Counting Down the Democrats Who Had the Worst Year in Washington

Democrats had a rough year. They suffered a historically-large drubbing at the polls, their favorability percentage is now underwater for the first time in more than three decades, the number of people who identify themselves as Democrats has fallen 6 percent, and their big government agenda looks increasingly out of touch with the next generation of voters. Although almost all Democrats had bad years, who had the worst year? Let’s take a look:

(10) Lois Lerner: This once anonymous bureaucrat was thrust into the middle of a political firestorm when news broke that she used her high-ranking position at the IRS to unscrupulously target conservative nonprofits. When called to testify about her actions, and any coordination with the White House, she pleaded the Fifth and proceeded to read a defiant speech. Then, remarkably, two years’ worth of her emails disappeared, only to suddenly pop up after the election was over (whoops). We may never exactly high this scandal went, but we know that Lerner will have a tough time working in Washington again.

(9) John Walsh: It was a steep fall for Democratic Sen. John Walsh (Mont.) who went from handpicked party darling to disgraced plagiarizer in the course of just a few months. The year started happily enough for Walsh. Harry Reid pulled some strings to free up the seat up the retiring Sen. Max Baucus, which allowed their handpicked successor time to build up name recognition and capitalize on the benefits of incumbency. But in July, just as the campaign was heating up, it was revealed that Sen. Walsh substantially plagiarized his master’s thesis at the U.S. Army War College. Rather than simply apologize he waffled back-and-forth on whether to blame the incident on post-traumatic stress disorder from his service in Iraq before finally deciding it was just an “unintentional mistake.” Even so, it not only cost him his chance at a Senate seat, it also cost him his masters degree.

(8) John Kerry: In 2013, the Nation wrote of Kerry’s performance: “[H]e often seems unsure and distracted, projecting a sense that he might prefer to be anywhere else that wherever he is. In addition, he’s displayed a policy-crippling lack of information, remarkably little poise, and strikingly bad word choice, while regularly voicing surprising new positions on old issues.” On the plus side, he’s had a better year this year. On the downside, not by much. He undermined attempts at a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, he’s leading talk with Iran that aren’t going well (and are also alienating our few allies in the region), he underestimated the rise of the Islamic State, Russia pretty much ignored him (even when Kerry was urging them to ignore Obama), and Libya continues to crumble.

(7) Hillary Clinton: The presumed Democratic presidential nominee for 2016 may not be able to hold on to that title much longer if she has another year like 2014. Her year began with the release of “Hard Choices,” her memoir detailing her time at the State Department, which flopped following negative reviews. She was then dogged by a number of negative stories, most of her own making, including the hundreds of thousands of dollars she charges in speaker’s fees to public universities, the comments she made about not being “truly well off,” and her awkward (and testy) flip-flop on same-sex marriage. Given the year she’s had it’s easy to see why there has been a 10 percent decrease in the number of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents who say they would vote for her.

(6) Thomas Frieden: It wasn’t too long ago that the Centers for Disease Control was thought to be a haven of professionalism amidst an otherwise sophomoric federal government. In May 60 percent of Americans believed the CDC to be doing an “excellent/good” job, the highest rated agency in the federal government. Following the bungled response to Ebola that approval plummeted to 37 percent. That drop followed the CDC saying “there is no significant risk” of Ebola coming to the U.S. and then issuing guidance recommending nothing more than “standard infection control.” Those procedures were later dubbed “absolutely irresponsible and dead wrong,” and led to mass confusion amongst nursing staffs. Rather than fix the wrongs, the CDC continued to fumble the problem by allowing a nurse who treated an Ebola patient to board a plane the day before she too was diagnosed with Ebola. Thankfully the Ebola situation appears to be largely contained, but credit goes to hospitals, not the CDC.

Check back tomorrow as we’ll count down the Top 5…