Forbes is calling its annual power players list, “The 70 people who matter.” Thought you did? Think again. We peons just have to hope The One remembers where his power came from — and doesn’t destroy everything we fight for on a daily basis.
Nevertheless, Forbes’ justification for BHO’s top-notch ranking resonates:
Sure, his jobs bill was gutted, his debt-ceiling negotiating was derided and his popularity has plummeted, endangering his reelection, but Obama regains his position as the most powerful person on the planet this year. Why? Despite faddish American declinism, the U.S. remains, indisputably, the most powerful nation in the world, with the largest, most innovative economy and the deadliest military. Plus, Obama’s only legitimate rival for the title, last year’s number one, Chinese President Hu Jintao, is diminishing in influence as he gives up political office.
2011 Highlight: Took out the world’s deadliest terrorist in May.
Honestly, maybe it’s time to take a moment to bask in the — what was it again? — American exceptionalism that vaults any U.S. president to the top of any list of the world’s most influential people. That “largest, most innovative economy” and “deadliest military” deserve a little celebration, even in the midst of a depressingly dull economic recovery and our present precarious position on the global stage. OK, so maybe Obama’s venture socialism, regulatory onslaught and stimulus spending haven’t exactly incentivized innovation. Maybe the military does face distressing cuts to defense. Maybe the president’s Middle East policy has paved the way for the rise of Islamist states. The point is, the U.S. hasn’t descended into irrelevance and Barack Obama, as still the president of it, deserves to be named the No. 1 most powerful person in the world. Here’s to hoping some other U.S. president fills this spot in 2013.
In the meantime, a few other highlights from the always-fun-to-peek-through Forbes slideshow:
- Angela Merkel, at No. 4, is the world’s most powerful woman and rightly so. She “heads Europe’s most vibrant economy and is widely viewed as the de facto leader of the EU.”
- Pope Benedict XVI is the first religious leader on the list, at No. 7.
- Baby-faced Mark Zuckerberg, just 27 years old, makes the top 10, at No. 9.
- Hillary Clinton is the first American woman on the list at No. 16.
- Michael Bloomberg (No. 17), Tim Geithner (No. 18) and Warren Buffett (No. 20) barely make the top 20.
- The Koch brothers tie at No. 45. (If they had all the power the left invests them with, they’d rank even higher than that!)
- Bill Clinton (No. 50) beats the Dalai lama (No. 51).
- Jill Abramson, who freely admits she’s been a little mean at times to get to the top of the NYT ladder, ranks No. 64.
- Johnny Boy Boehner barely makes the list, at No. 64.