The Rising Political Stars Of The Decade 2000-2009

MSNBC has come up with a list of political “risers” who were unknown at the beginning of the decade and have become its stars, all with the potential to become more significant in the coming decade.

At the top of the list, of course, is President Barack Obama, who was an unknown state senator from Illinois when the decade began, and who almost no one would ever have predicted would be President by the end of the decade!

Other Democrats on the list are Chuck Schumer, Senator from New York, who is number four, and seen as a potential Senate Majority Leader, and who has already helped to elect 14 Democratic senators as head of the Senate Campaign Committee.

Also, outgoing Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, number eight on the list, was a finalist for Vice President, and is now head of the Democratic National Committee. And number ten is Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, who has been noticed nationally for his leadership, despite the small population of his state, and some see as a Presidential candidate in 2016.

The other six on the list are Republicans, headed by number two, Sarah Palin, who can been as a positive and negative force at the same time. She could be a leading factor in the 2012 presidential sweepstakes, although it is hard at this point to imagine her winning the Presidency or even the nomination of her party.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is number three, despite his poor speech after the State of the Union speech this past spring. He also adds diversity to the GOP, with his ancestry from India, and his youth, being still under 40.

The newly elected Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, is seen as a bright light for the future, and sometimes called the next George W. Bush, but one wonders if that is a positive or negative assessment!

Two young bright stars of the future, at least on paper, are South Dakota Senator John Thune and Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor, the House Minority Whip. Both are in their 40s and are seen as potential presidential material in the future, and Cantor as a possible future Speaker of the House, if the Republicans were to win back control of that chamber.

The oddest person on the list, and all based on promise and expectation, is Florida senatorial nominee Marco Rubio, former State House Speaker, who has tied Governor Charlie Crist in polls for the Senate race for November 2010. Were he to win that Senate seat, he would be another young bright conservative star in the GOP lexicon, along with Thune and Cantor, and he is only 38!

Interestingly, Rubio is listed as number five, Thune as number six, and Cantor as number seven on this MSNBC list. This may be partially due to Rubio coming from a larger populated state than Thune by far, and Cantor being a Congressman, not a Senator.

Honorable mentions on this MSNBC list are GOP Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who is seen as very conservative; former Utah GOP Governor Jon Huntsman, who is now Ambassador to China under President Obama; Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, interestingly the only woman on the list other than Saran Palin; and Virginia Democratic Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb.

Overall, this is a very interesting list, and of course others could be named to the list as the next year moves on toward the midterm elections of 2010. Particularly, I would note New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who is seen as likely to challenge and defeat Governor David Paterson in a Democratic primary, and go on to win a landslide victory over former Congressman Rick Lazio, who has no challenge after former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani dropped out of the race. Of course, Lazio lost to Hillary Clinton for the 2000 Senate race, and is not given much of a chance to defeat Cuomo, although if Paterson was in the race, Lazio would have a fighting chance to win the governorship. The belief is that if Cuomo won the governorship, he would be a possible contender for the White House in 2016.

As always, the politics of the future will be as fascinating as the politics of the past! šŸ™‚

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