100 Most Influential “Conservatives” (61-80)
Posted by Joshua Price on November 5, 2007
This is the fourth part of my five part assessment of The Daily Telegraph’s 100 most influential conservatives.
61. BOBBY JINDAL
Governor-elect of Louisiana
After his recent election victory, Congressman Jindal will become the first Indian-American to lead a state and, at 36, the youngest governor in the US. An orthodox conservative, he is the first non-white governor of the southern state. Was elected on a platform of attracting investment and ending corruption in what remains one of the union’s poorest states.
The son of immigrants from India who settled in Baton Rouge, his career in public service in the state has been meteoric, and first ran for governor at age 32 and was narrowly defeated. After his win in the Katrina-ravaged state, some Republicans view him as the party’s Barack Obama.
I don’t know enough about him, but from what I know, he seems more conservative than some of the elite Republicans.
62. JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA
Supreme Court Justice
The first Italian-American to be appointed to the Supreme Court, by Ronald Reagan in 1986, “Nino” Scalia, 71, is beloved by conservative Republicans. A committed Roman Catholic and father of nine, he is a much more forceful and intellectually flamboyant personality than his fellow conservative justice Clarence Thomas.
A strict “textualist” and strongly anti-abortion, he adamantly opposes attempts to interpret the US constitution in the light of modern mores. If he were not such a lightning rod for criticism from Democrats, he would have been a natural Chief Justice. Has an acid wit, barbed tongue and relish for taking on his opponents.
Justice Scalia is perhaps one of the most conservative people in Washington. He is exactly the type of judges we need in this country.
63. MICHAEL SAVAGE
Talk radio host
The Savage Nation show reaches more than 10 million listeners on 410 stations throughout the US, making him the third most powerful talk radio host after Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Under his real name, Michael Weiner, Savage has written books on homeopathy and herbal medicine. He is strongly pro-environment.
Savage’s tough stance against illegal immigration fired up the Republican base and helped damage John McCain’s presidential campaign. A crowd pleaser who has described liberalism as “a mental disorder” – he is based in the enemy territory of San Francisco – he has also authored 18 books.
Michael Savage is the only true conservative American talk show host. He has the third highest rated show but you would never know it. The media, and yes that includes Fox News, refuses to have him on any of their programs. Here is a man who is a best-selling author and ranks just behind Limbaugh and Hannity in the ratings and yet you never see him on television, however, we see lesser known and lower rated talk show hosts in the media all the time. Why? Because Savage is not part of the Republican elite and inner circle, which has arguably allowed him to stay so conservative unlike Hannity and some others, and he’s way too conservative for liberals. All you need to know about the direction of the Republican Party is that many members find Savage too conservative themselves. That should trouble every true conservative.
64. THOMAS SOWELL
Economist and commentator
Currently Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on public policy at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. One of America’s most prominent black intellectuals, Sowell, 77, writes mainly about economics, history, race and social policy. He has been a prolific newspaper columnist since 1984.
Strongly free-market, against abortion, gay marriage and affirmative action and in favour of racial profiling to tackle terrorism and the flat tax, he has a pronounced libertarian streak and favours decriminalising narcotics. His writings were a powerful influence on Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court Justice.
Dr. Sowell is a brilliant economist. I have enjoyed reading a couple of his books and many of his articles. I truly believe that he is a real conservative.
65. RICHARD LAND
President of Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Educated at Princeton and Oxford, Land is representative of the largest Protestant denomination in America and also publishes and hosts syndicated radio programmes. Deeply conservative and a consummate operator, his number is on speed dial from the Bush White House.
His recent warning that Christian evangelicals could mount a third-party challenge if Giuliani wins the Republican nomination is to be taken seriously. Land, 60, has said he could no more vote for the pro-choice Giuliani than a black could vote for a Ku Klux Klansman. Could Land’s uncompromising stance and broad influence help elect Hillary Clinton?
I don’t know enough about him, but at least he shares my opinion of Giuliani which is more than can I can say for most of the so-called conservatives in this list.
66. JAMES BAKER
Former Secretary of State
One of the most accomplished Washington operators, Republicans tend to look for Jim Baker when they are in a tough spot. George W. Bush turned to him during the 2000 election cliffhanger and again when he needed an Iraq Study Group to examine what was going wrong in Iraq.
Most of Baker’s recommendations, jointly drawn up with former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton, were discarded by Mr Bush, though there are signs he will return to some of them again. Now 77, he nearly returned to full-time politics as Pentagon chief in 2004. A big post for him is unlikely but any Republican president is certain to consult him.
I used to think James Baker was a conservative but I have seen in the last 3 or 4 years that he is nothing more than a shill for the Republican Party.
67. DAVID BROOKS
House conservative columnist for the New York Times, Brooks has moved towards the centre since his days at the Weekly Standard, when he offered fulsome praise from the candidacy of Senator John McCain. An assured television performer.
Was recently given an interview by Hillary Clinton and afterwards wrote in complimentary terms about her health care policy. Likely to grow in influence should Mrs Clinton win the White House – he will be one of the few she will reach out to across the political divide.
Anyone who has complimentary words to speak about Hillary’s health care policy can’t be a true conservative.
68. IRWIN STELZER
A consultant to News International and News Corporation, Stelzer is widely viewed as very close to Rupert Murdoch. With Murdoch’s acquisition of the Wall Street Journal and his desire to challenge the New York Times, Stelzer’s influence can only grow.
As a confidante of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and one with close ties to President George W. Bush – he lunched with the president and the Churchill biographer Andrew Roberts recently – few are better connected in the world of Anglo-American politics. Senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and regular commentator in British and American publications.
Never heard of him, but he has ties to Murdoch and that’s really all I need to know.
69. ERICK ERIKSON
Founder and CEO of the conservative website redstate.com who also blogs on his personal site erickerickson.org, entitled Confessions of a Political Junkie, and on Georgia politics at peachpundit.com. A Republican political consultant and self-described “recovering lawyer”.
At just 32, Erickson epitomises the new power of the internet. A small-government fiscal and social conservative based in the south, he taps into and influences the Republican “base” that the GOP’s 2008 candidates are courting. Only started blogging in 2003.
Erickson and the others over at Red State do a good job but I don’t think they are conservative enough at times.
70. GARY BAUER
Christian conservative leader
A pragmatic evangelical who put the task of defeating Hillary Clinton above all other duties for a Republicans. He has argued against a third party challenge should Rudy Giuliani win the Republican nomination and appears to be leaning towards backing Fred Thompson.
Dropped out of the 2000 presidential race after he was filmed falling off a stage while flipping pancakes. He later endorsed Senator John McCain. Has continued to push his anti-abortion message as head of the Campaign for Working Families.
Who knows? He claims to be a conservative but he’s recently been hesitant of the third party idea should Republicans nominate Giuliani. That leads me to believe he’s all about winning too, not necessarily about the movement.
71. CHUCK NORRIS
One of those rare birds, a Hollywood conservative. The martial artist and action star is a frequent financial contributor to Republican candidates and causes and recently declared his support for Mike Huckabee, a conservative Baptist minister, in 2008.
An evangelical Christian, Norris has filled in for Sean Hannity as the conservative co-host on the Fox News talk show Hannity and Colmes.
Chuck Norris seems like a good man and a good conservative, I just don’t think he should be on this list.
72. MICHAEL RUBIN
Middle East specialist
If Rudy Giuliani becomes president, Rubin, 36, is likely to become a key National Security Council official. Brought on board as a Middle East advisor to the former New York mayor, he is an advocate of US military action against Iran to prevent it developing a nuclear weapon.
Served as a Pentagon official in the Bush administration and with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq before returning to the American Enterprise Institute, where he is one of a number of young scholars viewed as part of a new generation of neo-conservatives.
Never heard of him, but again, look at the ties with Giuliani.
73. JOHN O’SULLIVAN
Well-connected former special adviser to Margaret Thatcher who, along with Christopher Hitchens and Andrew Sullivan, is among the most prominent British transplants in Washington. Former editor-in-chief of National Review and United Press International, he remains one of the most powerful conservative voices in America.
Founded the New Atlantic Initiative and is a strong proponent of close ties between the US and UK. Excoriating criticism of George W. Bush’s immigration policy was a classic example of his penchant for preferring conservative principle when it departed from Republican party policy. Hudson Institute fellow whose elegant prose appears frequently on both sides of the Atlantic.
I just don’t know enough about him.
74. DAVID WINSTON
Pollster and political consultant
President and founder of The Winston Group, Winston’s track record in senior posts on Capitol Hill and as a policy fellow at the Heritage Foundation as well as his polling and new media expertise make him one of the most sought after and respected Republican consultants in Washington.
Has polled for centre-right parties of the European Parliament and in Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Canada. Writes a regular newspaper column. Churchill buff who keeps a close eye on British politics, arguing recently that Republicans have much to learn from the rise of David Cameron.
Never heard of him.
75. MICHAEL CHERTOFF
Secretary, Department of Homeland Security
A former judge on the United States Court of Appeals and assistant Attorney General, Chertoff is a Rudy Giuliani ally who made his name prosecuting mobsters and investigating the Clintons during the Whitewater scandal.
Harvard-educated, formidably intelligent and a fanatical runner, he has recovered from the Hurricane Katrina disaster to win broad respect as head of the sprawling Department of Homeland Security. A likely future Attorney General, though his moderate immigration stance has angered some conservatives.
Please! Chertoff has been an abject failure at Homeland Security. Don’t give the fact that we haven’t been attacked since he’s been there, that’s not what I’m talking about. Look at the issues that department has had with respect to immigration and then they try to cover it up on some level before finally getting called out. Oh, and let’s not forget his ties with Giuliani.
76. TONY BLANKLEY
Former aide to Newt Gingrich, Blankey recently stepped down as editorial page editor of the conservative Washington Times to join Edelman public relations firm. He also holds a post at the Heritage Foundation.
A frequent television commentator, the British-born Blankley is a forceful and articulate advocate of the use of US might in the war against Islamism and argues that the Republican party could win in 2008 if Democrats embrace anti-war policies.
I think he’s another Republican first, pseudo-conservative second.
77. CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER
Highly influential foreign policy columnist with the Washington Post for the past two decades who coined and developed the “Reagan Doctrine”. He was one of the first to identify the United States as the sole superpower in a “unipolar” world.
Embraced neo-conservatism which will remain an enduring philosophy, despite the failures in Iraq, particularly if Rudy Giuliani wins the presidency. Confined to a wheelchair due to a spinal cord injury, he supports abortion rights and embryonic stem cell research.
Krauthammer is a neocon. I love some of his writing, but he’s not truly conservative.
78. BRENT SCOWCROFT
Former National Security Adviser
Central figure in the realist school of Republican foreign policy who fell out of favour with the Bush administration after he counselled against toppling Saddam Hussein, arguing that this would be a distraction from the more pressing imperative of tackling al-Qa’eda. Events since have greatly enhanced his reputation.
A former US Air Force lieutenant general, he served as National Security adviser under Presidents Gerald Ford and George Bush Snr. Now 82, his government days are over but his counsel will always be sought.
I don’t know enough about him.
79. TONY CARBONETTI
Chief Strategist, Rudy Giuliani Campaign
Former bartender and university dropout who began working on the Rudy Giuliani New York mayoral campaign in 1983 and, by September 11, 2001, had risen to become his chief of staff. Now 38, he is the presidential candidate’s confidante, enforcer and right-hand man.
Recently dubbed “Giuliani’s brain”, his role in the Giuliani universe is similar to that Karl Rove filled for George W. Bush. Many Republicans wrote Giuliani off as too liberal to win the party nomination but his campaign, guided by Carbonetti, has highly disciplined he remains the undisputed front runner.
He’s Giuliani’s chief strategist. Enough said.
80. PAT BUCHANAN
Not the power he was, but Buchanan still packs a punch as a commentator and standard-bearer for staunch conservative values. Criticism of Israel and neo-conservatives means he has a difficult relationship to the Republican party, which he left after running for its presidential nomination in 1996.
A senior advisor to three presidents – Nixon, Ford and Reagan – and a failed Reform party candidate in 2000, he remains a prominent cable television commentator and edits the “American conservative” magazine.
Pat Buchanan is a true conservative. I admire Buchanan’s work as a conservative writer, author and activist. Republican’s ought to listen to him.