Why he matters: Officially, the Governator presides only over the Golden State. Unofficially, Schwarzenegger is also setting the national agenda when it comes to big issues like climate change and universal health care.
The five-time Mr. Universe is transforming the state into a green giant, launching a series of wide-ranging initiatives to improve air and water quality and reduce carbon emissions. Along the way, Schwarzenegger is prompting many of his fellow Republicans to conclude that good environmental stewardship is also smart economic policy. Al Gore may still be the green movement's favorite spokesman, but Schwarzenegger has emerged as the environment's real-life action hero.