Telegraph.co.uk presents its latest list of the 100 most influential conservatives and 100 most influential liberals in America a year after Barack Obama took the oath on the steps of the Capitol to become the 44th President of the United States:
The first lists, produced exactly a year before the 2008 election, sent then unprecedented traffic to the website and generated controversy that resonated on American cable television and talk radio for weeks.
Since then, more than one political figure has approached us to inquire gently about what position they might occupy second time around. Some have cited their 2007 positions in publicity and biographical materials.
The difference between our new lists and the ones published last time reflect the unprecedented political and economic upheaval that has happened since then – as well as, we confess, some cloudiness in the Crystal Ball we used in November 2007.
Selecting just 200 key political figures in such a diverse, ideologically divided and profoundly dissatisfied country in a time of recession and two wars was not an easy task. We sought counsel from sources and contacts across the political spectrum and became embroiled in vigorous internal debates before finalising our choices.
Conservatives are people identifiably – though not always self-described – as right of centre.
Liberals are those identifiably left of centre. They are not lists that rank ideological purity – the number one conservative will not necessarily be any more conservative than number 100. These lists discriminate against centrists, technocrats, independents and fence-sitters.
Although there are many Republicans on the conservative list and many Democrats on the liberal list, not all 200 are aligned with a party. The key to inclusion was the term “influence” – which people most affect American politics both in terms of ideas and the enactment of policy…
[continues at Telegraph.co.uk]