It's been a year of change and, dammit, we've gotta blame someone. Tomorrow Time names their "Person of the Year" but we care more for: who was the biggest auto industry power player this year?

Believe it or not, the one person with the biggest and most influential role in how 2009 turned out was a 31-year-old kid you've probably never heard of before. Meet Brian Deese. He's never worked in Detroit, run for public office and he doesn't hold an advanced degree in economics. He was merely the first full-time staffer on the President's Auto Task Force and, according to reports, the most influential.

The big decision makers, like President Obama and Car Czar Steven Rattner, relied on the analysis and recommendations of Deese. The Chrysler-Fiat deal? Deese made the argument letting Fiat try to take over the company was better in the short-term than letting the company fail. He brought the reality of GM's tenuous position to the forefront even when the company said bankruptcy wasn't an option. Whether you like where the administration is or you hate their meddling, Deese has been there since day one telling the administration what it needs to do.

What do you think? Don't hate the game, hate the player. Who is the biggest auto industry power player?

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