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Congressional Insiders Poll

Congressional Insiders Poll

Grade President Obama’s handling of the Egyptian crisis.

Democrats (25 votes)

Average grade: B+


A: 6%

A. “After 30 years of U.S. support of Egyptian autocracy, at the expensive of democracy, President Obama is appropriately promoting a populace-centric approach.”

A. “He was walking a tightrope. The easy answer would have
been to support an ally, but he knew that it was unacceptable.
He was forceful, and the end result shows that.”


A. “An A thus far, but the semester isn’t over yet.”

A. “Big countries have big falls, but it is better to go forward than backward. President Obama was helpful in not pushing too fast.”

A. “Steadfastness and skill; he knew more than the pros—[former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Frank] Wisner and [Secretary of State Hillary Rodham] Clinton. A bravura performance by Obama.”

A-. “After some initial equivocation, the president found his footing by breaking from traditional American doublespeak
that supports the status quo to back the Egyptian people’s demands for reform.”


B. “Things would have been better if the State Department had
not publicly asked Mubarak to stay while the president was asking him to leave.”

Grade President Obama’s handling of the Egyptian crisis.

Republicans (33 votes)

Average grade: C

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A: 9%

A. “Obama and Hillary Clinton, after a few missteps, got their feet on the ground quickly. I think [Defense] Secretary Gates did a masterful job behind the scenes with the military.”

A. “He understood the regional importance Egypt plays and resisted the temptation to be dragged into taking sides.”

B. “There were some awkward twists and turns as well as some contradictory statements, but we got through it and ended up on the right side of history. The real challenge will be in the coming months when a military full of Mubarak backers must fashion a functioning democracy. Obama must stay engaged,
or this could go very badly.”

B. “It’s a complex situation, but they’ve done a lot of things well.”

C. “Average to nonexistent action; perhaps that was best.”

C. “If that had been [George W.] Bush caught flat-footed and veering from day to day on policy, he would have been crucified. Obama gets a pass. Not sure why.”

D. “President Obama sent an awful message to our friends by publicly calling out President Mubarak.”

D. “He played it safe. If you are the president and you show no leadership on an issue, then the rating is poor.”

D. “The U.S. role has been minimal, for better or for worse, and our standing with regional nations has suffered.”

D. “The administration didn’t see this coming and has no idea where it’s going. We looked weak and out of the loop on the world stage. Maybe another apology tour is needed.”


Should states have more responsibility than the federal government for setting policy in any of these areas? (Check all that apply.)

Democrats (25 votes)

Education: 64%
Health care:
None (volunteered):

“All teaching is at the classroom level, so school districts should get all the money and be held accountable for effective teaching.”

“K-through-12 is 95 percent a state responsibility now.”

“States generally should have more responsibility in education and, beginning in 2014, in health care. The other two are more of a shared responsibility.”

“Education and transportation lend themselves more to local control than other issues.”

“Only national policy, national grid, and national pricing will move this country forward. But it is hard to argue, since California already has 20 percent renewable—way ahead of the pack.”

Health care
“As we have national standards for air and water, we need national standards in health: national choices.”

“Federal laws control land, sea, and air transportation credentials and infrastructure. Like [the Defense Department], our  [Transportation Department] should be federalized.”

“It’s a collaborative process. We must work together to solve these policy problems.”

This article appears in the February 19, 2011 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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