There's a lot of speculation right now about who will be selected TIME magazine's Person of the Year for 2004.
Some bloggers, with a degree of merit, are suggesting that what some call the citizen journalists of the blogosphere should be named collective Persons of the Year.
But if TIME's criteria for awarding this recognition remains for the person, place, or thing that has had the greatest impact on life in the preceding year, there are several possibilities that present stronger cases:
George W. Bush: Like him or not, President Bush rolled up a substantial majority in November's election, no mean achievement at a time when the popularity of the War in Iraq was diminishing, the economy was perceived as being sluggish, and his approval ratings never went much above 49%.
Carl Rove: It's unfair to call him Bush's Brain because the President clearly has finely-honed political instincts. But he definitely has been Bush's Strategist and developed an almost-prescient game plan for the President even as the Allied Van Lines truck was delivering his StairMaster to the White House on January 20, 2001.
Socially Conservative Christians: The politicization of Christian faith reached a kind of zenith in 2004, probably providing the President with his margin of victory. Socially conservative Chrisitans voted for the President with a religious fervor that, in their minds, melded the identities of Christian and Republican.
Wealthy Benefactors: Recent reporting in Business Week indicates that the super-wealthy have been giving to charities and causes at unprecedented levels this year.
It's interesting, really, because 2004 offers a dearth of real choices for POY. While cases can be made for bloggers and others, I've concluded the President Bush is the unavoidable and obvious choice.
Here are the takes of some others: