A Decade for Zeroes

The year is coming to a close and, with it, the end of a decade. Ten years ago, I was an associate in a law firm, father of a one-year old daughter and new City Councilman.  Sharon and I had just bought our first house.   Seems like yesterday.

So much has happened to our family, our community and our nation.  I’ve been lucky to see a lot of it first-hand.  In no particular order, here is my list for the Decade of Zeroes:

Most Historic Date:  September 11, 2001.  We all remember exactly where we were that day.  And we always will. 

Least Historic Date:  The opening day of “Alvin and the Chipmunks II (the Squak-quel)”.  Unfortunately, I was there.

Biggest Tragedy:  The shootings at Virginia Tech in April 2007.  Still hard to believe. 

Best Movie:  Hard to find one, so I’ll go with three.  “Slumdog Millionaire”, “Gran Torino” and “Into the Wild.” 

Best Remake:  “Ocean’s Eleven.”  Loved the original with Sinatra, et al.  The remake was just as good. 

Best Concert:  Bruce Springsteen at FedEx Field in 2003.  Johnny Cash had died that week and Bruce came out in all black to open with ”I Walk the Line” on acoustic guitar.  You had to be there.

Biggest Collapse:  The Redskins blow a 13-0 lead in the playoffs and lose to the Bucs in January 2000.  It was our only real playoff shot in ten years.  Thanks for nothing, Norv.  (honorable mention:  the loss to the Saints in November). 

Most Fun Political Campaign:  Jim Webb for Senate in 2006.  A complete train-wreck of a campaign that was sustained by the sheer enthusiasm of the volunteers and integrity of the candidate. 

Most Significant Political Event (Virginia):  Barack Obama speaking at the JJ Dinner in February 2008 in Richmond, crushing Hillary in the primary three days later and then winning the general election ballot in November.  Virginia was at the forefront of his campaign the entire year and it paid off.  Absolutely unprecedented. 

Most Influential Political Blog:  Not Larry Sabato.  Everybody hates on it but everybody reads it. 

Most Talented Blogger:  Lowell Feld.  The man who created “Raising Kaine” is still at it five years later.  Great eye for the absurdity of politics.  (honorable mention to Vincent Harris on the conservative side).

Most Dominating Athlete:  LeBron.  (honorable mention to Peyton Manning but he can’t dunk)

Most Dominating Athlete in D.C.:  Alex Ovechkin.  Nobody else even close.

Most Successful Politician:  Barack Obama.  Yes, it’s early.  But where was he ten years ago?

Most Influential Politician:  George Bush.  The love (or hate) of him kept this country obsessed for eight years. 

Most Successful Politician in Virginia:  Mark Warner.  Won the Governor’s race in a very tough year (2001) for Democrats.  Actually got more popular as people got to know him better (which is rare).  Crushed Gilmore 2-1 for the U.S. Senate in 2008.

Most Influential Politician in Virginia:  John Chichester and Dick Saslaw (tie).  They kept the State Senate on the same moderate track for ten years, even with the changes in power.  And everyone knows that the real power in Richmond is in the legislature.  (smile)

Longest Shot to Make it Statewide:  Ken Cuccinelli.  Ken was an outside shot to win the Repub state senate nomination in 2002.  Was ostracized for much of his time in the Senate.  Now he’s the AG. 

Best Organizer (Democrat):  Tim Kaine.  Had the best-executed statewide race in 2005, then got in early on the Obama train in 2008.  Will try to take his skills national in 2010. 

Best Organizer (Repub):  Bob McDonnell.  Hung on in 2005, then blew out the lights in 2009.  Never got off message or suffered a bad hair day.  Now that’s organized.

(4:30 pm update — The guys over at www.tooconservative.com have rightly chastised me for not mentioning the best local sports story which was George Mason’s run to the Final Four in 2006.  Let’s just say it sweeps the following categories:  “Biggest Underdog Story in NCAA history,” “Best Performance by Fairfax-based Team,”  ”Best Coaching Job in NCAA Tournament” and “Best Spontaneous Celebration on Streets of Downtown Fairfax.”  Very good catch guys). 

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