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Political Insiders Poll

Q: Will Barack Obama be a one-term president?

DEMOCRATS (101 votes)

Yes             6 percent
No             90 percent
Volunteered:   Too soon to tell; don't know, 4 percent.



"Unless he gets back to the economy and creates jobs."

"It took an extraordinary movement to put him in office in the first place. And, unfortunately, the movement is dead. Back to politics as usual."



"He is an enormous political talent and is just growing into his job."

"The arc of political history bends toward the party of action and reform; in other words, Democrats, including President Obama."

"I think he'll get his rhythm, put together a more cohesive team of folks who can help him navigate, and turn out to be a very talented president."


"This president has the ability to connect with people and provide a vision for America that people can get behind. When he gets away from the legislative battles, he will rise again."

"Lots of time left to get it back in the middle of the road."

"Just what knight in shining armor does the GOP have?"

"They may have trouble figuring out how to govern, but this crowd knows how to campaign."

"By 2012, the economy will be better and the benefits of health care reform will kick in. Things will be rough in 2010, though."

"When the economy becomes more robust, the president will benefit. And, it is likely that the Republicans will overplay their hand with their ultra-right rhetoric."

"He'll do quite well running against a Republican House."

REPUBLICANS (102 votes)

Yes            46 percent
No             37 percent
Volunteered:   Too soon to tell; don't know, 17 percent.



"No Bush to run against, won't represent 'change,' and voters will know what he stands for: three big strikes against."

"He is more like Jimmy Carter than Bill Clinton."

"He really has squandered a lot of goodwill. And it's clear he really doesn't know what he's doing. That will only get worse, not better."

"He lost the magic of his rhetorical poetry in his inflexible ideological agenda. He has lost independents. And unless Palin is his opponent, they will not return."

"Barack Obama is a one-and-done president. Voters won't forget terrorist trials in New York City, cap-and-trade, health care, and a list of other initiatives where he started with great fanfare and ended with a whimper."

"He's very analogous to Carter. One problem is, there is no Reagan on our side."

"Of course, I also picked George Allen to be elected president in 2008."


"But only because he'll get a Republican Congress in a year, and he'll become the pragmatist that Clinton was."

"Economy will continue to rebound. And he'll be re-elected."

"You can't beat somebody with nobody."

"The media will save him. He's good business for them."

"Right now, I can't see a GOP candidate who has the activist support, persona, and right contrast to beat the president."

"The American people like him as they did Ronald Reagan. So he has to be favored for re-election as his numbers somewhat mirror Reagan's about the same time in his presidency."

Q: Is your national party chairman an asset or a liability?

DEMOCRATS (103 votes)

Asset          61 percent
Liability      16 percent
Volunteered:   Neither, 23 percent.



"Tim Kaine is smart, very likable, hard-working, and low-key: the perfect chairman for a party with the White House."

"Kaine is relatively nondescript, but he does a solid job. When you have the presidency and both chambers in Congress, you want a low-profile party chairman who does no harm."

"Kaine isn't out there enough, but neither are the Cabinet secretaries."

"Compared to [GOP National Chairman Michael] Steele, he is a treasure."

"Not the strongest advocate we have ever had. He needs to ratchet it up several notches."

"With a Democratic president, the chairman plays a lower-profile role. Gov. Kaine has been putting a structure in place to help Democrats in '10."

"He's an asset because he's not a liability, which is slightly better than neutral. But he's no money machine."

"Probably a generous characterization. Most Democrats do not know who their party chairman is, as opposed to most Republicans -- who do not want to know who their party chairman is."


"Nothing against Tim Kaine, but any time you lose straight three statewide elections, you should shake things up."

"Whatever one thought of Howard Dean, when he spoke, the nation listened. Kaine can't seem to command the media's attention."

"He is a great guy, but right now Democrats need a strong, powerful spokesman to help make the case for reform at all levels. It's time to change."

Other responses

"Do not hear much about him or what he does."

"Kaine's an off-the-balance-sheet item: Never seen nor heard."

"Tim Kaine is doing an average job running the [Democratic National Committee], but Rahm Emanuel is really the de facto Democratic national chair from a power and influence perspective."

"Who is the Democratic Party chairman? Once you identify him, I will be able to answer the question."

REPUBLICANS (104 votes)

Asset          20 percent
Liability      71 percent
Volunteered:   Neither; both, 9 percent.



"After a rocky start, [Michael Steele] brings instant recognition and excitement to the grassroots."

"He's the most prominent African-American Republican we've got: Treat him with kid gloves."

"Congressional minorities need some guerrilla-style unpredictability. Steele just brings extra."


"Michael Steele is an anchor around the neck of the future of the Republican Party. He needs to go."

"Steele is unconnected to the fundraising establishment and uninspiring to the rank and file. He is gaffe-prone and lacks gravitas."

"He's too much into himself and has a limited skill set."

" 'Liability' doesn't begin to describe what a deadweight the current [Republican National Committee] chair is to the GOP: ego-driven, off-key message hog who's failing at raising money, putting in place a sufficiently funded voter-mobilization program, or taking the steps necessary for redistricting."

"A gift that keeps giving -- to the Democrats."

"It is hard to imagine making less of this golden opportunity than what is taking place at the RNC these days."

"Republicans want so much to disprove the theory we're intolerant that we employ social promotion with the Steeles and Palins, which sets them up for failure."

"Steele's an operational amateur, wasting money on no-talent consultants without a major donor program."

"Could have been the focal point of unifying the party and reaching out to 'tea party' types. Instead has generated controversy and wrecked fundraising."

"What a joke. What an embarrassment. If a chairman can't stay on message or raise money, the affirmative-action benefits don't mean much."

Other responses

"He has good days and terrible days."

"He isn't an asset, but he would be a liability only if the general population knew what an RNC chairman was."

National Journal Insiders

Democratic Political Insiders Jill Alper, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Matt Bennett, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brathwaite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Deb Callahan, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Jerry Crawford, Stephanie Cutter, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Eric Eve, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Don Fowler, Vincent Frillici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Michael Gonzalez, Joe Grandmaison, Anna Greenberg, Stan Greenberg, Pat Griffin, Larry Grisolano, Michael Gronstal, Lisa Grove, Marcia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Harpootlian, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Mike Henry, Karen Hicks, Leo Hindery, Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Lisa Kountoupes, Kam Kuwata, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bill Lynch, Bob Maloney Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Terry McAuliffe, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O'Donnell, Scott Parven, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Bruce Reed, Mame Reiley, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, John Ryan, Wendy Sherman, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Katrina Swett, Sarah Swisher, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Mike Veon, Rick Wiener, Bridgette Williams, James Williams, JoDee Winterhof, Brian Wolff, Jon Youngdahl and Jim Zogby.

GOP Political Insiders Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, Clark Benson, Wayne Berman, Brian Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Blalock, Carmine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bonjean, Jeff Buley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Cardenas, Danny Carroll, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Charlie Crist, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Steve Duprey, Debi Durham, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Mindy Fletcher, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Benjamin Ginsberg, David Girard-diCarlo, Bill Greener, Jonathan Grella, Lanny Griffith, Janet Mullins Grissom, Doug Gross, Todd Harris, Steve Hart, Christopher Healy, Ralph Hellmann, Chris Henick, Terry Holt, David Iannelli, Barry Jackson, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bruce Keough, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris Lacivita, Jim Lake, Steve Lombardo, Kevin Madden, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Brian McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Tim Morrison, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Todd Olsen, Connie Partoyan, Dana Perino, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, David Rehr, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Kevin Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Eric Tanenblatt, Sara Taylor, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Timmons, Warren Tompkins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Dongen, Jan van Lohuizen, Stewart Verdery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee Westine, Tom Wilson, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, and Fred Wszolek.

This article appears in the March 20, 2010 edition of National Journal Magazine Contents.

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