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Politics

Insiders: Pelosi Biggest Loser of 2010; Obama Strengthened by Tax Cut Deal

Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi.(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

December 16, 2010
Which political figure had the best year in 2010?
213 votes
(Democrats, 107; Republicans, 106)
John Boehner 41%
Sarah Palin 13%
Harry Reid 10%
Haley Barbour 5%
Marco Rubio 5%


Which political figure had the worst year in 2010?
213 votes
(Democrats, 107; Republicans, 106)
Nancy Pelosi 46%
Barack Obama 25%
Charlie Crist 4%
Charlie Rangel 4%
Michael Steele 3%
Meg Whitman 3%


It doesn't take long to fall off the pedestal. Nine months ago, with the passage of health care reform, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was being hailed as the most powerful House Speaker of the past century. But according to the latest National Journal Political Insiders Poll she was the political figure who had the worst year in 2010. Pres. Obama was the runner-up. Conversely, the pol who had the best year was John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Speaker-in-waiting who will take power when the GOP House majority is sworn in next year.

Political Insiders in both parties had little sympathy for the outgoing Speaker. One Democratic Insider said, "She lost the majority and then made herself look worse by desperately holding on to a leadership position." Another Democrat observed that Pelosi "went from third in line to the presidency to powerless with shrunken caucus and remains in denial." The target of scores of Republican ads across the country, a Republican noted that, "It was her face on the front of that GOP bulldozer. Whether the loss [of the House] was her fault or not, she has taken the biggest hit."

Overall, former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin was runner-up to Boehner for having the best year in 2010, but her ranking was due to the votes of Democrats, not Republicans: 17 percent of the 107 Democratic Insiders who responded to the poll this week said Palin had the best year in 2010, but only 8 percent of 106 Republican Insiders felt that way. Marco Rubio, the incoming Republican Florida Senator and the party's "great Latino hope," edged Palin among Republican Insiders with 9 percent of their votes. Democratic Insiders believe that as the face of the Tea Party who can command media attention Palin will be force in the GOP 2012 nominating contest.

Insiders felt Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had a pretty good year, especially since many had written off his re-election prospects. Not only did his party keep their majority in the Senate, he hung onto his job as the chief. Former Pres. Bill Clinton, reputation burnished as the surrogate most in demand by Democrats in the midterms, and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), who roped in millions of dollars for the Republican Governors Association, were also winners in 2010.


Will President Obama's tax deal put him in a stronger or a weaker position when he's dealing with congressional Republicans next year?

Democrats
(106 votes)

Republicans
(106 votes)
Stronger 51% 56%
Weaker 21% 13%
Doesn't matter 28% 31%

Meanwhile, Insiders in both parties felt that Obama's tax deal will put him a stronger position when he's dealing with congressional Republicans. Less than a quarter of the Insiders in both parties thought he would be weaker. But that may not help the president bring his party together. Said one Democrat, Obama "needed to show Republicans he is willing to work with them and needed to show Democrats he will work around them if they are intransigent." Another one averred, "He's going to cave on a lot of issues in order to be 'bipartisan.'"

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