The Official Biggest Losers Of 2013

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, speaks at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Oc
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, speaks at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. Cruz was scheduled to speak on the scope of treaty power in the U.S. Constitution. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

WASHINGTON -- Some people are losers because they have failed in their endeavors; others are losers because they've suffered misfortune. Here are HuffPost's favorite losers of the year, in no particular order.

James Clapper -- The intel honcho oversaw one of the greatest losses of intelligence in U.S. history and was also caught lying to Congress. He still has his job somehow, but otherwise he likely wants to forget 2013.

james clapper

Grand Bargaineers -- This year saw the death of the Grand Bargain and the rise of the Petite Bargain. Henceforth, Barack Obama and John Boehner will have to find some other way to cut Social Security. Maya MacGuinneas, the head of Fix the Debt, raised tens of millions of corporate dollars to pressure Washington into a grand bargain, but began the year on the losing end of the "fiscal" cliff deal and ended it completely marginalized, with everyone from all sides dismissing the group's central aim. Biggest loser runner-up in the deficit scold category is Peter Peterson, the private equity billionaire who funded much of MacGuinneas' failed effort.

(via Dave Weigel)
Fix The Debt's can that kicks back is on its way to the recycle bin of history.

Ted Cruz -- The Texas GOP senator's vaunted strategy to foil Obamacare shut down the government, but did not foil Obamacare.

ted cruz

Pine Trees -- Warmer weather allowed the mountain pine beetle to continue to gorge itself on Western forests. It's just one of the many plagues that climate change is visiting upon the globe.

Bigots -- Gay people have been getting married left and right; the sky hasn't fallen.


Voters -- The Supreme Court struck down part of a landmark civil rights law that protected voting rights for minorities, with Chief Justice John Roberts arguing that racism is over. Southern states immediately began passing laws intended to block minorities from voting.

Judgmental Catholics -- Pope Francis said an amazing thing: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Indeed.


Workers -- The year started with shrunken paychecks thanks to the expiration of a 2 percent Social Security payroll tax cut, which essentially wiped out wage gains for millions. Then, Black Friday canceled Thanksgiving.

Dan Snyder -- His Washington, D.C., football team began the year with its star quarterback's tragic knee injury in the playoffs. Then, everyone started talking about the team's racist name again, and Snyder trotted out a fake chief. Then, the team lost most of its games in the new season, and the organization is closing the year in hopelessness and disarray.

The Washington Department of Football's season in a nutshell.

Gun Control Advocates -- How many mass shootings does it take to get to the hearts of gun lobbyists? The world may never know.

The Long-Term Unemployed -- Congress had already shortened the duration of unemployment benefits available to the long-term unemployed, but people like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) still beat them up for receiving 99 weeks of aid. On Dec. 28, extra benefits will disappear altogether.

Rand Paul -- So, so much plagiarism.

rand paul

People on Food Stamps -- Republicans spent the summer claiming food stamp recipients are lazy surfers who use their benefits for sushi and lobster. Then in the fall, Democrats cut their assistance by $5 billion. Experts say it was the first-ever month-to-month drop in benefit amounts.

Third Way -- Took on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Whoops.

Women in North Dakota, Arkansas, Texas -- These states passed harsh abortion restrictions as part of a lesser-known Obamacare backlash. Reproductive freedom advocates in Texas had state Sen. Wendy Davis to thank for her filibustering high point, though a few weeks later Texas passed its unconstitutional abortion bill anyway. But we'll always have that night.

Anthony Weiner -- For a minute there he was actually winning the New York mayor's race, despite being a serial sext offender. Then he flipped the bird and conceded he is an empty, soulless vessel.

Detroit Civil Servants -- Because Detroit's public employees have it so good, the vampire squid is sucking blood from their pensions.

Trey Radel -- Florida man busted for cocaine possession. This time he also happened to be a GOP congressman.

Undocumented Immigrants -- They're being detained and deported at record rates, the president's way of showing he's tough on enforcement so Republicans will join him in reforming the system. Instead, reform went nowhere in 2013. People just got the stick.

Barack Obama -- The signature achievement of his first term has badly underperformed in a big year, and the president's "you can keep it" promise proved false. Despite his best efforts to prosecute leakers, a leaker exposed the administration's extremely vast and creepy and probably unconstitutional surveillance activities. And his approval ratings, those aren't so hot right now.

barack obama

Kim Jong Un's Uncle -- If you were the uncle of a 30-year-old North Korean dictator, this was not your year.

Federal Workers -- President Obama earlier implemented a pay freeze to show how tough he is on spending and then spent the next several years being dubbed a big spender. After that thankless sacrifice, federal workers were furloughed in 2013, and the latest budget deal asks them to give up some of their pensions so we can keep tax rates low. We can't think of a better way to manage employee morale and attract and retain top-quality talent.

Marco Rubio -- The rising Republican star and Florida senator abandoned what could have been his first big legislative achievement. We don't understand the long game here -- the man wants to be president and he's slowly losing his hair! Americans haven't elected a bald president since Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s ... and that guy had won World War II.

America -- My God, what a year.




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