I’m basically taking the New Year’s Day weekend off because, well, I figured it would help an older columnist make it all the way to midnight on New Year’s Eve.
But because I knew many of you (OK, a few of you, anyway) might want to hear from me as 2023 begins — and because my boss kind of insisted on it — I am offering a look back at some 2022 highlights and lowlights through some of my columns. The links below will connect you to what I wrote at the time.
The early conventional wisdom on 2022 is that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, (see: 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, etc.), but that it was definitely bad enough. I fear that 2023 will be dominated by the 2024 presidential election, which will also dominate 2024. Looking ahead, 2023–24 could be remembered as just one long, frightening year.
But back to 2022, if you have the stomach for it.
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Among the first big stories of 2022 was Ed Perlmutter’s retirement as the longtime 7th Congressional District representative. At the time, with Perlmutter out and an added 8th CD, which was drawn to be a tossup district, many Republicans believed they might launch a comeback from their recent electoral disasters. We know how it turned out, but we didn’t then.
It was the year we decided COVID was no longer any great danger to Colorado or to the rest of America. I still wear a mask in the grocery store and at the airport, but that makes me a weirdo, I guess. I didn’t feel so weird, though — more like angry — when my now-7-year-old grandson got the ’VID. Fortunately, he’d been fully vaccinated, and it was a very mild case.
Not sure it was one of the top stories of the year, but the fact that Camp Amache — Colorado’s World War II internment camp for Japanese Americans — was named a national historic site was more than a feel-good moment. It was justice. And one teacher and a generation of school kids deserve much of the credit.
America — and much of the world — began the year in desperate need of a hero. And along came Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to inspire tens of millions across the world in the face of Russia’s barbaric assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty and, of course, its people. When he came to Congress later in the year, he got a huge bipartisan welcome. OK, not from everyone. Unsurprisingly, Lauren Boebert doesn’t think Ukraine’s inspiring defense of democracy is worth the money. And Tucker Carlson happily calls Zelenskyy a thug. Oh, well.
I wasn’t alone among those who, early on, were predicting Elon Musk would be a disaster for Twitter. But, as it turns out, no one knew just how big a disaster he would turn out to be, proving once again that being the richest person in the world doesn’t mean you’re the smartest.
The history of the Donald Trump presidency-as-debacle is yet to be written — not that there aren’t endless books on Trump already — but it’s clear that the new, ultra-conservative Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will be a major part of his legacy. And it will also be a major part of our politics for years to come.
Yes, Michael Bennet would go on to be re-elected, but the bill he pushed for hardest this year — the expanded child tax credit that, in its one year on the books, lifted more than 40% of children living in poverty out of poverty — was not renewed and won’t be back any time soon.
I’m old enough to remember Colorado’s Republican establishment being thrilled to see most 2020 election deniers get trashed in the 2022 GOP primary season. Those were innocent times. No one had even considered the possibility that furries would become a hot political issue.
The FBI “raid” of Mar-a-Lago — which wasn’t exactly a raid, but a legally authorized search to check whether Trump was hiding purloined documents belonging to the National Archives — turned up the fact that Trump not only squirreled top-top-secret documents out of the White House but also lied (of course) about it. How bad is your year if this isn’t even your worst day?
You can blame Heidi Ganahl, the crushed GOP candidate for governor who ran a terrible campaign, for forcing us to use the F-word in a family news site. By F-word, I mean, of course, furries.
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Watching the final pre-midterm January 6 committee hearing — in which Trump’s guilt on so many counts was made all too clear — I wondered if any minds had been changed. Now, looking at the midterms, maybe some were. And then would come the final damning hearing and the final damning report. And yet, Trump is running for president. Again. And not incidentally, it looks like Joe Biden, who once promised us a return to normalcy, probably will, too.
The oft-predicted Red Wave for the 2022 midterms turned out to be a pink trickle throughout much of the nation. In Colorado, the predicted blue tsunami was even larger than expected — I mean, Boebert nearly lost — and the state GOP has no idea how to recover.
A couple of good guys without a gun took out the Club Q killer, but the good news ends there. If El Paso County officials had used Colorado’s red flag law — which the county sheriff, though not exactly a law professor, insists is unconstitutional — to take away the shooter’s guns after an earlier showdown with law enforcement, the tragedy might well have been averted.
There was other stuff, like the Big Chill polar vortex and the Southwest Air meltdown, and we could go on and on. But now we move on to 2023. See you then. The only prediction I can confidently make is that there will be plenty for us to talk about — and for me to write about — before we get to 2024.
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