The summer is the most embarrassing season of the year. This has to do with wearing less clothing, how the heat affects the decision-making process, and the simple fact that the more often you are compelled to leave your home the more opportunities you have to humiliate yourself.

The warm months hold particular peril for politicians, as they are our most embarrassment-prone citizens any time of the year. And while we're barely two weeks into the summer of '09, Mark Sanford, Marion Barry and Sarah Palin have all managed to make complete fools of themselves.

After the jump, we contemplate which of the tremendous trio has shamed themselves most since June 21.

Mark Sanford
About the only thing that's going to knock an international sex scandal involving a prominent politician off the front page would be the sudden death of Michael Jackson. So what does Mark Sanford do after getting this fluke reprieve? He keeps the story going (and our cringes coming) by dramatically classifying his relationship with his Argentina squeeze as a "forbidden" love affair -- even though nobody really asked -- and then admitting to "short of sexual" physical contact with different women on other foreign excursions -- again without the prompting that traditionally engenders such confessions.

Marion Barry
Barry has been charged with everything from tax evasion to conspiracy to possession of crack cocaine to various, often comical, vehicular violations. But the two-time D.C. mayor and current city council member had perhaps his most embarrassing arrest this July 4 when he was busted for stalking an ex-girlfriend. Yet we can't laugh too hard at the 73-year-old, as he just keeps getting elected, despite his well-documented legal foibles. When the nuclear holocaust comes, there's a good chance the cockroaches will be calling Barry "mayor for life."

Sarah Palin
Palin's stem-winder at the Republican National Convention was as deft an intro into national politics as we've seen. It couldn't be anything but downhill from there, and the former vice-presidential candidate has been ever-entertaining during her race to the bottom. Only Palin's latest stunt -- in which she resigned from the governorship of Alaska with a rambling speech that referenced Alaskan history (seemingly gleaned from Wikipedia) and cited all sorts of conspiracy theories, all without coming close to providing a coherent reason for quitting -- was so out of sorts that she may have even jeopardized her future career as a talk-show host.

Got any other politicians who have humiliated themselves in the summer of '09? Let us know.