Who had the worst year in Washington?

The easy answer would have been Obama. The president spent much of 2010 on the defensive, and he watched Democratic control of Congress slip from his hands this November. Yet he also oversaw major legislative victories on health care and financial regulatory reform – two W’s that convinced us to keep him out of the winner’s circle.

Instead we settled on the man who was put in office to serve as the Republicans’ answer to Obama but wound up, more often than not, serving as the punch line of a joke: Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele…

But those mistakes alone, however substantial, aren’t what clinched the Worst Year title for Steele. Rather it was his insistence that the Republican gains were attributable to him, a direct result of the strategies – fundraising and message-wise – that he put in place over the last year.

“I won two governorships and a host of special elections,” Steele crowed in the wake of the 2009 elections. In taking credit for what happened last month, Steele, as well as the many within the broader Republican party, are missing the message voters sent: They didn’t vote for the GOP; they voted against Democrats.