Former Bush advisor and notorious conservative electioneer Karl Rove came up with his list of the top 7 most influential conservatives in these United States for Forbes magazine. I disagree partially with his list. Here's his list in order - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader John Boehner, Senate Minority Whip John Kyl, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Representative Paul Ryan, Heritage Foundation President Edwin Feulner, Columnist Charles Krauthammer. The problem with much of this list is that it reads more like a list of most influential Republicans.
As a thought project - I decided to develop my own list of the key players in the modern conservative movement in these United States. As I sat and thought about it - I came up with the following people:
1. Jim DeMint - US Senator from South Carolina and Chairman of the Republican Steering Committee, DeMint is a former member of the House and one fo the biggest voices for conservatism in the US Senate. He has been quick to buck the system and endorse outsider candidates for US Senate and the House of Representatives including Pat Toomey (PA) before Specter switched parties, Doug Hoffman (NY-23), Marco Rubio (FL), and Chuck DeVore (CA). He is influential in the conservative grass roots movement and a force to be reckoned with.
2. Chris Chocola - This should perhaps be the Club for Growth as an organization, but the current Club for Growth President has helped continue to make the Club for Growth the premier alternative to the NRSC / NRCC to actively support conservative candidates. Expect the CfG to be a key player in the 2010 elections.
3. Paul Ryan - Rove had Ryan at 5, I put him at 3 due to his legislative presence and prowess. Ryan is an articulate, young Republican who has been at the forefront of producing insightful and innovative, conservative legislation. I feel Ryan will be a key player in the future of the Republican Party and in conservatism in America.
4. Erick Erickson - The Editor-in-chief of RedState.com is one of the most influential members of the online right. His early support of Doug Hoffman and fundraising pushes helped to bring his name to the front of the online right while building a competitive war chest for the relatively unknown CPA. Erickson has worked hard at creating a powerful right-leaning online community and it has proven to be an effective communication tool and election tool.
5. Rush Limbaugh - There are many things you can say about Rush Limbaugh - that he bates the left, that he's purposely over the top - he is an influential voice in the right's critique of our President. He will continue to be an active voice as he was in the 90s while Clinton was in office. A man who has such an active support base and continues to be on the air on hundreds upon hundreds of stations across the nation has no choice but to be influential.
6. Ron Paul - Representative Ron Paul may be a lowly member of Congress, but his libertarian thoughts and his support base run deep. He has created a vast network of supporters who are helping to build up fiscally conservative to libertarian candidates nationwide. I would go as far as to say that the Ron Paul Revolutionaries were some of the forerunners to the "Tea Party" movement.
7. Charles Krauthammer - I agree with Rove here. Krauthammer is a perfect spokesman in the written form and I feel that his influence on conservative thought can only increase during Obama's Presidency.
Cross posted at Old Line Elephant
UPDATE: So Rove's list is most powerful conservatives - as such, I agree with his list a little more. But, nonetheless, I like my influential conservative lists.