Politics 2010: A Twist on the Year-End List

Republicans and Democrats

2010 is almost over. Whew!

As many in the world of political punditry look back on the year's winners and losers, they are looking at the year as a whole. Here's a take at the best/worst list for politics in 2010 by half . . . not necessarily 6 months split evenly, but just whose good first half turned into a bad second half, and vice versa.

Best First Half

Nancy Pelosi: The first woman Speaker of the House rallied her troops and got through major reform legislation for health care and financial services — neither a small feat, and she accomplished both.

Barack Obama: Pelosi's marshaling of the President's signature issues got him victories that many thought were not possible.

Sharron Angle: The Senate candidate came out of a crowded field of Nevada Republicans and instantly ran neck-and-neck with the Majority Leader in a tough battle for Harry Reid's re-election.

Joe Miller: With Tea Party backing and Sarah Palin's blessings, the Alaska lawyer knocked off a sitting Senator in the GOP primary.

Scott Brown: A Republican who actually won a Senate seat in Massachusetts, with Tea Party backing, he quickly became a D.C. darling.

Special Report: 2010 Year in Review

Worst First Half

John Boehner: Despite unified opposition behind him, the House GOP leader couldn't stop the Democrats' steamroll of legislative accomplishments.

Lisa Murkowski: The Alaska Senator's re-election bid was caught flat-footed by the upstart Miller, and her own party left her in the dust by embracing the new candidate.

Harry Reid: Six different Republicans were lining up to take him down, and the Majority Leader was all but declared politically dead.

Arlen Specter: The longtime Republican-turned-Democrat lost his re-election bid as Pennsylvania Dems turned away from him in the primary.

Best Second Half

John Boehner: Turning the "Party of No" to the "Party of Yes" with a record Republican victory in the mid-terms.

Lisa Murkowski: However you spell it, her write-in candidacy was an unprecedented success in the modern political era.

Harry Reid: The Majority Leader held on and beat the polls that had him down in his re-election bid.

Barack Obama: Not necessarily back from the dead, but he turned around a bad November with star-studded achievements in the lame duck Congress.

Worst Second Half

Nancy Pelosi: She became the rallying cry of the Tea Party against the liberal left in Congress, and couldn't turn the Democrats' legislative success into victory for the party in a bad economy.

Joe Miller: The upstart Tea Party darling was beat by the incumbent in a last-ditch write-in campaign. He also got into a fight with Palin - not a good thing.

Mitch McConnell: GOP pickups in the mid-terms closed the gap with SenateDemocrats, but Tea Party candidate losses also cost him Majority Leader - and Obama's lame duck wins came at his expense.

Federal Workers: The new demons as Tea Partiers takes aim at government spending; Obama freezing their pay doesn't help.

This time next year, we'll all be looking at the GOP primary and the upcoming Iowa caucus. My, how time flies!

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    Robert Hendin is senior producer for "Face the Nation" and a CBS News senior political producer.