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Magazine / Political Insiders Poll

Political Insiders Poll

The best and worst of 2010.

December 16, 2010

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


Democrats (106 votes)

Stronger: 51%
Weaker: 21%
Doesn’t matter: 28%


“He has now demonstrated his willingness to work across the aisle. The GOP will need to demonstrate that they can too.”

“He is standing up to the liberals and winning.”

“With the Democratic congressional leadership finally in their place, the White House will be free to set the agenda and see it through in a centrist fashion.”

“But not by that much because the Republicans are going to come after his first-term legislative accomplishments 24/7.”

“Much tougher for them to demonize him when they’ve started out by breaking bread.”

“Anything that makes the economy better makes the president stronger.”

“He will be stronger next year only if he finds some areas of principled disagreement with the GOP. His dealings can’t be all agreement because eventually the liberal harping that he gets bad deals will make him look weak despite legislative progress.”

“With the largest Democratic majorities in Congress since the 1960s, it is sad to see what an easy touch the president has become for the Republicans.”

“He’ll now go into next year having to prove to the other side he won’t cave at the first sign of adversity.”

Doesn’t matter
“Republicans are the party of ‘what can you do for me today?’ They will not feel beholden to any goodwill achieved by this deal.”

“The congressional Republicans will ‘expletive delete’ him every time.”


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


Republicans (106 votes)

Stronger: 56%
Weaker: 13%
Doesn’t matter: 31%

“A hard-left liberal cannot win in 2012, and the triangulation has begun.”

“At least the president is demonstrating a willingness to engage.”

“He has demonstrated his ability and willingness to go in the direction of the Republicans to achieve a compromise. Now, he can insist we do the same on another subject: START anyone?”

“A flexible, more successful opponent is always more difficult to outmaneuver.”

“After two years of paying lip service to bipartisanship, Obama has finally shown he is capable of working across the aisle.”

“By showing he’s willing to make a deal, he forces Republicans to come off the sidelines; and as president he’ll always have the bully pulpit and, therefore, the upper hand.”

“He’s finally taking control away from Pelosi and Reid. It’s essential to his own survival.”

“There’s blood in the water.”

“You give Boehner a cookie, he’s going to demand a glass of milk.”

“He sounded the retreat a little too quickly.”

Doesn’t matter
“The lame-duck session is the lame duck-session. Next year is next year.”

“Republicans smell blood in the water, and the president will get no quarter.”

“They’re so driven by righteous anger that they’ll do what they do regardless.”


Which political figure had the best year in 2010?


Democrats (107 votes)

John Boehner: 35%
Sarah Palin: 17%
Harry Reid: 14%
Bill Clinton: 5%
Haley Barbour: 3%

Also receiving votes: Jerry Brown, Scott Brown, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, tea party, 2 percent each; Michael Bennet, Michael Bloomberg, George W. Bush, Eric Cantor, Andrew Cuomo, Jim DeMint, Rahm Emanuel, Al Franken, Ed Gillespie, John Kerry, Lisa Murkowski, Barack Obama, Karl Rove, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, 1 percent each.

Boehner. “From obscurity to No. 1 Republican in the country.”

Boehner. “He is underestimated and won’t make the same mistakes previous arrogant Republican leaders have.”

Boehner. “He cried on national TV and it didn’t seem to damage his image. I guess everyone loves their bartender.”

Palin. “She went from a national joke to the Republican presidential primary front-runner. And she made over $10 million in the process!”

Palin. “Rebounds from defeated VP candidate, former governor, to tea party darling and ‘mama grizzly’ in demand everywhere.”

Reid. “Despite the wave, he’s back and he is back leading a majority.”

Bill Clinton. “His wife is one of the few administration figures unscathed by the electoral debacle; he is now Obama’s go-to guy, as the meeting last week showed.”

Jerry Brown. “Defies all conventional wisdom.”

Scott Brown. “From state Legislature to household name in one year, without him being viewed as too partisan or too extreme.

Hillary Rodham Clinton. “She’s well on her way to becoming one of the most effective and respected secretaries of State in recent years, at home and on the international scene. Memories of her awful presidential campaign seem now to be an anomaly.”

McConnell. “With his hearty band of 41, he figured out how to run the clock out on the Obama agenda.”

DeMint. “A relatively unknown first-term senator, he had a positive influence on a number of races and is now a go-to conservative and unofficial tea party national voice.”

Kerry. “Day by day, getting things done and reclaiming his national prominence.”

Romney. “The Republican nomination matters now, and that means the establishment candidate next in line will get it.”


Which political figure had the best year in 2010?


Republicans (106 votes)

John Boehner: 48%
Marco Rubio: 9%
Haley Barbour: 8%
Sarah Palin: 8%
Harry Reid: 5%

Also receiving votes: Jim DeMint, Nancy Pelosi, 4 percent each; Chris Christie, 3 percent; Scott Brown, George W. Bush, Eric Cantor, Chris Coons, Mitch McConnell, Barack Obama, Christine O’Donnell, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Pete Sessions, no one, anyone who decided not to run for reelection, 1 percent each.

Boehner. “He went from temporary steward of a dying party to speaker of the House.”

Boehner. “He held firm, won the House, and is going to be the Republican standard-bearer until there’s a presidential nominee in 2012.”

Boehner. “After being ousted from the leadership in 1998, Boehner has flawlessly executed a political-comeback strategy that proves just how formidable he really is.”

Rubio. “Went from long shot to landslide victor with inside track on POTUS [or] VP for two decades.”

Barbour. “He made the Republican Governors Association the powerhouse political organization, and he positioned himself as a true presidential contender.”

Palin. “In 2010, Palin went from a complete joke for her performance as McCain’s VP nominee and her departure from the Alaska governorship to the Republican most political insiders fear the most.”

Reid. “Back from the dead and gets to keep his leader’s job.”

Pelosi. “See health care reform.”

DeMint. “Unfortunately, his demand for candidates who toed the line resulted in his having a dramatic increase in influence while at the same time causing Republicans to lose in places we should have won: Delaware, Nevada, etc.”

Bush. “Oh, how time brings a little perspective.”

Coons. “A guy who thought he had no chance of being a U.S. senator simply walked into the job as Castle and then O’Donnell literally tripped over themselves to pave the way for him. That’s a pretty good year.”

Obama. “He accomplished what no prior Democratic president could do: He federalized the health care sector of the economy.”


Which political figure had the worst year in 2010?


Democrats (107 votes)

Nancy Pelosi: 41%
Barack Obama: 27%
Charles Rangel: 6%
Meg Whitman: 6%
Michael Steele: 4%

Also receiving votes: Sarah Palin, 3 percent; Christine O’Donnell, John McCain, 2 percent each; Sharron Angle, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Charlie Crist, John Edwards, Russell Feingold, Kennedy family, Steny Hoyer, Robert Menendez, Harry Reid, president’s economic team, “anyone who won … good luck sorting it out,” 1 percent each.

Pelosi. “She did all that was asked of her, had the most productive Congress in history, and was still vilified and pushed aside.”

Pelosi. “Lost the majority and then made herself look even worse by desperately holding on to her leadership position.”

Pelosi. “Went from third in line to the presidency to powerless with shrunken caucus, and she remains in denial.”

Obama. “A very bad 2010 capped off by year-end trifecta of November election humiliation; needing Bill Clinton’s return to the White House podium to save tax compromise; and health care law being ruled unconstitutional.”

Obama. “Went from signing into law a historic health care bill to leading Democrats to their worst drubbing in an election in the past century.”

Rangel. “After spending $2 million on his defense, he had no one to represent him but himself. He was censured by his fellow Democrats on a lopsided vote despite his ‘I-liberated-Korea-60-years-ago’ defense. It doesn’t get much worse than that.”

Whitman. “She not only lost what started out as a very winnable race but also flushed a ton of her own dough down the proverbial political porcelain you-know-what.”

Steele. “Managed to be a big loser as his party became a big winner.”

Angle. “Had the money and the majority leader of the Senate on his back, but she couldn’t close the deal. And worst of all, she lost with a pile of cash in the bank.”

Crist. “In January 2010, he was a lock for his nomination for U.S. Senate and had high approval ratings. It all started to unravel with the challenge from Marco Rubio, his decision to appoint his political consultant to be a U.S. senator, and his failure to recognize the power of political parties.”

Reid. “Coming out of Nevada in November was ugly, and then it got a lot uglier.”


Which political figure had the worst year in 2010?


Republicans (106 votes)

Nancy Pelosi: 50%
Barack Obama: 23%
Charlie Crist: 7%
Michael Steele: 3%
Michael Castle: 2%
Charles Rangel: 2%
Harry Reid: 2%

Also receiving votes: Robert Bennett, Christopher Dodd, John Edwards, Russell Feingold, Blanche Lincoln, Sarah Palin, Mark Sanford, Chuck Schumer, Meg Whitman, Blue Dogs, Democratic moderates, moderates, 1 percent each.

Pelosi. “She got creamed in the election and then rolled in the lame duck. Not a good year for her.”

Pelosi. “She went from best speaker ever to albatross.”

Pelosi. “Her treasured accomplishment, health care, might not survive, and she is finished as an effective political leader. What a fall.”

Pelosi. “It was her face on the front of that GOP bulldozer. Whether the loss was her fault or not, she has taken the biggest hit.”

Obama. “The slide in support from independent voters may be tough to turn around in two years unless the economy does a remarkable recovery.”

Obama. “He’s not allowed to smoke anymore, he lost the House, and his hair has started to turn gray. Not good.”

Crist. “From governor and sure thing to washed up.”

Steele. “In a year of historic gains for the GOP, Steele somehow manages to avoid the credit while the ‘dump Steele’ campaign picks up.”

Rangel. “He lost his chairmanship, his reputation—and he has only himself to blame.”

Reid. “And he’s about to have an even worse year ahead.”

Lincoln. “Spent all year as ‘Dead Woman Walking.’ ”

Sanford. “From soaring buzz candidate for president in 2012 to future outdoor guide on the Appalachian Trail.”

Whitman. “It was a challenging year for many big-name politicians, but nobody else spent more than $150 million of their own money to lose, with unheard of sums going to consultants, vendors, and staff. It makes you wonder if Whitman’s Ivy League education skipped over economics.”


Democratic Political Insiders Jill Alper, John Anzalone, 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, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Stephanie Cutter, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott DeFife, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, 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, Doug Hattaway, 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, Michael Meehan, 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, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Wendy Sherman, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Katrina Swett Sarah, Swisher, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, 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, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Steve Duprey, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Mindy Fletcher, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, 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, Lisa Camooso Miller, 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, Tom Reynolds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Kevin Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Eric Tanenblatt, 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.

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