Seeing as how this year will be over pretty soon, here's my (Bipartisan) Top 10 Winners and Losers of 2005:
1 - Mark Warner: Governor Warner's profile skyrocketed with the election of his Lt. Governor as his successor, showing that his brand of fiscal managment with social populism sells in the Red State south. Will he try it nationally?
2 - John McCain: The Arizona Senator has stood up to his party's leaders, and won, on torture (by the way, I still can't believe we're actually debating torture in the USA) and judicial nominations, and has shown that he's not the rightwing nutjob that others in his party are.
3 - John Roberts: The new Chief Justice proved that some conservatives can be reasonable, and willing to compromise. His hearings showed he will be a thoughtful (and hopefully moderate) jurist who will be no respector of politics.
4 - Tim Kaine: The soon-to-be Governor of Virginia was open and proud of his Catholicism, and showed that one's religious beliefs won't necessarily affect the ability to govern, while at the same time showing that outgoing Governor Warner's style of politics is still 100% viable.
5 - Kinky Friedman: Ever heard of him before recently? Neither had I. The Jewish country music singer running for Texas Governor has received huge amounts of national attention in his quixotic campaign.
6 - Arlen Specter: The moderate Republican from Pennsylvania beat cancer and showed how capable he is during the Roberts confirmation.
7 - Paul Hackett: The Iraqi War veteran has become a titular leader of anti-war liberals, and even though he lost his Congressional race, he won it in the long run; a grassroots campaign for the U.S. Senate and the new member of Congress who defeated him self-destructing both bode well for the Cincinnatian.
8 - Jon Corzine: The backbench Senator who won his state's executive office by a wide margin. Does he have national ambitions? Some say so, and his appointment of NJ's first minority Senator is a sign he wants to bring people together.
9 - Robert Byrd: The Democrats' most senior member, who turned 88 in November, has watched each of his "strong challengers" drop off one by one. His newfound place as a liberal icon, speaking out against the war, has brought him back into the national spotlight. One more campaign and six more productive years are in order.
10 - John Murtha: A hawkish thirty-year Congressman (who regularly receives one vote for Speaker), he stepped out of the shadows and let his voice be heard in a big way. One of the more critical blows to the President's Congressional support.
Honorable Mentions: Harry Reid, Michael Bloomberg, George Allen, the Chicago White Sox, Jon Stewart, Bernie Sanders.
1 - Tom DeLay: Talk about a 180 degree turn. The most powerful man in the House's corruption seems to finally have caught up with him. Leadership elections are likely in January, with the Hammer shut out.
2 - Jerry Kilgore: Ran for VA Governoras a right-wing social conservative, and lost by several percentage points. Signaled a bad sign for the national GOP, and ended the Gate City native's political career for the forseeable future.
3 - Dick Cheney: The most powerful VP in history comes out in favor of torture, and his approval ratings tank. And, most Republicans don't even like him. That's a really bad sign.
4 - Robert Novak: The longtime CNN analyst is involved in the CIA leak investigation, and lost his TV gig in large part due to his on-air explosion ending with an expletive and storming off stage (although he denies that's the reason).
5 - George W. Bush: It's been strike-out after strike-out for the leader of the free world. Screwed up in letting Mike Brown coordinate the Katrinia relief efforts, his hallmark Patriot Act was shot down with help from members of his own party, one of his high court nominees had to pull out, his top strategist came under investigation; Need I go on?
6 - Karl Rove: Two words; Leak investigation.
7 - Harriet Miers: Turned out to be one of the most unqualified Supreme Court nominees in history, good for her she figured it out in time to avoid embarassment.
8 - Bill Frist: After coming out in favor of Stem Cell Research (which I really appreciate, by the way), conservatives started attacking from the right. After threatening to "push the button" on the "nuclear option," Moderates and liberals statred attacking from the left. his Presidential chances are in the toilet; best to just go back to Nashville and charge out the nose for heart surgeries again.
9 - Duke Cunningham: Like DeLay, corruption finally caught up with the California Congressman and war hero. Cried on television, facing jail time. Can't catch a break.
10 - Jeanine Pirro: One of several challengers to Hillary Clinton, her campaign seems to have been in trouble from day one.
Honorable mentions: Roy Blunt, Scooter Libby, Rick Santorum, Ray Nagin, Kathleen Blanco, Phil Bredesen.
Who did I miss?
UPDATE: (11:27 pm)
Some more Winners & Losers:
Winners: Russ Feingold, Wes Clark, Bob Casey.
Losers: Pat Robertson, Katherine Harris, Vermont Republicans.