From Detroit’s fresh new face to California’s comeback kid and the blogosphere’s latest bomb-throwers, the Daily Beast shines a spotlight on the pols to watch next year.
President Obama saw his popularity fade, but scored a win by nudging the Senate to pass health care reform before Christmas. Unemployment hovered at 10 percent. American troops began surging toward Afghanistan. The Republicans showed impressive discipline, but struggled to find a standard-bearer—let alone an agenda—amid the rising influence of Tea Partiers and the Limbaugh set. The stage is set for a fascinating 2010. The midterm elections next fall historically bring an ebb in the majority party’s fortunes. Can the GOP take full advantage? Can Obama and his pit bull, Rahm Emanuel, minimize the damage? And most importantly, who, amid all the clamor, should we pay attention to?
The Daily Beast surveyed the landscape for the politicos to watch next year—both newcomers just stepping onto the stage, and wily veterans back for a second (or third) act.
Haley Barbour (R)
Barbour’s an old Republican hand whose lobbying background makes him a charter member of the Beltway establishment. But if anyone is going to figure out how to put the Republican Party back together, and develop a strategy to stave off Democratic incursions in the Deep South, it will be the 62-year-old Mississippi governor. Ensuring Barbour’s place at the table: he now leads the Republican Governor’s Association.