2023 Year-End Review, McLaughlin Group Style


Every year since college, my best friend Dan and I have compiled our best observations on a wide range of topics that reflect on the year that has just expired. We follow the well-established template of “The McLaughlin Group” program. We lost the venerable John McLaughlin in 2016 after decades of shaping how political analysis and debate programs should be done.

2023 certainly was something, wasn’t it?

Biggest Winner of the Year

The Green New Deal, which got more funding than it ever imagined in the Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law late in 2022. EV dealerships, wind turbine manufacturers, charging station installers, and battery manufacturing plants celebrated the gargantuan injection of federal cash by going out of business in droves.

Biggest Loser of the Year

Jews. They had about 36 hours of good will and permission from the international community to exact righteous vengeance for the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7, before the rest of the world decided to start denying the atrocities happened and the Biden administration sold them out. Meanwhile, anti-Semitism is out of control worldwide.

Best Politician of the Year

Javier Milei, who proved a Tea Party candidate can get elected president of a major Western country.

Honorable Mention: Geert Wilders, new prime minister of The Netherlands, who, like Milei, doesn’t take kindly to climate alarmism or globalism.

Worst Politician of the Year

RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel. By the end of November, the RNC reportedly had less than $10 million in cash on hand, less than a year out from an election that will cost a couple of billion dollars. Republicans have lost at least partial control of several states in which they previously held both houses of the legislature AND the governor’s mansion on the watch of Mitt’s niece. The Red Wave of 2022 failed to materialize. Why does the GOP continue to reelect a proven failure for a record-breaking fourth term at the helm?

Honorable Mention: Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, who said, “I think it was President Reagan who said, ‘We’re from the government, and we’re here to help!’” Missed it by that much, Sparky.

Most Defining Moment of the Year

70,000-plus envirowackos and globalists (but I repeat myself) fly to Dubai, spewing carbon all over the place, to talk about non-existent global warming and limiting plant food emissions and cow farts because the powers that be have randomly decided they’re pollutants. People should be put in jail for attempting to stunt human progress and not allowed to party on the taxpayer’s dime.

Best Spin of the Year

Rep. Jamal Bowman (D-N.Y.) says he pulled the fire alarm by accident, not to delay a vote. What a jerk.

Most Boring Politician of the Year

Gavin Newsom, who got his clock cleaned in that debate on Fox News with Ron DeSantis. Word is, backstage his wife refused to let him go back out for more abuse after DeSantis systematically recited his horrible record as governor to him.

Most Charismatic Politician of the Year

Gavin Newsom, who cleaned Sean Hannity’s clock in an interview a few months before the debate. Hannity inexplicably allowed Newsom to burnish his status as the number one stand-in for when the Democrats are forced to replace Biden at the top of the ticket. Hannity had no idea what hit him, and he opened the door for a credible substitute for President Puddin’ Pop.

Bummest Rap of the Year

Radicals blaming Israel for the crime of existing.

Fairest Rap of the Year

The justice system in America has been hijacked by political operatives who don’t understand our constitutional form of government. When investigative agencies can spy on citizens without warrants or charges, and political enemies can be persecuted and prosecuted simply by choosing a judicial theater in a population center unlikely to render blind justice, our republic is in deep trouble.

Best Comeback

Christian revivals. Several college campuses, not noted for their support of faith, saw revival meetings numbering in the thousands, with untold numbers of young people being born again or expressing their faith for the first time. The corporate media failed to notice, of course.

Most Original Thinker

Oliver Anthony, whose sudden explosion onto the music scene set the world of viral videos ablaze. His voice harkens back to Levon Helm and Hank Williams, and his lyrics cut through political BS to tell every American what is really wrong with our modern world. A true revelation, regardless of what kind of music you prefer.

Most Stagnant Thinker

Democratic North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, who declared a state of emergency after the legislature passed school choice legislation with a veto-proof majority. In a familiar bit of Democrat hypocrisy, Cooper sent his own children to a ritzy private school.

Honorable Mention: AG Merrick Garland and the FBI, who identified attendees of traditional Latin Mass in the Catholic Church as potential domestic terrorists.

Best Photo Op

Private jets of the German delegation to the UN Climate Summit in Dubai stuck to the tarmac after several inches of global warming fell all over Europe, encasing the entire runway in ice. 

Worst Photo Op

The Biden administration yawning as several Chinese spy balloons floated over the continental United States, only choosing to shoot one down after sustained outrage at his dereliction of duty.

Honorable Mention: Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin receiving CPR and getting defibrillated on the football field on Monday Night Football after a totally random, cause-never-determined, completely normal example of a young male athlete in his prime suffering cardiac arrest. Horrifying to watch in real time, and yet, sadly not unexpected, for reasons we cannot articulate in print.

Enough, Already (also known as the “Shut Up and Get Out Award”)

All the envirowackos who glued themselves to roadways and runways and threw soup on priceless works of art. Go away, and next time we’re not saying please.

Worst Lie of the Year

The deaths in the Maui wildfires were caused by climate change. In fact, whole families were burned alive trying to escape after the evacuation routes were ordered closed by local politicians, who then looked around frantically for a fall guy, settling on people warming up their SUVs in their driveways in the wintertime.

Capitalist of the Year

Tucker Carlson, who started his own media empire after getting fired from the corporate media complex.

Person of the Year

Donald Trump. Whether you love him or loathe him, he has once again dominated everyone’s attention, and it’s only going to increase in 2024.

Honorable Mention: Xi Jinping, who has increased his global influence and that of the CCP since he’s increased his domestic power.

Destined for Political Stardom

Glenn Youngkin, who has survived the initial wave of publicity to reveal an even, steady hand as governor, and has gained a solid foundation of popularity in Virginia.

Destined for Political Oblivion

Kamala Harris.

Destined for the Other Kind of Oblivion

Joe Biden, obvs.

Best Political Theater

Watching Pennsylvania Democratic Senator John Fetterman make sense on immigration, domestic manufacturing, the savage Hamas attack on Israel, demanding Bob Menendez step down, and the dangers of TikTok. Neither Republicans nor Democrats know what to do with this guy since he recovered from his stroke.

Honorable Mention: Every time Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) asks any question in any Senate hearing.

Worst Political Theater

The sham “investigation” by the Secret Service into Hunter Biden’s that mystery bag of coke found in the White House.

Most Under-Reported Story

Get Woke, Go Broke. The corporate media has deliberately ignored this. Huge brands and corporations known by everyone deciding to alienate 80% of their customer base by going woke and then expressing surprise when they lose billions in market share. Disney has produced mega-bombs at the box office for several years in a row, losing its golden touch; Target lost its hold on the shopping public; Bud Light went from #1 in the beer market to barely hanging on for survival as a brand within a matter of months. What did they all have in common? They hired marketing professionals to “rebrand” their products as hip and with the times by catering to woke ideologies like transgenderism and anti-whiteness.

Most Over-Reported Story

The sham ethics claims against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. If the leftist “non-profits” could expend equal energy on Ketanji Brown Jackson, Hunter Biden, or Claudine Gray, that’d be great.

Biggest Government Waste

The political persecution of Donald Trump and the J6 protesters.

Best Dollar Spent

SpaceX creating reusable boosters for its rockets. No matter how many times I see it, I remain in awe.

Boldest Political Tactic

Matt Gaetz introducing the resolution to remove Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker.

Best Idea of 2023

Elon Musk telling advertisers who threaten to boycott X/Twitter to “f*** off.”

Worst Idea of 2023

Harvard’s board of directors unanimously reaffirming Claudine Gay as college president after dozens of proven instances of plagiarism over three decades in the academy. If ever you needed more proof of the intellectual and moral rot in our institutes of higher education, here you go.

Honorable Mention: New York City floating the idea of outlawing pizza restaurants in the name of climate change.

Sorry to See You Go

Jimmy Buffett, who brought good vibes to all his fans, seemed like a genuinely good dude.

Also sorry to see you go: causes of death for all the young celebrities who left us in 2023. The annual list seems a bit light on the details. Many of the older celebrities seem to have died of the expected causes. See, for instance, this list on People.com.

Honorable Mention: Sandra Day O’Connor, Henry Kissinger.

The Kim Jong Il Not Even a Little Bit Sorry to See You Go Award

Dianne Feinstein, David Crosby.

15 Minutes of Fame

George Santos. He was entertaining, at least. And now he’s gone.

Turncoat of the Year

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who should be jailed for allowing the borders of the United States to be overrun by drug cartels, human smugglers, and invading men of military age by the thousands. Even the left is starting to worry about future terrorist acts on American soil because of an abject failure to enforce border security.

Most Honest Person of the Year

The movie “The Sound of Freedom” that told the story of one former Homeland Security agent who rescued children from sex traffickers. Nowhere near enough attention is paid to this horrible crime.

Most Overrated Person, Event, or Story of the Year

Ibram X. Kendi, who continues to command huge speaking and consulting fees for his “anti-racist” work, even as his “research” department at Boston University is dismantled for not having produced any actual research.

Most Underrated Person, Event, or Story of the Year

The cost of living. The average car payment is dangerously close to $1,000 per month, mortgage prices have spiked for several reasons, and gas and food prices have reached astronomical levels and stayed there. Young people entering the workforce see the American Dream as ever more impossible to achieve over the past three years.

Grade the Planet

If we were grading on human progress, it would be an A+. If we graded on the West’s protection and promotion of human progress, F-.


Under its current leadership, the RNC will continue to get blown out in important elections across the country.

New Year’s Resolution

To tell the truth and cut through the BS.


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