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Fix Poll: An Underrated Tie!

Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) make the Fix's most underrated list. AP and Getty photos

Yesterday, we asked Fixistas to choose the most underrated member of the U.S. Senate from a list of six options. More than 3,600(!) of you offered your opinion.

The winners? Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) and Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D).

McCaskill is the more prominent of the two -- a regular presence on the cable chat shows as a support of President Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign, a swing state Senator and an inveterate Twitterer.

Whitehouse may more fit the underrated bill as he is little known outside of his native Rhode Island but is extremely well regarded by his colleagues within the Senate and was seen as a star performer -- although not by the Fix -- during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Two other interesting nominations via the Fix community:

* Carl Levin: The Democrat from Michigan sits in a powerful perch -- chairman of the Armed Services Committee -- but is far from a household name.

* Dick Lugar: The Indiana Republican is an institution in the Senate and was heavily featured by Obama in ads touting the duo's work to stop the spread of nuclear weapons during the 2008 campaign.

Given the great response to this inaugural Fix poll, expect more surveys like it in the near future. Dare we ask who the most overrated Senator is?

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 8, 2009; 5:30 PM ET
Categories:  Fix Poll  
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John McCain, Linsey Graham, and Joe Lieberman are the two most overrated Senators.

Posted by: fable104 | October 9, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Agreed that Lugar is underrated.

We could really use some more moderate R voices, as well as more moderate D voices. Or at the very least, people who can actually TALK to each other and get things done.

Lieberman also comes to mind as overrated. For all of his pontificating and claims to be a moderate, what has he really gotten done? Anything in all these years other than getting on TV a lot and craving more power and attention? Old Teddy was super liberal, but at least he got a ton of stuff done. More than anybody since LBJ in the senate maybe.

Will the rest of CT come with me and get him out of there next time? It's time for Dick Blumenthal to stop being so close to Joe and take that seat! Or maybe Chris Shays. Where have you gone Mr. Shays, our state turns it lonely eyes to you.

Posted by: Jimibristol | October 9, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Why didn't you have anything to say about Claire McCaskill? I don't know anything about her. Is she a new member, or a veteran? Why IS she under-rated? Thanks.

Posted by: russkie69 | October 9, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Lieberman always comes to mind first with overrated...

Posted by: drindl | October 9, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I think Lugar is widely known as The expert and as a serious, steady voice on foreign policy, which is why candidate Obama let it be known any time his policies were in agreement with Lugar's. I don't think he fits the underrated label, but it is nice that people wanted him mentioned, I guess.

Posted by: msame | October 9, 2009 6:25 AM | Report abuse

the twits have spoken... bare not mine eyes so terrible an aspect.
When you get a little older and wiser you will understand why a Pat
Leahy knows how to get her done...

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | October 9, 2009 3:09 AM | Report abuse

[cat sound]

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | October 9, 2009 3:06 AM | Report abuse

I agree with bsimon, and would add that Feingold and Wyden got the most posts on that thread.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 8, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

It is shocking that the fix failed to mention Feingold, who was named by many people posting on the article. Given this is a blog, one would think the host would read the comments from time to time and perhaps respond, particularly when there's a consensus of sorts that proposed an alternative left unmentioned by the fix.

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 8, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Dick Lugar is the best Senator. No Senator has as much legislation in his name. No Senator is a better mentor. No Senator is more decent and honorable.

That does not make him "underrated". He has been prominent on the talk shows for 15 years.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 8, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Democracts were the winners.
I am shocked, shocked.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 8, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman is also a preening narcissist who pushes his voice down to a lower register when speaking in front of a camera.

And during Bush's term when the Senate passed, apropos of absolutely nothing, a declaration of support for, you guessed it, Israel, Lieberman just grinned and grinned and grinned.

If only Lamont had won.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 8, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

most overrated: McCain!

Posted by: Andydk | October 8, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse


I heartily agree with 'mikedow1' that Russ Feingold is also a highly underrated Senator, but he wasn't one of your choices. He is, however, extremely principalled, which to me is one of the hallmarks of a fine Senator--would that there were more of his ilk.

As for OVERRRATED, words fail me. What a plethora of bloviating self-promoters to choose amongst. I'm sure I could think of a dozen, but Joe Lieberman is currently at the top of my list!

He doesn't even have the excuse of coming from a swing state like the Quislings Ben Nelson or Max Baucus, yet he (Lieberman) is as much a crypto-Republican when it's to his own advantage or self-interest as it's possible to be. Definitely at the top of my list!

Posted by: sverigegrabb | October 8, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Here's another opportunity to plug the Hero of the Senate, Russ Feingold. We don't need 99 more like him, but we do need 59!

Two reasons stand out: first, he's been a leader in limiting the power of special interest groups in elections. Second, he has stood firm -- far more firm than the President -- in ending the abuses of the USA Patriot Act and the endless war in Iraq.

He isn't very telegenic -- it was painful to watch him on the Daily Show a few years ago, and you don't see him on the Sunday shows -- but he stands up for what is right.


Posted by: mikedow1 | October 8, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Dare you ask who the most over-rated Senator is? Of course you can!

Its worth noting how ratings can change very quickly (Ensign was a POTUS dark horse not so long ago)

Posted by: JayPen | October 8, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

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