The Winners, And The Next Competition

The winners from our competition for the dumbest thing said by a politician in 2008:

#3: Sarah Palin- “Ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up the economy- Oh, it’s got to be about job creation too. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions.”

#2: John McCain-
“The fundamentals of our economy are strong.”

#1: Sarah Palin- “We have trade missions back and forth, we do. It’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state.”

Overall, not very surprising results, especially considering the partisan nature of this crowd. Having said that, there really is a reason McCain/Palin lost, and it wasn’t media bias. You can see the entire poll here.


Now for the inside baseball stuff. Since we are fond of backslapping and self-congratulatory wanking here, I present to you the poll of the funniest thing said by commenters in 2008. The entries are:


You can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska.

And when I look out my window I can see the moon. Doesn’t make me a fucking astronaut now, does it?

Michael D.:

Ahmmm, I’m a ghey, and I wouldn’t do anything with the words “Cruise” and “Hugh Hewitt” in it.

Of course, with all those social conservatives in one place, it’ll probably sound like Riverdance in the bathrooms.

JasonF, with the Auto Industry as a Play. A sample (and really, read the whole thing):


UAW: I have fulfilled my end of the deal by building the automobiles that you have asked me to build.

BIG THREE: Oh no! I am undone! My automobiles are no longer competitive due to my years of poor planning and poor judgment!

MITT ROMNEY: This is all UAW’s fault!

And, our final entry, Tbone with Hillary Clinton’s Tuzla War Journal, a fictionalized version of the sniper fire incident (and again, click the link for the whole comment):

It was a simple mission, they had told me – get in, shake a few hands and mouth a few platitudes, get out. Simple. Yeah.

Things had started going wrong while we were still in the air, and only gotten worse from there. So here we were, pinned down, choking on the acrid tang of cordite and the heady scent of human blood. The mission was even simpler now: survive. Whatever the cost, survive.

There was a grunt and a clatter of equipment as Sinbad threw himself down at my side. Sweat glistened on his bare arms, and I could see tendons contracting and relaxing as he squeezed off bursts from his M14. The motion was hypnotic, like a snake about to strike. Perhaps, when all this was over-

No. Concentrate. Focus on the mission. Survive.

A shout from my left drew my head around. Sheryl Crow, guitar still strapped to her back, had taken cover behind a pile of decaying corpses. Her once-lustrous hair, now limp and stringy, was held back from her eyes by a dirty red headband, and her slim nostrils flared, seeking air free of the funeral taint permeating the airfield. Still, I saw a fierce exultation in her expression that I knew mirrored my own.

[poll id = 6]

Have fun.

48 replies
  1. 1
    dr. bloor says:

    Wow. This is like having Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Wild Strawberries and Caddyshack all nominated for Best Film in the same year. Gotta go with Krista, though.

  2. 2
    Laura W says:

    I don’t think I was reading regularly back* when tBone’s classic went up so am very glad to discover it now.
    Here’s a fun one: Tips for Traveling Muslims. Wish I could copy paste the headscarf paragraph here.
    (*May I say how grateful I am for the Dec. 12 BTW I am in (back) Pain thread? The well-rounded nature of this site is a true service to peoples everywhere. Free advice, free snark, free pork recipes. Fabulous.)

  3. 3
    SGEW says:

    An embarrassment of riches, truly! Please allow me a quick critique of our final candidates.

    Krista: Obviously the local favorite. Her pithy one-liner perfectly summed up the zeitgeist of the day, in a most casual, yet pointed manner. This observation echoed throughout the internet and became, more or less, the common-wisdom take on Gov. Palin’s visual contact = experience argument. Extra points for profanity.

    Michael D.: The establishment favorite. The very fact that this comment led to his contentious (yet highly beloved) stint as guest-blogger makes this entry into the contest a very strong contender. Blogospheric naval-gazing, teh "ghey," Larry Craig, and a Riverdance reference combined into a shining gem: an impeccable coffee-on-computer-screen comment. However, many voters may resent Mr. D.’s high profile and inferred preferential treatment by the blog host, and eschew this otherwise sterling comment.

    JasonF: The dark horse contender. A pitch-perfect dramatization that manages to be simultaneously engaging, humourous, and illuminating. To be honest, no other printed explanation of the UAW/Romney struggle has come close to the clarity that this explication manages. By being both educational and comedic, JasonF’s comment is a shining example of the format, though it may prove to be too high-brow for the local commentariat (theatre adaptations rarely appeal to the masses) and suffer in the poll accordingly.

    Tbone: This staggering work of brilliance seamlessly integrates Sen. Clinton’s "heroic narrative" into the puerile and sophomoric mawkishness of a war-porn paperback. A perfect deadpan caricature, this work never tips its hand as to the painful satire it inflicts upon its subject matter, and only digs the ka-bar deeper into the willing flesh of the Democratic Primary. Unfortunately, it may be handicapped in the voting by "tl:dr" syndrome, and the disturbingly accurate nature of the prose. Also involves Sinbad (who dies first, naturally), which must be worth something.

  4. 4
    Laura W says:

    @SGEW: JasonF’s play was read and discussed on Rachel Maddow’s show, also worth points.

  5. 5
    SGEW says:

    @Laura W: Fo’ realz?

    How long before Balloon-Juice Rules The World? Eat it, TPM and ThinkProgress; B-J is the think-tank that will prove to have the most influence in the coming years. Mark my words.

  6. 6
    Laura W says:

    @SGEW: Dec 2, 9:25EST-ish.
    The link is somewhere around here but I don’t have the patience, or concentration, to dig it out right now.

  7. 7
    vivelame says:

    Come. On. Tbone’s full comment/diary wins handsomely by the coffee-through-nose metric. It’s not even close.

  8. 8
    rachel says:

    I’ve gotta go with Krista.

  9. 9

    Even though M.D.s comment gave rise to this sinus & monitor destroying pshop, there’s still no way I could pick just one.

  10. 10
    Mithras says:

    Not to be a stickler, but wasn’t Michael D’s comment in October, 2007? I propose immediate disqualification, disbarment, tarring, feathering, banishment, and shoeing of the statue.

  11. 11
    dr. bloor says:

    Come. On. Tbone’s full comment/diary wins handsomely by the coffee-through-nose metric. It’s not even close.

    I disagree; a Carver is no less a genius than a Tolstoy or a Dickens.

  12. 12
    A Squirrel says:


    Here’s the link to the transcript. Search the page for "balloon-juice".

    Still, Tbone’s gotta win. That read like he put some real effort in, man.

  13. 13
    Bad Horse's Filly says:

    Embarrassment of riches, indeed! I hadn’t read Tbone’s before, glad to have the opportunity now. Can’t you just see the cover of the Harlequin romance based on this breathtaking view of a perilous campaign? Hillary and Sinbad in a passionate embrace (hopefully with H bent backward, looking up at his bare chest) with Sheryl standing in the background, ragged with guitar and bandana, wondering how once again she got the guitar and not the man.

    Krista saying what we’d all been thinking, though more succinctly and with better snark.

    Michael D. – as has been said before, coffee all over the computer funny.

    I’m going to have to vote for JasonF, though, because of his crystal clear snapshot of a surreal moment.

  14. 14

    One liners always save the day. Check, Krista.

  15. 15
  16. 16
    JL says:

    Although all the entries were excellent, I finally pulled the lever (okay filled in the dot) for Krista. Jason would have received my vote but unfortunately it reads like a dark tragedy. MSM seems to agree with Mitt. Will anyone ever watch Riverdance on PBS and not envision Larry Craig? I think not.

  17. 17
    Nancy says:

    How can ANYONE in the world believe Sarah Palin is qualified to run for president? They must be very biased by their conservative social beliefs if they believe that-there can’t be another reason-she is inarticulate and ignorant!

  18. 18
    Krista says:

    I still can’t believe that I’m in the same company as those particular geniuses.

    Tbone’s is a masterpiece of snarky storytelling, and one that should have been printed on the front page of every newspaper in the world during the primaries.

    Ditto for JasonF — it’s beautiful in its tragic simplicity, and the shout-out from Maddow definitely gives bonus points.

    Michael’s comment gave me the helpless giggles for a good three days, just imagining the visual he depicted.

    I feel like Titanic in this Best Picture race…inexplicably popular, but definitely not the most deserving.

  19. 19
    canuckistani says:

    Krista, you are awesome, and if I had two votes, you’d get mine. But tbone just deserves *something* for the effort he put into the epic, and in lieu of cash, this is all I can give him.

    Or her.

  20. 20
    OriGuy says:

    Krista is obviously the Dorothy Parker of this Algonquin Round Table and Tbone is its Robert Benchley. That makes JasonF the George Kaufmann, since he was the most successful playwright. Not sure who Michael would be, Marc Connelly?

    Me? I’m the guy who comes in to empty out the ashtrays.

  21. 21
    D-Chance. says:

    Feh. For something more interesting… the 2008 Darwin Awards.

  22. 22
    JasonF says:

    @Laura W: I also have a copy saved on my Tivo.

    It’s an honor to be nominated, but I voted for Krista. That shit was hilarious.

  23. 23

    I can’t vote for only one. I loved them all. I declare a four way tie.

  24. 24
    Cassidy the Racist White Man says:

    @ Mithras

    He’s former Army, so he could mean the beginning of the FY 08, which would have started in Oct 07.

  25. 25
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    They’re all great, but Krista’s manages to distill pharmeceutical-grade snark down into two sentences so potent that even a Palinoid has to laugh.

    That there’s some brilliant shit.

  26. 26
    John Cole says:

    @Cassidy the Racist White Man: Nah, I just started collecting comments for this last October, and it made no sense to have them for just two months last year, so I collapsed them all into this year.

  27. 27
    Tsulagi says:

    Sarah deserves that #1 spot, she earned it. If Palin was a movie, she’d sweep the Oscars in most categories.

    However, hate to leave her running mate without his proper due. Not just for his brilliant deciderating in picking the fertile Bush surrogate. If there was a category for most pathetic speech, by far it’d have to be his green-screen masterpiece.

    It was like being pumped up for a fight ready and looking forward to kicking the shit out of your opponent, then seeing him wheeled in from a nursing home. Now all frail and weak. I actually felt sorry for him while watching that green-screen meltdown.

    For funniest BJ comment, have to separate it into two categories: Quick snark shot that hit the mark and comprehensive written work. Michael D’s was excellent, but Widestance is so 2007. I give the nod to astronaut Krista. He had good competition, but tbone for the Tuzla Tigress screenplay.

  28. 28
    IanY77 says:

    As a relocated Nova Scotian, I should give the nod to Krista, but I’m sorry, TBone’s narrative is just pure gold. There’s no shame in losing to the best.

    I’m sorry. I’ll turn in my pet lobster.

  29. 29
    JasonF says:

    @Tsulagi: The idea of having separate one-liner and long-form categories is brilliant. I would further divide each of those categories into "election related" and "non-election related," which means all four finalists win in their respective categories!

  30. 30
    ChrisB says:

    @JasonF: Excellent solution. They’re all too good.

    Four winners. Better than choosing or kissing your sister.

  31. 31
    ChrisB says:

    But don’t worry. I’m not asking for participation trophies for the rest of us.

  32. 32
    Laura W says:

    @JasonF: Commenter Tee Ball!

  33. 33
    oh really says:

    I have no desire to denigrate the estimable Krista or her pithy comment, but T-bone has given us "literature" — a higher form of expression and IMHO worthy of top recognition.

  34. 34

    […] Sarah Palin Laughs Last? Jan03 3 January 2009, mudslide @ 1:42 pm Balloon Juice just announced the winners from its competition for the dumbest thing said by a politician in 2008. […]

  35. 35
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    Krista by a nose with an elegantly played f-bomb.

  36. 36
    mudslide says:

    Sarah Palin may have the last laugh according to Igor Panarin, when Alaska become part of Russia in 2010, while the Northeast joins the European Union.

  37. 37

    Kee-rist, Maddow comes in here?

    Shit, this is like finding out your classy, accomplished next door neighbor can see you walking around in your boxers when she looks out her window.

  38. 38
    Shinobi says:

    Shit, this is like finding out your classy, accomplished next door neighbor can see you walking around in your boxers when she looks out her window.

    The question is, now that you know, do you put on a robe? or just wave?

  39. 39
    Andrew says:

    Krista and Michael had wonderful quips, but the other two are works of art.

  40. 40

    The question is, now that you know, do you put on a robe? or just wave?

    Wave what?

  41. 41
    Delia says:

    The question is, now that you know, do you put on a robe? or just wave?

    Maddow’s a big girl. She can handle it.

  42. 42
    slag says:

    It is admittedly a tough contest. But the regret that Krista so clearly felt about being able to see the moon from her window and yet not being an astronaut lent her comment a profound poignance that was simply impossible to over appreciate. Just like the woebegon relationship between Sarah and her dear, dear Vladdy. So close…and yet so far. It is a timeless tale of tragic proportions.

    That aside, when do we get to the Stupidest Statement Made by a Cable Talking Head contest?

  43. 43
    Tymannosourus says:

    Point of order.

    I was watching The View (don’t ask), and it was a re-run. In it, Steve Harvey made fun of Palin’s remark by saying: "When I look out my window, I can see the moon… that don’t make me an astronaut!"

    If Krista’s comment predated Steve Harvey’s joke, then she is a comic genius, but if not, maybe points should be docked, (or dare I say, she be DQ’d!!) for plagiarism. Hate to be a stickler, but coming from Minnesota, I’m kind of sensitive to election improprieties right now.

  44. 44
    Krista says:

    Harvey’s comment was on November 7th, from what I’ve seen on the tubes. Mine was on September 11th. I highly doubt Harvey got the comment from me, though. It’s not all that far-fetched to think that two (or many more) people would have come up with that same retort.

    Although considering how many other websites repeated that line, it’s also not outside the realm of possibility that he did see it somewhere. Either way, I was just happy to contribute something to the well-deserved ridicule of Sarah Palin.

  45. 45
    Tymannosourus says:


    For both your originality, then, and for your influence on the anti-palin movement, I give you my vote.

    Sorry I ever doubted, you, madam.

  46. 46
    binzinerator says:

    These are all top entries. It’s a tough call, although I think Krista edged out the others by dint of condensed snarkitude plus universality. The other entries are damn funny too, but they are pretty well confined to the sensibilities of the political junkie/blog crowd/special interest. You gotta be an insider to fully appreciate the extent of the humor of the other three.

    Example: Michael D.’s comment was hilarious but how many would know that was the sexual predilection of the gooper social conservative? How many were that in tune to Hillary and her BS? How give a shit about the auto industry or the labor movement let alone the UAW? All were funny as hell, but only to a relative insider.

    Krista’s comment was about someone everyone had exposure to, and synced with everyone’s bullshit detector. Nobody but a fucking idiot (or a koolaide addicted gooper, which is not necessarily mutually exclusive) or a reculse would think Krista’s strike missed paydirt.

    150 million people who might read Krista’s comment would know what she was talking about. Not so the others. You don’t have to be an insider to get Krista’s comment.

    That’s why I picked Krista. The rejoinder tens of millions only wished they could have though of.

  47. 47
    binzinerator says:

    How many give a shit about the auto industry or the labor movement let alone the UAW?

    The rejoinder tens of millions only wished they could have thought of.

    Sheesh. Curse my lazy fingers.

  48. 48
    TheAssInTheHatOnMyCat(Formerly Comrade Tax Analyst) says:

    Wow! I was ALMOST too stupid to figure out where to click to cast my vote.

    They were all great, but I voted for T-Bone’s outrageously hilarious recounting of Hillary’s Most Exceptional Tuzla War Adventure, and I used the opportunity to copy the link address to it for future reference. It’s just too good to let go of.

    The Sheryl Crow part cracked me up the most.

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