Some politicians don’t do things halfway; whether it be success or disaster, they make an impact. This year was no exception. A number of politicians gracefully crossed in front of the public eye, while quite a few others stumbled and crashed. All in all though, it’s worth our time to take a look at some of the big names from 2013.
1. Barack Obama
President Obama’s healthcare initiative was both a major political move with far reaching effects and an unfortunate stream of blunders. Either way, Obama certainly made this year his own — just ask Republicans. The implementation of the health care website was most definitely a newsworthy mistake, but his reform program has had other reactions as well.
For example, the Republican governor of Nevada — which has the second lowest insurance rate — fully supported and implemented the new healthcare system to a highly positive public response. The president has also drawn attention for other accomplishments this year, including international and economic efforts, his focus on international job creation, and the election of Janet Yellen for Federal Reserves Chair.
2. Rob Ford
“Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine,” said Toronto’s mayor, Rob Ford, “There have been times when I’ve been in a drunken stupor. That’s why I want to see the tape [showing the drug use]. I want everyone in the city to see this tape. I don’t even recall there being a tape or video. I want to see the state that I was in”– according to CBS.
The Canadian mayor’s highly publicized struggle with drugs and alcohol must, unfortunately, fall into the category of political stumbles from this year. Ford has refused to leave his post despite the scandal, and his name is far from out of the news. This month a news reporter from the Toronto Star, Daniel Dale, announced that he would be taking the Mayor to court — according to CBC.
Ford accused Dale of being a pedophile. “Daniel Dale is in my backyard taking pictures. I have little kids. I don’t want to say that word, but you start thinking what this guy is all about. When you’ve got young kids, that freaked me right out,” Ford said in a radio interview, according to CBC. “I stand by every word I said in my interview,” said Ford to the Daily Mail, and Dale gave notice of a libel suit Thursday.
3. Ted Cruz
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) was named the chief strategist behind the government shutdown this year. Cruz rallied fellow Tea Party members and Republicans to stand firm during the shutdown. His role had some even within his own party feeling tense. This was especially the case when public opinion began to dip for the Republican party as the standoff continued.
It’s likely that his independent financial backers have allowed him to be such an outspoken and often cotroversial political figure this year. “He has an independent source of money and direct access to the media, and that makes him very hard to control. It gives him power for himself but not collectively and represents the rise of extreme individualism,” explained James Thurber, a professor at American University.
4. Silvio Berlusconi
Italian senator Silvio Berlusconi was removed from his position in the Senate in late November of this year — and his list of legal woes had keyboards clacking in newspapers around the world. His expulsion was voted for by his fellow senators, passing despite the protests of Berlusconi’s supporters.
While he publicly insists that he will not be gone from politics forever, Berlusconi has a year in prison and a solid chunk of community service still in front of him. On top of that, a Milan court has ruled that he cannot be elected for public office for at least two years. Berlusconi’s fall from power for tax fraud is made more significant because he once served in a higher office yet — as prime minister — during which he faced scandals over sex and corruption.
5. John Boehner
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) may not have been leading the Tea Party supporters in Congress, but he was still a powerful force against raising a clean debt limit. At a key political time he was a voice for party unity — for better or worse — and a powerful figure. He was not as controversially vocal as Cruz and showed far more party loyalty — but recently, his voice has gotten louder and feistier.
Within the last week Boehner began to attack the far right with a whole new level of venom. The target of his verbal poison? The Tea Party-backed groups that have been attacking both his management, and the bipartisan budget proposal that was just passed. “Frankly, I just think they’ve lost all credibility,” said Boehner, according to CNN.
6. Harry Reid
Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has been behind some big changes in Washington, not to mention his involvement with budget and debt ceiling negotiations. He’s also been getting a lot of flack for changes in the filibuster rules, making it so Republicans couldn’t put off items up for vote in the Senate — like Obama’s nominee confirmations, or domestic drones.
“I understand Republicans are still upset. I can’t wave a magic wand and heal hurt feelings,” said Reid — according to AllMediaNY. Reid is presently involved with the farm bill design as well, a law that’s over a year late to being renewed.
7. Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie
These last two are as much about the coming year as the last. Both Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie have been the talk of the town at the tail end of this year, with rumors flying that they may be the next presidential candidates for their respective parties.
An independent group has already begun fundraising for Clinton, and polls have been testing the waters of public reaction to each candidate. Of course, they aren’t the only options for 2016, but they are two of the most highly discussed.
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