UPDATE: He was the obvious choice all along.
Volodymyr Zelensky has inspired the world, and now he has been recognized as Time’s Person of the Year.
The magazine did a nice nod to play off some of the other names, and in the following column, written yesterday, I suggested that the Ukrainian president was unlikely to get the nod because he wouldn’t be controversial. I’m glad I was wrong.
I hate to get caught up in Time’s Person of the Year debate, which is basically a giant publicity stunt. But here I am.
The annual Time honor has such a long history that it has a certain gravitas, and I don’t begrudge the magazine for trying to milk it.
The first phase of the hype building began when Time’s executive editor, Ben Goldberger, held televised events to reveal the names of the finalists.
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Liz Cheney is on the list – a Trump-bashing magazine might say we elected a Republican but has been on a crusade against Donald Trump.
Elon Musk is on the list, but he won last year – even with his Twitter suspension narrowing down his selection.
Janet Yellin is on the list — possibly the lowest-ranking Treasury secretary in modern history. It’s not real. They needed one Democrat.
Xi Jinping? Also does not happen.
And then there’s Ron DeSantis. This drew a lot of criticism on Morning Joe, with Mika Brzezinski saying, “Ron DeSantis makes no sense to me!”
Well, Goldberger said, “he won re-election in Florida big time and is a front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.”
Let’s pause for a moment, because is DeSantis really the top pick in 2024? Yes, he almost won Florida and cleverly turned himself into a national figure, but he may not even be the nominee. Not likely, but possible.
If the governor makes the jump, that would be the summer of 2023. Trump could defeat him, or DeSantis could split the anti-Trump vote with several other candidates (John Bolton is now talking about running), handing the nomination to the former president. .
Either way, DeSantis could be a legitimate Man of the Year contender next year, maybe even a lock, but how does he get the nod in 2022?
Unless, that is, Time wants to stir up some controversy.
But if you look at history, you have to go to the last name on the list, which is almost an afterthought: Volodymyr Zelensky.
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This is a leader who inspired and united his country to repel Russia’s brutal and unjustified invasion, riddled with war crimes and the deliberate targeting of civilians. Not only that, but his brave troops drove the Russians out of Kherson and retook large tracts of land along its eastern border. Yesterday, Ukrainian drones struck targets inside Russia for the second day.
It has been hailed by parliaments around the world, given endless interviews despite the risks, and successfully pressured the Biden administration and other Western governments to provide tens of billions of dollars in aid and much-needed weapons. former sitcom star.
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And make no mistake: This is the largest land war in Europe since World War II. If Vladimir Putin succeeds, it would be a major blow to NATO and a victory for the dictator’s efforts to reassemble the Soviet empire under his sole control.
Nevertheless, I think it is unlikely that Zelensky will win this election. The reason? This is not a controversial choice. Most people would say “yeah, he deserves it” and deprive the time of the heated discussion needed to make the story more than 12 hours long.
But it is a clear choice.