A very good insight of what could be called the â€œBeltway Bubbleâ€ on foreign-policy thinking can be gained by a study of the September 19 National Journalâ€™s â€œInsiders Pollâ€ in which 115 Democratic and 116 Republican â€œinsidersâ€ ranked prominent columnists, bloggers, broadcast personalities, and other media types by their influence in â€œmost help(ing) to shape (the insiderâ€™s) own opinion or worldview.â€ Each â€œinsiderâ€ could name as many as five opinion-shapers, and, in tallying the rankings, a first-place vote was give 5 points, a second-place vote 4 points, and so on. While the website lists all of the 146 opinion-shapers rated by the poll (and is helpfully interactive), the actual magazine (p. 6 in the 9/19 edition) displays the top-ten vote-getters:
1) Thomas Friedman (335 votes divided between 230 Democratic and 105 Republican insiders);
2) David Brooks (282 votes evenly divided between 141 Dems and 141 Reps);
3) Charles Krauthammer (281 votes divided between 1 Dem and 280 Reps);
4) George Will (246 votes divided between 23 Dems and 223 Reps);
5) Paul Krugman (182 votes divided between 181 Dems and 1 Reps);
6) David Broder (165 votes divided between 106 Dems and 59 Reps);
7) E.J. Dionne (147 votes divided between 143 Dems and 4 Reps);
8) Karl Rove (126 votes divided between 1 Dem and 125 Reps)
9) Peggy Noonan (101 votes divided between 5 Dems and 96 Reps); and
10) William Kristol (91 votes) divided between 5 Dems and 86 Reps).
Of course, most of the 146 media personalities rated in the survey are concerned primarily with domestic issues, and a relative few write or talk frequently, let alone exclusively, about foreign policy. But a few general points about the rankings of those who do write about foreign policy, at least fairly regularly, stood out for me.