- - Thursday, December 22, 2016

The end of the year is the perfect time to take stock of the past year and to examine achievements, missed opportunities and areas for improvement. And Santa Claus is not the only one making a “naughty or nice” list for 2016. We at Tea Party Patriots have made our own list (and checked it twice) of the politicians who deserve to be on a political “Naughty List,” as well as the “Nice List.”

First, the Naughty List.

House Speaker Paul Ryan:
For doing the wrong thing, even when it would have been so easy to do the right thing, Speaker Paul Ryan has earned a top spot on the naughty list. In particular, Speaker Ryan’s failure to show any leadership on the IRS scandal – and his categorical refusal to lead the fight to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen – are the chief reasons we included him on the naughty list. The years-long IRS scandal, in which government employees working at our nation’s most feared agency targeted and singled out conservatives for extra scrutiny and audits, is still unresolved, waiting for someone to be held accountable. Even after repeatedly lying to Congress during the investigation, Commissioner Koskinen continues to enjoy his salary and position. Americans deserve better (and, for that matter, our system of the rule of law demands better).

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:
For failing to understand Obamacare, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell makes the 2016 Naughty List. This past year’s reconciliation bill, which Leader McConnell advanced, maintains Obamacare’s health care-crushing insurance market regulations. In plain English, that simply means that the onerous Obamacare rules and regulations that dictate that insurance policies must meet or exceed the standards crafted by Washington bureaucrats are still in place, along with other insurance regulations that require insurance companies to offer insurance to those with pre-existing conditions, and those that restructure premium pricing to remove actuarial analysis. These one-size-fits-all Washington regulations are a big part of the reason health insurance prices have skyrocketed under Obamacare, and Leader McConnell’s carelessness with the reconciliation bill shows he still does not understand the fundamental problems with the health care law that has wreaked havoc on both the country’s economy and health care system. If Republicans enact a bill scrapping the law’s subsidies individual and employer mandates and subsidies, but leave intact the law’s insurance regulations, a catastrophic “death spiral” will likely occur – and Republicans will bear the brunt of the backlash.

President Obama:
For doubling down on his failed legacy, President Obama secured his spot on this year’s list. The November elections were a firm repudiation of President Obama’s agenda, but he seems not to have noticed. On his way out the door, President Obama is trying to cement his legacy with numerous regulations(read: more intrusive, government-expanding regulations). Because liberals apparently misread the message of the 2016 elections, it is worth repeating: Americans do not like the liberal viewpoint, vision, or agenda, and we are not at all interested in these last-minute sweeping regulations by the outgoing president.

And now for the Nice List.

When putting together our Nice List this year, we paid special attention to two trends: politicians who challenged the status quo, and politicians who lived up to their promises.

President-elect Donald Trump:
President-elect Trump made our Nice List for campaigning and winning on an agenda that includes nearly every Tea Party Patriots priority issue. And, since winning in November, President-elect Trump has made good on his promise to nominate constitutional conservatives who will uphold the rule of law. And he deserves special recognition for one nominee in particular – his nomination for Attorney General, Sen. Jeff Sessions – one of our favorite Trump Cabinet picks thus far.

Sen. Ted Cruz:
Sen. Ted Cruz earned a spot on our Nice List for being a consistent conservative who never shies away from tackling tough issues. His campaign for the presidency was an example of unabashed conservatism on display. For his unwavering commitment to conservative principles and policies, Sen. Cruz is a stand-out on the Nice List this year.

Gov. Matt Bevin:
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is on this year’s Nice List for following through on his promise to do what he could to repeal Obamacare in his state. Gov. Bevin is a disciplined conservative who knows the dangers of accepting federal dollars with mega-strings attached, as is the case for Medicaid expansion. So he killed KYNECT (the state’s Obamacare exchange, launched under his Democrat predecessor) and sought a waiver from the Feds so he can restructure his state’s Medicaid program. For rejecting a bad deal for his state, Gov. Bevin makes our Nice List and is an example for other governors as we head into 2017.

Tea Party Patriots Activists:
Hundreds of thousands of Tea Party Patriots activists worked tirelessly over the past year to help make sure that our agenda was front and center throughout the primary and the general election. We made more than 2 million phone calls, sent handwritten letters and postcards to voters, and knocked on doors in each swing state. Our reward was that we won the White House and held the Senate.

Tea Party Patriots is looking forward to 2017, when we will have the opportunity to continue to hold the “naughty” politicians accountable, and also to partner with conservatives in the New Year who want to make our 2017 Nice List.

Jenny Beth Martin is the president and co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.

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