Sep. 29, 2002: This Year’s Pfft! Winners Are…

The wait is over, dear reader. It is time once again for the prestigious Pfft! Awards, created last year by yours truly to recognize those groups and individuals who by their words and deeds merit a hearty Pfft! from us all. Needless to say, there are many more worthy candidates than I can Pfft! in this limited space. So to be Pfft’d! here, you really deserve it.

Our first Pfft! goes to the Georgia Democratic Party and everybody in it for their deafening silence when state representative Billy McKinney was busy spewing his racial epithets before losing his seat in the August primary race. Politicians wonder why they are not respected. Maybe a show of integrity now and then would cure what ails them.

Speaking of a lack of integrity in politics, an International Pfft! to the government of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his band of mealy-mouths who ran a strident anti-American campaign in order to get reelected, including having one of his ministers compare our president to Adolf Hitler. I guess they forgot that we took them apart in World War II and then helped them back to their feet. What a bunch of ingrates. Let’s give them a second Pfft! for good measure.

A Pfft! to Georgia Tech basketball coach Paul Hewitt for trying to defend the fact that his school graduated only 17 percent of its scholarship basketball players between 1992 and 1995, placing them next to last in the ACC and last in the state compared to UGA, Georgia Southern and Georgia State. Hewitt complains that players who play only one year before going to the NBA shouldn’t be counted. Good point. How could anybody predict that kids from the New York City playgrounds would spurn the opportunity to become nuclear physicists and play professional basketball instead? Why else would they enroll at Tech? By the way, Duke, an academic and basketball powerhouse that whips Tech’s fanny on a regular basis, graduated 73 percent of its players in the same time period that Tech was graduating the esteemed 17 percent. Oops!

A two-faced Pfft! to Georgia House Speaker Tom Murphy, who spent years feuding with Zell Miller while Miller was Lt. governor and later governor. Now that Murphy has a tight race in his home district, he has the audacity to ask the ultra-popular U.S. senator to do an advertising spot on the Speaker’s behalf. A reluctant Pfft! to Miller for agreeing to do it.

In the category of Don’t-Do-As-I-Do,-Do-As-I-Say-Do, a Pfft! to Jimmy Carter. His one-term presidency was an unmitigated disaster, including bungling the Iranian hostage crisis. Suddenly he is a foreign relations expert, publicly second-guessing President Bush on everything from dealing with Iraq’s madman, Saddam Hussein, to detaining the Taliban thugs in Guantanamo. Isn’t it interesting how smart we become once we are not responsible for making the hard decisions?

A Pfft! to the Georgia Libertarian Party. A bunch of ragtags with absolutely no chance to win have placed themselves on the ballot in several races in Georgia, including the U.S. Senate. By interjecting some no-name in the contest between incumbent Max Cleland and Republican challenger Saxby Chambliss, the only thing Libertarians will accomplish will be to siphon off enough votes to impact the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.

A Pfft! Y’all to CBS. Just when you thought television programming couldn’t get any worse, the network of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite has announced a reality show in which a family of rednecks will live in a Beverly Hills mansion, ala the “Beverly Hillbillies.” A CBS executive said the program would allow viewers to “enjoy the humor that comes from the fish-out-of-water scenario.” In fact, it will be an opportunity for the network to re-enforce the stereotype that all Southerners live on dirt roads and marry their cousins. Not even an endorsement from Zell Miller could make me watch this turkey.

Finally, the Lifetime Achievement Pfft! goes to America’s newest Jolly Green Giant. Ex-Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has announced she is leaving the Democratic fold to join Ralph Nader’s Green Party. When she told Roy Barnes of her decision, the governor reportedly gave McKinney his best Rhett Butler look and said, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a Pfft!”