TPM’s The Duke Of Dukes: The Final Four

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And so we come to our Final Four. And we’ve got a question for you, readers. Why is Dinesh D’Souza here? What is going on?

Epic troll though he may be, is he really more of a Duke than Anthony Weiner, the man whose horrible need for attention resulted in a Coen Brothers-like series of unfortunate events ultimately ending, as some have argued, as we argue, with Trump??

And did he deserve to defeat Rob Ford??? The man who arguably defines what a Golden Duke is all about even better than the original “Duke”???? (The Golden Ford just doesn’t have that same ring.)

We don’t really think either of those characters deserved to fall to D’Souza, but, apparently, readers, you do. So here he is, in the Final Four, up against the original: Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, for whom these awards are named. Let’s hope the Duke can put an end to the rogue Dinesh’s romp.

TPM Illustration/Getty Images

The Match-Ups!


(1) Duke Cunningham vs. (4) Dinesh D’Souza

Dinesh started off ranked fourth in his region, trailed only by the now-long-gone Michele Bachmann, RIP. But he fought his way here, felling Golden Duke favorites including Ford, Weiner, and Chris Christie. Now he faces Duke Cunningham himself, the Golden Dukes’ namesake and a former congressman with many glorious abuses of the public trust under his belt.

This match-up prompts an epistemological question: can you out-Duke the Duke? Even if the answer is theoretically yes, is D’Souza the man for the job? We’ve already expressed our thoughts on that situation. We’ll see who makes it to the finals. (And if you vote for Dinesh, please, email us. We don’t get it, but sincerely want to know your reasoning.)

(1) Rudy Giuliani vs. (4) Dick Cheney

When the idea for the Duke of Dukes leapt from the brain of our colleague Derick Dirmaier, we have to imagine that this is the kind of thing he had in mind. A real premium match-up between a Duke of old, Dick Cheney, and the weirdest man of 2020, Rudy Giuliani.

Weirdest of 2020 is quite an accomplishment — it’s been a weird year — but Cheney will always be near and dear to our hearts. Yes, both contenders in this match-up have an expansive view of executive power that will land them in the history books, but what they’re competing over here is a bit different. Rudy is nominated not for undermining democracy, but doing so from a series of forgotten exurban parking lots while dripping wet. Yet Cheney shot his friend in the face, and made said friend apologize. Can anyone top that? If anyone can, perhaps it’s The Damp Mayor. [Cue The Clash.]

Latest Golden Dukes 2020

Notable Replies

  1. The problem with this year’s contest idea is that I suspect most folks feel that the real, maximal, nonpareil “Duke of Dukes” is none of these contestants and all suffer by comparison. D’Souza self-righteous, Cheney lethal, Duke (and Ford) risably corrupt, and Rudy gonzo but He Who Must Not Be Named beats them in all categories and others unmentioned with the power to annihilate us all in a fit of peek (sic) besides so …

  2. The Duke of Dukes need more categories. Thinking Rudy is the big winner for “Best Makeup by a Supporting Duke”.

  3. I agree that Rob Ford should be in the final four.
    The problem is that people are comparing newer to older scandals, and personality - particularly an odious personality - may be elevating some of the people.

    To me, when it comes down to the downright unbelievable actions of a public servant, the astonishing actions of both Rob Ford and Dick Cheney top even Duke Cunningham. I’d probably pick Cheney over Ford, because of the many things Cheney did, but no one will likely ever top shooting someone in the face and getting the victim to apologize for it. (Especially when plenty of people go to jail for accidental shootings).

    Love this idea. Take the top 12 and breakdown different categories of their special brand of ridiculous behavior. Though the sweaty makeup needs to be tied to having COVID and going to multiple locations and asking people near him to take off their masks.

  4. Similar to how we now have 100-year storms every 4 or 5 years, we also have a 1990s-level-scandal-of-the-year every day. Sometimes two or more a day.

  5. I will reiterate my admiration for D’souza’s superior “Dukeiness.” Who else can combine trolling acumen, producing a fictional non-fiction movie, a sort-of sex scandal (with Anne Coulter fer cryinoutloud), campaign finance crime, and one of the first :tangerine:pardons. Everyone else looks like one trick ponies to me.

    I feel kind of sorry for people like Bachman, Wiener, Giuliani, Ford, and sometimes (not often) :tangerine:, himself. I get the feeling that these folks’ problems are the result of real mental and physiological problems that beg for some understanding and treatment.

    While D’souza may be a legitimate idiot, it’s the kind of willful idiocy that really sticks in your craw. I’m with Dinesh!

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