King George III was "a tyrant...unfit to be the ruler of a free people," Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence exactly 238 years ago this week.
Tommy had it right.
Ever since then, Americans have been calling out their leaders. "Tyrant" was just the start. We've moved on to crook (Nixon), liar (Clinton) and moron (Dubya).
Whether or not you agree with the peanut gallery, there's no denying that such written assaults on public honchos are as American as baseball, apple pie and the iPhone.
So on this Independence Day, those closest to American politics -- 50 writers and editors of the alternative press from across the land -- have collaborated to name 53 of the nation's worst elected leaders from 23 of the largest states and the District of Columbia. Wisconsin, one of the most politically divided states in the nation, singles out one Democrat, Rep. Brett Hulsey, and one Republican, Rep. Joel Kleefisch, for distinction. Honorees are separated into five categories: hatemongers, sleazeballs, blowhards, users and boozers, and horn dogs.
Want a little old-school corruption? Florida's governor, Rick Scott, who will be up for reelection soon, founded a health-care empire that was whacked with the largest Medicare fraud fine in U.S. history: $1.7 billion for stealing from the feds. Texas' Green Eggs and Ham filibusterer Ted Cruz and Minnesota loon Michele Bachmann also made the list.
So before you head out for the fireworks or swig some American brew, consider this hall of shame.
Read an excerpt in this week's issue of Isthmus, and explore the complete online list!