One of my all-time favorite shows is “The McLaughlin Group.”
I used to love watching Dr. McLaughlin spar over the years with the likes of Pat Buchanan, Eleanor Clift, Clarence Page, Freddy “the Beadle” Barnes, Mor-ton Kondracke, the late great Jack Germond, and “The Prince of Darkness” Robert Novak. There was no more entertaining TV than watching Dr. McLaughlin declare a panelist to be “WRONG!” and demand their forced predictions.
One of the best traditions on “The McLaughlin Group” was when the panelists would don their black tie best for the annual two-part, year-end awards. In recent years, I was impressed by the red holiday pants worn by the great Tom Rogan – which I’m determined to buy a pair of one of these days!
When PRI started its own podcast earlier this year, I knew that we must have a year-end awards episode in the vein of “The McLaughlin Group,” handing out our honors for 2017, and making our 2018 predictions.
Earlier this week, the “PRI All Stars” – Sally Pipes, Rowena Itchon, Lance Izumi, Ben Smithwick, and myself – got together in our San Francisco offices to present PRI’s 2017 Year-End Awards. We even handed out awards in some of the traditional award categories that “The McLaughlin Group” would annually award.
Here’s a preview of some of our award-winners:
- Biggest Winner of 2017 – My biggest winner was my old boss Kevin McCarthy, who held a fractious House GOP conference together to pass historic tax cut legislation, and who has President Trump always asking, “Where’s my Kevin?”
- Bummest Rap – For Lance Izumi, this year’s bummest rap was that charter schools are “segregated,” noting that African-American students actually benefit the most from attending charter schools when you look at school performance.
- 15 Minutes of Fame Award – Rowena Itchon chose to honor Byamba, who is the famous sumo wrestler who is figure skating in the Geico commercials, which was also her favorite commercial of the year.
- Most Original Thinker – Ben Smithwick stayed close to home for his choice – it’s PRI’s President Sally Pipes. He cited her work debunking the myths about single-payer health care and educating the public about the true costs of government health care.
- Destined for Oblivion – Finally, Sally Pipes selected the Obama Administration’s controversial Clean Power Plan, which threatened to increase energy poverty and power costs across the country, but was wiped off the books by President Trump’s administration.
So, on a scale of 1 to 10 – 10 being metaphysical certitude – and with apologies to our favorite Group panelists past and present, we hope you’ll enjoy our tribute to “The McLaughlin Group” and our 2017 year-end awards.
From all of us at PRI, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Tim Anaya is communications director for the Pacific Research Institute.