It used to mean something to be selected as Time Magazine's "Person of the Year." Began in 1937, with Charles Lindbergh as the first honoree, the lineup of what used to be "Man of the Year" was filled with the world's movers and shakers, for better or worse.
FDR won it - the only person to be named thrice - but so did Adolf Hilter and Josef Stalin. Ghandi, Churchill, Ike and George Marshall were all among the early honorees. But over time, this list has been populated more often by frivolous choices.
The Computer has won it (1982) ... as did the Earth (1988) ... but the absurdity perhaps reached its apex when the magazine picked approximately 6 billion winners in 2006.
Eager to restore its relevance, the magazine actually made a good choice last year - then-Russian president Vladimir Putin, certainly a worthy winner even if a controversial one. And Putin rewarded Time's editors with a lengthy and thought-provoking interview.
In about two weeks, the magazine is due to release its 2008 choice. But RealClearWorld has decided not to wait. We've seen enough from around the world to come up with our own Person of the Year. While there are scientists, humanitarians, artists and athletes who may warrant consideration, our top five candidates are more political in nature.
Here are our choices:
No. 5 Nicolas Sarkozy