>Bush, Clinton most admired among Americans

>Two political opposites, President Bush and Democratic Senator and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, have the honor of being chosen as the most admired man and woman, according to a USA Today-Gallup poll. Both were closely followed by former President Bill Clinton and talk show host Oprah Winfrey, respectively.

These results are based on the Dec. 14-16 USA Today/Gallup poll, which asked Americans, without prompting, to say what man and woman “living today in any part of the world, do [they] admire most?” Gallup has asked the most admired man and woman questions in this format in all but two years since 1948.

Other women who were named:

After Clinton and Winfrey, the remainder of the top 10 most admired women are Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (5%), actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie (3%), first lady Laura Bush (3%), former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (2%), former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto (2%), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, author Maya Angelou, and Queen Elizabeth II (all at 1%).

Other men who were named:

The remainder of the top 10 most admired men after Bush and Clinton are former Vice President Al Gore (6%), Sen. Barack Obama (5%), the Rev. Billy Graham (3%), former South African President Nelson Mandela (3%), former President George H.W. Bush (2%), Microsoft founder Bill Gates (2%), Pope Benedict XVI (2%), and former President Jimmy Carter (2%).

Some of these names are somewhat surprising, to say the least. Having the Clintons ranked so high makes me wonder if we are as polarized as political pundits claim we are. Also, the notion of Sen. Barack Obama being a rock star? If you relied solely on analysis from talking heads, one would think Sen. Obama could walk on water.

It was somewhat encouraging to see Maya Angelou and Nelson Mandela even mentioned, even though only four percent of poll participants mentioned their names. However, I can not understand why Angelina Jolie is ranked higher than Benazir Bhutto or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

You have in one corner a woman who is fighting for more freedom in one of America’s “allies” and the other woman leading her party in Congress. In the other corner, you have an actress who globe-trots and holds brown children for the cameras. Now, I’m not knocking Jolie for the work she does. I applaud her dedication to helping children in the world’s poorer nations. Not to mention she’s a great actress.

However, I’m questioning why Americans find Jolie more admirable than two women who are actually making history in their respective countries.

Maybe it’s a product of our celebrity-obsessed culture. Or maybe it’s a product of our subconscious resentment of women in power.