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ESR's Person of the Year for 2010

By Steven Martinovich
web posted January 3, 2011

Every year the voting for our Person of the Year Award surprises me for one reason or another. Some years it's a runaway by one candidate while other years it's a neck and neck battle between two worthy people. This year fell into that later category but it was the two people -- well, one actual person -- battling for our honour that surprised me. In a year when Glenn Beck truly became a figure on the American political stage and Barack Obama made his greatest contribution to American conservatism by being Barack Obama, neither won the voting.

This year the fight was between former winner Sarah Palin, who had made a mockery of anyone who predicted she'd return to relative obscurity in Alaska, and the Tea Party movement, which arguably was instrumental in winning at least a few races during the November mid-term elections. We had other strong candidates including Beck, who finished third, controversial Canadian lawyer Barbara Kulaszka -- who defended Free Dominion web masters Connie Wilkins and Mark Fournier from a "human rights" tribunal, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper -- has defied all odds to remain in power with a minority government, the American Soldier and Lt. Col. Terry Lakin. Heck, we even had a few votes for "No one" and Larry King -- the later was thanked by one voter for getting his "sorry ass off television."

But the winner is a familiar one to ESR readers. The left may hate her, the media may try and marginalize her but you continue to love her. Your ESR Person of the Year for 2010 is, once again, Sarah Palin.

"What hasn't she done to win our approval and respect?" -- A nomination for Sarah Palin

Sarah PalinPalin was extraordinarily busy during 2010, though we'll ignore her TLC program Sarah Palin's Alaska, which in all honesty went unwatched here at the home of ESR. Her greater contribution during 2010 was to simply serve as the de facto leader of the American conservative movement. After all, who else was there? The Tea Party movement remains a largely ad hoc group which shares similar goals but has no recognized leader. The Republican leadership is a bland collection of the same type of person Americans have suffered through for two decades. In the media, the aforementioned Beck is debated more by his fellow pundits then he is on Main Street -- at least for now.

"No other person is reported on as much as Sarah Palin.  The media, especially the mainstream liberal media, is obsessed with her.  She smart, beautiful, and a leading contender for the Republican nomination for President.  She can't win because that same liberal media will attack her every chance they get and that includes ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, PBS, and their affiliates. They hate her and are deathly afraid of her." -- A nomination for Sarah Palin

That has left Palin to be the face of the movement. It was she who enjoyed two best sellers and it was she who seemingly appeared at every Tea Party rally -- perhaps becoming the movement's leader we think doesn't exist. Her appearances at election rallies brought out huge numbers and her endorsements probably won at least a few elections in November. And when she wasn't busy with all of that, she even managed to contribute commentaries to Fox News throughout the year.

"Most truthful politician so far." -- A nomination for Sarah Palin

If effort alone won the Person of the Year, Palin would probably have won it easily but ESR's readers clearly favour impact and it's hard to argue that anyone else had a bigger one -- outside of Obama -- on the American political scene in 2010. It remains to be seen whether Sarah Barracuda's grassroots popularity can translate into something bigger in 2012 but for now she remains the most important figure in American conservatism. ESR

List of winners:
2010 Sarah Palin, former Alaska Governor
2009 Sarah Palin, former Alaska Governor
2008 Sarah Palin, former Alaska Governor
2007 Gen. David Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force - Iraq
2006 U.S. President George W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
2005 Connie Wilkins and Mark Fournier, Free Dominion web masters
2004 U.S. President George W. Bush
2003 U.S. President George W. Bush
2002 U.S. President George W. Bush
2001 U.S. President George W. Bush
2000

Jim Robinson, Free Republic web master

Honourable mentions: President-elect George W. Bush, Canadian Alliance Leader Stockwell Day

1999

Larry Klayman, chairman and general counsel of Judicial Watch

Honourable mentions: Free Republic web master Jim Robinson, Former Reform Party (Canada) Leader Preston Manning

1998

Matt Drudge

Honourable mentions: Canadian media magnate Conrad Black, Free Republic web master Jim Robinson

1997 Ron Paul (R-Texas)
Preston Manning (Reform Party Leader - Canada)
1996 Mike Harris, Premier of Ontario (Canada)

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