Janice Shaw Crouse

Last week, the buzz in the nation’s Capital centered on the British Daily Telegraph’s anointing of the “Most Influential” American conservative and liberal leaders. The newspaper’s Washington correspondents compiled a list of the top-100 among the most influential liberals and conservatives in America and published the names in increments of 20 per day. Their assessment of influence hinged on the amount of perceived influence in what the correspondents consider “the most open presidential election since 1928.”

What is worth careful assessment in a list that is intriguing in numerous ways is to analyze the gender divide in the Daily Telegraph’s list by comparing their inclusion of liberal versus conservative women. The liberal list includes 19 women; the conservative list only seven, a better than two and half to one ratio.

Obviously, the liberal list has the only female presidential candidate; but two of the wives of liberal candidates made the list (Elizabeth Edwards and Michelle Obama) whereas none of the conservative candidates’ wives made the list. Note that the husband of the female presidential candidate, Bill Clinton, ranked #1 among the liberal men. Laura Bush, wife of the current conservative president (whom they only ranked 21st) made the list at #59.

The liberals lead four to zero in female fundraisers/lobbyists –– Joan Blades from Moveon.org, Beth Dozeretz, a top Hillary Clinton underwriter, Debbie Dingel, a chief lobbyist for General Motors is also a well-connected advocate on women’s and children’s issues, and Ellen Malcolm founded Emily’s List who works tirelessly to get pro-abortion women in Congress.

Both groups have a cabinet officer on the list (both Secretaries of State –– Condi Rice and Madeleine Albright) and both have a campaign operative (Mary Matalin, veteran of several Republican campaigns, on the conservative side and Patti Doyle, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager, on the liberal side).

The conservatives lead by a slim margin of four to three in the number of writer, bloggers, and authors to make the list. All four of the conservative women are well-known –– Laura Ingraham, Peggy Noonan, Ann Coulter, and Michelle Malkin. The liberal women, too, are well-known: Ariana Huffington, Donna Brazile, and Maureen Dowd. I doubt that the liberals are happy that Ariana (a former conservative) ranks higher than the other two liberal columnists.

In addition, the liberals have two entertainers (Oprah Winfrey and Barbra Streisand), two in Congress (Nancy Pelosi and Jane Harmon), two activists (Medea Benjamin and Cindy Sheehan) and a pollster (Celinda Lake).

Janice Shaw Crouse

Janice Shaw Crouse is a former speechwriter for George H. W. Bush and now political commentator for the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee.
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