(The Root) — Despite all of the promises of "bipartisanship" that politicians love to throw around on the campaign trail, many act like small children if their chosen candidate loses and they face the prospect of working with someone from another party.
Not all political figures and voters react that way. For instance, former first lady Barbara Bush recently admonished fellow Republicans still stewing over President Obama's win: "People spoke. Move on, get on with it. I want to do other things and not to be ugly."
But there are plenty who are comfortable being "ugly" about the election results. From politicians to pizza chains, below is a list of the ugliest — the sorest losers of the 2012 election cycle.
Rep. Allen West
This one isn't exactly a surprise. The representative from Florida spent his time in Congress solidifying his reputation as one of the most controversial members there, which is a pretty big accomplishment, considering that he served only one term. He's infamous for suggesting that the president and other Democratic leaders should take their policy ideas and "get the hell out of the United States of America" and for claiming that dozens of Democratic members of Congress are "members of the Communist Party." He may become even more infamous for being the least gracious candidate in defeat this year.
It took West weeks to concede defeat by his Democratic opponent, Patrick Murphy. This despite the fact that a Florida judge denied his request for a recount. Ironically, West may be one of the GOP legislators whom Democrats will miss. In terms of controversies and gaffes, he was the gift that kept on giving, with Murphy's Democratic supporters even creating a website devoted to his many foot-in-mouth moments, aptly titled, "That's What West Said."
Either Southern states really never got over losing the Civil War or perhaps some people there considered the Nov. 6 presidential election the equivalent of a rematch, because residents from those states led the charge in racist meltdowns on social media. The three states with the most racist tweets right after the presidential election: Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. It won't exactly come as a shock that President Obama didn't carry those states. Other Southern states coming in the top 15: Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas.
Sen. John McCain
Yes, you read that correctly. McCain (R-Ariz.), President Obama's opponent from 2008, is on a list of the sorest losers of the 2012 election. Apparently, while everyone else has moved on from 2008, he has not. To the surprise of many of his onetime admirers, McCain has spent the last four years seeming to do everything possible to eradicate any trace of his moderate, maverick, compromising conservative persona — and all because he still seems to be nursing a grudge that the president beat him four years ago. According to news reports, McCain's dislike of Obama began long before they were presidential candidates.
This personal animosity has since morphed from petty to embarrassing in recent days, as news outlets have pointed out the blatant hypocrisy in McCain's statement that he would block the nomination of United Nations ambassador Susan Rice to be secretary of state because of her statements regarding Benghazi, Libya, and yet he fiercely defended another Rice — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the George W. Bush administration — from criticism over her inaccurate comments about weapons of mass destruction that led our country into war. McCain's threat resulted in one of the sharpest rebukes the public has ever seen from President Obama. So it appears for now that the rivalry of the 2008 election shows no signs of winding down anytime soon.
The chairman of Murray Energy read a prayer, then laid off 200 employees from his various companies after President Obama's re-election. He blamed the Obama administration's energy policies for the move, despite the fact that his claims that the administration is having an adverse impact on his business have been debunked by industry analysts.
You know you've reached an embarrassing new low in conservative circles when Fox News feels the need to embarrass you while you are on the payroll. Rove got into a spat with his colleagues at Fox, where he is a paid contributor, because the network did its job by accurately calling the state of Ohio, and therefore the election, for President Obama. By doing so, he solidified his place as one of the 2012 election's sorest losers.
Though some Obama opponents tried a more subtle approach, like telling employees that they may lose their jobs if the president is re-elected, others were more direct. An Arizona gun store simply posted a sign making it known that Obama supporters were not welcome. And shortly after the president's re-election, the head of the National Rifle Association penned an op-ed titled, "Gun Owners Enter the Fight of Our Lives." The opening sentence reads, "The NRA has been saying all along that Barack Obama would unleash an assault on our Second Amendment freedoms if he won a second term." The closing paragraph reads, "As long as dedicated patriots continue to band together and fight as though freedom itself is on the line — because it is — we will defend the Second Amendment in Obama's second term and save it for generations to come. For gun owners, the next four years won't just be the fight of our lives, it will be a fight for the future of our nation. We're ready to lead the charge." In a word: scary.
Who knew a man responsible for mediocre pizza and entertaining ads could be so serious about politics, and so grouchy about them, too? Papa John's CEO John Schnatter made it clear that he was not supportive of President Obama or "Obamacare" (aka the Affordable Care Act). He hosted a fundraiser for Republican nominee Mitt Romney and told Politico, "We're not supportive of Obamacare, like most businesses in our industry." Apparently he was serious. Really serious.
After the president's successful re-election, Schnatter announced that his chain would be raising prices as a sort of "Obamacare" tax to cover its rising health care costs. In addition to employees who will likely benefit from such coverage, the move was cheered by Papa John's competitors. Nick Martin, an owner of Ian's pizza chain, has offered his full-time employees health care for years and expressed hope that Papa John's being forced to do the same thing and price its product accordingly might actually level the playing field.
Gov. Mitt Romney
After his gracious concession speech on election night, many thought it was possible that Mitt Romney might be remembered as a political candidate who showed class in the face of defeat. But days after the election, he secured his spot on this list by blaming his defeat on President Obama's "gifts" to specific groups — namely, racial minorities and young people. The comments have been universally denounced by Republicans, including the Romney campaign's former director of Hispanic outreach, as well as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said of the remarks, "We're in a big hole. We're not getting out of it by comments like that. When you're in a hole, stop digging. He keeps digging."
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was even more blunt. He labeled the comments "nuts" and "insulting." Considering that Gingrich once famously refused to concede to Romney after a key primary race, the fact that he considers Romney's attempts to deflect blame beyond the pale is saying a lot.
Anyone who thought that seceding went out of style in the 19th century after the Civil War may be surprised to know that it is back with a vengeance. According to reports, there has been a surge in petitions filed by residents of various states interested in seceding from the Union since President Obama's re-election. Petitions have been filed by residents from states such as Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana (states that also boasted some of the highest percentages of racist tweets following his victory), along with petitions from residents of New Jersey, Oregon and elsewhere. Not sure if these states understand that it might be tough to rebuild after a natural disaster (like Hurricane Sandy, New Jerseyites) without the tax dollars and resources of the rest of the nation, but hey, if they think they can hack it on their own, maybe the rest of the country should give them a chance to try.
Keli Goff is The Root’s special correspondent. Follow her on Twitter.