Now it is time for the top ten most inspiring figures in American politics in 2009!
I will work my way down from Number Ten to Number One!
TEN: Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a carryover from the Bush Administration, who has been very even handed and cooperative, and has been a real asset to the Obama Administration!
NINE: Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who has proved to be one of the rising stars in the Senate in her third year in the upper chamber!
EIGHT: Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, who has proved to be a great leader of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, a key figure in the health care debate!
SEVEN: Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, former Presidential nominee in 2004, who has worked out very well in his crucial role in the upper chamber!
SIX: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has done a good job in her post, and has become a loyal team member in the Obama Administration!
FIVE: Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has fought the good fight as the one “true” Independent in Congress, taking the most leftist view on most issues and making others use their conscience when considering what we are doing on changing the direction of American internally and overseas!
FOUR: First Lady Michelle Obama, who has been graceful and appropriate in her role, and has become extremely popular with the American people!
THREE: Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, my favorite Senator in the present Senate, who has always stood for principle and goodness, much like Bernie Sanders!
TWO: Vice President Joe Biden, who has been very successful in having input in the Obama Administration, and has elevated the Vice Presidency’s image from what it was under Dick Cheney!
ONE: Obviously, President Barack Obama, who has transformed the office in his first year, with his initiatives in economic, social and foreign policy! While much of what he has done is not yet possible to assess long term, a great start has been accomplished!
Again, I invite commentary on my selections, but let me add ten more people to the list in no special order: Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, Congressman Robert Wexler of Florida, CNN National Correspondent John King, MSNBC talk show host Keith Olbermann, and MSNBC talk show host Rachel Maddow.
Finally, I wish to pay tribute to two people who had a great role in American politics for many decades, and who passed away this year: CBS Anchor Walter Cronkite, and Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts! May they both rest in peace!