What a long strange trip it’s been.
2011 started with tragedy with the Gabby Giffords shooting, then shifted to high drama with the roiled politics of Wisconsin and the killing of Osama bin Laden and finally settled into a ever-deepening farce as the White House and Congress battled over the debt ceiling and then jousted over whether jobs were a bigger priority that budget cutting.
Which TPM posts did you like the best?
Judged by your readership (i.e., page views), here are the Top Ten TPM Posts of 2011 …
1. GOPers Demand Sean Duffy Salary Tape Be Pulled From The Internet (VIDEO) (300,547 views) | Evan McMorris-Santoro
First the Republican Party in Polk County, Wisconsin, pulled the tape of Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) fretting about making ends meet on his $174,000 a year salary from its own website. Now they want it gone from the whole Internet. For a couple hours, the local county GOP was successful. But we’ve put an excerpt of the video back up. A day after TPM posted the video we obtained of Duffy talking about his salary at a Polk County town hall meeting earlier this year, the Polk County GOP contacted the video provider we used to host the video, Blip.tv, and demanded the video be taken down.
2. Rep. Ryan Tastes The Grapes Of Wrath (265,151 views) | Susan Crabtree
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), a leading advocate of shrinking entitlement spending and the architect of the plan to privatize Medicare, spent Wednesday evening sipping $350 wine with two like-minded conservative economists at the swanky Capitol Hill eatery Bistro Bis. It was the same night reports started trickling out about President Obama pressing Congressional leaders to consider changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for GOP support for targeted tax increases.
3. TX Teacher Suspended After Telling Muslim Student ‘I Bet You’re Grieving’ (230,686 views) | Evan McMorris-Santoro
A Texas high school teacher has been placed on administrative leave following an incident where he allegedly told a 9th grade Muslim girl in his algebra class “I bet that you’re grieving” on Monday following the death of Osama bin Laden. According to one parent at Clear Brook High School in Houston who spoke about the incident to a local ABC affiliate, the teacher also said, “I heard about your uncle’s death.”
4. Wisconsin Gov. Walker Ginned Up Budget Shortfall To Undercut Worker Rights (164,647 views) | Brian Beutler
Wisconsin’s new Republican governor has framed his assault on public worker’s collective bargaining rights as a needed measure of fiscal austerity during tough times. The reality is radically different. Unlike true austerity measures — service rollbacks, furloughs, and other temporary measures that cause pain but save money — rolling back worker’s bargaining rights by itself saves almost nothing on its own. But Walker’s doing it anyhow, to knock down a barrier and allow him to cut state employee benefits immediately.
5. Pandemonium! Dems Jam Republicans With Even More Conservative Budget (162,547 views) | Brian Beutler
What was supposed to be a routine vote in the House — to knock down an amendment authored by conservative Republicans — turned into pandemonium on the House floor Friday, as Democrats tried to jam the plan through, and hang it around the GOP’s necks. The vote was on the Republican Study Committee’s alternative budget — a radical plan that annihilates the social contract in America by putting the GOP budget on steroids. Deeper tax cuts for the wealthy, more severe entitlement rollbacks.
6. Paul Supporters Hijack Cheney-Rumsfeld Reunion (Video) (134,903 views) | Evan McMorris-Santoro
Dick Cheney just popped up here at CPAC to introduce his old pal and Bush administration colleague Donald Rumsfeld. Fans of Ron Paul turned what should have been a friendly moment before an audience of fellow conservatives into a screaming match and protest action that resembled what a Cheney-Rumsfeld hug at the Netroots Nation convention might look like.
7. Sarah Palin Reportedly Quits Bus Tour Halfway Through(135,095 views) | Jillian Rayfield
Former half-term Gov. Sarah Palin has reportedly packed in her bus tour…halfway through. Real Clear Politics is reporting that Palin and her family have returned to Alaska from their “One Nation” bus tour, despite tentatively scheduled stops in Iowa and South Carolina. Palin’s intent to visit Iowa and South Carolina, as well as one stop in New Hampshire, caused some speculation that she was starting to get serious about a run for president in 2012.
8. Freshman GOPer Didn’t Know Government Paid For Her Health Benefits (121,751 views) | Brian Beutler
A fun nugget buried in this story about Rep. Ann Buerkle’s (R-NY) first town hall meeting as an elected member of Congress. Constituents repeatedly asked a puzzled Buerkle about her health benefits. She couldn’t figure out why. But her staff sure could. As Republicans point out, these are employer provided benefits, which they’re all for. So it’s not as simple as straight hypocrisy. But there’s a fundamental tension between the GOP’s naysaying on health care reform and their willingness to accept federally subsidized private insurance — just as in the health care law.
9. Conservatives Criticize Free T-Shirts At Tucson Memorial Service (100,535 views) | Evan McMorris-Santoro
Some conservatives are upset over t-shirts bearing the logo “Together We Thrive: Tucson & America” that were handed out to attendees at tonight’s memorial service in the McKale Center on the campus of the University Of Arizona here. The shirts, which bear the same logo that adorns other items from the event — including press passes, signage and volunteer t-shirts — were placed on many of the seats in the lower sections of the arena when tonight’s capacity crowd walked in.
10. Ira Glass: I Don’t Understand Why NPR Is Not Fighting Back (AUDIO) (93163 views) | Eric Lach
“This American Life” host Ira Glass went on NPR’s “On The Media” show on Friday to discuss the organization’s current public troubles, and questioned why NPR is not responding head on to conservatives’ charge that it has a left wing bias. “I feel like public radio should address this directly, because I think anybody who listens to our stations understands that what they’re hearing is mainstream media reporting,” Glass said.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.