You'll recall our learned discussion about Time's "Person of the Year," and speculation on same. To recap, the "Person of the Year" is traditionally assigned to the person, persons, or thing that "for better or worse, has most influenced events in the preceding year." That gives Time a lot of room to maneuver, but note that the two big questions revolve around type (one person? a group? a thing? an abstract concept?) and quality (a "good" person versus a "bad" person?). There hasn't been a "bad" person since 1979 (Ayatollah Khomeini), and when a single person can't be picked out of the crowd, groups of a few particular persons (such as Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates, as "The Philanthropists" last year) have been recently preferred to choosing things or abstracts.
So given all of that, we asked for your own choices as to who Time would pick for this year's POTY. After the jump, a little more background handicapping, current odds, and a big-azz poll to predict the unseen future.
Last week, Ad Age ran a piece exploring the minds behind this year's POTY process; advisory panelists include former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, NBC's Brian Williams, blog diva Arianna Huffington, and Newark mayor Cory Booker. Time ME Richard Stengel also went on record stating his preference for the POTY to be an actual person, so keep that in mind. MarketWatch's erstwhile dunderhead Jon Friedman is none too happy about DeLay's inclusion, just as he was displeased by last year's POTY choice (he was rooting for Hurricane Katrina). Sportsbook.com — the same online oddsmaker that had to cancel betting last year due to suspicious bets around a possible leak of the POTY choice — this year predicts that the winner will be Google Chairman/CEO Eric Schmidt, a 7-1 favorite. We have a tradition of following this race as well, thought not with much success at predicting the real POTY. ("Mother Nature"? Stupid hippies.)
But this year is your/our year! We feel it in our prognosticatory bones. Below is a poll cobbled together from all reader-submitted or publicized possibilities, plus a "None of the above" escape hatch if you're, like, a total pussy. Only nominees with a real chance of getting picked are presented (sorry, Borat). Choose the nominee you think most likely to be chosen as Time's 2006 Person of the Year (not the one you'd personally prefer was chosen). We'll track the race until the actual POTY is announced, and if we're collectively correct, we'll treat you/us to a big ol' self-congratulatory pat on the back. Maybe Time Inc. will even send us a holiday popcorn barrel for joining in on this annual publicity circle jerk. Offer void where prohibited.