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50 (not fiddy) most powerful in d.c. August 18, 2007

Posted by KG in news, politics.


bill novelli, ceo of aarp, ties with howard kohr at #6. holding it down for the 50+ set. (photo courtesy of pbs). this gnomish old man is more powerful than hillary clinton, karl rove, and barack obama – according to gq. he’s even more powerful than the apparent legacy of the deceased ronald reagan, who makes an appearance on the list at #13.

gq’s list of the 50 most powerful in d.c. (excluding dumb & dumber or evil and more evil – whichever suits your fancy):

Executive Director, AIPAC

exec director of aipac (alternet article on aipac from 31 july 2005) makes the top 10. i’m sure he’s happy about that, but i bet howard isn’t too thrilled with this new book by stephen walt of harvard and john mearsheimer of univ. of chicago – “the israel lobby and u.s. foreign policy”:

“Now that the cold war is over, Israel has become a strategic liability for the United States,” they write. “Yet no aspiring politician is going to say so in public or even raise the possibility” because the pro-Israel lobby is so powerful. They credit the lobby with shutting down talks with Syria and with moderates in Iran, preventing the United States from condemning Israel’s 2006 war in Lebanon and with not pushing the Israelis hard enough to come to an agreement with the Palestinians. They also discuss Christian Zionists and the issue of dual loyalty.

on a less pernicious note, senators henry waxman (d-ca) and patrick leahy (d-vt) make #18:

Since taking charge of two of Congress’s most oversight-minded committees in January, these two have demanded accountability from people who had grown accustomed to skirting it. They’ve launched hearings into every scandal, including the Valerie Plame leak, the CIA’s overseas prisons, the Jack Abramoff affair, FEMA’s response to Katrina, and the U.S. Attorney firings. By March, his third month as chairman, Waxman and his Democratic colleagues had conducted a staggering one hundred investigative hearings. And according to Senator John Kerry, “Pat Leahy is one of the toughest, most effective guys in the Senate. You don’t get Dick Cheney to lose his cool for nothing.” Go fuck yourself, indeed.

take a look at the schedule of hearings and meetings on the committee on oversight and government reform website – it’s quite impressive.

time profile on waxman:

Working with one of the most highly regarded staffs on Capitol Hill, he has spent the past eight years churning out some 2,000 headline-grabbing reports, blasting the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress on everything from faulty prewar intelligence and flaws in missile defense to the flu-vaccine shortage and arsenic in drinking water.

Since a Republican entered the White House, the G.O.P. Congress has been far less enthusiastic in its oversight. Waxman likes to point out that the House took 140 hours of sworn testimony to get to the bottom of whether Clinton had misused the White House Christmas-card list for political purposes, but only 12 hours on prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib.

Iraq will get new attention with Waxman in power. This week he plans to send a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld demanding information on Halliburton’s $16 billion contract to provide services to troops there. Waxman’s staff has been poring over the fine print of that deal for more than two years, and is convinced that much of the money is slipping between layer upon layer of subcontractors.

some other interesting picks:

mark penn (american prospect article on penn), pollster and strategist for hillary clinton and bp, among others, places at #15.

from a nytimes piece – 5 june 2007:

The presidents of two large labor unions have written to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to complain that Mark Penn, her pollster and chief strategist, is chief executive of a public relations firm that is helping a company fight a unionization drive.

In the letter sent Friday, which a labor official released yesterday, James P. Hoffa, president of the Teamsters, and Bruce Raynor, president of Unite Here, wrote that they did not want to see Mrs. Clinton or the Democratic Party embarrassed by the anti-union activities of Mr. Penn’s firm, Burson-Marsteller, one of the nation’s leading public relations companies.

”If Hillary is pro-worker and pro-union, she will certainly take steps to rein in Mr. Penn,” Mr. Hoffa said in an interview. ”He cannot serve two masters, working for a pro-union candidate and working for anti-union companies.”

and andrew sullivan, blogger for the atlantic makes #46

any glaring omissions?



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