To The Tactics of Terror and Embarrassed His Nation.”

And let’s not forget Jon Stewart’s sympathy, saying on The Daily Show, “The poor man lives his entire life trapped in The Blair Witch Project. For god’s sake I have seen chihuahuas in handbags who are less fretful and shaking.”

4. Leland Yee (D)

Former California State Senator Leland Yee was a highly visible pro-gun control proponent for quite some time. He worked tirelessly to prevent gun crime and speak in favor of control legislation — that is, up until he was arrested for aiding and abetting arms trafficking members, like the “dragon head” of the San Francisco Ghee Kung Tong Freeman lode (associated with the Triad), Raymond Chow, a.k.a. Shrimp Boy. While there aren’t any great quotes available for after he was arrested, this tweet from two years prior should suffice:

5. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)

“They want to abolish age of consent laws, which means children would … we would do away with statutory rape laws so that adults will be able to freely prey on little children sexually,” said former-Representative Michele Bachmann of the LGBT community earlier this year in an interview with “Faith & Liberty.”

That’s the deviance that we’re seeing embraced in our culture today,” said Bachmann. It was hardly her first or only comment on same-sex marriage or LGBT rights, but this year has been her last opportunity to add to that rhetoric. Perhaps a more useful addition to political discourse was given upon her exit, when she rapped a few lines from Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” for CNN.

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