Illustration by Alvaro Diaz-Rubio & Miche Ratto
For generations, Americans have been calling out their leaders. Richard Nixon, for instance, was pronounced a crook (even though he claimed he was not one). Bill Clinton was a liar. And George W. Bush was, well, a moron.
Following this great tradition, which began with the Declaration of Independence, those closest to American politics — 50 writers and editors of the alternative press from across the land — will name the worst elected leaders from 23 of the largest states and the District of Columbia on Independence Day.
The result, to be published by dozens of newspapers and websites from Boston to San Francisco and from Seattle to Miami, is expected to reach millions of readers. In the tradition of the alternative press that traces back to Norman Mailer's Village Voice in the 1950s, the 15,000-word piece is unabashedly irreverent. It separates the politicians into five categories: hatemongers, sleazeballs, blowhards, users and boozers, and horn dogs.
And there's more than just the usual stodgy Washington losers. There's Colorado sheriff Terry Maketa, who allegedly had sex with not one, not two, but three underlings and then lied about it, and Idaho Senate GOP leader John McGee, who stole and crashed an SUV, admitted to drinking too much, and went to jail. Upon returning to the statehouse, McGee was accused of groping a female staffer.
There's old-school corruption too. Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, who will be up for re-election soon, founded a health-care empire that was whacked with the largest Medicare fraud fine in U.S. history: $1.7 billion for stealing from the feds. There’s also Washington, D.C. council member Michael Brown, who once accepted $200,000 to stay out of an election and was later indicted after grabbing at a cash-stuffed duffel bag offered by an undercover FBI agent.
Of course, there are big names here too. South Carolina’s “Luv Guv” Mark Sanford, now a member of Congress, made the list. So did Texas’ Green Eggs and Ham filibusterer Ted Cruz and Minnesota loon Michele Bachmann. Even pol wannabe Donald Trump snuck in a side door.
The story will be published in the following AAN papers:
Charleston City Paper
City Pages (Twin Cities)
Creative Loafing Atlanta
Detroit Metro Times
Miami New Times
New Times Broward-Palm Beach
Philadelphia City Paper
Phoenix New Times
The Village Voice
Washington City Paper
You can view the full hall of shame at WorstPolticians.com
For more information, contact Miami New Times editor (and AAN editorial chair) Chuck Strouse at 305-571-7620 or chuck.strouse[at]miaminewtimes.com.