Monday, 5 November 2007

What is an American liberal?

The Daily Telegraph, once the Voice of British Conservatism, but now falling sadly left of The Times, has given me the notion of setting a pre-Christmas quiz:

Who are the Top Twenty most influential US liberals?

1)...having been impeached for lying about his sexual misdeeds, blamed by some for failing to kill Osama bin Laden and having left office amid accusations of corruption in granting last-minute pardons, [he] has made a remarkable comeback. A peerless tactician, huge intellect and natural communicator, [he] was one of the great retail politicians of the 20th century. His burning desire to see his wife elected president has much to do with his own quest for vindication and a fresh platform to make his mark on history.

2)...his global political influence could potentially exceed even that of a US president. Barack Obama has already said [he] would have a major role in his administration. Mrs Clinton is pushing hard for his endorsement. For any Democrat who wins in 2008, [he] will be a figure to reckon with.

4)...she appears the odds-on favourite, although a shrill and defensive debate performance and an unwillingness to commit herself on the smallest of issues betray alarming chinks in her armour. A much-improved campaigner, she is mistress of her brief but is vulnerable when forced to move beyond the familiar and lacks the human touch that was [her husband]’s speciality.

5) ...she married a future multi-millionaire investor and soon began to carve out her own political career. The mother of five and grandmother of six, third in line to the presidency after Vice President Dick Cheney.

6) ...has yet to establish himself as a candidate who is seen as both electable and an agent of change. The son of a Kenyan father and a white Kansan mother, his exotic childhood in Hawaii and Indonesia followed by Harvard Law School was later balanced by working as a civil rights lawyer on the mean streets of Chicago.

7) ...[he] took sick Americans to be treated in Cuba but failed to mention human rights abuses on the Caribbean island. Afterwards, [he] stated that “there is not religious persecution, there is artistic freedom" and that Cubans were able to "freely speak their minds”. Against globalisation, corporations and war, [he] is unlikely to be any friend of a President Hillary Clinton.

11) A fanatical X-Files aficionado, [he] has not publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid but his think tank is packed with former Clinton staffers itching to return to the White House in a Hillary Clinton administration.

12) Co-author with Jerome Armstrong (Number 62) of Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics, a definitive examination of the internet’s role in transforming politics. This year’s ... convention attracted all the main Democratic candidates and Hillary Clinton got a rough ride. ...’s status as a liberal powerhouse pushing the Democrats towards the Left has been underlined by attacks on it from the likes of Fox’s Bill O’Reilly.

13) A potty-mouthed former ballet dancer, the fourth ranking Democrat in the House, [he] is a future Speaker of the House at minimum. He is passionately pro-Israel and the son of an Irgun member.

16) Now a committed Democrat, her blog ... has become a popular and influential source of news and commentary that does much to set the mainstream as well as liberal agenda. As ... she was elected president of the Cambridge Union in 1971. She received a large sum from her divorce from Republican congressman ..., after he announced he was bisexual.

18) More hawkish than most Democrats, he has a reputation as an tough, aggressive negotiator. Diplomatic experience is virtually unrivalled. A former US ambassador to Germany and the United Nations, he took part in the Paris negotiations on Vietnam in 1968-9 and is the only person to have been an Assistant Secretary of State for two regions, Asia and Europe.

Well, unless you're a CNN or Fox-ophobe, like me, you probably guessed some of them.
(The answers are in the small print at the bottom)

Perhaps you noticed, or perhaps you didn't, that the highly influential No 3 is missing from the list.

I've never heard of him, but: "As the chief adviser to Hillary Clinton and global CEO of the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, [he] has the world at his feet. Pollster and strategist for Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign, he has worked for the former First Lady since her Senate victory in 2000. He has also advised Bill Gates’s Microsoft and Tony Blair. As a moderate Democrat, he holds the key to whether Mrs Clinton can win centrist voters in a general election or whether she will be the polarising figure some party leaders fear cannot win"

- Mark Penn. Pity the country whose 3rd most important member of the team confronting the current bunch of war criminals and incompetent thugs is a PR flack.

OK, so I left out a few nonentities like George Soros, Oprah Winfrey, and Evan Bayh, because I know that anyone who reads this weblog wouldn't have any idea about American politics.

But, if you've got this far, you might as well score yourself as an American-politically- aware person:

If you got 1,2, or 4 right you get 1 point each.
If you got 5,6, or 7 right you get 2 points each.
If you got 11,12, 13, 16, or 18 right you get 3 points each.
If you ever heard of 3, you get 6 points, because you've got some idea about how democracy works.
Deduct 3 points for each if you thought that Arnold Schwarzennegger, Warren Buffett, Coe-lin Powell, Michael Bloomberg, or Chuck Schumer should not be included amongst the top 40 liberals, and if you thought George W Bush wouldn't even make it into the Top 20 Conservatives.

If you can come up with a quote from any of them that was in any way negative about Israel, or its abominable behaviour, you'll get a gold-plated prize from the secretive financial power behind this weblog.

The answers are:

1) Bill Clinton - Former US president
2) Al Gore - Environmental campaigner
4) Hillary Clinton - Senator for New York and presidential candidate
5) Nancy Pelosi - Speaker of the House of Representatives
6) Barack Obama - Senator for Illinois and presidential candidate
7) Michael Moore - Filmmaker
11) John Podesta - President, Centre for American Progress
12) Marcos Moulitsos Zuniga - Blogger
13) Rahm Emmanuel - Congressman
16) Arianna Huffington - Blogger
18) Richard Holbrooke - Diplomat and investment banker

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