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America’s worst politicians

Alternative weeklies from around the nation tell us about the bottom feeders of public office

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For an interactive version of this story, click here http://worstpoliticians.com/

Exactly 238 years ago this week, Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that King George III was “a Tyrant ... unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

Ever since then, Americans have been calling out their leaders. “Tyrant” was just the start. We’ve moved on to “crook” (Nixon), “liar” (Clinton) and “moron” (Dubya).

Whether or not you agree with the peanut gallery, there’s no denying that such written assaults on public honchos are as American as baseball, apple pie and the iPhone.

Those closest to American politics – writers and editors of the alternative press from across the land – have combined their collective genius here. They’ve named some of the nation’s worst elected leaders from across the country, then separated them into hatemongers, sleazeballs, blowhards and horn dogs. Take note; Election Day approaches. – Chuck Strouse, editor, Miami New Times


Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer

In 2010, Arizona’s governor, Jan Brewer, affixed her signature to the infamous immigrant-bashing legislation called Senate Bill 1070 and rode a wave of xenophobia to electoral triumph, a book deal, conservative accolades and liberal opprobrium. She did this despite massive goofs such as claiming that headless bodies were routinely found in the Arizona desert, blanking for several seconds during a TV debate with her gubernatorial rivals and claiming her dad died fighting the Nazis when he actually worked in a munitions depot during World War II and died 10 years after the war ended.

Brewer spent millions in donations on appeals to a U.S. district court’s injunction against most of SB 1070. Then, in 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court overthrew a large part of the statute as unconstitutional. Still, it had its intended effect. More than 200,000 Hispanics fled the state because of SB 1070 and other anti-immigrant laws, according to one estimate. They took their purchasing power with them to other states, making Arizona’s recession even worse.

Brewer still plays the race card, even as a lame duck with zero political prospects. For instance, she stubbornly refuses to relent on her executive order denying driver’s licenses to so-called DREAMers who qualify for deferred action under a federal plan.

Recently, the governor has tried softening her image by pushing through a Medicaid expansion and overhauling Arizona’s inept Child Protective Services. Nevertheless, her political gravestone is destined to read, “Signed SB 1070.” – Stephen Lemons, Phoenix New Times

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, Arizona

Congressman Paul Gosar stood beside flaming racist Cliven Bundy and Bundy’s band of armed militia members ready to battle the Bureau of Land Management in southern Nevada – all over the rancher’s refusal to pay his bills. But Gosar’s opportunistic move (a publicity stunt to score points with his militia-minded constituency) blew up in his face.

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