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Who's the most influential Republican leader?

After a very long -- but fascinating -- week, we turn our attention to ranking the 10 most influential Republican leaders operating in the party at the moment.

Remember that this Line is not meant to be a proxy for who is most likely to win the Republican nomination for president in 2012 -- some people who will look closely at that race (South Dakota Sen. John Thune, for instance) didn't even make the cut this month.

Rather, the Line is an attempt to rank the 10 Republicans currently exerting the most influence on the party's direction whether from the inside (like Republican Governors Association Chairman Haley Barbour) or from the outside (Kentucky Senate nominee and tea party favorite Rand Paul).

Friday Line

The rankings -- culled from conversations with a number of Republican party strategists -- are below.

Agree or disagree with our assessments? The comments section awaits your thoughts.

To the Line!

Coming onto the Line: Rand Paul, Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie
Coming off the Line: Marco Rubio, John Thune, Scott Brown

10. Rand Paul: Like it or not, Paul is the best-known face of the tea party movement at the moment. And, his massive win over Secretary of State Trey Grayson in Tuesday's primary shows that the tea party is more than just talk. As the controversy over Paul's comments about the Civil Rights Act earlier this week suggest, it will be an uneasy marriage between the tea party and the mainstream of the GOP. Paul is the test case for whether that forced coupling can work. (Previous ranking: N/A)

9. Newt Gingrich: The former House Speaker is, without question, among the savviest policy minds in the party. But, Gingrich's political sensibilities are a bit more questionable. Witness his decision to compare the fight against the Obama Administration's policies to the fight against Nazism. Not smart. And definitely not presidential. (Previous ranking: 10)

8. Mitch Daniels: Daniels continues to focus primarily on doing his job as governor of Indiana but in Washington he is now part of the conversation about 2012 -- right where he wants to be. The question Daniels will have to answer is whether he can (or wants to) go into Iowa and New Hampshire dozens of times to sell himself to voters. That's not his reputation as a politician -- his image is as a hyper-competent navigator of governments large and small -- and so he would likely have to make an adjustment in approach if he decides to run . (Previous ranking: N/A)

7. Chris Christie: Six months removed from his upset win over then Gov. Jon Corzine, Christie has become one of the most unlikely Republican rock stars. His veto of a tax on millionaires earlier this week won him plaudits among fiscal conservatives and his much publicized confrontation with a reporter over the differences between Republicans and Democrats has built some national buzz around the governor. (Previous ranking: N/A)

6. Rick Perry: For a guy who spends every waking minute reminding people how much he dislikes Washington, the Texas governor sure does get a lot of good press from the DC-based media. From a lengthy New York Times profile to the cover of Newsweek magazine, Perry is being cast as (one of) the leading voices on the right. Plus, he killed a coyote while out walking his dog last month. Um, whoah. (Previous ranking: 7)

5. John Cornyn: With House Republicans having fallen on hard times following their surprisingly large margin of defeat in a Pennsylvania special election, Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is carrying the campaign hopes and dreams of the party at the moment. That's not to say Cornyn doesn't have problems of his own -- including tough primary races in Colorado and New Hampshire. Not to mention Rand Paul. (Previous ranking: 4)

4. Tim Pawlenty: Allies of the Minnesota governor were ecstatic at how the budget showdown with the state legislature turned out earlier this week -- no new taxes, most notably. And, Pawlenty continues to travel the country to raise money for the Republican Governors Association (he's in Wisconsin today) and for his Freedom First PAC. Pawlenty will need to have a "wow" moment in front of activists and the national media at some point in the next year or so but, in the meantime, he's doing all the basic blocking and tackling right. (Previous ranking: 5)

3. Haley Barbour: There's little question that Barbour's RGA is seen as the bully -- in a good way -- on the political block this year. Due to the tens of millions the committee has on hand, the RGA is already playing active roles in a number of contested races. That involvement in Massachusetts drew some controversy -- quickly squashed -- about ads attacking state Treasurer Tim Cahill who is running as an Independent in that race. (Previous ranking: 1)

2. Mitt Romney: Romney continues to play a different sort of game than the other candidates expected to run for president in 2012. He methodically rolls out endorsements -- state by state -- in advance of the 2010 election, a strategy that allows him to use his financial might to build chits. He continues to tour the country in support of "No Apologies" -- his campaign platform book. And, he avoids sounding off on every issue under the sun. It's the strategy of a frontrunner, which, today, Romney is. (Previous ranking: 2)

1. Sarah Palin: Yes, she's number one again. No Republican has moved up as much on the Line as the former Alaska governor. And, even now, in conversations with Republican operatives, some suggest she should hold this top spot while others insist she should be down at number nine or ten. We think the former option is the right one at the moment as Palin has shown a practical side -- her endorsement of former HP executive Carly Fiorina in the California Senate race -- and it's clear that her support can make a difference in primaries and other nomination fights. (See Tom Emmer in Minnesota and Nikki Haley in South Carolina.) (Previous ranking: 3)

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 21, 2010; 12:45 PM ET
Categories:  The Line  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: "Worst Week in Washington": And the winner is...
Next: Pat Toomey insists Obama's agenda on the line in Pennsylvania

Comments


Folks, Cillizza does not know a Republican, much less the leading Republicans. And leading Republicans are the ones who will decide who the top Republican leaders are. Cillizza is a left-wing spokesman for Dems in a left-wing rag and knows zilch about Republicans. Ignore this nonsense.

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Posted by: itkonlyyou77 | May 23, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

What about Jim DeMint or Boehner? And if Rand Paul is listed, shouldn't Marco Rubio? he is uniting republicans, old and YOUNG, across the country and isnt pissing anyone off.

Posted by: WilliamSC1 | May 23, 2010 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Sandboxjhon, we all agree, left, right and center. Let Rand Paul run! This whole thing about how he has to go away just because the media don't like him is wrong. He should get up and yell his ideas from the rooftops.

Sarah runs her political career from Facebook, maybe Rand should too.

Bottom line, Republicans just like everyone else should elect whomever they believe best represents their views.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 22, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

The most important thing is, the folks that should decide who the Republican nominee will be should be the Republican Party and not the liberal leaning pundits and commentators in the media.

Posted by: SandBoxJohn | May 22, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

At some point the voters are going to tire of all of this fun and games and get down to the serious business of electing serious people to conduct the nation's business.

Posted by: jaxas70 | May 22, 2010 9:27 AM

------

It's about time! The voters can start in 2010 by tossing out a bunch of the liberal loons and continue in 2012 by showing Obama the door. Right, bozo?

Posted by: Brigade | May 22, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Give it up Brigade, everyone here knows that the Democrats were a racist party before LBJ and the CRA and that all those Dixiecrats moved to ther GOP that year, precisely as LBJ predicted they would. You know this too but you elect to spread misinformation and diversion, being the reflexively dishonest scumbag you are.

Got any data to support a racist Democratic Party newer than 45 year ago? Didn't think so.

Got any data to show that Republicans are intolerant of racism newer than 45 years ago? Didn't think so.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 22, 2010 1:08 AM

-------

It certainly gets tiresome having to demonstrate, day in and day out, your total ignorance of the issues.

"J. William Fulbright became a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1949, and served as chairman from 1959 to 1974– he was the longest-serving chair in that committee's history.

Fulbright signed The Southern Manifesto opposing the Supreme Court's historic 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision. He subsequently joined with the Dixiecrats in filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as voting against the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
President Bill Clinton cited him as a mentor."

-------
"Senator Strom Thurmond switched parties and became a Republican; Jesse Helms also switched his party registration to Republican in 1970 and won a Senate seat in North Carolina in 1972. However the most powerful committee chairmen, including Richard Russell, Jr. of Georgia and James Eastland and John Stennis of Mississippi remained in the Democratic Party."
-------
Robert Byrd is a Democrat serving to this day.
-------
Congressional Quarterly reported that, in the House of Representatives, 61% of Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act as opposed to 80% of Republicans (138 for, 38 against). In the Senate, 69% of voted for the Act while 82% of Republicans did (27 for, 6 against). All southern Democrats voted against the Act.

In his remarks upon signing the Civil Rights Act, President Lyndon Johnson praised Republicans for their "overwhelming majority."
-------
Al Gore, Sr. did not stop at simply voting against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In addition, Congressional Quarterly reported that Gore attempted to send the Act to the Senate Judiciary Committee with an amendment to say "in defiance of a court desegregation order, federal funds could not be held from any school districts." Gore sought to take the teeth out of the Act in the event it passed.
-------
Noacoler, some of your idiotic ramblings can be entertaining as long as the reader is aware that you have a likeable tendancy to lie and exaggerate. Put this post on your wall, and let's not revisit the issue.

Posted by: Brigade | May 22, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

OTOH, maybe there is nothing funny about it.
Paul and Palin and the rest of the government-always-bad demagogues are getting people killed...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/22/us/22arkansas.html?hp

Posted by: shrink2 | May 22, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Interesting bunch of comments this morning. One of the days more reasoned commenters- mark in austin (how about those Mustangs at UT?).

Posted by: hoser3 | May 22, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I am annoyed Rand Paul has already crashed, his political career now burning out of control, in the ditch.

If only he could have overtaken Newt on the Republican power list, it would have been worth the price of listening to him for a few more weeks.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 22, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Without question: Sarah Palin.
Every endorsement that she makes goes on to win. The latest example is Rand Paul in KY. and the nomination race in South Carolina.
Compare that to Obama's endorsements, and Mrs. Palin is a real phenomenon.
Her Arizona stand has boosted the polls in Arizona's favor substantially. Check the on going poll on Arizona's Boycott and vote at http://www.robbingamerica.com
Since Sarah pronounced on the subject.

Posted by: JohnGalt9 | May 22, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

This was a pointless exercise. Look. The direction the republican party has taken isn't because of the "influence" of Sarah Palin, who n my own humble estimation is wields less influence on the republicans than she does on witless, libido driven media analysts with a high hard one like Chris Cillizza.

Want to know the single most important driver of the GOP's present direction? President Barack Obama. His win has literally driven the right wing nutzoid. The runner up of course is that nutzoid, bonkers-as-hell right wing propaganda media of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Fox News. For that dweeby, dishonorable bunch it was personal. It was though Obama had sexually assaulted them depriving them of their manhood.

All of this mooning, sniveling, schoolboy, wet dream analysis we get from Chris misses the point that Palin and the rest on that list are just along for the ride. At some point the voters are going to tire of all of this fun and games and get down to the serious business of electing serious people to conduct the nation's business.

Posted by: jaxas70 | May 22, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Hi Mike - I know you were down on McC, but Perry could not be the next McC no matter what the press does.
I agree with you about Jindal, and probably about Thune, being on the "influential" list at the end of the day.

I do not know about Rubio. He has a seriously tough race, first. Because this is about influence in the party,
to me, Barbour and Cornyn must be at the top, right now. They have the biggest purse strings. As much as the press hypes endorsements, none of the others have endorsements worth enough votes to sway even a congressional seat outside their home states, if you count Utah as a second home state for WMR.

I know that abortion and national security are the two driving issues for you. Are you satisfied with any of the potential nominees on both scores?

I hope this finds you safe and well. The Aggies look like they will come to plat this Fall, btw.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | May 22, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

'Conservatives: Do not allow independents/liberals to choose our candidate for us (again). Stay away from Gov Good Hair!"


many of us in Texas share your exact same sentiment in Texas. Especially yesterday
after his State Bd of Education once again
embarrassed our entire state approving Phyllis Schlafly's rewritten politicized textbooks for 5 million students.
I wouldn't worry mike b/c even if he should
barely manage to get re elected(which is far from a given), Americans are not in much of a hury for another Texan running for POTUS. Our memories are not that short.

Posted by: leichtman1 | May 22, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm feeling bad for Rand Paul. That big victory made him feel we were ready for his Big Story.

It's like an ardent Scientologist thinking his best friend is ready to hear about the liberating miracle of Scientology... and then he gets smirked at. It hurts.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | May 22, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

PS,

I've said it before and I'll say it now.

Rick Perry is the next John McCain.

The NYT Media will annoint him as our "leader" immediately before destroying him.

Conservatives: Do not allow independents/liberals to choose our candidate for us (again). Stay away from Gov Good Hair!

Posted by: USMC_Mike | May 22, 2010 4:40 AM | Report abuse

Great list CC.

Been following you for years. Reading from Baghdad.

I'm thinking Thune, Rubio, Jindal will all make this list before its said and done.

I agree with your analysis of Pawlenty. He's getting the "right" boxes checked, but thus far he's boring.

I also agree with your Romney paragraph. He is definitely trying to play the part of the front-runner, disciplined in running his mouth.

How this contrasts to Palin's strategy of having a loud opinion about everything will be interesting to watch.

Please keep up the good work, Chris.

Mike

Posted by: USMC_Mike | May 22, 2010 4:27 AM | Report abuse

With a list of such "influential" Republicans showing the very limited ideological horizons of the GOP, expect Democratic losses in Congress this year to be less than most people expect. Until, if ever, Republicans moderate their right-wing tilt, they will probably be the minority party at the national level for at least another decade.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | May 22, 2010 2:15 AM | Report abuse

Give it up Brigade, everyone here knows that the Democrats were a racist party before LBJ and the CRA and that all those Dixiecrats moved to ther GOP that year, precisely as LBJ predicted they would.  You know this too but you elect to spread misinformation and diversion, being the reflexively dishonest scumbag you are.

Got any data to support a racist Democratic Party newer than 45 year ago?  Didn't think so.

Got any data to show that Republicans are intolerant of racism newer than 45 years ago?  Didn't think so.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 22, 2010 1:08 AM | Report abuse

It's simply cheap, Brigade. I'm all for quoting someone and showing why you think they're wrong. I'd hoped you'd be an interesting conservative view. There are those of us on the blog who want a debate. My closest friend from grad school was an arch conservative and we had many merry fights. If you choose to deliberately misquote me or simply insult me, then that says all I need to know about you. Or at least how you roll.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 21, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

It's not my list of favorites, and I might quibble with a couple names on the list (Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour), but it's probably more accurate than any list I might produce.

Posted by: JBaustian | May 21, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

real classy statement brigade. We see you are now not averse to getting in the sewer with
your alter ego 37th. Thought you had better sense then that. Apparently not.

Posted by: leichtman1 | May 21, 2010 10:01 PM

--------

Thought I might run into you there. Had a few too many again tonight, have we?

Posted by: Brigade | May 21, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

real classy statement brigade. We see you are now not averse to getting in the sewer with
your alter ego 37th. Thought you had better sense then that. Apparently not.

Posted by: leichtman1 | May 21, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

pahrumpete wrote,
"The GOP went to Hell overnight when the lying, racist, corrupt Dixie-Crats carried their party treasuries down the street in all the Old Solid Democratic South states' capitols -- and switched to the Republican Party.
Sadly, the GOP leadership welcomed them and their financial war chests, mostly accumulated for their failed war against LBJ's Civil Rights Act."

------

You're a liar as well as a liberal troll. We discussed all this in a thread yesterday. The GOP leadership was minority leader Everett Dirksen who received a special award from the NAACP for uniting with other Republicans to support President Johnson and break a Democratic filibuster orchestrated by the likes of Al Gore Sr. and Robert Byrd. Very few of them ever became Republicans; they stayed right in the same sewer where they'd always been---right there with you.
Go peddle these whoppers to someone who's as ignorant as you.

Posted by: Brigade | May 21, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

In the washroom at the airport I saw a handwritten sign posted over one of those hot air hand dryers: "Please push button and listen for a short message from the President!"..........There's nothing like "hot air" and the smell of crap to give you that true Obama experience!!!!

Posted by: Brigade | May 21, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Having been an ORIGINAL SOUTHERN REPUBLICAN when there were just one or two -- up to an awesome 15 in most Southern counties -- the GOP's present state is nauseating.
The GOP went to Hell overnight when the lying, racist, corrupt Dixie-Crats carried their party treasuries down the street in all the Old Solid Democratic South states' capitols -- and switched to the Republican Party.
Sadly, the GOP leadership welcomed them and their financial war chests, mostly accumulated for their failed war against LBJ's Civil Rights Act.
As chaotic as today's GOP party activities and election campaigns are, they do remind us of Will Rogers' gentle explanation of the 1920s.
"I don't belong to any organized political party," Will drawled. "I'm a Democrat."
Will would never have taken his Cherokee heritage to the GOP for any reason, much less pure racism and bigotry -- which he defied and objected to during his lifetime.
But to be a member of the disorganized party today, it is necessary to be a Republican.
Rand Paul is the surest proof that conservative Republicans oppose gun control.
With effective gun control, he possibly could have been prevented from shooting himself in both feet again.
Maybe the G --OO0PS-PEE will run the PeePee Twins--Paul and Palin.
Now there are two people who deserve each other.
Maybe they can arrange for Miz Sary's ex-Almost Son-in-Law to serve as the living nude model for a sculpture noting the condition of the average American after the last GOP administration.
Remember how much fun we had between August,2008 and December 2009??

Posted by: pahrumpete | May 21, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Fairlingtonblade wrote,
"I'm sorry you've gone down the path of deliberately misquoting people, Brigade. It's a slimy tactic and convinces no one."

Convinces no one? You mean I didn't fool you? Drat!

Posted by: Brigade | May 21, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

An interesting discussion. I'm sorry you've gone down the path of deliberately misquoting people, Brigade. It's a slimy tactic and convinces no one. But, hey, I guess it gives you a chuckle or two.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 21, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Tim Pawlenty?

How is he #4 when he was #3 at the rally with Palin and Michele Bachmann? Speaking of which, Bachmann is missing.

Posted by: KBowen7097 | May 21, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Noacoler wrote,
"Sound, solid reasoning based on invalid predicates in possible, and one of the saddest things I've learned in this life in that smart people are no less prone to elective self-deception than anyone else."

Unfortunately, you are the living proof, and that is the one thing you cannot and never will understand.

Posted by: Brigade | May 21, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

shrink2 wrote,
"Intellectual does not mean smart, but that isn't the point."

You can say that again.

"There is no theoretical foundation for Republican political positions. Their brain trust is Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Savage and anyone with a revisionist story about Ronald Reagan. That is all there is."

According to who? These conservative commentators must draw most of their audience from liberals. I'm a conservative, and I hardly ever listen to Beck or Limbaugh; Hannity sometimes; Savage never. But you guys are obsessed with them---you must hang on every word.

Oh, and I put a distillation of liberal talking points over in the next thread. This one of yours can be summed up as follows: "Republicans are stupid; Democrats are not." Now just master "Republicans are racist; Democrats are not" and "I know you are, but what am I?" and you'll be all set from now until the November elections. No sense wasting words when it can be so simply said.

Posted by: Brigade | May 21, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Excellent post, Brigade, exactly the stuff that keeps me coming back here despite the meiocrity of the articles and the viciousness of the trolls.

Anti-intellectualism is America's Heart of Darkness and it's erupted from its concealment past anything I ever would have imagined. Obama's elevation of the swing shift at the Hormel plant to the most authentic of Americans is, yeah, the end of the line. The final triumph of the Southern Strategy . . .

Posted by: Noacoler | May 21, 2010 3:31 PM

-----

Thanks, Noacoler. Don't let it get you down.

Posted by: Brigade | May 21, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Don't even want to try to imagine what it's like to have a mind so dim that Palin seems like the right stuff.

Alternating feet must be a challenge.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 21, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin wrote,
"The word had a pejorative connotation, too - it meant anti-pragmatic, ethereal, and ivory tower to almost everyone who was not an "intellectual"."

Still does when applied to most liberals.

Posted by: Brigade | May 21, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney??? Seriously???

The guy is a ZERO. He's been hiding on every single issue!

Sarah Palin has more influence right now than the rest of the GOP put together. More stones too!

I'm sorry, Mitt Romney is absolutely useless. Where is he on illegal immigration? Energy? The Oil Spill? The War on Terror? The economy? On Obama being an un-American loser?


I hope he runs. Be fun to watch Palin make actual mittens out of what's left of Mittens!

Oy!

Posted by: gary4205 | May 21, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

leichtman1 wrote,
"Noacoler Rand will win Ky comfortably..."


Shhhhhh. That's a secret.

Posted by: Brigade | May 21, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

37th curious if you and your TeaParty friends agree with Paul's statement today that it is UnAmerican to criticize BP since we know how much you hate Obama? Paul went on to say that he opposes Obama putting govt's steel boot on the throat of BP and that such attacks on BP are UnAmerican and antibusiness. That looks too easy to be true: Do you stand with BP or with their D opponents? Paul's campaign
is imploding similarly to Allen's. The only
difference is that this election is in Ky
not Virginia. So if Paul wins he will likely be the loan voice apologist for BP in the US Senate.
Will Fiorina stand with Paul and BP in her race against Barbara Boxer?

Posted by: leichtman1 | May 21, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Whoa, Rand is already cancelling interviews where he risks getting asked actual questions.

For a guy who runs on the whole rugged pioneer individual shtick he sure has turned out to be a lightweight.

Wonder if he'll make it to the election without imploding? Kind of a leap to go from measuring diopters for spectacles without at least a mayorship in there somewhere. Don't think he's up for it.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 21, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul just cancelled his appearance with
David Gregory this Sunday. Good move since
he also stated that it's NAmerican to
criticize BP
Noacoler Rand will win Ky comfortably but the DNC ought
to hang these outrageous Paul statements around the necks
of the entire GOP including Rubio and Steele. Watch them squirm trying to defend Rand and his defense of BP
Rand must be the only politician wanting tocdefend the
outrageous conduct of BP. Does the TeaParty stand with BP?

Posted by: leichtman1 | May 21, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul has been on a honeymoon for so long he's forgotten what a honeymoon is.

Millionaire's son and Man of the People.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | May 21, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul just cancelled his appearance with
David Gregory this Sunday. Good move since
he also stated that it's NAmerican to
criticize BP
Noacoler Rand will win Ky comfortably but the DNC ought
to hang these outrageous Paul statements around the necks
of the entire GOP including Rubio and Steele. Watch them squirm trying to defend Rand and his defense of BP
Rand must be the only politician wanting tocdefend the
outrageous conduct of BP. Does the TeaParty stand with BP?

Posted by: leichtman1 | May 21, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Four (4) Checks:

Totally free ad/mentions for ten BHO opponents. Check.

No positive mention of the 44th President of the United States. Check.

Gratuitous shout-out to Tim Pawlenty. Check.

Inexplicable shout-out to Mitch Daniels. Mitch Daniels? Check.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | May 21, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

If those people are the best they have, they are in more than trouble. Rand Paul is coming out of the gate talking like the KKK without a robe. He would have us go back 50 years and kick African Americans or latinos or gay people out of restaurants that are privately owned just because the owners don't like them.

And he is their point man!!! He will drive them all into the ditch.

Posted by: ronjeske | May 21, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

glenn, thank you for these historical references which I will look up.

Say, have you got any recommendations, perhaps of a political bibliography of this period? There are lots of histories of post war politics, focused on various themes, but none I have read with a direct focus on the political parties' intellectual evolution during the period you reference.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 21, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

@leichtman: because Bunning was just a hardcore Republican, while Paul is a libertarian. Not even most Republicans are ready for the bat-feces lunacy of libertarianism. If Paul is already in so much trouble after only **three days** then imagine what he's going to be like in six months.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 21, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

most of you must be young, thinking that gop intolerance of education and intelligence started with nixon and agnew. look back at the 30's and the scurrilous attacks on fdr and the democrats. look at nixon's 1940's speeches in california, the senate republican supporters of joe mccarthy, attacks on the universities by the big republican papers (e.g., chicago trib's attacks on the u of chicago's 'red schoolhouse'--at the very moment that the university's conservative economists, lawyers, and political scientists-milton friedman, leo strauss, et al-- were preparing what became the reagan revolution).

Posted by: copelandglenn | May 21, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

most of you must be young, thinking that gop intolerance of education and intelligence started with nixon and agnew. look back at the 30's and the scurrilous attacks on fdr and the democrats. look at nixon's 1940's speeches in california, the senate republican supporters of joe mccarthy, attacks on the universities by the big republican papers (e.g., chicago trib's attacks on the u of chicago's 'red schoolhouse'--at the very moment that the university's conservative economists, lawyers, and political scientists-milton friedman, leo strauss, et al-- were preparing what became the reagan revolution).

Posted by: copelandglenn | May 21, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I did read "Critique O P R" in the fall of 1960. Not again, Chris! :-) Thank you for the compliment, which is undeserved, but welcomed.

Shrink, I remained convinced that "Wolfie" was wrong on Iraq, but I had to work on it to be able to say it aloud. I had to read everything the FPA had to offer - it was a good quick reference on its own, but it also referred to many other sources. By 2000, I knew all the ways Iraq was NOT like the Phillippines, but WAS like a Kurdish-Sunni-Shiite Yugoslavia, ready to be the tinderbox of the Middle East, and not the dynamic agent of positive change. I understand what you are saying, which at the essential level is that a false predicate leads to a false conclusion. Sometimes we cannot know that a hypothesis is false without testing it, of course. Sometimes we accept a hypothesis as a basis for political philosophy because it seems better than the alternatives to us, not because it is demonstrably true. My favorite? "All men are created equal." Works for me... .

Posted by: mark_in_austin | May 21, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Oh we can answer that, leapin, we're going to pay for it by selling all those free lunches. That way the profit is always 100% since we get the lunches for free.

Now aren't you glad we've cleared that up?

Posted by: Noacoler
-------------------------------------------
There's always the tried and true Mothers against (spending like) Drunk Democrats bake sale.

Posted by: leapin | May 21, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

With a few exceptions, that is a tragic list of candidates, book ended by the two candidates, who are most notable for amusing the press while managing to alienate most sentient beings, including the members of their own party, who may hope to capitalize on their popularity with the vocal fringe, but are pragmatic enough to recognize the limitations of their appeal to a majority of Americans. You can also add Rick Perry to the list of the not ready for prime time players, as well as Chris Christie, who lacks the finesse to even feign a conscience, and worse, wears his personal prejudices on his sleeve, attacking the public school system and libraries?!? while promoting corporate welfare and advocating for less regulation, despite all of the recent examples of the repercussions of corporations run amok.

While every governor has had to make painful choices, some have managed to do so with skill, grace and imagination; not so bully Christie, who has used his pulpit to demonize civil servants, while giving his own staff an immediate and unwarranted raise; railing against a public education system that is forced to transport his kids to private and parochial schools and about which he knows nothing, without considering taking on the power structure in a state that has a ludicrous number of school districts and superintendents, two of whom reign over districts without schools; putting the needs of businesses before the needs of the poor, infirm and elderly and refusing to consider any other means of raising revenue that might affect the comfort of the wealthy, with whom he clearly identifies, an attitude that, as grateful as they might be for his intractable elitism, is not reciprocated.

All of that being said, at least Christie was elected to office; the same cannot be said of Newt Gingrich, who grows battier by the day. I would have thought he would be more sophisticated than the idiots who compare any President to Hitler, but apparently he's decided that descending into the anti-intellectual muck is the way to go in the current political climate. Catering to the lowest common denominator may provide some temporary results, but in the long run, it makes normally respectable people look like unconscionable jerks.

Posted by: Koko3 | May 21, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Oh we can answer that, leapin, we're going to pay for it by selling all those free lunches. That way the profit is always 100% since we get the lunches for free.

Now aren't you glad we've cleared that up?

Posted by: Noacoler | May 21, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse


Obama's ICE Chief does not want to process ANYONE caught to be illegal aliens in Arizona now.


OBAMA MIGHT AS WELL OPEN THE ARIZONA-MEXICO BORDER TO ANYONE WHO WANTS TO CROSS.


This is Obama - REFUSING TO ENFORCE THE LAW.


This must be an impeachable offense.


IMPEACH OBAMA AND GET IT OVER WITH.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street
------------------------------------------
Is O bringing over Imadinnerjacket next week so Nanny State Pelosi can do another standing ovation???

Posted by: leapin | May 21, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Paul Ryan should be on the list because he asks the question that libs can't answer "how are you going to pay for it all"? As in it's mathematically impossible to tax your way out of O's big mess.

Posted by: leapin | May 21, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

"I have little idea what the point of this conversation is."

This person is not joking.
And so his point not only illustrates the point of this conversation, it becomes its conclusion too. Parsimonious, I like that.

Ta ta,

Posted by: shrink2 | May 21, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Obama's ICE Chief does not want to process ANYONE caught to be illegal aliens in Arizona now.

OBAMA MIGHT AS WELL OPEN THE ARIZONA-MEXICO BORDER TO ANYONE WHO WANTS TO CROSS.

This is Obama - REFUSING TO ENFORCE THE LAW.

This must be an impeachable offense.

IMPEACH OBAMA AND GET IT OVER WITH.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | May 21, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I have little idea what the point of this conversation is -


Except that you all are finally realizing that Obama WAS SUPPOSED TO BE SO SMART.

And we have pretty much of a disaster of an administration on our hands -

And the democrats are going to be very upset when they realize how much damage to the democratic party Obama has done.

I guess it kind of hurts the chances of any other Editors of the Harvard Law Review in the future.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | May 21, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

It's just plain ludicrous to suggest that Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty is "a more influential Republican leader operating in the country at the moment" than Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

Anybody who would write that is not to be taken seriously as a political analyst. At best it's just political empty calories, writing for the sake of writing. At worst, it's a deliberate attempt by Mr. Cillizza to deceive and mislead his readers.

Posted by: RThomp1881 | May 21, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Mark, I was thinking you were going in the right direction, really smart guys who get the big picture wrong, but then, you decided, since they are smarter than you, they must be right. This is exactly on point.

There are two ways to look at this,

1) There are people much smarter or more accomplished than me and who were so terribly wrong. That means being ignorant is ok (Republican theorem #1), or,

2) Being smart without being intellectual is a disaster.

The sad thing is the Greeks used to debate these issues, Marcus Aurelius too, ancients in general, nothing has changed. No wonder people invent religions.

To be clear, an individual can be smart and have no idea how to manipulate abstractions, or get into the world of ideas and get back out again with sanity intact. But a political party can not. The Republicans are bereft of intellectuals and that is a loss as serious as any number of gaffes and scandals.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 21, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul looks rational and thoughtful in
comparison to Jim Bunning. If the Ds couldn't
defeat a senile, mean, and totally irrational
Jim Bunning in 2004, why would they think
Ky voters would reject Paul in Nov. Its simply not gong to happen. In practically any other state making a statement questioning the legitimacy of the Civil Rights Act would be much worse than the maca moment and political suicide. Just shows us how extreme some voters are in this country and is an otherwise insult to the sensibilities of the people of Ky. Apparently some parts of the country are stuck in the sentiments of 1964.

Posted by: leichtman1 | May 21, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

@mark: you might want to check out a book by one Immanual Kant, the "Kritik der Reine Vernünft," the Critique of Pure Reason.

Sound, solid reasoning based on invalid predicates in possible, and one of the saddest things I've learned in this life in that smart people are no less prone to elective self-deception than anyone else.

Roberts may be a better lawyer than you but I'll take your sound reasoning over his drivel any day.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 21, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, all.

Shrink, there are conservative judges who pose internally consistent political views. John Roberts is a very smart guy. Some of the neocons suggested internally consistent political philosophies. Professor Wolfowitz, at Hopkins after he observed the Phillippines overthrow Marcos, wrote a long series of articles over 12 years, explaining how Iraq could be the keystone of dynamic change in the Arab world, absent Hussein.

I thought Wolfowitz was wrong and I think Roberts view of the Constitution is strained - but Wolfowitz actually knows more about FP than I and Roberts is a better lawyer than I. Thus I am pushed to marshal facts and counterarguments by folks like that. So I cannot dismiss them as without theoretical foundation, in good faith.

What I just wrote has nothing to do with Palin, et al, of course. :-)

Posted by: mark_in_austin | May 21, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

With a few exceptions, you must be looking at the bloviational wing of the Republican Party. The ones who sit in country club locker rooms playing pinochle, listening only to each other, and wonder why larger numbers of voters voters don't vote for them.

Posted by: Miner49er | May 21, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Intellectual does not mean smart, but that isn't the point.

There is no theoretical foundation for Republican political positions. Their brain trust is Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Savage and anyone with a revisionist story about Ronald Reagan. That is all there is.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 21, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Mark, perhaps it has something to do with the increase in people going to college and interacting with these intellectuals.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 21, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Stop all your whining about libertarians and Rand Paul - and whatever else.

Everyone hates Obama.


Stop trying to SMEAR SOMEONE ELSE - just because you are upset that Everyone hates Obama now - in large part because he went back on his campaign pledges.

So just stop it.

Stop your smears, your false charges of racism - your everything - just go away.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | May 21, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Quit playing with yourself in public. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly are the real Republican powers, movers and shakers. They formulate and articulate policy and enforce discipline. Why is not one of these a candidate for office? Each already has a better gig and far more power than a mere politician would command. Let some flunky run for office, suffer all the abuse that entails, then have to spend time with other flunkies in Washington or some other God-forsaken place. Who needs that? But forget who is boss at your own peril.

Posted by: cscouten | May 21, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

@shrink, dwatson, tojby: evident to the meanest intelligence. The leaders are the Republicans who will take Cillizza's calls. You think Limbaugh would give him the time of day? You can bet Pawlenty will grovel for some ink, and To0mey even grants him interviews. I try not to visualize what coin he uses for payment.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 21, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

dwatson, tojby, forget it CC does not recognize Beck nor Limbaugh as Republican leaders, we can only guess why, since quite obviously, they are.

Most likely, it is because they have never held elected office. But Michael Steele has been on this list and his political career was, oh well fine, not quite entirely negligible.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 21, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Ncoaler: At this point, I give credit to anyone who thinks about and espouses a well-reasoned view contrary to the party line as being credibly intellectual. While Frum isn't completely clear, he at least has repudiated his former masters in the Bush administration and (as you noted) publicly declaimed Sarah Palin.

And, as I consider Dwight Eisenhower and possibly George H.W. Bush the only truly conservative Republican presidents in my lifetime, David Brooks and Chris Buckley qualify.

Posted by: Gallenod | May 21, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

@mark: my understanding of the term matches yours, overtones included. An intellectual isn't just someone with a head full of brains, and intellectual is someone who lives in the world of ideas. George Will is educated, alleged to be smart, but his allegiance to the world of snark and his reflexive homage to common-man imagery like baseball keeps him out of the intellectual league. Also, his writing is without development or organization, I can't finish one of his columns to save my life.

I see David Brooks as an intellectual, because he views the world though a prism of high abstractions.

Einstein by the way is overrated .. like so many great scientific and mathematical thinkers, his best work was all in his youth and he is considered now to have largely wasted the last 30 years of his life (Freeman Dyson overlapped him for two years at the Princeton Institute of Advanced Studies and avoided him because he was afraid he'd have to state what he believed) chasing unification rainbows. His last great contribution was at the Solvay Conferences, as a foil to Bohr in questioning quantum mechanics.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 21, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

When elected Repugnicans wander into heterodoxy for whom do they don sackcloth and ashes? Who hears these sinners confessions and administers indulgences after the instruments of sanctifying compliance are displayed?

You know who, Chris. You know who.

His Holiness Pope Limbaugh the Great.

Posted by: tojby_2000 | May 21, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

When I was a child, in the 40s and 50s, "intellectual" was a word used to describe academics in the social sciences, and occasional literati, philosophers, and theologians. Tillich was an intellectual, but Einstein was not. There were no intellectuals in politics, although Adlai Stevenson appealed to self identified intellectuals.

The word had a pejorative connotation, too - it meant anti-pragmatic, ethereal, and ivory tower to almost everyone who was not an "intellectual". Bright and talented folks - Halberstam's "Best and Brightest" - were anti-intellectuals, because they prided themselves on pragmatism or realism.

When did "intellectual" take on a more catholic meaning akin to "smart"?

Shrink, you may be old enough to trace this - ChrisF, too.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | May 21, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

@DDAWD: and this conflict reaches its precipice in the person of Governor Jindal, an educated and intelligent man so boxed in that he can't bring himself to state he believes in evolution. He's either a world leader in intellectual compartmentalization or a guy on the verge of a whole-body hemmorhage.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 21, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Nope you forgot the two MOST important.....Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck!

Posted by: dwatson1 | May 21, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Heart of Darkness, I hadn't thought of it that way. A dismal prospect, I have little kids so I can't have that be true.

But this is true, "...coddling failures at life by telling them they're the only real people." We've long discussed the Republican strategy to stoke fear and anger and thereby organize the downwardly mobile (and the much larger group, those who fear downward mobility) into a reactionary and openly bigoted voting bloc.

As funny as Rand Paul is, those people defending his oeuvre on yesterday's thread were not joking, not at all.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 21, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

RE: intellectualism

The problem is that to be a Republican today is to defend the indefensible. To say nothing of the cultural conservatism, Reaganomics is just so thoroughly disproven today that no serious student off economics can buy into it. This contrasts from 30 years ago when the idea was in its infancy and had not been refuted. It was possible for an intellectual to be for supply side economics. Not today. Now it's only dogma. Which is why the concept has been overly simplistic in recent years. Reaganomics has gone from a means to an end to simply being the end. It's why Rand Paul spouts all that Civil Rights garbage. It's why Republicans are all climate change deniers. Because to acknowledge climate change is to potentially hurt the big fuel industries.

You simply cannot have intellectual Republicans as long as being Republican is being required to believe what Republicans are required to believe.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 21, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

@Gallenrod: I'd dispute David Brooks as a conservative; I know he calls himself that and he genuflects to some of their positions but I don't see his heart as being in it. Maybe I'm confusing conservatism for anti-intellectualism but I can be forgiven that.

Brooks seems to be tunneling his way out, his interest in neurology and intellect in addition to his essential honesty are just at odds with that detritus we call conservatism these days.

Buckley I'll have to take your word on. Dunno the guy.

And while Frum seems a pragmatist and realist vis-a-vis the dead end of Palinism, I have a hard time thinking of someone as goofy as he is about economics and free markets as an intellectual. That's some pretty vapid stuff there and Frum swallows the sinker along with the hook.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 21, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Shrink2, there are some conservative intellectuals left: David Brooks, Christopher Buckley, and David Frum, to name three. But they, along with Senators Snowe, Collins, and Lugar, governors like Mitch Daniels (IN) and Jim Douglas (VT), and former representatives like Tom Davis (VA) are a disappearing breed within the modern Republican Party.

A firey populist conservatism is gaining a stranglehold on the Conservative movement as a whole. Like any fire, it has the potential to to a lot of damage before it finally burns out.

Posted by: Gallenod | May 21, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Excellent post, shrink, exactly the stuff that keeps me coming back here despite the meiocrity of the articles and the viciousness of the trolls.

Anti-intellectualism is America's Heart of Darkness and it's erupted from its concealment past anything I ever would have imagined. Palin' elevation of the swing shift at the Hormel plant to the most authentic of Americans is, yeah, the end of the line. The final triumph of the Southern Strategy, coddling failures at life by telling them they're the only real people.

Doesn't seem to be working so hot at winning elections and it sure didn't work at governing the nation.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 21, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul is famous, but not yet truly influential within the Republican Party. I'd replace him on the list with Jim DeMint.

Gingrich and Barbour have much more "back room" influence with the party than as potential standard-bearers. Gingrich belongs because he is (or at least was) the smartest R in the room. Barbour belongs because he has the most political savvy.

Romney and Daniels may seem too "above the fray" that party activists are now embroiled in. Yes, it keeps them clean for now, but when the primaries roll around you can bet folks like Palin and DeMint, if they run, will be telling people that they've been fighting for the Right all along while Romney sat out to keep his business suit clean. That will play with the base.

Overall though, with the exception of Mitch Daniels, it's not a list that's going to garner much in the way of support from the middle of the electorate. Christie may have some potential. The rest attest to the current fractured state of the GOP.

Posted by: Gallenod | May 21, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Wow. If these are the republicans top leaders than they are in much worse shape then I thought they were. And, with Palin ranking number one, it proves that intelligence, common sense and sincerity is very lacking.
As a Democrat, love it, as no one in their right mind would support any of these losers.

Posted by: kathlenec | May 21, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

"What has become of the intellectuals in the [Republican] Party?"

Though conservative intellectual is not an oxymoron, they are all dead (no, George Will is not an intellectual).

Republican intolerance of intelligence and education (basic building blocks for an intellectual mind) started perhaps with Nixon and Agnew, but Reagan accelerated the trend. Bush and now Palin's attacks on people who appreciate nuance, history, thoughtful communication in general...she represents the end of the line.

Rove and Ailes killed any possibility of Republicans deviating from canned talking points, so for awhile, you couldn't be sure whether there were thinking people who were just not allowed to talk.

But now Republicans can say anything they want and this freedom to blabber has exposed the absence of an intellectual foundation, to say nothing of the absence of a Republican political platform.


Posted by: shrink2 | May 21, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Pawlenty's allies might have been "ecstatic" over the budget battle here in MN, but let me tell you who isn't. 1. A poor person in need of a doctor.
2. A schoolchild needing up to date texts and physically safe schools.
3. People at the mercy of usurous lenders.
4. Dirty cities in need of light rail and other safe public transportation.
5. GLBT couples without the $1500 in paperwork needed to ensure the same rights that heterosexuals get with a $20 marriage license.

I could go on and on. Pawlenty has spent the last eight years defending the rich against the poor.

As the president famously said when voting against Chief Justice Roberts as a senator, "I would like to see one instance where he ever chose the interests of the common man against those of large corporations.

Pawlenty may be a "top republican" for you, but we've had a stomachful here in St. Paul.

Posted by: SteveBurns1947 | May 21, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Anyone check out the google banner today?

Posted by: DDAWD | May 21, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

You out it, fasm7700.
With leadership like this, the Republican lemmings are on their way over the cliff. Good riddance.

Posted by: pjohn2 | May 21, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul is also a frequent featured speaker at Constitution Party events.

The founder, Rousas J. Rushdoony, was a Holocaust denier, a racist, a creationist, and an advocate for slavery who claimed that African-American slaves were lucky.

As Rushdoony wrote in Politics of Guilt and Pity:

The white man is being systematically indoctrinated into believing that he is guilty of enslaving and abusing the Negro. Granted that some Negroes were mistreated as slaves, the fact still remains that nowhere in all history or in the world today has the Negro been better off. The life expectancy of the Negro increased when he was transported to America. He was not taken from freedom into slavery, but from a vicious slavery to degenerate chiefs to a generally benevolent slavery in the United States. There is not the slightest evidence that any American Negro had ever lived in a "free society" in Africa; even the idea did not exist in Africa. The move from Africa to America was a vast increase of freedom for the Negro..."

Posted by: drindl | May 21, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Specter's loss has been attributed by many to his advanced age and failing health. There's probably something to that, though I think the We Don't Need a Second Lieberman (Likkud-CN) carries more weight. Take a hike, Joe.

McCain is, what, seven years younger than Specter but he looks more like 95, he's clearly caved in from losing to Obama, he snarls and rages, and he's falling somewhere below Palin on the dignity meter. He may be leading his primary opponent but I'd say Arizona doesn't have a lot of inspiring choices for their Republican Senator. The bagger or the dodderer.

Nice to see zero troll traction today. Not that they'll ever leave but the task of reading these comments is reduced to PgUp (or ThumbUp, as the case may be in our new age).

Posted by: Noacoler | May 21, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

More like a police lineup of loones...

And Rand Paul -- LOL. he is a gift...

"Campaigning for his father in Montana back in 2008, Rand Paul spoke out against the NAFTA Superhighway, encouraging Congress to stop the mythical project that would connect Mexico, the U.S., and Canada and, critics say, deal a fatal blow to American sovereignty. Long a bugaboo on some segments of the Right, the NAFTA Superhighway does not actually exist.

"It's gonna go up through Texas, I guess, all the way to Montana," said Paul, at an event in Bozeman. "So, it's a real thing, and when you talk about it, the thing you just have to be aware of is that, if you talk about it like it's a conspiracy, they'll paint you as a nut."

As was amply documented by The Nation a few years back, "There's no such thing as a proposed NAFTA Superhighway." It represents, Newsweek put it, "a strange stew of fact and fiction, fired by paranoia" that was popularized by Jerome Corsi, the man who spearheaded the Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry in 2004."


Nobody needs to 'paint' you a a nut, paul.

Posted by: drindl | May 21, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

When Palin gets the number one influential spot in the GOP it is time for mourning. What has become of the intellectuals in the Party? Although their political philosophy was misguided the hard core were able to auger a studied approach to maintaining an even keel. Now the boat is heading for a water fall and I am sure Palin cannot help in this situation. Surely there are a lot of closet bigots and racists out there but they are not in the majority. We do not need to go backward we need a trust forward.

Posted by: fasm7700 | May 21, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Build the Fence and deport them all


NO AMNESTY


We gave them amnesty before - and all it did was lead to more illegal aliens.

That's what all the liberals forget.

The liberals are BETRAYING THEIR COUNTRY - because they are not supporting what is best for the country, but what they think is best on election day.

TRAITORS !


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | May 21, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

McCain is the opposite of a Republican leader. When the onetime sponsor of immigration legislation is campaigning on just build the fence, he's turned from a leader to a weather vane. Call him Mediopollito.

J3D

Posted by: JakeD3 | May 21, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

bumbling berry: what bill was that. I want to look it up. House Armed Services Committee is only a Committe. It's got to go a long way to passage. By House and then Senate. And it might get vetoed.

(smiles) they are building the detention center is Arizona. It's called "The Gitmo Tents.

Got your pink underwear ready for ya !!!

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 21, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Reading the tea leaves .. John Thune never belonged on this list and the crush on Pawlenty is just embarassing, like seeing someone masturbating on the sidewalk. NOBODY cares about this guy.

Dropping Brown from the list is simply petty and vengeful, he IS an important Republican because he's one of the only one not following Limbaugh's demand to "hold your breath until you turn blue," Brown is acting like an adult, to everyone's shock and delight or dismay, depending on affiliation.

And bsimon1 nailed it in an early post below about Ayn Paul. Nailed it, I tell you.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 21, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

One writer commented here that the person who has done the most for the Republican party is Obama. I agree. Thanks to him, the "real" Republican party has shown itself, and it's not pretty. Another writer said something about that dang fence. I say build it. Build it to keep all the crazy, hateful people of Arizona IN Arizona. I would hate for them to get out.

Posted by: mawheelz | May 21, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Sarah Palin (pant pant pant), who demands a grand to have yer pitcher takin wiff her.

Go into another line of work, Cillizza, you're over your head here.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 21, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul is going to be on Meet the Press?

Oh goody, I have Gregory gives him the third degree and gets a good quote from him (that will get him in trouble)

Back him in that corner like Ted Russert used to do so good.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 21, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

zzzzzzz

If Drowsy Tim Pawlenty is in the top four then the GOP is not only in trouble, but the defib technician has yelled "clear!!" for the tenth time and still the lines are flat.

I mean, get real. The number one Republican leader is a determinedly divisive illiterate airhead?

It's going to be harder and harder now to sustain the "Republican Resurgence" narrative, but we all know you'll just keep at it, a fool on his errand. Hoping for an "attaboy" from someone with the R after his name?

Posted by: Noacoler | May 21, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Where's Boehner?

Oh, yeah. He's got some very important golfing to do.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | May 21, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Well, allegedly, Michael Steele is the leader of the RNC. Or Rush, as others have said.

So there is no leader.

And Saviour Saint Sarah is burying herself. She talks "fluff". She has no experience except Mayor and then Governor that she skipped office. For the money of speaking engagements....talking about what's on her palm, to mama grizzlies (trying to get the woman vote). She talks "fluff" because she talks Republican idealogical talk.

The AMerican Dream will come back and the average family is the backbone of America. That is her focus.

No it won't Saint Sarah. And you aren't qualified to walk into "any mess in Wash. DC" like the current President has.

There is no average family in America any longer, unless you are employed in state or federal government and then the people don't care---they have their job, so there!!!!

She wouldn't know how to draft a bill for legislation, if it was staring her in the face.
What? Rely on the bully pulpit?
Heaven help us.
I'm President now, and I talk to God through my stigmata......

Say it's ain't so Joe.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 21, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I am sorry to have to write this, as I am a life long Republican vote, but based upon the current state of affairs isn't "Republican leader" an oxymoron?

Posted by: MSMITH7187 | May 21, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait for Meet the Press this Sunday, featuring none other than Rand Paul. I hope he tries really hard to make sense for awhile and then justs suddenly explodes into a tirade of self aggrandizement, anti-media broadsides and then, realizing he has blown it again, starts sobbing, muttering about how badly he has been treated, even after winning...a great victory, as he pulls off the microphone and stomps off the set.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 21, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

They are all leaders who do GOP no good service but in that line of super-duper right-wing leaders DeMint should obviously be mentioned as well, right there next to Palin.

Posted by: clare_knight | May 21, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse


chris, you forgot McCain.
Build the dang fence.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 21, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Do they even have a leader--I mean a literate one...?

Posted by: jetlone | May 21, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Do they even have a leader--I mean a literate one...?

Posted by: jetlone | May 21, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul? Sarah Palin? T-Paw? This is the best that the party of Lincoln can do?

Has anyone asked Paul whether the Emancipation Proclamation represented undue government inference in the disposition of private property?

***

RE: DNI DENNIS BLAIR RESIGNATION LETTER...

The brief statement's pointed mention of "members of the Armed Forces, firefighters and police..."

...could that be a reference to a very controversial multi-agency Bush legacy "fusion center" program of extrajudicial, police-supported, community-based vigilantism; covert microwave/radio frequency irradiation; surveillance and ideologically-driven censorship of "dissidents," undesirables and other "targeted individuals" -- a program that critics and its victims term an American Gestapo?

And could it be that Blair's advocacy of such a constitutionally and morally suspect regimen was a motivating force behind his ouster?

These articles by a veteran journalist may have come to the attention of some White House personnel:

http://nowpublic.com/world/u-s-silently-tortures-americans-cell-tower-microwaves
http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america
OR NowPublic.com/scrivener re: "U.S. Censors Net Political Speech of 'Targeted' Americans"

Posted by: scrivener50 | May 21, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Best political blog on the Internet. Excellent list.

Posted by: paul65 | May 21, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I definitely agree with the number 1 pick. Palin's been absolutely amazing thus far. Fearless and practical. I love watching her go. Too bad I can't say the same about the men in the GOP. What a weak bunch in comparison.

Posted by: Michigan1985 | May 21, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Serious consequences have emerged already:

Our State Department Flexing Its Muscles?

This is just embarrassing, via the State Department’s Twitter feed:

North Korea must be made aware that unprovoked and provocative events are not the actions of a responsible nation.

46 dead South Korean sailors is an attack, not a provocative event.

If they dare do it again, we will be forced to twitter anew.

Posted by: bumblingberry | May 21, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Snow White vs The Seven Dwarfs

The GOP will soon be known as Snow White vs The Seven Dwarfs with Sarah "Snow White" Palin leading such GOP Dwarfs as Huckabee, Gingrich, Pawlenty, Thune, DeMint, Romney and Ron Paul. When Snow White leads, The Seven Dwarfs follow.

Posted by: ymchoo | May 21, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"...an uneasy marriage between the tea party and the mainstream of the GOP. Paul is the test case for whether that forced coupling can work."

Rand Paul forcing himself on Rush Limbaugh?
ewwwww, no thanks for that image Chris.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 21, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

A leader will emerge

Ironically - it is more the democrats who are demanding to identify a Republican leader - because they want someone to attack.

Chris Matthews keeps on demanding to have the Republicans agree that a shock-jock Rush is the leader.


OK - then Howard Stern is the leader of the democrats.


Anyway - little of this matters.....

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | May 21, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

The sun will still rise over Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for the foreseeable future.

Last night the House Armed Services Committee finished this year's bill authorizing $567 billion worth of defense spending and another $159 billion for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars for the fiscal year beginning in October. […]
The actual bill hasn't been released yet. But buried at the bottom of an extensive summary the committee released last night is an express prohibition on the use of any Defense Department money to buy a new detention facility. According to the bill summary, the bill now requires Defense Secretary Robert Gates to give Congress a report that "adequately justifies any proposal to build or modify such a facility" if it wants to move forward with any post-Guantanamo detention plan.
According to Rush Limbaugh, the bill was passed in committee unanimously - every single Democrat supported this language.

That might place insurmountable obstacles to the the so-called "Gitmo North" plan to transfer Guantanamo detainees to Thomson [Correction Center, Illinois]. "They can't just create Guantanamo North and move everyone up there. That's clearly barred," said Chris Anders, a senior lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union who monitored yesterday's mark-up. "It doesn't mean that the proposal is dead, but it's hard to see how it makes a comeback after the House Armed Services Committee says there can't be money spent on Thomson."
Chalk up another spectacular failure for the Obama regime

Posted by: bumblingberry | May 21, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

"Pawlenty will need to have a "wow" moment in front of activists and the national media at some point in the next year or so..."

Stop it Chris, just stop. It is ridiculous.

At least you pulled the plug on the lights you had blinking around Thune, Brown and Rubio. But if you are right and Pawlenty is in the top four, Republicans are in much deeper trouble than I thought they were.

As for Rand Paul like it or not, oh trust me, I like it, a lot.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 21, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

The United States reversed policy on Wednesday and said it would back launching talks on a treaty to regulate arms sales as long as the talks operated by consensus, a stance critics said gave every nation a veto.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Well as long as Syria, Venezuala, Iran and russia get a veto, that sounds sensible enough.
Is there no depth of surrender and weakness this fraud will not dive?

Posted by: bumblingberry | May 21, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Citing "overwhelming" evidence that North Korea sank a South Korean warship, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned the communist state Friday of international consequences.


Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

I am sure the consequences will be no more than a strongly worded scolding read from Dear Reader's teleprompter. The Koreans must be terrified. Chairman Zero will propose a commission followed by a summit to consider sanctions. Everyone will enjoy the free food and five star accomodations. Nothing will actually happen. Just like last time. and the time before.

Posted by: bumblingberry | May 21, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

It's got to be Mitch McConnell. Anyone who can lead that many Senators to do something so politically stupid as vote against FinReg cloture must have a hell of a lot of sway.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 21, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Republicans fighting for more tax breaks for the rich. Very original! So, the Reagan agenda of 1981 is still the central organizing principle of the GOP. Do they have any more "new" ideas? I've already heard Dr. Rand's enthusiasm about partying like its 1899.

Posted by: osullivanc1 | May 21, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Symbolic omens aside, the fact that a black rat ran in front to the podium, while Obama was speaking is more than exceedingly appropriate.

The President has spent days, talking down America, flouting the rule of law and siding with a foreign leader against the nation he leads. In one horrendous declaration after another, Barack continues to drone on and on.

The little furry "critter trundled straight past the gray podium with the presidential seal and made a bee-line for another set of bushes to Obama's left."
It appeared as if the president didn't even notice the "rat," which is understandable based on habitual self-absorption, coupled with Obama's familiarity with the party in power. For Barack Obama one rat, more or less, is inconsequentialLately, however, the same rat pretty much shows up whenever Obama is either preparing to, or in the process of opening his mouth.

Although, "rodents of all kinds are pretty common in Washington. From time to time, city officials issue alarms about surges in the rat population when residents put out extra-big summer piles of garbage." Which explains the recent phenomenon, the Resident-in-Chief, sets out big piles of rhetorical refuge and a Rattus rattus shows up. Or maybe the rat shows up beforehand, no one knows for sure.

So either the rat feels comfortable around Obama, or Obama is putting out so much garbage that its time to issue a national alarm because the surge in the rat population is up by at least one. Or maybe Barry is just feeling lonely and found a new friend named Ben

Regardless of the reason for the rat sightings, it appears something definitely has to be done about the rat presently residing at the White House.
Jeannie DeAngelis

Posted by: bumblingberry | May 21, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

A list of influential Republicans without Beck or Limbaugh is like forgetting to put Cy Young on a pitchers list.

Posted by: danielfboone | May 21, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I like Rand Paul asking when he gets his honeymoon.

I think the son of a millionaire has pretty much been on a honeymoon since birth, so he would have unusually HIGH expectation of what a honeymoon would be like.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | May 21, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Susan Rice: Another Obama Failure


America's Ambassador to the United Nations has been a failure. Perhaps Susan Rice should spend less time career-climbing in DC, angling to replace Hillary Clinton (she has been "wildly inattentive" according to the non-partisan The Hill magazine) and more time doing her job.


Rice (and the US) was AWOL when it came to the vote to allow Libya onto the UN Human Rights Council; was AWOL in a Sec Council Resolution that condemned Israel (the first time such as Security Council resolution was not vetoed by America). She promised to reform the UN Human Rights Council when controversy arose from pro-Israel supporters over our joining the Council. But that promised reform has not happened either.


Now Rice has allowed the Sanctions Resolution regarding Iran to contain a huge loophole: it allows Russia and others to supply Iran with surface to air missiles. This will make it far more difficult and deadly for Israel to defend itself against Iran's nuclear program.

Climate change is happening in one place: Washington.

Ed Lasky

Posted by: bumblingberry | May 21, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Not there this week, but Gov. Jindal has an opportunity to influence the party in wake of the gulf oil spill. As opposed to Rand Paul's stop picking on BP take on things.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 21, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

It seems Dear Reader has pretty much eliminated the congressional branch:

Evidently, our president is too impatient, too dissatisfied with the pace of our nation's representatives when it comes to fuel standards and has decided to issue an executive order that requires tough new requirements for our country's auto industry.

One would think that eventually he would figure out that a long chain of failures in every endeavor would indicate to cut back, not step on the gas.

Posted by: bumblingberry | May 21, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Newt Gingrich gets mentioned TWICE today.

Awl-right, Newtie. Must be those big numbers he's maintaining up in New Hampshire: that 5% of 8% of 31% who are totally backing him for President. Show your hands, please, so we can count you.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | May 21, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

The person who has done the most for the Republican party is .......... Obama.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | May 21, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Bumbling liberal leadership on display:

The two congressional officials said Blair had been on a losing streak since he squared off with Panetta last May over Blair's effort to choose a personal representative at U.S. embassies to be his eyes and ears abroad, instead of relying on CIA station chiefs, as had been the practice.

Blair issued a directive declaring his intention to select his own representatives overseas. Panetta followed up shortly thereafter with a note telling agency employees that station chiefs were still in charge — a move that some construed as insubordinate and a blow to Blair's authority.

The White House did nothing to back Blair over Panetta,

(Berry was playing golf that day)

which sent a message to the rest of the intelligence community that Blair could be ignored, according to one senior congressional staffer. Worse, the skirmish ended up costing Blair the support of Brennan, who resented being forced to mediate, according to another staffer familiar with the issue.

In the failed Christmas Day attack, the Senate Intelligence Committee found that the National Counterterrorism Center was in a position to connect intelligence that could have prevented it. As director of national intelligence, Blair oversaw the center.

(Berry was eating ice cream all day, that day)

One senior Senate staffer said it was apparent Blair had been kept on the periphery of the FBI's investigation into the Nigerian suspect in the attempted plane bombing, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

(Everything worked as it was intended according to Nappy, berry was never heard from)

Blair's later testimony before Congress did not endear him to the White House, the officials said, when he acknowledged that an elite interrogation team known as the High-Value Interrogation Group had not been deployed to question Abdulmutallab. Blair may have further damaged himself by admitting that he had not been consulted on whether the HIG unit should have been used.

The HIG team was deployed after the Times Square bombing attempt this month, administration officials said this week.

(Berry asked, what's a muslim terrorist, never heard of it?)

Blair also told Congress that Abdulmutallab continued to provide helpful information to investigators at a time when authorities had hoped to keep the bomber's cooperation secret. With that information divulged, FBI Director Robert Mueller confirmed at the same hearing that Abdulmutallab was cooperating.

(Berry regularly releases secret information to help him with his poll ratings)

Blair was the first Obama administration official to describe the deadly shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, last fall as an act of homegrown extremism. The administration had previously been reluctant to call the suspect, an Army psychiatrist, a homegrown terrorist or extremist.

(Berry still insists that the attacks had nothing to do with a common religious persuasion which need not be mentioned.)

Posted by: bumblingberry | May 21, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Bumblingberry! Funny, and your own work! I'm so proud of you!

!!!!!!!

Posted by: margaretmeyers | May 21, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

You could have put Rand Paul in the top spot. No other Republican has had more influence on the party's leaders than the guy who's now forced them to start wondering what the hell they're going to do about this guy.

Posted by: bsimon1 | May 21, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

He be, that who.

Posted by: bumblingberry | May 21, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

What no love for Rubio? You said on the chat that he would be your number one draft pick, which I think is insane BTW. Picking people like him is what got the Wizards in the mess they are in now.

Posted by: AndyR3 | May 21, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Well, you changed the headline, but you didn't correct it.

Posted by: realredrick | May 21, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

"Who's" proofreading your headlines?

Posted by: realredrick | May 21, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

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