WordPress isn’t working well right now. Assume a really cool photo here-Bark
As 2016 draws to close, I’m entertaining a guest who always seems to visit me around this time of year—bronchitis. I felt it coming on at the end of the day yesterday, hacked all night to the point where I pulled the muscles on the right side of my ribcage (which meant that I was now coughing up a lung and in severe muscular pain every time that I did it), and I’m now on my second dose of Mucinex for the day. Oh, well. I’ve been getting bronchitis since I was a child, and I’ve survived every other bout with it. No doubt this one will end up with the same result.
However, my desire to do nothing other than sit on a couch and drink fluids means that I’m going to get my 2016 retrospective in a few days before everybody else does. Yay, me!
So what did 2016 mean to me? Oh, man. As any of the professional athletes giving insightful interviews after games might say about what that most recent win meant to them, It meant everything.
We can’t talk about 2016 without talking about the greatest political upset in history, can we? So let’s just put it right up front here. If you wrote a fictional script about a character like Donald J. Trump winning the presidency, it would get rejected by every single movie house—well, in 2016, that’s just because it’s about a “republican” securing the White House. Yes, I use “republican” in quotes, because I’m not exactly sure what that word means anymore. In a Trump presidency, it doesn’t mean Mitch McConnell. It doesn’t mean Paul Ryan. It doesn’t mean Mitt Romney. As Mike Cernovich has said, people are starting to shy away from using the word “conservative,” too, because that word has a history of meaning “weak” and “loser.” So, who knows what Trump is, or what he’ll become?
But we do know one thing—that he isn’t Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. In what is certainly the most humiliating kick to the crotch the weak Obama administration has ever given to our “ally,” Israel, the United States failed to veto a resolution condemning Israel for building settlements in disputed territories, including East Jerusalem. (By the way, click that link and watch the video at the top for a complete judgment on the mental capacity of your average USA TODAY reader.) This now puts Israel in the position of failing to recognize a United Nations resolution—much like Iraq in the early Aughts—and makes it crystal clear where the UN stands in supporting the lone democracy in the Middle East.
So what will Trump do in response? Defund the UN? Attempt to withdraw altogether? It makes for interesting and dangerous theatre in the months to come.
The complete unhinging of the Left.
Oh, the deliciousness of Hillary Clinton challenging results in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania—failures, all three. The call for “faithless electors” to abandon Trump, only to see electors abandon Clinton in far greater numbers. The supposed party of intellect collectively lost its damn mind over the election of Trump. They parroted the “popular vote” line, not realizing that had the popular vote mattered, Trump would have just won that, too. They set up an “embassy” in Russia.
In other words, they acted like socialist dictators in banana republics, doing their best to guarantee an election result regardless of the actual laws of our nation. And it all backfired hilariously.
You’ve heard the numbers before, but let’s not forget them: Under President Obama, Democrats have lost 900+ state legislature seats, 12 governorships, 69 House seats, and 13 Senate seats. And sure, you can shout “RACISM” at the top of your lungs, but if you really think America became exponentially more racist between 2012 and 2016, let me ask you this question:
Do you have any doubt that Barack Obama would have won a third term?
Come on, now. It wouldn’t have been close. Obama’s approval rating is at about 52%. Trump’s is at 39%. I’d wager that BHO would have won Clintonesque electoral votes—Bill Clinton, that is. So how is the rejection of Hillary Clinton—possibly the whitest woman in American history—a racist vote? That just doesn’t make sense, friends.
No, what the lefties have to face now is that they nominated the only possible candidate who could have lost to Trump, and they did it with glee.
All righty, then. More personal stuff now.
2016 was a pretty cool year for me, on the home and professional fronts. I got a great new gig, working with and leading sales teams across the country for a company that’s reinventing itself by the day, and it’s thrilling to be a huge part of that reinvention. Also, I’m hiring, so let me know if you have mad skillz.
I wrote what might have been the longest article ever posted at Road & Track about a three-day experience in a pre-production supercar that will never be duplicated by anybody, ever (and Travis cut about 2k words from it, too). I wrote over 50 installments of my “Ask Bark” series and another 50 installments of “Bark’s Bites” at The Truth About Cars, and rare was the instance that they weren’t the day’s top performing feature. I’ve got about 250 more emails awaiting responses in my inbox, and I regret that I can’t write about each one of them. Finally, I was very pleased to bring back some “Sunday Stories” at the request of the people—but I am gonna need more of y’all to click on them if we want them to stick around, mmmkay?
I reviewed some super-cool cars for Jalopnik, including the aforementioned Acura NSX, the Lotus Evora 400, and the Golf AllTrack (one of these kids is doing his own thing) and had to turn down one more that I really, really wanted to do. Finally, I was lucky enough to participate in the Road & Track Performance Car of the Year track testing, which resulted in two writeups of cars that won my heart—the Corvette Grand Sport and the Audi R8 V10 Plus.
There’s a heap of excitement going on about our 2017 American Endurance Racing entry, the MX-5 Cup car belonging to the one and only Danger Girl. We only got one chance at it in 2016 at Mid-Ohio, but we’re doing the full schedule for ’17. I’m going to be deeply involved in the whole season as our crew chief/team captain/strategy guru/driver, starting on February 10th at Road Atlanta. We have a fantastic group of people—Sam Smith, Travis Okulski, Christian “Mental” Ward, Matt Farah, my brother, the aforementioned Mrs. Baruth, and the tech team/pit crew of Josh Howard and Bozi and Bojan Tatarevic, otherwise known as the Boost Brothers. It’s exciting to have such a talented, committed group of people on board with one purpose in mind: winning.
But, as always, the best thing I did in 2016 was be a parent to my two kiddos. Unfortunately, the combination of my day job travel and my “extracurricular” work meant that I didn’t get to do it nearly as much as either they or I would have preferred. However, I did get to coach them both in soccer, and game time was always the best hour of my week. I watched my little girl start real school, and watched my son grow out of his baby cheeks and his toothless grin into a real young man. Of course, I spent way too much money on them at Christmas time, as I always do. But this is likely my son’s last year of believing in Santa—why not go all out?
That’s it. Well, no, that’s not even close to being all of it. But it’s always better to live through the windshield. Say what you will, but 2017 is shaping up to perhaps be the most interesting year of our lives. Let’s go do it.