The nebulous concept of the Time 100 -- the supposed list of "The World's Most Influential People" -- is, at least inside the magazine, a cheesy exercise in celebrity-written profiles that feel like a week off. There are several conservatives on the list, and Time lets conservatives do the authoring. Ann Coulter hailed Sarah Palin in the "Heroes & Icons" section, and Glenn Beck hailed Rush Limbaugh in the "Artists & Entertainers" section. Coulter wrote:
John McCain was so preposterous a candidate (at least on a Republican ticket) that Palin was responsible for far more votes than the usual vice-presidential candidate. The biggest red flag proving her popularity with normal Americans is that liberals won't shut up about her. Palin is a threat to liberals because she believes in God and country and family — all values liberals pretend to believe in but secretly detest. There's a reason there's no "Stop Olympia Snowe before it's too late!" movement.
The American voter can be hornswoggled occasionally, but we can generally spot a real American, and that's what Sarah Palin is. She really was a housewife who went into politics because she didn't like the way her taxes were being spent. She really did take on the old-boy network — the oil companies and her own party — and won. And yes, she really did walk the walk on abortion when she found out she was carrying a Down-syndrome baby.
The combination of Palin's attractiveness as a candidate and her ability to expose liberals made her a celebrity among Republicans. The only thing I have against her is that she threatens to surpass me in attracting the left's hatred.
Beck, who isn't seen in the industry as a pal of Limbaugh's, is much more generous than Time's writers would be:
He attracts more listeners with just his voice than the rest of us could ever imagine. He is simply on another level.
No matter how many new technologies pop up, nothing will ever surpass the intimacy of radio. And nobody will ever be better at utilizing it than Rush. His consistency, insight and honesty have earned him a level of trust with his listeners that politicians can only dream of. And that is why the more irrelevant critics try to make him, the more relevant he becomes.
Rush, 58, saved the spoken-word radio format from obscurity and paved the way for thousands of broadcasters, including myself. His career serves as the most successful stimulus package in radio history. All without a government dime.
Knowing firsthand just how hard it is to hold an audience's attention for a few hours makes it that much more amazing to have seen Rush do it for more than 20 years. To say that he has set the standard for success in broadcasting would truly be an understatement.
This issue, while larded with tributes to Team Obama, may come the closest to a semblance of balance.