The 2004 Bum Steer Awards

It was a year of altitude-adjusting actors, bird-flipping benevolences, chili charlatans, dastardly deejays, embattled educators, flying freighty-cats, gubernatorial gallivantings, hip-hop hostilities, insatiable Isoptera, Judaically jolting jamborees, Kloroxed Kings, loblolly Leatherfaces, methodological manure-men, neuterings non grata, olé-less objets d'art, piscatorial policemen, queso quarrels, rear-end rectifyings, showboating second bananas, trio-trashing tractors, unamused über-actresses, vituperative vixens, wool-pulled-over Wal-Marts, x-coriated x-millionaires, "Yeehad" yuks, and zinged Ziggyburgers.

What kind of a year was 2003? Strange, very strange. The president acted like a cowboy, the Cowboys acted like a football team, and Anna Nicole Smith didn’t act up enough to be worthy of a Bum Steer award. Then again, maybe not so strange after all. The Astros choked—again. UT got hammered by OU—again. The Aggies got hammered too—again and again.

What’s the world coming to? The answer, it turns out, was Ardmore. That’s where 51 Democratic legislators fled to kill a congressional redistricting plan that no one, including the public, seemed to be clamoring for—but it wouldn’t die. Why, with all the places in the world to choose from, did they pick Oklahoma? No wonder the Democrats are in such trouble. Maybe the joke that made the rounds at the Capitol was true: Somebody misheard the plan and told the others they were going to the Broadmoor.

But the real joke was redistricting itself. Three special sessions. Weird-looking districts that couldn’t pass a Rorschach test. More Democrats fleeing the state (at least this time it was to Albuquerque). And when the D’s gave up the fight, the R’s took it up—against each other. So congratulations, Tom DeLay, whose idea this was in the first place. Take a bow, Rick Perry, who put getting rid of Martin Frost ahead of getting rid of Robin Hood. And kudos to you, David Dewhurst and Tom Craddick, who were only following orders (no German military uniforms necessary). You all win our Bum Steer of the Year award. Sorry, there’s only one trophy—but now that you’ve had some practice, you ought to be able to carve it up.

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