Happy New Year!
I hope 2012 brings you joy, laughter, love, happiness, and many pints of tasty hummus. Here at The Recovering Politician, we plan some exciting new features that we will share with you in the weeks ahead.
For now, as you rest and recover from your New Year’s Eve celebration — and recharge your batteries for a busy January — I wanted to share with you some good reading material.
The first nine months at The Recovering Politician have seen more than 1200 posts from over three dozen contributors. I share my favorites below; please let me know what I missed in the comments section:
We’ll start with Me because, well…uh…I paid for that microphone. I started the site by explaining Why March Madness Matters and ended the year arguing that Adam Sandler Saved the Jews. In between, I made The Liberal Case for Israel, I outlined Debt Ceilings and Credit Downgrade for Dummies, and shared my Top Five lists for about everything. (My favorite – Jew-ish Gentiles in Pop Culture). All and all, I can’t thank you enough for indulging my part-time, unpaid writing career.
Our most popular writer, hands down, has been contributing RP and former Missouri State Senator Jeff Smith. Jeff’s first piece — the story of his rise into national celebrity, his dramatic fall that resulted in a prison term, and his hopes for redemption — put the RP on the national map, earning recognition from New York magazine’s “Approval Matrix.” Jeff’s followup — about love and sex behind bars — drew in nearly 100,000 readers, literally crashing the Web site. Jeff’s become a national sensation — expect much more from him in 2012.
Contributing RP Michael Steele was already a national sensation before he joined the site — you know him as the former Lt. Governor of Maryland, as well as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Now a regular contributor to MSNBC, Michael shared with RP readers his vision of the new American Dream, and assessed both President Barack Obama and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Over the next few days, Michael will report from the Iowa caucuses; and in the year ahead, he will share his lively take on politics — and other subjects as well.
Another familiar face at the site in 2011 was another former Lt. Governor of Maryland, contributing RP Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. Kathleen elucidated her well-versed take on faith and politics, while slamming a then-ascendant Rick Perry for misusing faith, defended Sarah Palin(!), and shared her unique perspective as a member of the nation’s most iconic political family. Her most popular piece was on, of all things, home births. Expect the same kind of wide variety from Kathleen at The RP in the coming months.
One of the RP’s most prolific contributing RPs was former Alabama Congressman Artur Davis. Artur wrote a fascinating, insightful piece about political authenticity, plunged into the centuries-old debate on race and politics, and explored the Democratic Party’s faith gap. Some of his most popular pieces were book reviews, taking on new works about Harry Truman and Bobby Kennedy. Artur’s not been shy about controversy, angering conservatives by attacking his home state’s “ugly” immigration law, and riling liberals by supporting its new Voter ID law. Don’t expect Artur to pull any punches in 2012.
Contributing RP and former Missouri state House Speaker Rod Jetton is also one who is not a stranger to controversy. At the peak of his power, Rod was charged with ethics and criminal violations, and while he was cleared of everything, he stepped down to begin his second act. Rod’s 3-part series about his “Success, Scandal and Change” was one of the site’s most widely read, and he concluded the year with a touching 4-part series on his best friend, a fallen Marine. In the middle, he showed off a wry sense of humor in a video interview with his unlikely pal, contributing RP Jeff Smith (you have to see Rod’s imitation of Jeff).
Jason Atkinson, an Oregon State Senator and contributing RP, underwent a different kind of political recovery — he had to withdraw from a promising gubernatorial campaign after he accidentally shot himself while hunting. He writes about the experience — with graphic charts — in “A Real Political Recovery,” but also created an Internet sensation with short films he directed on more successful outdoor adventures fishing for trout in “Big Mo” and “Half Pounder.” He also showed off his own wicked sense of humor, imitating Abe Lincoln and citing the wisdom of Homer…Simpson that is.
Our newest contributing RP, former Virginia Congressional Democratic nominee Krystal Ball, has already generated considerable reader interest with her first piece about Why We Need More Women in Politics. Krystal should know; her first campaign for office was interrupted by a ridiculous media inquiry into pictures taken of her in college; PG-13 pictures that caused a mini-national-sensation only because of Krystal’s gender. As a regular contributor to MSNBC and here at The RP, Krystal will help us view politics in a much different way.
Finally, I feel very fortunate — and so is the RP Nation — to have convinced my good friend, contributing RP, and former Kentucky Secretary of State, John Y. Brown, III to share his incisive social and political commentary, along with his uproarious sense of humor, at The RP. John Y. helped set the theme and tone of the site with his early piece, “What Do We Do Now?,” in which he offered a 20-question quiz to help readers determine if they were in need of political recovery. More recently, we’ve launched a regular feature, John Y.’s Musings from the Middle, in which he shares his wit and wisdom on topics varying from fruitcake to the death penalty to Lindsay Lohan. We guarantee a lot of laughs, as well as thoughtful advice, in the year ahead.
Thanks for joining us in 2011. Stay tuned for a wild and wonderful 2012.