Reaching for the mute button

REACHING FOR THE MUTE BUTTON…. National Journal routinely conducts polls of political “insiders,” on various questions of the day. This week’s survey raised a variety of interesting inquiries — which members of each party have the brightest future, are the most respected, are the most creative thinkers — but of particular interest was this question: “Which voice in your party would you most like to mute?” (via Alex Koppelman)

Among Democratic congressional insiders, the rankings were:

1. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut (22%)
2. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio (19%)
3. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas (13%)
4. No one (13%)
5. Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan (6%)

Among Republican congressional insiders, the rankings were:

1. No one (16%)
2. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota (11%)
3. Glenn Beck of Fox News (11%)
4. Rep. Steve King of Iowa (11%)
5. Former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska (11%)
6. Rep. Tom Price of Georgia (11%)

It’s good to see Lieberman come out on top among Dems, but it’s not entirely fair — Lieberman isn’t actually a Democrat anymore. I was also glad to see Stupak make the list. After a largely anonymous career as a House backbencher, the ardent opponent of abortion rights has quickly made a name for himself this fall, and not in a good way.

Among Republicans, the first-place finish for “no one” isn’t terribly surprising, but it’s not encouraging, either. These GOP insiders can’t think of a single Republican who should pipe down a bit? As for numbers 2 through 6, it’s heartening to know at least some Republicans find these far-right voices annoying, too.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.