Curtis Sittenfeld Author of three novels, including the recent American Wife, loosely based on the life of Laura Bush
In September, conservative columnist Kathleen Parker wrote of her gradual realization that Sarah Palin wasn't qualified to be John McCain's running mate and should step aside. A former Palin supporter, Parker incurred the wrath of right-wing readers, but her remarks were brave, and her willingness to repudiate spin, even at personal cost, won her admirers of all political persuasions.
Bill O'Reilly Host of The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News anchor and author of the memoir A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity
I nominate the U.S. military serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Against tremendous odds in Iraq, American forces have achieved a measure of success in bringing Iraqis a chance at freedom, and in the Afghan theater they lead the way in combatting the worst terrorists on the planet. For their sacrifice and patriotism, our troops on the front lines are worthy of Person of the Year.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali Author of Infidel, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a former member of the Dutch parliament
The eloquence, colorful origins and poise of Barack Obama won him the trust of a majority of voters and a decisive victory as America's first black President, capturing the imagination of non-Americans across the globe. After he won, he said that America's greatness lies not in its wealth or military might but in its ideals. As he promotes those ideals, I wish him all the best.
Oliver Stone Academy Award--winning director whose most recent work is the biopic W.
Sarah Palin became a reflective postscript to the Bush presidency. W.'s compassionate conservatism segued into Palin's hockey-momism--both deceptive shrouds for a disinterested, narrow-minded belief system and jingoistic worldview. She emerged as the standard bearer of empty-vessel politics, which, following our next era of national complacency, may triumphantly return.
To browse our archive and vote for the 2008 Person of the Year, go to time.com/poywalkup