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Political Insiders Poll

Political Insiders Poll

What grade would you give Republicans in their transition to the majority in the House?

Democrats (91 votes)

Average grade: C+


A: 10%
B: 46%
C: 34%
D: 8%
F: 1%
Also receiving votes: Incomplete, 1 percent.

A. “Speaker Boehner and his Chief of Staff Barry Jackson have been flawless.”

A. “Boehner’s done a remarkable job at keeping the tea partiers in line, so far.”


B. “They are doing well navigating their new members.”

B. “Republicans have put on a pretty good show about being modest and not overreaching. The reaction to the symbolic health care vote will be important for them.”

B. “Boehner has been reasonable; the events in Arizona have sort of obscured their first couple of weeks and may be working to their benefit—for now—with all the talk about civility and bipartisanship.”

B. “Boehner kept it real, got his troops in line, calmly spoke to everyday people about being a ‘regular guy with a big job,’ and put forth some symbolically effective measures. Even the tears were appealing to a lot of people.”


B. “Boehner has shown an appealing guy-next-door persona but now must go beyond that to project a can-do leadership image.”

B. “It hurts to say it, but so far it has been seamless and almost dignified.”

C. “They won a chance to help govern, not a mandate to overreach.”

C. “Insistence on calling health care reform ‘job-killing’ flies in the face of both the facts and their alleged new commitment to civility.”

C. “Boehner’s ‘reforms’ were good. The edited reading of the Constitution and the decision to go after health care was a terrible way to introduce themselves to the public.”

C. “In a strange way, the Arizona shootings helped the Republican leadership manage the crazies and avoid too much scrutiny on their hiccups.”

D. “Boehner made a big mistake not going with the president to Tucson and refusing the state dinner [for China].”

D. “No sooner did they announce they were going to allow amendments to all bills, but, of course, they didn’t mean the health care bill.”


What grade would you give Republicans in their transition to the majority in the House?

Republicans (91 votes)

Average grade: B+

A: 64%
B: 34%
C:  2%
D: 0%
F: 0%

A. “Boehner has had perfect tone. Their sure-footed handling of the Arizona tragedy shows maturity and strong leadership.”

A. “They have been united, thoughtful, and on message.”

A. “Unlike the start of the Gingrich and Pelosi eras, John Boehner has made the start of the new session of Congress about the success of the institution rather than a personal coronation.”

A. “Compared to the ’94 transition, this has been flawless.”

A. “The Republican leadership has handled the transition with the realization that voters rejected the Democrats and did not necessarily support the GOP agenda.”

A. “Hard to see what they haven’t done exactly right so far. Of course, the real test is still to come.”

A. “Speaker Boehner and his team have shown great discipline in replicating the energy and intensity of 1994 while avoiding the triumphant overreach of 1995.”

A. “Almost everything was done right. Even the speaker’s tears made it real.”

A. “Boehner has very deftly moved his caucus in the direction of the tea party energy, without looking extreme.”

B+. “Too much crying.”

B+. “Boehner shouldn’t have gone to the RNC event for Maria Cino, but otherwise he’s been outstanding under very difficult circumstances.”

B. “Real test will come on debt-ceiling vote: GOP cannot roll over or take symbolic sop. The public will support a strong line. It is Obama who has to blink.”

B. “Good start, but the problem was that it was eclipsed by Tucson.”

B. “Boehner and [Majority Leader Eric] Cantor avoid overexposure; no one hates them—sharp contrast to Gingrich and company.”

C. “It wasn’t a terrible transition by any means, but there were a few self-inflicted mistakes that easily could have been avoided. No long-term damage done, however.”


Who has the most influence over the quality of political discourse?

Democrats (91 votes)

The media: 59%
Politicians: 23%
The public: 14%
Also receiving votes: Politicians and the media, 4%.

This article appears in the January 22, 2011 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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