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Friday Line: Ranking Republican Leaders



RNC Chairman Michael Steele. Photo by Melina Mara/Washington Post

Ten months into his first year as chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele is a figure of considerable debate within the GOP.

In conversations with more than a dozen top Republican operatives about the most influential figures in their party, Steele was alternately cast as someone who has outperformed expectations at every turn and a leader who has done little to help the party.

Friday Line

Steele allies note that the biggest concern when he was elected chairman was in his fundraising ability but that the first three quarters of 2009 have been far more successful than anyone imagined.

At the end of last month, Steele's RNC had raised $69 million and banked $19 million more while doling out $13 million combined to governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey. (By comparison, the Democratic National Committee has collected $62 million in the first nine months of the year and had $15 million in the bank at the end of last month.)

And, Steele supporters also note that since his shaky start as a television presence, Steele has emerged as a more on-message surrogate who remains in significant demand on the cable circuit.

His detractors, citing few specifics, arguing that he simply lacks influence within the party. They also believe that the credit for the competitiveness of Republicans in New Jersey and Virginia is more rightly given to the Republican Governors Association (and chairman Haley Barbour) than to Steele.

The Steele debate makes it tough to figure out where he belongs on our Line of the ten most influential Republican leaders in the country.

Where did he wind up? Scroll down to find out.

The number one ranked political figure on the Line is considered the most influential in terms of the future direction of the party. As always your thoughts are welcome in the comments section.

To the Line!

10. Bob McDonnell: The former attorney general of Virginia is 11 days from being the Commonwealth's next governor, a victory that many Republicans believe is a critical building block for the party's comeback nationally. McDonnell has proven to be a quality candidate -- telegenic and steady. It says something about the state of Republican leaders nationally that McDonnell is already beating back 2012 talk before he has even been elected. (Previous ranking: N/A)

9. John Boehner/Mitch McConnell: As 2009 turns to 2010, the focus on Capitol Hill will diminish as the attention paid to the campaign trail increases. But, before that happens, Boehner, the House minority leader, and McConnell, his Senate counterpart, will be tested over the coming conclusion to the health care fight. So far, Boehner has been able to keep his conference unified in opposition to the legislation while McConnell lost Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) who decided to vote for the bill in the Senate Finance Committee. The White House will go hard after a handful of moderate Republicans -- particularly in the Senate -- to give the legislation the air of bipartisanship. Can McConnell and Boehner convince their members to stand firm? (Previous ranking: 6)

8. Pete Sessions: The Texas Republican isn't as high profile as some of his colleagues but he quietly has put together a strong roster of recruits in a large number of congressional districts in his role as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. At the end of September, 51 GOP challenger candidates showed more than $100,000 in the bank -- evidence of Sessions' work to broaden the national playing field heading into 2010. And, it looks likely that the House is where the GOP will have its best opportunity to make significant gains next November -- a possibility that could further elevate Sessions if it comes to pass. (Previous ranking: N/A)

7. Michael Steele: See above. We dropped Steele two spots in this month's Line because some of the 2012 players have grown increasingly active of late. If Republicans can win in Virginia and New Jersey next month, however, he'll move back up the Line as it's hard to argue with success. (Previous ranking: 5)

6. John Cornyn: Even Democrats acknowledge that the National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman has done a bang-up job in recruiting ahead of the 2010 election. Cornyn's latest coup? Rep. Mike Castle (R), whose decision to run for the open Senate seat in Delaware makes the First State instantly competitive. The NRSC's current crop of recruits is the strongest the committee has fielded since 2004 and puts Senate Republicans in a stronger-than-expected position heading in the midterms. (Previous ranking: 10)

5. Haley Barbour: The chairman of the Republican Governors Association continues to keep a relatively low profile in Washington -- if that's possible for a man who own a steakhouse in the heart of the city -- but he remains incredibly influential behind-the-scenes as one of the most respected strategists in the party. With McDonnell looking like a winner and Republicans still in the game in New Jersey, Barbour could be headed for a very good election night next month. (Previous ranking: 3)

4. Mike Huckabee: No one inside the Beltway takes the former Arkansas governor seriously. But, outside Washington -- and particularly among social conservative voters -- Huckabee is a force to be reckoned with; his win by a surprisingly wide margin in a recent straw poll of conservatives is evidence of that strength. Still, Huckabee seems content to repeat his blueprint from 2008 with no significant national staff or any obvious attempt to reach out beyond his social conservative base. Not smart. (Previous ranking: 7)

3. Mitt Romney: The former Massachusetts governor is, smartly, picking his spots of late. Romney promised in an interview earlier this year with the Fix that he didn't feel compelled to sound off on every issue and instead would pick those he felt passionately about, and he has largely stuck to that promise. He continues to do the sorts of things -- raising money for South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, penning an op-ed in the Manchester Union Leader -- that make clear he plans to run again in 2012. (Previous ranking: 1)

2. Tim Pawlenty: Tpaw is the buzz candidate of the Republican establishment at the moment. From the large turnout for his first D.C. event last night to the announcement of a deep and talented team to advise his PAC, it's clear Pawlenty is the current "it" boy in Republican politics. Pawlenty, to his credit, seems to understand that he started behind people like Romney, Huckabee and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in terms of name identification among party activists and has seemingly been everywhere over the past few months trying to rectify that problem. The danger, of course, in Tpaw's full court press is that it is still a long ways to 2012 and it's tough to be the new, hot thing for three years. (Previous ranking: 2)

1. Sarah Palin: Like it or not, the former Alaska governor is the prime mover in Republican politics at the moment. Her memoir -- "Going Rogue" -- immediately went to number one on Amazon's bestsellers list despite the fact that it won't be released until the middle of next month. And Republican operatives all acknowledge that if you want to ensure a big and energetic crowd at a GOP event the best way to make that happen is to get Palin there. Of course, Palin's political operation is nonexistent and she seems entirely uninterested/unable to capitalize politically from the amount of interest she generates. (Previous ranking: 9)

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 23, 2009; 11:53 AM ET
Categories:  The Line  
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Comments

Is Sarah Palin really the best the GOP can find to lead the Republicans? When one considers the millions of highly educated, brilliant thinking Americans and the best the GOP can find is Ms. Palin. Sarah Palin is a joke. Are you really looking for a joke to lead your party and lead the U.S. during very trying times?

Posted by: mab123vancouver | October 26, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

That's really the problem with the boiled down base, isn't it? Anybody who can win the primary isn't going to get serious consideration in the general. Romney, aside from his tragic lack of a human personality, is actually a pretty strong candidate but he's not going to beat Huck or Palin in a primary. TPaw is a cipher, at least for the moment but as Chris correctly points out that we're too far out for him to continue working the base without wandering into territory that makes him unelectable in the general.
Carrying the water of the Republican leadership isn't likely to lead to anything but disappointment, they can't even hold the party together in a district they've held since Lincoln was President.The base hates the leadership and blames them for Obamas victory.

Posted by: dijetlo | October 26, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

The article is somewhat misleading (excuse the pun on leaderhsip)! Is the purpose to rank the Republican leaders who have positions of authority and who are doing the day to day work for the party, or to rank the possible Republican candidates for 2012? If the purpose is to rank all those who do have some influence with Republicans, then perhaps Beck and Limbaugh should be included. As it is, Boehner, McConnell, Barbour, Cornyn and other congressmen and governors must get awfully tired of being included in a list with Palin, Huckabee, and Romney.

Posted by: Aquarius1 | October 26, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Once I recalibrated the list to mean those most likely to be successful with their own Fox News or talk radio gig, it made sense. I guess that's the best one can hope for in a reading of tea leaves after the tea-baggers leave. I await a list of republicans interested in a leadership role in GOVERNING.

Posted by: optimyst | October 26, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Snowe's the most influential Republican on policy in America, to be sure, but she has no followers. She's not a leader of anything.

Posted by: SeanC1 | October 25, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

SWINE FLU NATIONAL EMERGENCY GIVES FEDS 'DANGEROUS NEW POWERS'

• Can There Be "Politics" Without Liberty?

http://www.infowars.com/president-obama-declares-national-emergency-over-swine-flu-pandemic-but-why/

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 25, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

ATTENTION TEAM OBAMA:

DO YOU REMOVE THE BATTERY FROM YOUR BLACKBERRY BEFORE ENGAGING IN PRIVATE COMMUNICATIONS?

If you do not, your device can be remotely activated and used as a "bug."

FOR MORE URGENT 4-1-1:

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america OR (if link is bugged): http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 24, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"A new CNN poll has some really bad news for the Republican Party, with their favorability number reaching its lowest in a decade.

Only 36% of people view the GOP favorably, with an outright majority of 54% viewing them unfavorably. By comparison, the Democratic Party is at 53% favorable to 41% unfavorable -- hardly a good omen for the Republicans if they want to make significant gains in 2010.

The last time the GOP was this bad in CNN's polling was in December 1998, in the heat of the impeachment battles, when they were at 31%-57%.

From the pollster's analysis: "The Republican party may still be battling the legacy left to them by George W. Bush. They have also spent a lot of time in 2009 working against Democratic proposals. That hasn't left them a lot of time so far this year to present a positive, post-Bush message."

The pollster is too kind. They don't have one. They simply want to repeat every mistake the Bush administration made, only worse this time. Their ideology has only become MORE lockstep and more insanely right wing and negative, and that's only likely increase. If their only objective in the world is to hate the President, that's not likely to be seen as patriotic by most Americans with any sense of decency.

Posted by: drindl | October 24, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I agree with others that Snowe belongs near the top of this poll, as she is easily one of the most influential Republicans on public policy, if not the most influential.

I imagine though that Chris is writing from the perspective of who is most influential within the Republican Party---not which Republicans are truly most influential in impacting public policy. So in that sense, I can sort of understand Snowe not being ranked because she will not be a Presidential candidate and conservatives tend to resent her. While Republicans need to elect more moderates like Snowe to ever have a chance at a majority, moderates across the country have left the Republican Party in droves in recent years. The right wing's dominance of the Republican Party, and the rightward drift of the Republicans in recent years have basically doomed them.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | October 24, 2009 5:11 AM | Report abuse

Limbaugh and Beck are still the tails that wag the Republican dog. I know, it's too embarrassing to put them in an official list. But still, who's setting the long-term goals and immediate initiatives for the party? No one on this list.

Posted by: nodebris | October 23, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

G&T - You evidently haven't followed Republican politics. Bob Dole was runner up to Bush 41. He's the next nominee. McCain was runner up to Bush 43. He's the next nominee. Romney was runner up to McCain. Dot dot dot...

I remember a great T-shirt from the '04 election. Dated Dean. Married Kerrey. Mark my words. Republicans might date Huckabee or Palin, but those are to be brides left at the altar. Romney has a good shot. I think Barbour is underestimated--Lord knows, I did. We'll see whassup in '12.

Cheers!

and Buh-bye!

(what did you all think BB stands for?)

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 23, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

But she barely posts here anymore.

Posted by: snowbama | October 23, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Barbour and Cornyn are doing their internal party leadership work. I simply do not know about Pete Sessions. Find it hard to believe that he can find his arse with both hands.

In the Senate, Lugar and to the extent he follows Lugar's lead, Corker, exercise leadership influence on the SFRC even in the minority. Graham and McC still exercise leadership roles on their committees, while in the minority. Snowe is the most powerful R in America. Boehner and McConnell may be leading their caucuses.

As far as I can tell, the others you named are not leading anything, within or without their party.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 23, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

All Chris fox. What a loser.

Posted by: snowbama | October 23, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Palin only wears well with about 20% of the country. By 2012, after primary debates with Romney, TPaw, Huckabee, etc., her deficits as a candidate will be well-exposed. My guess is the Repub nominee will be someone not on this list, although it does seem that Repub candidates get more do-overs, e.g., McCaiin 2000 becomes McCain 2008.

Posted by: -pamela | October 23, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

"it's clear Pawlenty is the current "it" boy in Republican politics."

Stormfront's not even pitching this Pawlenty stuff.

Today the internet news was "they" wanted Roger Ailes to run. But then he turned "them" down. LOL.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 23, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Butbutbutbutbut Pawlenty has some REALLY TALENTED PEOPLE accepting money from him.

Shirley that has to translate to electoral victory.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 23, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

This space is only place outside Pawlenty's grocery store rag that writes about him. Not even the mothership (Drudge) gives him any ink.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 23, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm so excited reading about Tim Pawlenty I need to go home and change my underwear

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 23, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Forgot the checklist, sorry.
Pawlenty in 2012. Check
Palin in 2012. Check
GOP comeback. Check
No positive mention of our 44th President, the one practically everyone in Washington, DC voted for (it is the WASHINGTON Post, isn't it?). Check.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 23, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

He's running for President of Mississippi.
Or Tara.

==

... or Belle Reve

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 23, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Considering how much she's deteriorated since McCain picked her, I'd say that by 2012 Palin might not be recognizable. Look at the photo about her endorsement a few pages back .. she still looks airbrushed and made-up but the Disney eyes are gone.

And of course her looks are going to sag, which won't help.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 23, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

He'll be 69 in 2016. Probably having health problems, and not a terribly attractive candidate in the first place.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 23, 2009 3:15 PM
________________
He's running for President of Mississippi.
Or Tara. That'll be after the secession.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 23, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

It will be Phalin in 2012. And if it is, she is expected to lose by 23 points according to the Marist poll. My guess? She has lost the vote of one Gregory Charles Royal...at least until she changes her "policy."

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 23, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but that's just a fantasy. Even with W as an anchor around the nominee's neck, McCain still polled 47%.

==

And does it look now like the GOP would run anyone as sane as McCain? Far from it. They're leapfrogging over one another in their zeal for the margins and fringes and show no sign, not even a hint, of moving centerward. Any Republican who issues a reasonable utterance retracts it in hasty shame within a day.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 23, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

G&T said: "I think it will be more like a generation before the GOP runs someone who has a chance of winning."

Sorry, but that's just a fantasy. Even with W as an anchor around the nominee's neck, McCain still polled 47%. On the flip side, the Republican ascendency lasted only 12 years in the presidency (or 24 if you conclude Carter was a blip) and the permanent Republican majority lasted 14 years (a bit longer than the 1000 year Reich). Just as with children, deviation is to the mean.

With regards to Froomkin, you can be right and wrong. It may be right on the substance, but dead wrong on the politics. On the plus side, it'll get the back up of the rest of the networks. Obama deserves skeptical coverage.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 23, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm betting they run a far-right lunatic. They'll amp each other up with bluster and rage and once again convince themselves that most Americans are as hate-crazed and nutty as they themselves are, and when it doesn't work they'll scream that they weren't hate-crazed and nutty ENOUGH.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 23, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

The big question for 2012 when Obama will be headed for reelection will be whether Republicans will nominate a candidate who can hold a sufficient number of mainstream voters to limit Congressional losses, or whether they go hard right? If they nominate a far-right candidate like Palin, rather than a more mainstream conservative like Romney, the election will be a complete landslide. Obama would probably win about 55-45 vs. a Romney or Pawlenty.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | October 23, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Did they strip Steele of all budgetary authority at the RNC some time ago? And, later, didn't they admonish him for publicly articulating GOP positions on policy issues like health care reform? If so, how is he "leading" anything?

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 23, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Dan Froomkin Reloaded!

Dan's excellent take today on the idiots who have a problem with BHO calling Fox out as fake news operation.

An excerpt from Dan's HuffPo piece:

"The White House "attack" on Fox is being derided as bad politics, as ineffective and as a distraction from more important issues -- all of which may be true. But doesn't it kind of matter that, when it comes to the substance of what Anita Dunn, David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel, and now even Obama himself have said, they're exactly right?

Obama on Wednesday told NBC's Savannah Guthrie: "I think that what our advisers have simply said is, is that we are going to take media as it comes. And if media is operating basically as a talk radio format, then that's one thing. And if it's operating as a news outlet, then that's another. "

Fox News has, as my colleague Jason Linkins so effectively wrote earlier this week, well and truly left the fold of legitimate news outlets. The evidence is exhaustive. If you actually watch the network, it's not a close question. Indeed, as Josh Marshall writes, "as a product the straight news is almost more the stuff of parody than the talk shows which are at least more or less straightforward about what they are.""

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/23/why-journalists-shouldnt_n_331748.html

__________

As for GOP leaders, how did you miss:

Von Brunn
Audra Shay ("[rac]coon" expert)
Marcus Epstein (Buchanan protege)
John Brek (aka "John the fence cutter" from this day forth)
Brian Kilmeade (firmly against "cross species" social interaction)
Lynn Jenkins (still looking for Jess Willard)
Joe Wilson
Michelle Bachman
"Pastor" Steven Anderson
"Mrs." Greta VanSusteren

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 23, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

The candidate that runs in 2016 will be more moderate than Barber and will be thought of as a midwesterner or from the west. 2012, that is a different story.

==

I think it will be more like a generation before the GOP runs someone who has a chance of winning. They're going to continue to convince themselves that at heart most Americans outside of NYC and SF are as bigoted and hate-crazed as they themselves are.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 23, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

The candidate that runs in 2016 will be more moderate than Barber and will be thought of as a midwesterner or from the west. 2012, that is a different story.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 23, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

HOW HOMELAND SECURITY- ADMINISTERED 'FUSION CENTERS' USE WARRANTLESS SURVEILLANCE TO HARASS AND CENSOR U.S. CITIZENS

IS Sec. Napolitano naive, misinformed, or complicit?

http://nowpublic.com/world/govt-fusion-center-spying-pretext-harass-and-censor

OR (if link is sabotaged):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 23, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Accounting for age, a 2012 Barbour run seems more likely. 65 is the new 75. A N/S match-up with Romney?

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 23, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone have a link to the video?

BUSH REGRETS STANDING IN FRONT OF 'MISSION IMPOSSIBLE' BANNER!

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/10/23/bush-soul/

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 23, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

BB, I agree.

But don't you want to guess why Graham did not make CC's list? You saw him being attacked at that SC town meeting last week by his constituents, right? I think that guy in the yellow T shirt, the one security came over to stop, that guy convinced CC Graham no longer mattered.

Meanwhile, Chester Arthur. Bilateral mudflaps, whoa, those must be higher maintenance than any mullet.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 23, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I'd put Barbour higher as I think he's going to be a bigger player in the future. Possibly even a 2016 run.

==

He'll be 69 in 2016. Probably having health problems, and not a terribly attractive candidate in the first place.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 23, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I checked your leaders board and am willing to accept your list and ranking. In fact, I hope you are right.

That leadership council is capability of leading their lemmings off a cliff in the MOST amusing way.

Congressional leadership? McConnell and Boehner have certainly kept their zombies on leash. With one voice they intone NO! even more threateningly than movie zombies intone "Brains" The movie zombies at least recognize what it is they lack. (republicans, zombies, machts nichts). When the Zombies of NO! try to stagger into 2010 will we even need chainsaws to stop them? How about just people who are happy to have their jobs back. WITH Health Care.

Petey? Found 51 goats to raise $100K apiece. That way when they get slaughtered the RNC Check Book gets to keep ITS $19M.

MR, MH, MF, and the divine MsP? DARtanion and the three Mooseketeers? 1 thru 4? (Had caps problems and wrote ! thru $ originally. maybe that was more better after all)

From your lips to GOP's ears!! Really.

Reality has its way of winning eventually, of course, but Dallas in Wunderland i9s good news while it lasts.

Posted by: ceflynline | October 23, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Lindsay Graham should be on this list. There may be an election in VA this year, but the one term limit pretty much eliminates VA governors as players on the national scene. Warner might have been an exception, but note that he didn't run.

I don't see Palin as a #1, but it doesn't hurt for CC to throw some red meat to the left on occasion. I'd put Barbour higher as I think he's going to be a bigger player in the future. Possibly even a 2016 run.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 23, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Shrink, I go to disagree moustaches are awesome. I wish more male politicians would go back to the sweet facial hair of the past like Chester Arthur. Google it you'll thank me.

==

Got a guy here at work doing the Dr. Weil thing, massive fringe spraying out from his face. Being behind this guy on the escalator is enough to bring lunch right back up.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 23, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Shrink, I go to disagree moustaches are awesome. I wish more male politicians would go back to the sweet facial hair of the past like Chester Arthur. Google it you'll thank me.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 23, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

koolkat -- they must not have let him in the dayroom till now. Probably started a food fight with his jello.

Posted by: drindl | October 23, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

sure would be nice to have a Democratic version of the Fix. Cillizza's obsession with cheering repuglican bottom feeding is a real turnoff.

==

Well when the stars of the GOP are uh people like Steele and Romney and Palin it's actually kinda like satire.

Who the hell is going to be excited and motivated by Tim Pawlenty?

Who actually believes an idiot like Palin has a shot at the presidency?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 23, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Conservatives should be concerned about Sarah Palin. She may do to conservatism in this century what the Scopes trial did in the past century.

==

Scopes should have been the end of social conservatism but it wasn't. They just hunkered down and organized and kept at it. Took them decades to fight their way back but by the time they had a candidate they liked again (Goldwater, almost 40 years after Scopes) they had their people in school boards and policy committees and all sorts of little municipal and state jobs that nobody paid attention to.

These guys don't give up, and every time they come back they're a little stronger. That's why it's important that social conservatism not only suffer defeats but must be completely and permanently discredited and anathemized.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 23, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

sure would be nice to have a Democratic version of the Fix. Cillizza's obsession with cheering repuglican bottom feeding is a real turnoff.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | October 23, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Well Michael Steele should lose that mustache. Handsome men should avoid facial hair (my stylist told me so) and Steele is a good looking guy. Personally, I think politicians should avoid facial hair altogether and I am not just talking about men. When is the last time we had a President with a mustache, Teddy Roosevelt?

==

Facial hair is disgusting

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 23, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Well Michael Steele should lose that mustache. Handsome men should avoid facial hair (my stylist told me so) and Steele is a good looking guy. Personally, I think politicians should avoid facial hair altogether and I am not just talking about men. When is the last time we had a President with a mustache, Teddy Roosevelt?

Posted by: shrink2 | October 23, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

The real story around Doug Hoffman has to center on how completely WEIRD he looks. There's a face that could be used to train puppies, frighten children, induce miscarriages, cause coronaries.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 23, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Conservatives should be concerned about Sarah Palin. She may do to conservatism in this century what the Scopes trial did in the past century.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 23, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I have no idea whether Chris knows what he writes about but I hope he is right that Palin is most influential. What we in the center need is for the Republican leadership to become so discredited that those financing them will decide that being able to influence public policy is more important than shouting ideology.

Fortunately Obama is more centrist than left so I do not think that we are suffering from the absence of an credible opposition party. Right now things have gotten so bad that if an idea comes from a Republican I am initially against it. It is only after I overcome my initial resistance that I will even give it consideration.

The Republicans will only gain influence when they start to present ideas that work for people rather than to discredit there opposition. The stupidity of their proposals, not necessarily their philosophy, makes them a threat to the future of this country.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 23, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

and the stooge bookends appear, almost in synch. Is there some sort of union for the brain less, other than the DNC, to which all you pitifully ignorant leftist belong?

Between drivl, Loud and Dumb and CF8 (aka csuxc), there has appeared a vacuum of content on this blog. they will fill it with insults, quips and serves they deem clever. I am sure the other Kindergartners are equally amused. Be warned, this is Drivl's personal sandbox. I think CC has been left out of the loop.

all thinking bloggers have fled.

Posted by: snowbama | October 23, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Sara Palin is #1! I hope she stays there. I hope she runs in 2012 with all those FBI investigations hanging over her head, about how her husband, the First Dude of Alaska, manipulated her position for personal gain. But in Alaska, there's no such thing as clean politicians. All of them are as dirty as snow three days after it's fallen and been shoveled into ugly, gritty piles of frozen water with rocks, soot and a few dead elk (à la the Murkowski clan.) Every time I hear Palin's name, I think of her in a helicopter shooting cowering wolves. I hope she falls out of one and, while still conscious, is eaten alive by a pack of wolves. And I'm not talking about GOP operatives, but the comparison is apt. RS

Posted by: russkie69 | October 23, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh please, Palin a leader because a bunch of angry rednecks express their defiance of the last election by buying her book?!?

You call that evidence?

If Palin is the #1 GOP leader then we can save a lot of money and a hell of a lot of time by not even holding elections.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 23, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

And we have our first yellowsnow polluting of the day. More to come.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 23, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I see the raving lunatic moonbat is still in the house.

Posted by: snowbama | October 23, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

The problem is guys, she is going on her own, but nobody is following her. She is showing leadership, but a leader with no followers is just a lady taking a walk. Republicans are actually following the lead of the people on this list...even if it means following them off a cliff.

Posted by: elijah24 | October 23, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

No Andy, this is why I called this list hilarious. No reason to it, otherwise, Lindsay Graham, Snowe, you know, people who actually get stuff done in Washington would be on the list.

And this not just a name recognition list either. The Fox News crew are far better known and are more influential with Republicans than Steele or McDonnell, to say nothing of Rush. And CC can't say he's excluded media personalities because that is all Palin is, a failed politician on Facebook. No this list screams one message:

There are no Republican leaders, just a battle and it is getting hot. When Fox News is battling Michael Savage, Lindsay Graham and Barak Obama all at the same time...the Republican message is out of control.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 23, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Andy is right -- Snowe is the only R leading instead of receding.

Posted by: drindl | October 23, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

One person you are missing on this list CC, is Olympia Snowe. Right now she is the most influential Republican in Washington and one could argue that her vote on the final healthcare package may be the straw that breaks the Elephant's back. She may be moderate but she may be the only GOPer who has any influence what-so-ever on actual policy decisions right now.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 23, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Oops, I meant NY 23 (below). Not Virginia.

Posted by: CalD | October 23, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Here's a book y'all might want to order for xmas giving...

Via The Mudflats, the blog that did so much to bring attention to Sarah Palin’s less-than-starburstacular career before William ‘Wrong Again’ Kristol cruised Juneau:

To anticipate your next question, no this is not a joke, or some fabulous Photoshop creation by the Mudflats Art Department (flyinureye). It is in fact the real cover and the real title of a real book that will be in bookstores on November 17, also too.

“Going Rouge is compiled by Richard Kim and Betsy Reed, two top editors of the left-leaning weekly The Nation, and includes essays by Nation regulars like Katrina vanden Heuvel, Naomi Klein, and Katha Pollitt. It’s the first release from OR Books, a fledgling outfit founded earlier this year by publishing veterans John Oakes and Colin Robinson that “embraces progressive change in politics, culture and the way we do business,” according to its website.”

http://www.balloon-juice.com/www.themudflats.net/2009/10/21/going-rogue-vs-going-rouge/www.themudflats.net/2009/10/21/going-rogue-vs-going-rouge/

Posted by: drindl | October 23, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Palin certainly doesn't have a seat at the table among the Republican party establishment. I'll buy that she's a mover and a shaker among the movement conservative rank and file if her endorsement of Doug Hoffman in Virginia bumps him into (at least) second place, but only on one condition: If Hoffman finishes third then political reporters have to stop buying their own hype about her.

Posted by: CalD | October 23, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Good points all. Man, what a list of retrograde, repulsive old white men. Even the few that are young seem old. With the exception of Steele, Mr. Foot in Mouth Disease.

Posted by: drindl | October 23, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Google News's "In the News" section recognizes these two-word pairs as being highly reported-on today. Look for some to appear in next week's list of Republican Leaders:

Lil Wayne
Soupy Sales
Bon Jovi
Windows 7
Somer Thompson
Amelia Earhart
Isiah Thomas
Mira Nair
Hilary Swank
Steve Ballmer

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 23, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Blarg writes
"I still don't understand what it means to be a Republican leader."

If this list is accurate, it means getting your name in the headlines.

Speaking of the list, I don't see a single person on it that appeals to moderates or swing voters. Romney & Pawlenty want to be that person, but both have focused on appeasing the base, which firstly alienates moderates and secondly exposes them to attacks of flipfloppery and inconsistent principles. As far as actual leadership, the list is vacant.

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 23, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Now that her book that has not been released can be had for $9 and dropping, you have to wonder. Is paper publishing so dead that we are about to see a book remaindered before its first actual copy is read?

Posted by: shrink2 | October 23, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Palin jumped 8 ranks because of a book that hasn't been released yet?

I still don't understand what it means to be a Republican leader. I'd assume that the party leaders are the people with control over the Republican agenda, whose ideas shape the party. But obviously that's wrong. Barbour is the only one of the top 5 with a formal position in the party; 3 of them don't even hold an office. So what are the criteria? Is it just name recognition?

Posted by: Blarg | October 23, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Lets see how high Palin ranks after her book comes out and the late night comics have a field day with that clown.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | October 23, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

This is hilarious!
Crucial insights into who is in charge of that dumpster fire over there.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 23, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

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