Who Are The Most Influential Progressives and Conservatives In America?

News & Politics
This post, written by Steve Benen, originally appeared on The Carpetbagger Report

It's obviously just a conversation piece, meant for water-cooler fodder, but it's Friday afternoon, and I kind of like mulling over pieces like these.

London's Telegraph has finished its lists of the most influential liberals and conservatives in the U.S. Some of the finalists are, well, odd.

First up, the libs. Bill Clinton is #1, which is a little unexpected, given the that Telegraph went out of its way to argue that the list is about the future. Still, the Big Dog is the dominant political figure of his time, and will probably remain among the planet's most influential people for many years to come, no matter who wins next year's election.

In the #2 slot is Al Gore, which also makes sense, given his rising stature and popularity. I've argued for years that Gore is the nation's leading liberal, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

Among the presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton is #4, Barack Obama is #6, and John Edwards is #24 (though Elizabeth Edwards is #19, which doesn't make a lot of sense).

Clinton pollster Mark Penn seems way too high at #3; Evan Bayh is a fine senator, but there's no way in the world I'd consider him the tenth most influential liberal in the country; Arnold Schwarzenegger is a relatively competent governor, but he isn't a liberal, better yet the eighth most influential one; and I was pleasantly surprised to see the Center for American Progress' John Podesta get his due with the #11 slot.

As for bloggers, there were three libs to make the top 100: Markos Moulitsas Zuniga at #12, Arianna Huffington at #16, and Jerome Armstrong at #62. If it were my list, I'd have fit Josh Marshall, Atrios, and Matt Stoller in the mix somewhere.

And in terms of glaring errors, the Telegraph pegs Paul Krugman as only the 53rd most influential liberal in America, whereas I would have put him in the top 10, easily.

Then there are the conservatives.

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