Most Overinflated Story: Mark Foley Scandal
Amazing amounts of coverage and huge political damage, including a possible lost election, all resulting from what is essentially a story about a gay Congressman scrupulously avoiding molesting congressional pages. There was no sex and the pages weren't even underage, but yet the news media managed to drag it out for months and it cost people their careers, all over nothing.
More Machiavellian than Karl Rove: Rahm Emanuel
Rahm Emanuel of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was a big winner for the year, engineering the remarkable election coup in November. He did it by manipulating and betraying his own constituencies with an amazing bait and switch, pimping and then selling out a slew of progressive candidates including the 'Band of Brothers', and ultimately dumping them for a creepy collection of pro-life demofascists who could actually beat the Republicans. There may be a price to pay in 2008, but Karl Rove would be proud.
It Came from Beyond the Political Graveyard: Newt Gingrich
We thought he was doomed to an eternity writing dull science fiction and appearing as a talking head on FOXNews, but somehow he's returned from the grave and people are actually talking about Newt as a presidential contender for 2008. Nostalgia for the honesty and compassion of the Contract for America is one thing, but is running the most divisive figure in modern politics really the way to win over moderates and independents?
Just Desserts: Rick Santorum
I like to call him Rick Sanctimonious, and I'm delighted that voters saw through his smug and preachy facade to the creepiness that lay beneath. All he needed was an opportunity to start a witch hunt - perhaps for gays in the State Department - and he could have been another Joe McCarthy. There's something uniquely satisfying about seeing a self-righteous, bigoted zealot go down to inevitable destriction primarily because his constituents got to see him in action and didn't like what they saw.