Last week, the Daily Telegraph put out an attention-grabbing list of the 100 most influential conservatives in America. Lists of that sort, by their very nature, tend to be quite arbitrary and debatable, but the Telegraph's list struck me as being particularly far off the mark. With that in mind, I decided to put together a list of my own and although people will undoubtedly disagree with some of my selections, it's hard to imagine that I could do any worse than the Daily Telegraph, which seems to think that Christopher Hitchens, Andrew Sullivan, Jack Abramoff, Drew Carey, & Joe Lieberman are amongst the 50 most influential conservatives in America.
Honorary Mentions: Roger Ailes, Samuel Alito, Jed Babbin, Roy Blunt, Neil Boortz, Pat Buchanan, Tom Coburn, Joseph Farrah, Edwin Feulner, David Horowitz, Laura Ingraham, Fredrick Kagan, Charles Krauthammer, Trent Lott, Glenn Reynolds, Antonin Scalia, Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, R. Emmett Tyrell, George Will
25) Michelle Malkin: She is a well-read columnist, runs two of the largest conservative blogs, is a popular author, and does semi-regular TV appearances on Fox. Her mixture of social conservatism, a tough stance on illegal immigration, and ferocious criticism of liberals has helped her to become a force in the conservative movement.
24) Jim DeMint: The feisty Republican from South Carolina is shaping up to be the leader of conservatives in the Senate on everything from illegal immigration to fiscal issues.
23) Mark Steyn: He is a wildly popular columnist whose arguments about Europe heading into a downward spiral have started to become conventional wisdom amongst conservatives.
22) William Kristol: He is the editor of the Weekly Standard, which has been effective at pushing the Republican Party to be more aggressive on the foreign policy front and regrettably, more moderate on domestic policy.
21) Glenn Beck: He has 5 million listeners a week on the radio and an up-and-coming show on CNN. There may not be a person on this list with the potential to climb higher up this list over the next 5 years than Beck.
20) Michael Savage: Savage is cranky, brilliant, controversial, pessimistic, over-the-top, and hypnotically charming all at the same time. That's how he has managed to build an audience of 8.5 million listeners a week even though he is ignored by much of the mainstream conservative movement. But, like him or not, Savage definitely has sway.