As promised, here is my list of the top 10 conservatives in America. Again, this ranking isn't how I like them, it's how much power, influence, and potential they have. Here we go!
10) President George W. Bush - This one was a toughie. On the one hand, you can't leave off the most powerful man in the world of a list of top 10 conservatives. On the other, he's not really all that conservative and he hasn't been able to use influence to get what he wants. The tipping point for me on this one is the fact that Bush has set into motion policies and politics that won't be so easily wiped away in 2009 when the new President takes over. Love him or hate him, Bush has already impacted the future, possibly more than we realize.
9) Bobby Jindal - The Governor-Elect of Louisana did something few people thought he could: run as a Republican in post-Katrina Lousiana...and win. It was a race Republicans were predicted to lose by pundits all over the country, but Jindal defied the odds and the critics to become the first Indian-American to run a state. And at 36, he's indicative of the "new breed" of conservatives and Republicans. If Republicans can duplicate Jindal's strategy, they may be able to duplicate his success. Plus, it rips apart the notion that the GOP is a "rich old white man's party." He's not so influential now, but give him time and he may become the blueprint for conservative electoral victories in the future.
8) Newt Gingrich - Gingrich is the intellectual heart and soul of the modern conservative movement. I've listened to him speak and to his book To Renew America, and there is no doubt as to the man's intellectual capacity. His intellectualism gives him a decided edge, but it's his way of seeing the much larger picture that puts him in the top 10. Give him half a chance, and Newt will think circles around you and have you thanking him for it by the time he's through.
7) Dr. Thomas Sowell - With the passing of Milton Friedman, Sowell is now the main voice in favor of a free market economy. I have never heard a more passionate and brilliant defender of capitalism, surpassing even Ayn Rand. And Sowell has influenced so many minds, young and old alike, that he deserves a spot in the top 10 of any list, not just mine.
6) Karl Rove - The mastermind behind George W. Bush's political victories had a bit of a stumble with the 2006 midterm elections, but that doesn't make him dead in the water. On the contrary. His political instincts failed him then, but as any good strategist does, he adapts to the new environment and finds a way to thrive. He may not be the most popular man in the world, but Republicans, including George W. Bush, are still asking him for advice. That's power, my friends.
5) Rick Santorum - The Democrats cheered when they managed to defeat Santorum and take his Senate seat. The problem: he didn't fade away. Santorum is still out there giving speeches, making known his position on national security issues. And he's still a young man, relatively speaking. He will be around for a long time yet, giving the left plenty of headaches for years to come.
4) Glenn Beck - Yes, I know there are a number of you screaming "Fix!" because I happen to like the guy, but hear me out on this one. While other talk radio hosts are busy saying the same things over and over again, Beck does a fantastic job of researching topics in ways most people may not have considered and relating this information to the audience in a way they can understand. What makes Beck so influential is his fearlessness when it comes to controversial subjects. He leads with his gut, and it shows in his work. Keep an eye on Beck. He may surpass Rush Limbaugh by the time he's done.
3) Chief Justice John Roberts - George W. Bush's pick for Chief Justice will definitely have an impact on the world for years to come. With his conservative bonafides in order and presumably a number of years ahead of him in the Supreme Court, Roberts might be one of the few lasting parts of the George W. Bush Presidency.
2) Rupert Murdoch - The owner of News Corp, the parent corporation of Fox News, the New York Post, and now the Wall Street Journal. With Fox News, he gets millions of viewers daily, as the ratings will attest. With the Post, he reaches out to the "common man" newspaper reader by not being as stuffy and elitist as the New York Times. And now with the Journal, Murdoch has instant credibility in the international financial markets since the paper is widely regarded as one of the top financial newspapers in the world. Without a doubt, Rupert Murdoch has left a huge footprint on conservatism.
1) Rush Limbaugh - A staunch conservative, Limbaugh has rules the talk radio airwaves since the 80s and still commands a large audience eager to hear his take on the news of the day. Getting time on Rush's show is like being on "The Tonight Show" when Johnny Carson was hosting. That's when you know you've made it. For that, Rush gets the #1 spot.