Today, both take the temperature of the GOP and its political prospects, but come to very different conclusions. The WaPo report finds the party brimming with new (anti-Obama) life, and members generally thrilled with their performance in recent days:
After giving the package zero votes in the House, and with their counterparts in the Senate likely to provide in a crucial procedural vote today only the handful of votes needed to avoid a filibuster, Republicans are relishing the opportunity to make a big statement.
In general, it's a very rah-rah assessment with just a passing reference to the fact that yes, the Republicans' obstructionist strategy might carry with it a downside.
Over at Politico, it was a different story as told from inside the GOP, with two Republican pro's highlighting the mounting troubles the party faces. One was Jack Burkman is a GOP lobbyist and strategist, who wrote:
With no leadership and no discernible values, principles or direction, congressional Republicans seem all but certain to be steamrolled by President Barack Obama, whose early approval numbers top 75 percent...
Bleaker still is the reality that the party has a terrible dearth of virtually everything from presidential candidates to strategists. Mitt Romney is rich, Harvard-educated and handsome, but he will have enormous difficulty emerging as a charismatic GOP leader because of his lack of belief in, well, anything. Sarah Palin would make a smashing suit model.
At the grass-roots level, the party is no longer even producing good political strategists, something the GOP has excelled at for many years. Most top-gun operatives have become lobbyists, preferring the quick cash to the hard discipline and creativity required of campaign life. The problem is that, with Republicans shut out of power, there is no one left to lobby.
The other was a somewhat sarcastic open letter to Rush Limbaugh, written by John Feehery worked for the House Republican leadership from 1989 to 2005. He wrote:
[O]ur research shows that the American people actually want help with certain things (the failing education system, the high cost of health care, the sagging economy, etc.). Do you have any good ideas that you can share with us — ideas that will be seen as reasonable by the American people — that can serve as a viable alternative? Or is it your plan to simply oppose every idea that comes from the Obama administration?
It's telling that when Beltway reporters size up the GOP, they see signs of strength and resurgence. But when GOP insiders take a look, the view isn't so pretty.