The Daily Cardinal came up with a list of the top 10 most influential figures in Madison. At the top is Mayor Dave, and why not? Not only is the mayor meant to be the most important figure in Madison municipal government, but Cieslewicz in particular has extended his influence over the Council in a way that has made him an especially powerful mayor, unlike his predecessor, Sue Baumann.
Biddy Martin, Barry Alvarez, Brenda Konkel --all good picks. Mark Pocan, as the most influential Assembly Democrat, is no doubt worthy, but his presence on the list begs the question: What about Jim Doyle? I guess picking him depends on whether this is a list that looks forward or backward.
Number 10 was absurd. Ann Althouse? There's a difference between being big and being influential. She might have been noticeable enough for Isthmus to run a cover story about her, but there is no evidence that anything she writes influences anything except the tempers of a small group of liberal bloggers. Does anybody in a position of power read or care what Ann Althouse thinks about the media's treatment of Bristol Palin?
Figures like Rush Limbaugh and to a much lesser extent, bloggers like Kos and Glenn Reynolds, are powerful because they represent a movement and ideology. They are the leaders of a team. Ann Althouse doesn't represent anything but herself.