Political Losers in 2013 Were Truly a Hot Mess

In a year when politics couldn’t possibly have gotten any worse, Ted Cruz, John Boehner and even the president made sure it did.


President Barack Obama (Win McNamee/Getty Images); Sen. Ted Cruz (Steve Pope/Getty Images); House Speaker John Boehner (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Though there were no major elections held this year, 2013 still turned out to be one of the more eventful years in recent political memory. Between the government shutdown and the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, there was certainly no shortage of major political news.

There was also no shortage of political losers. (See our list of winners on Tuesday.) Below, a look at who fared the worst politically in 2013.

Sen. Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz at a hearing on sequestration effects on the military budget before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill, Nov. 7, 2013

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Cruz (R-Texas) will run for president at some point despite the fact that he was born in Canada. And he may actually win a primary or two, but that’s it—and for Cruz, that will not be enough, because the man really thinks he has what it takes to be president.

He doesn’t. But more importantly, his behavior in the last year—most notably his role in the government shutdown—may have made him an extremist conservative hero, but it has all but ensured that most voters will always view him as a toxic joke and will never let him within 1,000 feet of the presidency.

Jay Z

Jay Z

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

He picked a fight with civil rights icon Harry Belafonte and lost. He embarrassed the White House with an ill-advised trip to Cuba with his Mrs. and further embarrassed himself with a rap about it. Whatever credibility he and his fans thought he once had as a thought leader or political influencer officially evaporated this year.

Then there was his embarrassing response to the Barneys New York racial-profiling controversy. First there was no response. Then there was the why-am-I-being-demonized? response. Then there was the here's-the-bottom-line-I'm-focused-on-my-bottom-line-and-therefore-not-pulling-out-of-my-forthcoming-deal-with-Barneys response. I’m still not sure why people were outraged that Jay Z showed that he cares more about Jay Z than about the black community or political activism. He’s shown us that all along.

The American People

Supporters cheer after networks project that President Barack Obama will be re-elected during Obama election-night watch party Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. 

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The government shutdown was an utter disgrace and an embarrassment to our democracy. Although current polls show Americans giving Congress a historic all-time low approval rating of 9 percent, to paraphrase a favorite expression of Judge Judy, they may be idiots, but they’re our idiots. We picked them. Americans are the ultimate losers because our dysfunctional, do-nothing government did nothing. But we are also losers because a majority of us voted for these knuckleheads.