It's that time of year for Five Best and Ten Worst lists. And whether it's best and worst movies or best and worse politicians, everybody will find at least one choice on every list that s/he thinks should not have been there. Or should have been switched from the best to the worst category, and vice versa.
For instance, the once-neoconservative, still mostly conservative Foreign Policy magazine picked The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers and put Ben Bernanke in the No. 1 slot. Not my first choice by a country mile. But then, consider the source. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington presented its Top 10 Ethics Scandals. The SEC's 16-year failure to stop Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme was high on the list, which certainly it deserved to be. But not a word about how America's wealthiest cheat the IRS out of billions of tax dollars every year.
John Nichols at The Nation came up with the 14 Most Valuable Progressives of 2009. These included: Most Valuable Federal Appointee - Elizabeth Warren; Most Valuable Local Official - JoAnn Watson; Most Valuable Grassroots Advocacy Group: Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement; Most Valuable Agitator - Cleve Jones; and Most Valuable Union - California Nurses Association. Good choices. Too bad the country lost out on having No. 15 on that list be Van Jones.
Spencer Ackerman at the The Washington Independent came up with Top Five National Security Players of 2009, the guys "who did the most to craft America’s approach to keeping its citizens safe in 2009."
General Stanley McChrystal captured the top slot. He was followed by Dennis McDonough chief of staff for the National Security Council, who "could be Obama’s single most influential foreign policy adviser." No. 3 was Michael McFaul, National Security Council director for Russia. Then, there was Samantha Power, who directs multilateral and human rights affairs at the National Security Council, and is said to have had a great deal of input into President's Obama's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. And finally, at No. 5, was John Kerry who is viewed as having rejuvenated the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's prestige with "a yearlong series of probing, thorough and intellectually vigorous hearings on Afghanistan-Pakistan policy."
No mention of General Dynamics, General Atomics, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman or Raytheon.