Paul Ryan is listed as Number 8 on Foreign Policy's list of the top 100 Global Thinkers. Barack Obama is listed at Number 7, just beating out Mr. Ryan. Both Clintons and the two Gates (Bill and Melinda) are listed ahead of them.
For some other comparisons Benjamin Netanyahu is listed at 13th, Ben Bernanke at 15th, Dick Cheney is 38th (tied with his daughter Liz), Charles Murray writer of "The Bell Curve is 43rd (though Salman Rushdie beats him out by ten spots), Bjorn Lomborg, a well known climate denialist (until he changed his mind - sort of - in 2010) is 58th, Rand Paul (yes, that Rand Paul) is listed at 71st, and (ahem) journalist and Iraq war supporter (until he wasn't) Peter Beinert is at 99th.
Even The New Republic, not exactly a bastion of liberalism at this point, finds Mr. Ryan's inclusion in this list highly suspect (they make no comment about the two Cheneys or Rand Paul):
Arguably the only things more superfluous than magazine lists (something that, yes, even this magazine has been known to offer up at times) are critiques of such lists. But this latest one from Foreign Policy—featured on the cover of its new issue—is worth reckoning with for what it says about elite reputation in our era, specifically about elite reputation’s durability in the face of contrary evidence.
And no one exemplifies this better than Ryan. After he was selected as Romney’s running mate, I took a closer look at how it was that the young Wisconsin congressman had developed a reputation as a big thinker, despite the fact that the numbers in his grand manifesto didn’t really add up and that his intellectual underpinnings seemed more Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged than Locke and Oakeshott. What I concluded was that Ryan recognized early on the value of being someone who can throw around numbers and policy in a Washington that has grown increasingly ignorant of such matters: “The upshot is that Washington now finds itself highly susceptible to doe-eyed young men brandishing graphs. What these ‘wonks’ propose doesn’t even have to add up or be scorable, as the case may be with the Ryan budget, because people who lack much policy knowledge themselves regard those who have it with a reflexive awe.” This dynamic was even stronger within Ryan’s party—as Republicans had grown more anti-government, they relied even more on people like Ryan who understood government enough to articulate the case for its dismantling.
I think they might be on to something. Throw pie charts at ignorant buffoons who just happen to be math addled elected Republican officials, and pull numbers out of your ass, while extolling the virtues of Ayn Rand's novels and you too might become known as on of the Wise Men of Washington, D.C., even if you get the math wrong and your philosophy of greed and selfishness demonstrates that your cognitive development is stuck at the age of a 13 year old boy. In other words, to be a great global thinker these days, one must only be able to fool people who cannot think for themselves. Either that or you must be famous, hold a prestigious political office or work at a major international financial institution, attended soirees in Georgetown and managed to sound less drunk than your fellow attendees, or be really, really rich (Yes, George Soros and Warren Buffet made the list as well, though I think to be fair they are more deserving than Mr Ryan). Then again, how Peter Beinert made the list defies all explanation.
The list is perhaps more telling for who did not make the cut:
Paul Krugman, Michael Mann (the climate scientist, not the movie director), Al Gore, Joseph Steiglitz, Bernie Sanders (Rand Paul makes it and Sanders doesn't?), Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (don't laugh - okay laugh, because they are funny, but also more deserving than many of the cretins on this list such as the Cheneys and Charles Murray), Markos (not brown-nosing here since I often disagree with him, but he's worthy of inclusion if Liz Cheney is), Sandra Fluke, Elinor Ostrom (an economist, but more than that - google her), Ron Fouchier (virologist), and any number of other, more worthy candidates whose thinking truly is global in scope. Unlike Mr. Ryan.
Not sure what criteria Foreign Policy, a very "Inside the Beltway" publication, used to compile this list (e.g., the Opposition leader in Burma and Nobel Peace prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Burma's current president, Thein Sein, are tied for the top spot) but please feel free to peruse it yourself and discuss the
idiocy, laziness boot-licking tendencies, wisdom or lack thereof, of the Villagers our so-called elite public policy intellectuals.