Top 100 US liberals and
By Toby Harnden, US Editor. 11 Jan 2010.
Telegraph.co.uk presents its latest list of the 100 most influential
conservatives and 100 most influential liberals in America a year after
Barack Obama took the oath on the steps of the Capitol to become the
44th President of the United States.
Most influential conservatives 2007 |
Most influential liberals 2007
The first lists, produced exactly a year before the 2008 election, sent
then unprecedented traffic to the website and generated controversy that
resonated on American cable television and talk radio for weeks.
Since then, more than one political figure has approached us to inquire
gently about what position they might occupy second time around. Some
have cited their 2007 positions in publicity and biographical materials.
The difference between our new lists and the ones published last time
reflect the unprecedented political and economic upheaval that has
happened since then as well as, we confess, some cloudiness in the
Crystal Ball we used in November 2007.
Selecting just 200 key political figures in such a diverse,
ideologically divided and profoundly dissatisfied country in a time of
recession and two wars was not an easy task. We sought counsel from
sources and contacts across the political spectrum and became embroiled
in vigorous internal debates before finalising our choices.
Conservatives are people identifiably though not always self-described
as right of centre.
Liberals are those identifiably left of centre, whether they identify
themselves as such or not. These are not lists that rank ideological
purity the number one liberal will not necessarily be any more liberal
than number 100 but they will inevitably discriminate against
centrists, technocrats, independents and fence-sitter
Although there are many Republicans on the conservative list and many
Democrats on the liberal list, not all 200 are aligned with a party. The
key to inclusion was the term influence which people most affect
American politics both in terms of ideas and the enactment of policy.
We have chosen government officials, elected politicians,, pollsters,
campaign operatives, members of think tanks, academics, journalists,
bloggers, big-money donors and celebrities.
Inclusion does not imply our approval and the views of many on the
lists will be anathema to large numbers of our readers.
We have leant towards those likely to be most influential in the future
rather than those whose careers and impact lie in the past. But historic
contribution has in some cases edged out potential that might not be
The mere holding of a high office did not guarantee inclusion, though it
was often an important factor.
Telegraph journalists did not easily agree among ourselves as to who to
include and in what order. During the long process of selection, we
changed our minds often.
We are sure that most readers will dispute a number of those who appear
on our lists and many will be eager to put forward substitutes.
These are our lists, both divided into five with 20 people in each 'instalment'
and published over five successive days. (NB We start with those of the
100 with the least influence and will count down to those with the
most.) Let the debate over the Telegraph Top 100s that began in 2007
Lists compiled by the Telegraph
staff in Washington Toby Harnden, Alex Spillius, Rachel Ray,
Andrea Viola and Meghan Cassin