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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Howlers on List of ‘100 Most Influential’ Cons & Libs

The U.K.’s Daily Telegraph has been running a sort of political strip-tease during the last week, each day unveiling 20 names on two 100-name lists: “The Most Influential U.S. Conservatives” and “The Most Influential U.S. Liberals.” The names are all ranked with a couple of paragraphs, written (and ranked) by Tony Harnden, explaining why each individual is so influential, and the two lists are completed with today’s release of the top 20 of each set of rankings.
Readers may be interested in some of the choices and descriptions of their influence, but there is a lot to argue with, as well. For example, the top five conservatives in order are Rudy Giuliani; General David Petraeus; Matt Drudge; Newt Gingrich; and Rush Limbaugh. For the liberals, the top five are, in order: Bill Clinton; Al Gore; Mark Penn; Hillary Clinton; and Nancy Pelosi.
There are quite a few howlers on both lists. The best howler on the top 100 conservatives has to be Chuck Norris, ranking 71st, ahead of Charles Krauthammer (77th); Pat Buchanan (80th); Bill O’Reilly (82nd); Peggy Noonan (83rd); Ann Coulter (84th); Clarence Thomas(85th); Michelle Malkin (93rd); and Henry Kissinger (95th). Of the top 100 liberals, a good howler is ranking Barbara Streisand 77th, ahead of Robert Borosage (78th); Howard Dean (84th); Ted Kennedy (85th); and Bob Shrum (93rd). Joe Lieberman makes both lists.
The value in both lists for political strategy is the identifying of influential behind-the-scenes-types and the descriptions of their influence. The rankings, however, are highly subjective, impressionistic and generally useless for anything besides water-cooler chat.

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