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The 8 Most Important Conservatives of 2012

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As the 2012 election season heats up, a number of conservatives stand out as being the best advocates for the movement as a whole. These eight people can drive opinions of the movement, create long-term arguments, set policy positions, and help defeat liberalism at the ballot box.

1. Sarah Palin

Courtesy David Shankbone
Sure she didn’t run for president, but Sarah Palin remains one of the most electrifying conservatives in the country. In 2008, she delivered one of the best speeches in Republican National Convention history. She is hard-hitting, strong, and effective. If you need proof, look no further than how much liberals despise her and aim to destroy her years after her last run for office. As the Democrats aim to make the 2012 elections about a bizarre “Republicans hate women” argument, the conservative movement needs Sarah Palin to be active in destroying this false narrative.

2. Andrew Breitbart

Andrew Burton, Getty Images
Andrew Breitbart may have passed away in 2012, but the movement he started lives on. Breitbart has spawned a new generation of more active conservatives who no longer sit on the sidelines and wait for something to happen. Instead, they take an aggressive stance against their ideological opposition and try to expose voter fraud, governmental abuses, and illegal political activity. The Republicans have never been known for being “in the trench” fighters, but Andrew Breitbart changed that.

3. Antonin Scalia

Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images
Easily the most influential justice of the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia could be the voice that helps persuade a majority of the court to strike down all or portions of President Obama’s signature legislation, the Healthcare Reinvestment Act. The decision of the court will have a dramatic effect on the electoral narrative in 2012.

4. Paul Ryan

Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images
Ryan, who has served in the US Congress since 1999, is the closest thing to a political nemesis that President Obama has in Washington. As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan has produced a number of long-term budgets for restoring fiscal sanity to Washington, D.C. In both 2011 and 2012, long-term budget plans have been drafted by Ryan and passed through the US Congress. However, the Democrat-controlled Senate, which refuses to pass a budget, never intended on passing either Ryan plan and instead remains a free-spending, budget free body year after year. Ryan has been a top adversary of the Obama administration when it comes to the fiscal situation, and it looks to be a battle that will continue throughout the 2012 election cycle.

5. Marco Rubio

Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images
One of the rising conservative stars of the Republican Party, Marco Rubio is on everyone’s short list to be the vice-presidential nominee on the Republican ticket. The youthful US Senator from Florida is a tea party favorite who has drawn early attacks from Democrats who feel he may be the nominee as well. A first-generation American born son of Cuban immigrants, Rubio could have the ability to take the conservative message to a broader audience that may often flip the channel when a Republican comes on television. This is both the hopes of conservatives, and a fear of liberals. Even if Rubio does not form part of a presidential ticket, he remains a conservative powerhouse who will likely take on a large role in the quest to stop Obama’s re-election hopes, and in the move for Republicans to retake the Senate.

6. Mitt Romney

Courtesy Andrew Feinberg
While questions remain about how conservative Romney is, he is without a doubt far more conservative than Barack Obama. As the presumptive Republican nominee for president, Romney will be the main driving force in delivering a conservative message to the American people. The platform he ran on in the GOP primary has been solid, and he seems prepared to battle the false narratives that Barack Obama will be launching his way. His Obama-specific speeches have been impressive and hard-hitting, but he will have to continue to battle natural tendency to drift to a more moderate position when attacked.

7. Ann Romney

Scott Olson, Getty Images
As the presumptive first lady “nominee,” Ann Romney has been described as Mitt’s secret weapon. Unlike most Republican politician wives of the past, Ann Romney seems far more comfortable making political arguments and stumping for her husband. Ann will certainly not be sitting on the sideline or simply standing by her husband and waving. Like Sarah Palin, she will be another key figure in batting down the Democrat “anti-women” talking points. She has a compelling life story and has dealt with a lot that many women can relate to. Democrats have long had outspoken first ladies who offered a natural extension to the President and his policies. Ann Romney may be the first Republican to offer the same.

8. Ron Paul

Courtesy Gage Skidmore
If there is one knock on Ron Paul, it is that he doesn’t seem to be so enthusiastic about helping other conservatives defeat Democrats. Without question, Ron Paul has a unique blend of supporters who are just as likely to vote for Barack Obama as they are the non-Ron Paul Republican nominee. Sarah Palin had it right when she said that the Republican Party should not quickly dismiss Ron Paul supporters when election season rolls around and let a large chunk of them either sit at home or vote for Obama. The reality is that the Republican Party, and the tea party specifically, is moving more towards a constitutional conservative and libertarian feel that Paul represents. If Paul is serious about continuing this trend, he could be a force if he is able to turn his supporters into more than just a Ron Paul voter, and have them embrace the tea party movement on a larger scale.

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