TIME’s 2010 Person of the Year panel, held last evening at the Time & Life Building in New York, featured Meghan McCain, Wyclef Jean, Marissa Mayer, Joe Trippi and Daisy Khan in a lively debate about who would be the best person of the year for TIME’s annual issue that goes on newsstands this December. In a discussion led by TIME Managing Editor Richard Stengel, McCain suggested the Tea Party or Glenn Beck. She ruled out Christine O’Donnell, saying she is “in no way qualified to do anything.” Mayer talked about first discovering the idea of a personal computer on TIME’s cover at the end of 1982, “Machine of the Year: The Computer Moves In.” She then suggested Steve Jobs of Apple. Khan said that Mayor Michael Bloomberg could be Person of the Year, for his support of Park 51. Jean said that Haitians should be honored as “people of the year.” Trippi nominated Nancy Pelosi, who Jean supported later as well by saying that the cover of TIME should “represent legacy . . . Pelosi does that.” TIME is now hosting a poll for readers to pick their person of the year.
The biggest news event of the year, with little dispute, is the backlash against the Obama administration and its policies, manifested in a variety of ways but most dramatically in the Tea Parties. From where I sit, the two individuals who most clearly articulate and personify that backlash are Sarah Palin and Chris Christie. Of course, the magazine’s Men and Women of the Year usually are presidents, innovators and dictators, so a former governor turned Fox News commentator or a first-year governor of New Jersey would be an unorthodox choice.
If we’re looking abroad or beyond politics, intriguing choices would be British prime minister David Cameron, the plumber who helped the design of the plug for the Gulf oil-spill leak, and the creative geniuses of Pixar.
Having said that, it would be kind of fun to read, “For leading the Democrats to their worst defeat in two generations, Nancy Pelosi is our Woman of the Year.”