You've got to admit that ranking Beck over the Dalai Lama says something about our country.
WASHINGTON — His party may have suffered a shellacking in November's elections, but President Obama remains the unchallenged champion on another front: For the third year in a row, he is by far the most admired man in America.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues an even longer run, ranked in the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll as the most admired woman for the ninth straight year. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is second, as she was in 2009.
Despite Americans' unhappiness with the nation's politics, politicians dominate both lists. The top 10 men include not only the president but also the three living former presidents. Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton take the top three spots.
"It's all about power," says Richard Slotkin, professor emeritus of American studies at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. "When we think of importance, we think politically, that's really clear — with religion a close second, though Bill Gates beats out Pope Benedict. It's almost like a register of power."