The Nov. 8 Newsweek is out with its first (and hopefully last) ranking of America’s highest paid pundits and politicos. The magazine's basic premise that the person with the most dough is the most influential is flawed.

The magazine puts fading gasbag Rush Limbaugh on top of the heap with a haul of $58.7M. Newsweek breathlessly reports Rush windfall is a bigger income than the “combined salary of the entire U.S. Senate."

Do the editors really believe El RushBo has more juice than Fox News “superstar” No. 2 Glenn Beck? Rush is on the way out, while Beck is a rising star among the right-wing set.

C’mon, creaky and crankiy ing Don Imus is No. 7 because he earned $11M, topping Bill Clinton at No. 8 with $7.7M. Newsweek appears totally out to lunch, putting ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani as the tenth most influential America.

The magazine notes that much of Rudy’s earnings is made overseas. A better gauge of Rudy’s clout: Giuliani earns the “most despicable” rating in this week’s New York Magazine’s “Approval Matrix” following a report that he may consider another presidential run. The guy just needs to go away.

More laughers -- George W. Bush is more influential than Barack Obama because the former president received a big advance for his “Decision Points” due out Nov. 9. Newsweek also considers its former editor, Jon Meacham, more influential than Karl Rove, whose American Crossroads group bankrolled the possible GOP takeover of Congress. Unbelievable!

Newsweek says it may have overlooked some political players who should have been included. It wants those names to go to [email protected].

Everyone knows it’s hard times in MediaLand, especially at places like the No. 2 weekly that was sold to audio pioneer Sidney Harman for a buck. Everyone also knows there is way too much money gushing through the political system. Newsweek’s ranking glorifies that sad state of affairs.

The best tip for Newsweek: kill the Power 50 and get back to journalism.