The UK paper says... of Our Congressman:
41. RON PAUL (96 on the 2007 list)
Congressman for Texas
A sensation of the 2008 Republican primary, the unlikely libertarian rock star is finding his anti-tax, anti-Wall Street, anti-interventionist arguments gaining traction in Congress as the recession continues. His bill to audit the Federal Reserve, which had been subjected to ritual defeat for years, passed the committee stage in the House with 331 co-sponsors. His rage against spending on the war in Afghanistan has made him a strange bedfellow with Democratic Left-wingers.
Online activist networking and small sum fund-raising was crucial to his respectable showing in the primaries though his votes never came near matching the enthusiasm of his supporters, who were dominated by earnest slacker types.
Now 74, the former gynaecologist has represented Texas for most of the past 30 years, and spent much of it arguing against the power of Washington. He refused to support John McCain’s candidacy, instead launching a new organisation, the Campaign for Liberty, down the road from the Republican national convention in St Paul, Minnesota.
Other Texas notables were:
-- Tom DeLay #99
DeLay experienced a dramatic fall from grace in 2006 amid an investigation by a Texas district attorney for allegedly breaching campaign finance laws and dogged by his links to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Known as “the Hammer" for his rigid enforcement of party rule in the House of Representatives after the Republican Revolution of 1994. Played a key role in the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998.
He was also a prime mover force behind the so-called 'K Street project' to manoeuvre Republicans into top positions with influential lobbying firms. Now more famous for being a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars”, in a recent political DeLay demanded that Obama show his birth certificate to prove he was an American. Now regarded by most Republicans as a cautionary tale in growing too comfortable with power.
-- Jeb Bush #76
With the slow but steady rehabilitation of the Bush name, the Bush brother who many say was the one who should have been President remains a potential national candidate. A very popular former governor of a major swing state and with proper conservative credentials, if his name hadn’t been Bush, he might have been the ideal candidate for the party in 2008.
Since leaving office in 2007, Bush toyed with running for the Senate seat to be vacated by Mel Martinez and has been active in the think tank Project for the New American Century. Along with Mitt Romney and Eric Cantor he launched the National Council for a New America, designed for Republican leaders with to listen to voters across the country and will remain a powerful voice behind the scenes. Whether he moves to the front of the stage again remains to be seen.
-- Dick Armey #71
An author of the 1994 Contract with America and former House Majority Leader, Armey now leads FreedomWorks, a conservative advocacy organisation.
A Texan libertarian and former economics professor well versed in Washington’s rougher political arts, he was forced to give up an lucrative consultancy with DLA Piper when FreedomWork’s links to populist opposition to health care reform created difficulties with the law firm’s clients. The 69-year-old chain-smoker is a major influence on the tea party movement, which could become the conservative powerhouse in 2010.
-- Rick Perry #51
The longest serving governor in the state’s history, he declared “I am not George Bush” upon succeeding his Lone Star predecessor in December 2000. In April 2009 he declared that he might become a Texan national. “We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it,” he said at a tea party protest. “But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that.”
Democrats accused of him being anti-American but many in the conservative base lapped it up. Such secessionist rhetoric may have had more to do with his forthcoming battle with the moderate Kay Bailey Hutchinson in the Republican primary than any serious belief. In November he will attempt to secure an unprecedented third term and he may well be harbouring thoughts of running for the presidential nomination.
A staunch fiscal conservative, the rugged Texan attracted controversy last year by rejecting Obama’s $555 million in federal stimulus money to aide the expansion of unemployment benefits for Texans, only to later request $170 million loan from the government to continue paying out unemployment benefits.
-- Karl Rove #32
Attributed with almost magically dark powers by his detractors, Rove has certainly been one of the most influential and contentious political strategists of his generation. He guided George W Bush into the governor’s mansion in Texas and then to the White House on a narrow base of support. He was awarded effective control of the Republican National Committee and relations with state officials, not to mention a major say in domestic policy, and took much of the credit the party’s Congressional gains in 2002 and 2004.
As the Iraq war grew unpopular, controversy surrounded the administration and Rove’s name was often involved, whether it was the Valerie Plame affair, the missing White House emails or the selective firing of US attorneys. Through the years opponents have claimed Rove was behind dirty tricks – including heightening terror alerts in 2004 when John Kerry improved in the polls – but nothing much has ever stuck.
Since quitting in 2007 he has been a commentator on Fox News and in the Wall Street Journal, offering analysis of the campaign and criticism of the administration that adds a been-there-done-that expertise to his trenchant political stance. His memoirs, due for publication in March, will be worth watching out for. Recently divorced.
-- George W. Bush #12
In 2007, George W. Bush just missed our Top 20 top conservatives list – a provocative and controversial decision but one that reflected his disastrous poll ratings, the dismay of conservatives at out-of-control spending, the colossal mistakes over Iraq and his failure to consolidate the conservative majority he had won. Aides protested that history would vindicate him and already there are signs that this is happening. The Iraq “surge” of 2007 unquestionably won the war and has helped establish a viable democratic state in the heart of the Middle East. There were terrible errors committed along the way but Bush showed the vision and toughness to change course and commit American blood and treasure when all appeared lost.
Bush’s influence endures also because Obama and his advisers seem scarcely able to do anything without referring to his predecessor. This betrays a shallowness that is beginning to wear thin with American voters. With the recent terrorist attacks, Bush’s relentless focus on Islamist terrorism now looks wise rather than obsessive and he bequeathed Obama one of the most impressive members of the current Cabinet – Bob Gates. Bush’s absence from the limelight and his refusal to criticise Obama even through surrogates is to be commended. So too was his personal insistence that led to the transition between the two administrations being one of the smoothest in American history.
I guess this means President George H.W. Bush is officially over the hill now. Furthermore, US Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has got to be stewing that she didn't make the list while her gubernatorial rival did, but we sincerely hope she does not assault her press secretary over the slight.
Meanwhile, what about the most influential Texan liberals, as seen by the UK paper?
Well, there's only one -- Houston's new mayor, Annise Parker, of whom The Telegraph says:
The first openly gay mayor of one of America’s top 10 biggest cities, polls found that the Democrat’s orientation mattered to only 18 per cent of voters, but it helped that she had been open about her sexuality throughout her public career, which began with election to the city council in 1997.
Formerly the city’s controller, she campaigned on her expertise and financial acumen, rarely mentioning the potential uniqueness of her bid. After her victory she joked that she was "very proud to have been elected the first ... graduate of Rice University to be mayor of Houston".
Aged 53, she has adopted three children with her longtime companion. She arguably has done more for the gay rights cause than a president who has infuriated the community by putting their preoccupations firmly on the back burner.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee did not make the list. Whether this is a source of chagrin for her, we do not know, but we would find it a tad irritating, if we were her, to discover that #80 on the Top 100 Liberal list is a dog, which could just as easily been stricken from the list to make room for her.
Bo Obama #80
First Dog of the United States (FDOTUS)
A gift to the President from the late Senator Edward Kennedy last April, the new First Dog immediately became a media sensation – and a potent symbol of the uncritical, adoring coverage that the new President has received from the mainstream media. During the campaign, Obama talked often of having promised a puppy for his daughters Malia and Sasha, stipulating that it had to be a hypoallergenic breed because of Malia’s allergies.
After flirting with the idea of getting a “mutt like me”, Obama instead chose a Portuguese Water Dog with an American Kennel Club lineage. The Washington Post was given an “exclusive” for the story and its reporter dutifully described the dog thus: “Bo's a handsome little guy. Well suited for formal occasions at the White House, he's got tuxedo-black fur, with a white chest, white paws and a rakish white goatee.” The White House doles out regular photos of Bo, who has his own blog and several imitators on Twitter. No doubt a book deal cannot be far off.