It’s been a truly exciting year in politics, and with the presidential race just beginning to kick into high gear, next year will surely be just as exciting. But despite the fact that the media sensationalizes and exaggerates every political development as much as it can, the fact is that politics is often more awkward than anything else. The most awkward political moments of 2015 are a reminder that despite all of their the pomp and circumstance, government officials are, at the end of the day, just human beings.
While most people would agree that awkward situations are no fun in real life, they’re loads of fun to watch unfold on the national political stage. There’s a satisfaction that comes with seeing high-level officials suffer the kind of low-level social discomfort that normies like us experience in our day to day lives. Thankfully, American politics is nothing if not awkward, and 2015 has been a great year to sit back and watch that awkwardness unfold.
Whether it's a congressman avoiding a hug from one of his colleagues or a presidential candidate making a bad joke in front of a national audience, awkward political moments are a treasure. Let's look at some of the best (worst?) of the last year.
Paul Ryan Dodges Nancy Pelosi’s Hug
When Nancy Pelosi passed the Speaker of the House’s gavel to Paul Ryan, she went in for a hug. Ryan avoided the hug and gave her a handshake instead, probably because he didn’t want to be seen hugging a powerful Democrat.
Marco Rubio Makes Bad Joke
A few years ago, Marco Rubio was mocked for clumsily sipping some water during a speech. In an attempt to poke fun at himself, he referenced this incident at the second Republican debate, but the joke fell flat, and Rubio was left smiling awkwardly in silence.
Jeb Bush Tries To Clarify ‘Anchor Babies’ Comment
After Jeb Bush was criticized for using the phrase “anchor babies,” a derogatory term for Americans born to immigrant parents, he attempted some damage control by clarifying that “frankly, it’s more related to Asian people” than Hispanics. Needless to say, that remark didn't quell any of the controversy.
Jim Webb Wants More Time
During his brief campaign for president, Democrat Jim Webb participated in just one debate. Despite the fact that he was polling in single-digits, and had done very little actual campaigning, Webb spent most of the debate complaining about not getting enough time to speak.
Martin O’Malley Criticizes Non-Existent Bickering
At the third Democratic debate, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton decided to put the DNC data breach drama behind them. Martin O’Malley apparently wasn't paying attention, as he launched into an impassioned (and clearly pre-scripted) tirade against “the bickering, back and forth” — even though Sanders and Clinton hadn’t bickered, at all. (The comment occurs about 4:20 in).
Ted Cruz Impersonates ‘The Simpsons’
For reasons unclear, Ted Cruz released a video of himself doing a bunch of Simpsons impressions. They're truly terrible, and I bet you won't, and perhaps can't, sit through the whole thing.
GOP Asks Hillary If She Had A Midnight Visitor
When Hillary Clinton testified before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, GOP Rep. Martha Roby asked Clinton about her whereabouts on the night of the attack, and if she was with anyone. Clinton replied that she went home alone; Roby then asked Clinton to confirm that she was alone “the whole night,” prompting Clinton, and the rest of the audience, to burst into laughter.
This Jeb Bush Interview
Remember when Jeb Bush thought it would be a good idea to insist that his brother “kept us safe?” CNN anchor Jake Tapper asked Bush why, if that was the case, Bush insisted on blaming President Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Benghazi attacks. Bush response was tortured and cringe-worthy, and you can almost see the exact moment when he realizes he’s in the process of proving his critics’ point.
Trump Talks About Carly Fiorina’s Face
After Donald Trump insulted Carly Fiorina’s face, Fiorina said at a debate “women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.” Trump, who is physically incapable of not getting the last word, reversed course and said that “I think she has a beautiful face and is a beautiful woman.” Needless to say, Fiorina got the most applause in that exchange.