Five Things to Be Thankful for in a Pre-election Year

From the Arab spring to the European crisis, we’ve had our share of natural and man-made disasters in 2011. As the year unwinds and we get ready to count our blessings, here are five things Americans can be thankful for in this pre-election year:

1. The apocalypse didn’t happen. Following a devastating 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that hit Japan on March 11th, many of us were updating our emergency kits, piling our basements full of food and preparing for the worse. It didn’t help that Harold Camping and his followers had announced the Rapture and Judgment Day for May 21st. After much a media do, the hyped dated came and went. So did October 28th (the recalculated Mayan calendar end-date). A few bad tornadoes, record flooding and storms recorded; but here we are, catching our breath until December 21, 2012.

2. Weinergate. As the week of June 8th approached, the largest wildfire in Arizona history was raging, a bloody fight was underway in Libya and debt talks were looming in Capitol Hill. Thank you Anthony Weiner! The news that the fiery, rising star of the Democratic Party had tweeted sexually suggestive pictures of himself to several women was so surreal, it took our minds off everything else for two weeks. Oh Anthony, you really disappointed many of us, but your legacy lives in history.

3. Mama Grizzly is off the airwaves. Admit it: the US is a safer place without political correspondents chasing after the freedom bus, trying to guess where Sarah Palin might eat next, whose spotlight she will steal and what she’ll spend her pack money on. On October 5, 2011 mama grizzly finally put us out of our misery and announced that she will not run for President of the United States. Sigh… What is wrong with you people! Can’t a girl just have some fun?

4. GOP presidential contenders. With Sarah out of the picture we had no choice but to focus on the actual GOP presidential runners. When we sat down to watch that first debate we grabbed our choice of caffeine because we just knew it was going to be a bore. Right? Wrong. What an entertaining bunch they turned out to be! Controversial comments from Ron Paul, scary demeanor from Newt Gingrich, unnecessary feistiness from Santorum; and it was just getting started! Who could ignore Huntsman’s flat jokes, Michelle Bachman’s spooky blinking and Cain’s short and in-your-face answers? Whew! Much has happened since. The flavor of the week has gone from Bachman to Perry to Cain to Gingrich, with Romney’s poll numbers plateaued at more or less 25%. Who knows who will be next. Sexual scandals, 9-9-9, questionable speeches and memory oops, claims of corruption, denials, intrigue, swipes at the media. This group of candidates is the gift that keeps on giving. Enjoy them while they last. We’re less than two months from the Iowa caucuses.

5. The Donald might still run. If you’re concerned that none of the current GOP contenders are up to the task of confronting China, take the rightful spoils from our many wars, and restoring America to its good deal-making days, fear not. According to his wife Melania recently interviewed by Joy Behar, the Donald might still run. I know what you’re thinking… we’ve heard that before. But that was before Obama pulled that Bin Laden card that made it seem impossible he’d be defeated, for about a week. The Dalai Lama of the GOP has since considered his options and notices the flavor of the week changing more than a traffic light. Could it be a sign that voters are still waiting for a political messiah? Hope dies hard. The staff at the Daily Show and Saturday Night Live will be praying for a miracle.

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