The Pelosi and McCain Awards

Shrum's first annual honors to the courageous and cowardly in American politics

Robert Shrum

The storm of the New Year will soon break, perhaps as fiercely as the blizzard that buried the Northeast and brought the once competent Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York his Katrina moment. But for now, it's time to look back; award season is upon us, replete with Oscars, best and worst lists from the campaigns and New York Times columnist David Brooks' Sidney Awards for the best magazine essays of the past year.

Herewith are my own tributes and anti-tributes. The first annual Pelosi Awards, named for the most effective Speaker of the House in modern memory who rescued health reform from the Brown-out that followed the loss of Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts, will go to leaders who demonstrated exceptional skill in enacting their beliefs. The McCain Awards, named for the bitter onetime maverick who seizes on every day as another chance to deface his own record and convictions, will recognize politicians who have displayed conspicuous craven conduct in the line of duty.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us
Robert Shrum has been a senior adviser to the Gore 2000 presidential campaign, the campaign of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and the British Labour Party. In addition to being the chief strategist for the 2004 Kerry-Edwards campaign, Shrum has advised thirty winning U.S. Senate campaigns; eight winning campaigns for governor; mayors of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and other major cities; and the Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. Shrum's writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The New Republic, Slate, and other publications. The author of No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner (Simon and Schuster), he is currently a Senior Fellow at New York University's Wagner School of Public Service.