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Congressional Insiders Poll

Click here to see how prominent bloggers answered these questions.

Q: What is the most likely outcome of President Obama's health care reform initiative?

Democrats (36 votes)

Major legislation will be enacted in 2009   75 percent 
Major legislation will be enacted in 2010    6 percent
Scaled-back legislation will be enacted 
  in this Congress                          19 percent
No legislation will be enacted               0 percent


Major legislation in 2009

"Nancy Pelosi will ensure that a good, strong bill passes the House. Obama will deal with the Senate using reconciliation."


"This will be a wonderful Christmas present for the American people. And they deserve it."

"Presidents have been trying to pass major health care reform since Harry Truman. We are now closer than ever to accomplishing this elusive goal. And even though some concessions made to 'move the ball forward' have been painful for various members of the caucus, the end result will be a major achievement that President Obama and the Democratic Congress will be proud to call their own."

"It will be major, but scaled back from where everybody thought we were starting."

"Somewhat scaled back, but still major."


"Too many things to get done to allow this bill to flip into next year."

"It's simple: We will pass reform by the end of this year because the American people need it."

"President Obama has made health care reform his No. 1 priority. And he will see major reforms through. At this point, he and the Democratic Party need to deliver: The political consequences of inaction on this are much graver than enactment of a bill that has some controversial components."

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Major legislation in 2010

"What we'll start in 2009, we'll finish in 2010."

Scaled-back legislation

"Unfortunately, at this point it looks like the public option will not survive. And the Senate is moving at glacial speed."

"Democratic leadership is too timid."

Q: What is the most likely outcome of President Obama's health care reform initiative?

Republicans (33 votes)

Major legislation will be enacted in 2009    6 percent
Major legislation will be enacted in 2010    0 percent
Scaled-back legislation will be enacted 
  in this Congress                          82 percent
No legislation will be enacted              12 percent


Scaled-back legislation

"Reform is possible, but it won't include the worst elements of the Democrats' government-run plans because Americans don't support it."

"The Democrats will be forced to make serious concessions to pass something before the midterm elections."

"The die is cast. It's incremental reform, or nothing."

"[Obama is] too far gone not to pass something, but passing what he wants would be devastating to his majorities in Congress."

"Will finally need to settle with the Republicans on some areas of consensus. And Blue Dogs will be held responsible by the Left and primaried."

"Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid will realize a government takeover of health care does not have the 60 votes needed in the Senate, and will scale it back. With his poll numbers plummeting, his stimulus plan failing, cap-and-trade floundering, and America's influence on the international stage plummeting, President Obama would sign a one-sentence bill that said 'health care reform' in the title and claim victory."

"The president and Democrats in Congress cannot afford to fail to pass something on health care, but votes in the Senate simply aren't there for the massive overhaul bills both the president and Reid so desperately want."

"And Obama will receive an Emmy."

"Something will get done because, politically, the Democrats have to do something. To fail with majorities this large would be a sign of presidential irrelevance and incompetence."

"Health insurance reform; not government takeover."

No legislation

"Pelosi and [House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry] Waxman have blown it--big-time."

Q: Grade President Obama's handling of foreign policy.

Democrats (36 votes)

Average grade: B+

A   31 percent
B   67 percent
C    3 percent
D    0 percent
F    0 percent



"While it is true that his predecessor had set the bar pretty low, President Obama has stepped up on the international stage and made huge strides in repairing the U.S.'s tattered image abroad and strengthening national security through diplomacy."

"An A on everything, except Afghanistan. Even Alexander the Great couldn't hold it!"

"President Obama has skillfully entered the high-stakes world of global diplomacy. His tenure in office is too short to turn back the damage done by the Bush administration over the last eight years, but his eloquence and thoughtfulness will no doubt improve U.S. relations abroad soon enough."

"When he took office the problem he faced was to re-establish the U.S. as a positive participant in diplomacy. And he has done it."

"Most-liked president in the world!"


"He is engaging with those we've ignored. And world leaders seem poised to work with a new president in new and better ways."

"The president's foreign policy should be measured by the manifestation, or not, of inauguration-speech commitments: 'Our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.' "

"While Obama has gone a long way toward restoring the country's international standing, foreign leaders have not gone out of their way to give him what he has sought. He gets a quiz grade of B, but this isn't the final exam."

"No new wars; discussion for peace in the Middle East, but danger of Afghanistan becoming Obama's Vietnam."

"Very concerned about troop escalation in Afghanistan without a clear exit strategy."

"B-minus. Given the mess that was handed to him, it's amazing that he's doing as well as he is."

Q: Grade President Obama's handling of foreign policy.

Republicans (33 votes)

Average grade: D+

A    0 percent
B   12 percent
C   30 percent
D   45 percent
F   12 percent



"Because of his pick of Gen. James Jones for national security adviser. But jury's still out if he caves to the Left on Afghanistan."


"As Hillary Clinton's consolation post is micromanaged by a politically driven White House, a watching world may take us less seriously by the day."


"We need presidential leadership on Afghanistan. Instead, we're getting indecisiveness and equivocation."

"President Obama is learning a lesson that Jimmy Carter learned the hard way: Apology tours and appeasement may make us feel better, but they do not serve America's national security interests. Obama has failed to get more international cooperation to help with Afghanistan, failed to get China and India to agree on limits on carbon dioxide. The world is unsure of America's identity, and that is a dangerous thing for the free world."

"He is meekly following the Bush policy in Iraq, appears to have lost his nerve in Afghanistan, has been backed down by both Russia and Iran, and has left our Israeli allies feeling vulnerable. That makes an Israeli strike on Iran more likely."

"Making strategic sacrifices to appease Russia does not improve our relationships with members of the NATO alliance."

"Our most valuable assets right now are intelligence professionals. And he's scared them all off with threats of legal action."

"It is troubling that he is already questioning his plan for Afghanistan."

"No achievements, and several disasters looming."

"An empty suit so far. All talk, no substance."

" 'Appeasement' is the word that comes to mind."

F "Abandoning missile defense puts American people and allies at risk."

National Journal Insiders

Democratic Congressional Insiders Sens. Sherrod Brown, Ben Cardin, Thomas Carper, Christopher Dodd, Frank Lautenberg, Barbara Mikulski, Mark Pryor, Jon Tester, Tom Udall; Reps. Jason Altmire, Robert Andrews, Michael Arcuri, Tammy Baldwin, Melissa Bean, Xavier Becerra, Howard Berman, Marion Berry, Rick Boucher, Lois Capps, Michael Capuano, Dennis Cardoza, Chris Carney, James Clyburn, Jim Cooper, Joseph Crowley, Elijah Cummings, Artur Davis, Diana DeGette, Rosa DeLauro, Eliot Engel, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Chaka Fattah, Bob Filner, Phil Hare, Alcee Hastings, Rush Holt, Mike Honda, Steve Israel, Frank Kratovil, Jim Langevin, John Lewis, Zoe Lofgren, Nita Lowey, Carolyn Maloney, Ed Markey, Jim McDermott, Jim McGovern, Kendrick Meek, Jim Moran, David Price, Silvestre Reyes, Linda Sanchez, Jan Schakowsky, Mark Schauer, Jose Serrano, Adam Smith, John Spratt, Pete Stark, John Tanner, Ellen Tauscher, Bennie Thompson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Henry Waxman, and Peter Welch.

GOP Congressional Insiders Sens. Lamar Alexander, Jim Bunning, John Cornyn, Jim DeMint, John Ensign, Lindsey Graham, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Johnny Isakson, George LeMieux, Richard Lugar, Lisa Murkowski, Jeff Sessions, Olympia Snowe, John Thune, David Vitter; Reps. Michele Bachmann, Brian Bilbray, Marsha Blackburn, Roy Blunt, John Boehner, Charles Boustany, Kevin Brady, John Campbell, Eric Cantor, John Carter, Michael Castle, Tom Cole, Mike Conaway, David Dreier, Jeff Flake, Scott Garrett, Bob Goodlatte, Kay Granger, Doc Hastings, Pete Hoekstra, Bob Inglis, Darrell Issa, Peter King, Jack Kingston, Mark Kirk, John Kline, Christopher Lee, Dan Lungren, Kenny Marchant, Kevin McCarthy, Patrick McHenry, John Mica, Candice Miller, Sue Myrick, Devin Nunes, Mike Pence, Tom Price, Adam Putnam, Dave Reichert, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Mike Rogers of Michigan, Peter Roskam, Paul Ryan, Pete Sessions, John Shadegg, Adrian Smith, Mark Souder, Pat Tiberi, Fred Upton, and Joe Wilson.

This article appears in the September 26, 2009 edition of National Journal Magazine Contents.

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