ATLANTA – 2009 was a year for the history books – from celebrity deaths to Tax Day Tea Parties.
Some of the year’s key events:
Health care reform: On Christmas Eve, the Senate passed an $871 billion measure that still needs to be reconciled with the House’s vastly different version. The Senate’s bill, for example, does not include the government-run health care option, which the House bill does. The looming debate could be a hot topic during the early part of 2010, especially since it is an election year.
Tax Day Tea Parties: On Tax Day, millions nationwide gathered to protest everything from government spending bills to prominent liberal politicians in Washington. At the Atlanta rally, for example, several times, the overwhelmingly patriotic crowd broke out into chants of “U.S.A.,” and at one point in the rally, the crowd chanted “Keep the change.”
Inauguration of Barack Obama: The election of the 44th president, the nation’s first black president, is an historic moment, no matter one’s political persuasion.
Michael Jackson’s death: The King of Pop changed the music landscape and fans chose to remember that rather than his problems later in life.
Sen. Ted Kennedy’s death: Love him or not, Ted Kennedy was the last link to one of the country’s most storied political families. His death became a rally cry for passing health care reform.
Swine Flu: By the end of the year, hand sanitizer was a staple in company break rooms.
The Bailout Blues: A bailout, an economic stimulus, call it what you will, the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was a controversial measure with mixed results. Perhaps even more surprising, in July, a legislative assistant in Rep. David Scott’s office, D-Ga., admitted that “nobody did” read the bill before it passed.
ACORN exposed: In July, the executive summary of a report released by Rep. Darrell Issa, the Ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, noted: “The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has repeatedly and deliberately engaged in systemic fraud. Both structurally and operationally, ACORN hides behind a paper wall of nonprofit corporate protections to conceal a criminal conspiracy on the part of its directors, to launder federal money in order to pursue a partisan political agenda and to manipulate the American electorate.”
Meanwhile, a November poll from Public Policy Polling found that 26 percent of Americans think ACORN stole the election for Obama in 2008.