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Posted at 3:30 PM ET, 12/17/2010

Friday question

By Jennifer Rubin

It was quite a week for news hounds. The omnibus spending bill died. The Bush tax cuts survived. The Republicans gloated. The liberals (who we see, once again, have failed to dominate the political stage, or even their own party) wailed. The question for all of you is: Who most distinguished him or herself this week, positively or negatively, and why? Remember, all answers must be in by Sunday, 6 p.m. ET. And a tip: You increase your chances for selection if you keep your answer to a hundred words or so.

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 17, 2010; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  Friday question  
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Mike Pence because he was the only member of the Republican leadership to maintain a perfect voting record on the major big spending mistakes of the last decade. Pence voted no on no child left behind, the prescription drup benefit, TARP, and the Tax Deal with the $300+ billion of what Paul Ryan called "junk spending."

Posted by: Inagua1 | December 17, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I can see only one real winner: Mitch McConnell. This is a man who was able to convince the Republican minority to sacrifice their favorite appropriation projects in order to maintain their filibuster proof minority and stop the bill. This is the man who was able to overcome the Tea parties' influence and keep conservatives in line to push the tax deal through. In other words, he showed an amazing strength in unifying his caucus at an uncertain post-election time.

Posted by: Mhym | December 17, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

How about VT, negatively?

Bernie Saunders may no longer brag about his socialism, but his "eat the rich" filibuster recalled the incoherent rage of Foghorn Leghorn, if not Pitchfork Ben Tillman. Congressman Welch apparently cannot count votes past 52.

Governor-elect Shumlin has a healthcare "expert" bragged that a one-state single payer healthcare system was second only to a revolution, if you want universal coverage. His audience actually laughed. It seems he never heard our Canadian neighbors debating just how many tens of thousands are waiting six months or more for critical care, or their Supremes creating a right to fee-for-service care when the waiting lists reached ordinary Canadian lengths.

And if revolution is the best, why did Fidel go to a third-rate Spanish hospital for a botched operation, when he could have jumped the line at a Cuban hospital?

Posted by: Toquam | December 17, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Mitch McConnell gets my vote too for his outstanding act of cat-herding: getting all (or at least enough) GOP senators to stand fast and not vote for the omnibus bill. Passing the tax bill never appeared to be at risk in the Senate, but it looked like Reid’s ploy in dumping the 2500-page omnibus monstrosity funding the government to September 30, 2011 would succeed. Enough Republican senators, especially those leaving office, looked like their votes were in the bag. But through McConnell’s efforts, good sense and fiscal responsibility prevailed.

Posted by: SCMike1 | December 17, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Jim DeMint because his threat to read the whole bill forced Harry Reid's hand. The immediate question is how can the Democrats thrive in a new political era---when spending cuts will be highly popular with voters? This is something that can only please conservative Republicans. Democrats and "moderate" GOP members take it for granted that bribing voters with goodies guarantees an easy election. That is no longer mostly true.

Posted by: DavidThomson | December 17, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

It is a toss up between Mr McConnell and Mr DeMint.

DeMint was the public face of steadfast resistance.

But Mr McConnell took this opportunity to demonstrate to America that he heard the people's voice during the last election.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 17, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Charles Krauthammer,with his two editorials is the winner because he had the original* insight that Obama is the winner of this scenario. The losers are the incoming Republicans whose fiscal credibility has been undercut by the compromise.

He was followed by Demint,Pence,and Rush who joined CK in his contrarian position.

Posted by: rcaruth | December 17, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

The American taxpayer distinguished him/herself by holding Congress's feet to the fire.

Harry Reid embarrassed himself.

Posted by: DrBerkeley | December 17, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

And Jennifer,here's your question,in 1971 Gold was trading for $115 an Oz on the open market,what was the significance of that market price,and what were the consequences?

Posted by: rcaruth | December 17, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Rubin, Just heard you on Left, Right and Center, and you sound like a member in good standing of the snarky, spinning right.

Hope not to hear you again!

Posted by: LynnDee227 | December 17, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Rubin, how about a question relating to something with more meat to it instead of these spin-of-the-moment, who's-up-who's-down questions based on the Congressional battles of the week?

With respect, I feel as though I'm in a class of pre-schoolers being asked who should get a gold star.

Posted by: MsJS | December 17, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Our hands down winner must be Mr. Obama. We listened well over 20 times to the master orator how he would never extend the Bush tax rates to those making over $250,000. Promises. What promises?

Like the old adage so aptly says: :When you're getting run out of town, get in front of the crowd and make it look like a parade.

Will anyone notice that touch of egg on his cheek? People do and Dr. Krauthammer is off the mark for the first time in my memory.

Posted by: DonKeyhoti | December 17, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

For all the above posters who clearly don't know McConnell very well, I guarantee you that most if not all of the Republican earmarks in the bill that was not passed will be in any eventual version that makes it through in January.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 17, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

The big winner this week was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose backstage heroics killed a Godzilla spending bill of Nancy/Harry vintage, pushed through a tax-cut deal that averts an economic debacle and makes federal spending the focus of the next Congress, and who on the public stage showed the theatrical flair of the week with his holding up the monster omnibus spending bill and his one-page CR, all while conducting himself with grace and cool under extreme political and media pressure.

John Wohlstetter
Senior Fellow - Discovery Institute
Blog: Letter from the Capitol

Posted by: jcw47mypost | December 17, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Paul Ryan with his floor speech on the House floor directly preceding the vote (which you reported). At a time when unfounded assertions were being advanced by the extreme elements of both parties, Paul's common sense, big-picture, comments reframed the debate and prompted many to acknowledge that a durable solution to this mess will require major surgery to our tax code, reductions in government spending, and a revitalized economy through sustainable growth initiatives.

Posted by: mobileruss | December 17, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Mitch McConnell. He reined in the Republican appropriators and held his caucus together to defeat the Dems' latest porculous bill. Before that he stared down Obama and got the Bush tax rates extended. After Republican re-enforcements arrive in January, the scared Dems who face extinction in 2012 will give McConnell an ideological majority more often than not.

Posted by: eoniii | December 17, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Mitch McConnell won - he proved that even an old bull can learn better, change his ways and leave the country better off for his his new-found energy in promoting fiscal responsibility.

Posted by: InsufficientlySensitive | December 17, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Vladimir Putin.
His heartwarming rendition of Blueberry Hill could land him on Piers Morgan.

Posted by: raphael1 | December 17, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Winner: Mitch McConnell, because he looks more like the Majority Leader than the Majority Leader does.

Loser: Columnist David Brooks, whose advice to the President somehow manages to grow more detached from reality with every passing week. Per Thursday's edition: "Obama’s challenge in the State of the Union address is to give voice to the inchoate longing for change….."

Posted by: Fithian | December 17, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

"Who most distinguished him or herself this week, positively or negatively, and why?"

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Not only does he give the impression that he has listened to the electorate, he was able to persuade pork-loving Republicans Bennett, Snowe, Collins and Murkowski to drop their support for the Omnibus. If he keeps this up, I may actually be proud of the GOP one day.

Posted by: johnhiggins1990 | December 18, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

LynnDee227 | December 17, 2010 5:50 PM:
"Ms. Rubin, Just heard you on Left, Right and Center, and you sound like a member in good standing of the snarky, spinning right."

And on the snarky, spinning left, do you prefer Teeth D'Olbermann or Chris "Tingleberry" Matthews?

Posted by: HenriLeGrand | December 18, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse

I dont feel like i should be forced to have health insurance, I think everyone would like to have health insurance if they could afford it. If you need affordable health insurance search online "Wise Health Insurance" you dont want to be with out insurance any time.

Posted by: juanreeyes | December 18, 2010 3:04 AM | Report abuse

I vote for any and all steadfast Republicans that are successful in bottling up and disposing of this miserable, pond of dead duck losers of the Democrat left.

The vindictive Obamacrats are desperately trying to weasel a few more their stink-bomb bills onto an unsuspecting America before they are given a well deserved, bum's rush, outta town.

And, we must note, any and all, despicable RINOs that enable the dirty ducks to pass their diseased droppings on America.

Posted by: battleground51 | December 18, 2010 6:23 AM | Report abuse

December 18, 2010 4:00 A.M.
Republicans Still Haven’t Learned
No real tax cut, lots of deficit spending: You call that a deal?
Andrew C. McCarthy/NRO
‘If we’ve learned anything over the last two years, it’s that we cannot spend our way to prosperity.” That’s what Republican lawmakers proclaimed in their “Pledge to America,” the campaign document spelling out their agenda in the 2010 midterm election. They won a historic electoral victory, an endorsement from Americans who trusted them to act on the message: Stop spending money we don’t have, that we have to borrow from China, and that our children and their children will have to pay back. And before their new House majority has even been sworn in, Republicans have decided to give spending our way back to prosperity one more try.
In the process, they’ve increased the chance that the most free-spending, anti-prosperity president in American history will be reelected come 2012."

Oh Dear/Dissension in the Ranks
Against The Compromise:
Let's keep the list growing

Posted by: rcaruth | December 18, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

OMG,The Righty's Sweetheart Economist Amity Shlaes is also against the Tax Bill.

God and Man and the Tax Bill

December 17, 2010 11:21 A.M. By Amity Shlaes/NRO
The disturbing element of this package is that it will pass under the label “stimulus.” If tax cuts may only be extended when stimulus is deemed necessary, then low taxes are not warranted in good times. These extensions therefore may preclude later, more important tax cuts. Extensions may also preclude entitlement reform, not only because they ignore (worsen) long-term budgetary problems but also because they erode trust"

Posted by: rcaruth | December 18, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

President Obama was the week's big winner. He held firm on the deal he struck and can now take credit for the tax cuts and the stimulus. if the economy improves, he can take credit for that as well. He can use the deal as a springboard for bipartisan policy compromises while still leaving himself free to criticize the elements of any compromise he does not like.

Posted by: gilliesproust | December 18, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

What was distinguished this week--particularly if we include the repeal of DADT in the calculation--was traditional DC politics of trading, compromise,and partisan self-restraint managed by the politicians with considerable talent and experience. In the case of the tax cut compromise, Mitch McConnell stands out and Joe Lieberman can claim much of the credit for understanding how to push through the repeal of DADT. The losers will be those so-called progressives who are trying to spin these two measures as victories for President Obama and his approach to policy-making.

Posted by: drdivine1 | December 19, 2010 7:01 AM | Report abuse

The most positively distinguished this past week:

The small group of Republicans who understand that a compromise which prolongs uncertainty, provides little new economic stimulus and is full of pork-barrel subsidies that will add billions to the deficit is nothing to cheer about.

The most negatively distinguished:

1. Harry Reid for proposing the monstrosity of a spending bill.
2. All those who voted against the Dream Act and closed off a promising approach to immigration reform.

Posted by: ClassicalLib | December 19, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

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