Political Insiders On Obama’s First 100 Days

After President Obama’s 100 days in office, National Journal asked its Political Insiders to rank how he has handled four key groups: Democrats in Congress, Republicans in Congress, allies abroad and adversaries abroad — relationships that will have a major impact on the overall success of his presidency. Democratic Political Insiders gave the president high marks across the board. Republican Insiders were more critical, especially when it came to how Obama has handled GOP members of Congress and U.S. adversaries abroad.

On a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being very poor and 5 being very well), rate President Obama’s handling of each these groups:

Democratic Insiders (92 votes)

Democrats in Congress 4.0
Republicans in Congress 3.8
Our allies abroad 4.4
Our adversaries abroad 4.0

Democrats in Congress
“Could have had a better stimulus package had he reigned in the old bulls in the House.”
“Everyone is a prima donna.”
“He was rolled early on but since then has handled very well.”
“Not sure anyone could have done a better job managing a group with such diverse egos and personalities, but hand it to the Obama team, they have done an amazing job.”
“No complaints here. President Obama is responsibly doing what he said during the campaign.”
“Jim Messina has Congress covered and has become indispensable for Senate leadership.”

Republicans in Congress

“He does not get their votes, they blast him in the press, friendly dinners at the White House don’t help. The only thing Obama has not tried is a weekend Bible sleepover.”
“Not for lack of trying!”
“Needs to apply a paddle to the right parts of their anatomy.”
“They are too busy flailing about in their ‘death agony’ for anyone to handle them.”
“When even McCain’s people are saying this week that we are better off as a result of Obama’s first 100 days, you know that the President has the upper hand right now.”
“He’s reached out more than Bush ever did with Dems. He can only lead them to water, not make them drink it.”
“He’s giving you a choice, fellas. Oppose him across-the-board and he may drum you into irrelevance in 2010. Try to meet him halfway and he may drum you into irrelevance in 2012. Heads we win, tails you lose.”
“The disciples of ‘no’ were going to oppose him no matter what he did.”

Our Allies Abroad

“He wins this one by default. After Bush, Peter Sellers acting as the bumbling Chauncey Gardiner would have looked like a statesman.”
“Made clear that the U.S. will lead on the basis of its values as much as by its military might. Planted the seeds for real global U.S. leadership.”
“It’s cool to be an American again and other leaders want to be seen with The One.”
“Our country hasn’t been so celebrated abroad since JFK.”
“They are happy to know they will not only have a seat at the table, but a voice on decisions that goes with that seat.”
“With a lot of help from Secretary Clinton.”

Our Adversaries Abroad

“Appears he was ‘rolled’ by Hugo Chavez and the rest of the Latin Americans on Cuba.”
“Though it is too early to tell. How things unfold in Afghanistan and Iraq will be critical to this. He does get good points for his handling of: the pirate situation, South America, Chavez, the Cuba question and sharp rhetoric against the Taliban.”
“Cuba is a very smart move; Iran will prove to be the toughest challenge and will have no easy answers.”
“Reaching out, starting the dialogue is positive beginning. Takes time. The partnership with Hillary is working.”
“He has treated them like they matter, because they do. That was needed, especially after Bush. If they don’t respond, Obama has the leverage to say he tried.”
“Any president actually should receive an incomplete on handling adversaries until we can grade him after a crisis. We haven’t had a crisis yet.”
“He has taken the ‘edge’ off of Bush-era antagonisms.”

Republican Insiders (86 votes)

Democrats in Congress 3.7
Republicans in Congress 2.2
Our allies abroad 3.1
Our adversaries abroad 2.0

Democrats in Congress

“O has allowed Democrats to run wild and free — given them all the money they want and permitted a witch hunt for interrogators.”
“He’s giving Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi the same free rein that Bush 43 gave to [Tom] Delay and that ended up not being a good thing.”
“Way too much latitude: First the stimulus, then health care?”
“At some point he needs to say no to Pelosi, [Henry] Waxman, [Ed] Markey and the other liberals before they hijack his agenda and turn it into a MoveOn.org wish list.”
“He needs to step up as the leader of his party and govern from the center, instead of following the lead of those who govern from the extreme.”
“They fear him, which is enough for now. But Democrats in swing districts are being asked to vote to triple the national debt. When a wave comes, be it in 2010 or later, they will run.”
“He says jump they say, ‘How high.”
“On the big issues, what more could he want?”

Republicans in Congress

“You can’t just say nice things and call it bipartisanship. That really does require at least including something from the other side.”
“Not even four months in and everybody gets the joke. He is a hyper-partisan bent on Republican destruction. He will get precious little cooperation on anything.”
“Ask for their votes, ignores their ideas after asking for them — like Lucy with the football.”
“Bush’s rhetoric in the 2000 campaign was similar to Obama’s, they both wanted to change the tone in Washington. Bush was wildly unsuccessful: Obama is headed in the same direction.”
“He’s reached out, but it’s OK for Republicans to disagree over policy issues. If he truly wants to be post-partisan, he needs to include Republicans as bills are developed.”
“They can’t complain about a closed door. And if they do, no one’s listening.”
“His attempts have been earnest, but not returned in kind.”
“He acknowledges their existence, which technically he doesn’t have to.”

Our Allies Abroad

“Beyond the smiles and the crowds, European leaders are undoubtedly wondering about the resolve and commitment of the new American president.”
“The administration should not buy or make any more gifts for foreign leaders.”
“Exactly who are our allies abroad under the Obama doctrine? I doubt Israel and Iraq feel warm and cuddly. The Queen got an iPod.”
“High marks for persona, still lots of questions on substance.”
“Talk is cheap though. Our allies are smiling while they tell us they can’t help.”
“Trip to Europe was a much-needed boost to relations with our traditional allies.”
“Perhaps too good. I hope he gets something in return. Wait and see.”

Our Adversaries Aboard

“Hugging Chavez is not the best visual, no matter what it contributes to diplomacy.”
“The apologist-in-chief: Adversaries can hardly respect him.”
“Unclear as to what direction we are going: Lack of clarity to adversaries is frequently disastrous.”
“Good photo ops so far but will that help us long-term?”
“They still are testing him. The Chavez incidents are troubling as to judgment and preparation.”
“Obama doesn’t think we have any adversaries, just ‘friends we haven’t made yet.”
“Hard to say he’s done much better or worse yet. They seem to like us more, but will that result in real foreign policy victories?”
“In 100 days our adversaries have received more photo ops with POTUS than in the past 16 years.”

National Journal Insiders

Democratic Political Insiders
Jill Alper, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Stephanie Bjornson, Paul Brathwaite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Deb Callahan, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Jerry Crawford, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, 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, 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, Kam Kuwata, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bill Lynch, Bob Maloney Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, 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, Larry Rasky, Bruce Reed, Mame Reiley, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, John Ryan, Wendy Sherman, Terry Shumaker, Kevin Shuvalov, Sean Sinclair Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Darry Sragow, Katrina Swett, Sarah Swisher, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Mike Veon, Rick Wiener, Bridgette Williams, JoDee Winterhof, 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, Danny Carroll, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Charlie Crist, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Steve Duprey, Debi Durham, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Benjamin Ginsberg, 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, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bruce Keough, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris Lacivita, Jim Lake, George LeMieux, 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, 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, Robin Smith, Javier Soto, 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, Tom Wilson, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, and Fred Wszolek.

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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