Joe Klein’s columns in TIME are always worth a few laughs, and his year-end “Teddy Awards” offer more reasons to chortle and guffaw.

Klein offers praise to Kofi Annan and Al Gore and then — wait a minute! — honors a Republican? How can this be? Has Mr. Klein stopped taking his meds?

No, he’s found a Republican — outgoing Iowa Rep. Jim Leach — who has all the qualities a liberal loves from a member of the GOP:

  • He lost his re-election bid.
  • He feuded with the Republican National Committee.
  • He eschewed “negative ads.”
  • He opposed the Iraq War.
  • Klein calls him an “independent” and “multilateralist.”

The one descriptor which Klein employs that does not seem to gibe with the liberal agenda is “scrupulously honest.”