by John Hawkins | September 10, 2013 6:08 am
Honorable Mentions: Sheldon Adelson, Roger Ailes, Michele Bachmann, Tucker Carlson, Todd Cefaratti, Dick Cheney, Chris Chocola, Ann Coulter, Jonathan Garthwaite, Darrell Issa, Bobby Jindal, Amy Kremer, Mike Lee, Jenny Beth Martin, James O’Keefe, Bill O’Reilly, Tony Perkins, Judson Phillips, Tim Phillips, Reince Priebus, Glenn Reynolds, Marco Rubio, Christopher Ruddy, Sal Russo, Antonin Scalia,Ben Shapiro, Thomas Sowell, Dustin Stockton, Erik Telford,: Joe Wierzbicki
25) Michelle Malkin: Not only is Malkin one of the most popular conservative columnists and TV commentators, she pumps out best selling books, dominates on social media, and has two powerhouse blogs, Michelle Malkin.com and Twitchy.
24) Newt Gingrich: A run at the presidency seems to have revitalized the career of the most successful Speaker of the House the GOP has ever had. Gingrich is getting ready to get back on the air with Crossfire, but his real status comes from being considered the preeminent Republican “idea man.”
23) Greg Gutfeld: Gutfeld has risen a long way from the guy who made a name for himself by mocking the Huffington Post while he blogged for them. These days, Gutfeld’s The Five is the second highest rated show on Fox and his wittily goofy monologues and quotes are catching on everywhere.
22) Jim DeMint: The leader of the conservative resistance in the Senate decided to bolt to take over the powerful Heritage Foundation. It was a match made in heaven and it will probably keep both DeMint and Heritage on this list for decades to come.
21) Matt Kibbe: As the man in charge of Freedomworks, Kibbe is the head of one of the biggest, most effective conservative grassroots organizations in the country. Freedomworks played a key role in getting the Tea Party off the ground, pushing the Republican Party to the Right and generally representing the conservative base.
20) Scott Walker: Scott Walker has endless credibility with conservatives not just because he took on the unions and won — in !!!WISCONSIN!!! — but because he’s setting the standard for how a conservative governor can successfully govern in a purple state.
19) Charles Krauthammer: Krauthammer isn’t the most syndicated or popular pundit out there, but the things he says are often treated as definitive by a number of powerful conservative sources. For example, when Rush Limbaugh and National Review typically treat what Krauthammer says as an argument ender, it gives him a lot of sway.
18) Mitch McConnell: He’s timid, a terrible communicator, and has played Elmer Fudd to Harry Reid’s Bugs Bunny for his entire tenure as Senate Minority Leader. If McConnell were an effective leader, he would be ranked much higher, but he’s so bad at his job that it’s a wonder Democrats aren’t deliberately trying to undermine their own candidate in Kentucky to try to keep him in place in the Senate.
17) Brent Bozell: Many people know Brent Bozell from his columns, but he makes the list because of the innovative news empire he’s managed to create from his perch at the Media Research Center. Not only is Bozell behind the MRC, he’s also the man driving Newsbusters and CNS News, both of which are among the 25 most popular conservative websites.
16) Rick Perry: Perry’s on here because he has been the most successful governor in America. In a time when Barack Obama has been dragging the country downhill, Texas has been thriving, largely because of Perry’s leadership. People pay attention to what Perry says because unlike most politicians, he doesn’t just talk the talk, he gets results.
15) Grover Norquist: Norquist is one of the best connected people in D.C. and the patron saint of low taxes. Without his tireless efforts, you can be sure that we’d have seen much larger tax increases under Barack Obama.
14) Rand Paul: Paul has shown a genius for reaching out to conservatives that his father never had, his drone filibuster was the smartest piece of stagecraft that Republicans have put on in years, and he has been at the forefront of every grassroots conservative initiative in the Senate. Paul is still a little raw, but he is proving to be a force in the Senate and a genuine conservative leader.
13) Wayne LaPierre: When the Left made its latest push for gun control, Wayne LaPierre’s NRA hit the Left like a buzzsaw to the face. LaPierre is a fearless and incredibly effective advocate for 2nd Amendment Rights and woe be unto the politician not in a liberal district who gets crosswise of him.
12) Mark Levin: Levin has 7.5 million listeners and every book he puts out goes straight to number one, which is a little surprising given how intellectual they are. This is a man who would have been right at home during the Constitutional Convention back in 1787.
11) John McCain: The only person more disliked by conservative bloggers than former presidential candidate John McCain is his own daughter Meghan. Given that McCain seems to hold grassroots conservatives in disdain, regularly cuts conservative Republicans off at the knees, and often undermines the Republican Party to help the Democrats because he believes it gets his name out there, it’s no wonder he’s held in such contempt by so many conservatives. Still, because of his stature and his shamelessness about betraying the people he represents, McCain is the biggest Republican power player in the Senate. Incidentally, that’s one of the reasons why Senate Republicans have been so utterly ineffective for the last few years.
10) Glenn Beck: Anyone who thought Beck was finished after he left Fox underestimated the size of his vision. He has 7.5 million listeners to his radio show, his website The Blaze is the 4th largest conservative news site, and The Blaze TV is incredibly ambitious. Beck might not have the biggest audience, but he has some of the most passionate fans out there.
9) Ted Cruz: Cruz has been perfectly in tune with the grassroots, has worked relentlessly to move Republicans in the Senate to the Right, and has done a brilliant job of getting his name out there. So far, he’s probably done the best job of carrying on Jim DeMint’s legacy in the Senate.
8) The Koch Brothers: In a movement where all the grassroots activists seem to be starved for cash, big donors like the Koch Brothers wield an enormous amount of influence. The level of hatred directed at them by the Left is a reflection of how much power they have, mostly behind the scenes, on the Right.
7) John Roberts: Many conservatives have justifiably soured on John Roberts after he twisted the Constitution into a pretzel to find a way to make Obamacare legal, but as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, he wields enormous influence and has generally used it to help guide the court to the Right.
6) Sean Hannity: At this point, we still don’t know what’s going to happen with Sean Hannity’s highly rated show on Fox that’s being booted in favor of Megyn Kelly, but given that it has excellent ratings, Hannity is highly likely to land on his feet. Beyond that, he still has the 2nd largest conservative radio audience out there with 13 million listeners.
5) John Boehner: You may like Boehner or you may not, but as the leader of the only branch of government that the Republican Party controls, he has his hand on the faucet of government and can practically turn it on or off at will.
4) Karl Rove: He’s not the most popular guy with the grassroots right now after the grassroots concluded that he intends to try to strangle Tea Party candidates in the crib to clear the way for establishment politicians in primaries, but no one can deny how much power he wields. Rove may have made his bones as a strategist and a commentator, but the massive fundraising done by American Crossroads makes him a huge player when election time rolls around.
3) Sarah Palin: The former VP candidate has a fanatical following, regularly makes news for her attacks on the Obama Administration, and did more to get women elected in 2010 than any one human being ever has before in a single election cycle. Palin has enormous juice, but the key question is always, “What is she going to do with it? Run for office? Get other Republicans elected? Become the conservative Oprah?” Time will tell.
2) Matt Drudge: The Drudge Report isn’t just an important news site; it’s an agenda-setter. If Drudge decides it’s a big story, it shows up EVERYWHERE.
1) Rush Limbaugh: He’s the biggest right wing talk radio host in America, a generation of conservatives grew up listening to him, and he’s capable of making news, killing legislation, and selling tens of thousands of books any time he opens his mouth.
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