Ten Liberals to Watch in 2005

Evan Bayh Democrat senator from Indiana

  • Born: Dec. 26, 1955, Shirkieville, Ind.
  • Resides: Indianapolis
  • Significance: Son of former liberal Sen. Birch Bayh, he is chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, the “moderate” organization that helped launch Bill Clinton. Served as governor of Indiana. Likely 2008 presidential candidate, who has tried to position himself to the middle (voted for the partial-birth abortion ban), but ultimately delivers for liberals (voted for judicial filibusters). One of 13 senators to vote against confirming Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Also opposed Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales.
  • Quotable: “There’s a whole cluster of cultural issues or values issues on which we need to make sure that people in Middle America–Iowa, Indiana, the South, the Plains–understand that we are not cultural elitists.” (Des Moines Register, Jan. 17, 2003)
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    Stephen L. Bing Screenwriter and producer

  • Born: March 31, 1965, Los Angeles
  • Resides: Los Angeles
  • Significance: A top donor to Democrats (more than $9.5 million since 2000) and liberal 527 committees (nearly $14 million in 2004). Reported to have dated actresses Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman, Sharon Stone and, most notably, Elizabeth Hurley, who went to court to successfully establish his paternity of their son. Credits include television series “Married With Children” and movie Get Carter. Heir to his grandfather’s $500-million real-estate fortune.
  • Quotable: Won’t talk to the media.
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    Tina Fey Head writer, “Saturday Night Live”

  • Born: May 18, 1970, Upper Darby, Pa.
  • Resides: New York
  • Significance: Politicized SNL’s “Weekend Update” segment to portray President Bush as an incompetent idiot. Often ridicules conservatives for their moral values. Named first female head writer for SNL in 1999, two years after joining the show. Wrote and acted in teenage flick Mean Girls. Working on a sitcom for NBC.
  • Quotable: “At his annual physical last week, the President found out he has gained six pounds over the last year, and he has pledged to loose the weight as soon as possible. So finding Osama bin Laden will get pushed even farther down on the President’s to-do list.” (SNL’s “Weekend Update,” Dec. 18, 2004)
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    Harold Ickes Founder of America Coming Together, the Media Fund

  • Born: Sept. 4, 1939, Baltimore
  • Resides: New York
  • Significance: Son of FDR Interior Secretary Harold L. Ickes. Rose to political prominence as a key player in the Clinton White House. Masterminded Hillary Clinton’s New York Senate run in 2000. Is likely to be a major force in Hillary’s expected 2008 presidential race–whether inside or outside the campaign. Founded America Coming Together and the Media Fund, liberal 527s that reportedly raised more than $100 million during the 2004 campaign.
  • Quotable: “In any ring, I’d put my money on Hillary.” (New York Times, June 14, 1999)
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    Peter B. Lewis Chairman, Progressive Corp.

  • Born: Nov. 11, 1933, Cleveland
  • Resides: Beachwood, Ohio
  • Significance: Teamed with George Soros to fund liberal 527 groups. Reportedly gave nearly $23 million to America Coming Together, the Media Fund, and other left-wing groups. Retired as chief executive from Progressive in 2000 after leading the car insurance company for 35 years.
  • Quotable: “I think the drug laws are absurd in every sense, all of them. Based on the experience I’ve had with Scotch whiskey, which is plenty, and the experience I’ve had with marijuana, which is plenty, I think it should be regulated the same way alcohol is.” (Daily Princetonian, Sept. 16, 2003)
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    Barack Obama Democrat senator from Illinois

  • Born: Aug. 4, 1961, Hawaii
  • Resides: Hyde Park, Ill.
  • Significance: Spent six years of his childhood in Indonesia with his mother, a Kansas-born anthropologist. His late father, who left the family when Barack was a boy, was a Kenyan government economist. Was first black president of Harvard Law Review. Ever since, he has been on Democratic fast track, serving in Illinois Senate, giving highly praised keynote at last year’s Democratic National Convention, and easily winning election in November as only the fifth black U.S. senator.
  • Quotable: “National legislation will prevent other states’ flawed concealed-weapons laws from threatening the safety of Illinois residents.” (Advocating a federal law to ban citizens from carrying weapons, Chicago Tribune, Feb. 20, 2004)
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    Eli Pariser Executive director,

  • Born: Approx. 1981, Lincolnville, Maine
  • Resides: Manhattan, N.Y.
  • Significance: Mastermind behind MoveOn’s anti-Bush e-mails and advertising campaigns. Graduated from Simon’s Rock College (Mass.) at 19, and began protesting World Bank and IMF meetings. After Sept. 11, 2001, organized as an alternative to war. Joined with MoveOn’s founders to revolutionize Internet fund-raising and organize anti-war protests, which morphed into a multimillion-dollar campaign against Bush.
  • Quotable: “Anyone in the public could submit an ad. We didn’t want to censor. If it didn’t have big legal problems, we were going to let it through and let our members vote on it.” (Explaining why MoveOn’s ad contest included commercials comparing Bush to Hitler, Washington Post, Jan. 6, 2004)
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    John Roberts CBS White House correspondent

  • Born: Nov. 15, 1956, Toronto
  • Resides: Washington, D.C.
  • Significance: A leading candidate to replace Dan Rather as anchor of CBS’s “Evening News.” If passed over, could jump to another network. Serves as “CBS Evening News Sunday” anchor and Rather’s primary backup. Absolved of any wrongdoing for CBS’s botched report on the President’s National Guard service.
  • Quotable: “Mr. Bush’s message has often been at odds with the mission: the Ashcroft nomination, new restrictions on abortion counseling, plans for school vouchers, an in-your-face attitude that has Democrats reluctant to let down their guard.” (“Evening News,” Jan. 26, 2001)
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    Eliot Spitzer New York state attorney general

  • Born: June 12, 1959, Bronx, N.Y.
  • Resides: Manhattan, N.Y.
  • Significance: High-profile corporate crime buster is leading Democrat candidate for governor of New York. Since taking office in 1999, Spitzer has aggressively probed white-collar crime on Wall Street. Prosecuted Midwest power companies for alleged pollution (appeasing environmentalists) and businesses for supposedly violating workers’ rights (appeasing labor unions).
  • Quotable: “I bring people together whether they like it or not and we tackle complex problems–not with Band-Aid solutions, but with major reform and real change. We did it in the financial industry and other sectors and we can do it in government.” (Announcing his gubernatorial candidacy, Dec. 7, 2004)
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    Jon Stewart Anchor, “The Daily Show”

  • Born: Nov. 28, 1962, New York
  • Resides: Manhattan, N.Y.
  • Significance: The self-deprecating host of “The Daily Show” made his name attacking President Bush and Republicans. During the 2004 campaign, he brought Sen. John Kerry on the show only to ask softball questions, and made headlines for attacking CNN’s “Crossfire.” Worked as a stand-up comic and film actor before starting at Comedy Central in 1999.
  • Quotable: “To equate the idea that the people who populate the world of news tend to vote Democratic with having an activist stance that is actively working towards electing Democratic officials I think is . . . the final piece of the puzzle to a really very brilliant 30-year strategy of getting and consolidating conservative power.” (“Charlie Rose Show,” Sept. 29, 2004)