Wednesday, November 03, 2010
The Political Dynamic in the Senate is Much Better than it Appears
After the completion of an election with a record amount of competitive state and federal races, it is often hard to sift through the rubble and ascertain the true meaning of the results. Many of us are a bit disappointed with the results on the Senate side. I'll be doing a comprehensive analysis of the House, Gubernatorial, state legislature, and other statewide races in a later post. For now I wanted to tackle the bad news first. In reality, I think there is a lot to look forward to in the Senate in the long run.
Let's start with the worst news of the night; the Senate results. There is no doubt that the loss of such a great conservative as Sharon Angle is devastating. The fact that instead of a tea party patriot representing Nevada, we will still have Harry Reid is quite nauseating. This was by far the worst news of the night. Other bad news was Joe Miller, Carly Fiorina, and possibly even Ken Buck (we will have to see what sort of cheating occurs in Washington and Colorado). But here are some important things to consider:
• We will still have at least 47 Republican Senators, and maybe even 48 or 49 when all the votes are counted. This will present the Democrats with a challenge of governing a totally unworkable majority. So they will hold the responsibility of governing (thus taking away one of Obama's selling points for 2012), but will have very little power.
• Many people have lost sight of how many good conservatives we have gained in the Senate. Instead of Blanch Lincoln in Arkansas we have John Boozman. We also have Pat Toomey, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson, John Hoeven, and Dan Coats (instead of pseudo-moderate Evan Bayh). Also, let's not overlook the fact that we have turned so many incumbent R seats to the right. Instead of a RINO in Florida, we now have Marco Rubio. In Kansas, Jerry Moran is replacing La Raza Senator Brownback. Roy Blunt is not a tea partier, but he has a better voting record than outgoing Senator Kit Bond. Kelly Ayotte is much better than Judd Gregg in New Hampshire. Rob Portman in Ohio is almost tantamount to a pickup because Voinovich was an absolute RINO. Mike Lee is replacing Bob Bennett. So in reality, we have really moved at least 12 seats to the right (not including potential wins by Rossi and Buck).
• 2012: We need to remember that the 2010 Senate map was inherently a bad political landscape for us. Most of the Senate seats were fought on blue territory and the Republicans had to spend a lot of money maintaining some of their own seats. The next two elections will present us with the most favorable climate in years. These two cycles will be reruns of 2006 and 2008 in which the Democrats picked up many red seats due to the bad political climate, cheating, and criminal negligence on the part of the Republicans. In 2012 the Republicans will not have to defend a single vulnerable incumbent, while the Democrats will have to defend a bunch of their Senators in red states, and even some purple state that are now trending red. What's even worse for them is that Obama will be on the ballot in these states in which he is very unpopular. Let's take a look at the landscape:
- Joe Manchin in West Virginia with Obama on the ballot! Here is the deal. Either Joe Manchin will have to immediately fulfill his promise of voting with us on every major issue, or he will go down in 2012.
- Bill Nelson in Florida- There is no other state in which the GOP is in a stronger position to field a candidate who can unseat an incumbent. Obama is extremely unpopular there. We just need to make sure that we don't have RINO's creating divisive primaries down there again.
- Ben Nelson in Nebraska- A dead man walking. Imagine having Obama on the ballot in Nebraska!
- Jon Tester in Montana- See Nebraska-ditto
- Kent Conrad in North Dakota- Ditto
- Jim Webb in Virginia- Another state that has dramatically swung back to us and where Obama is a four letter word.
- Claire McCaskill- Same as Virginia, except that Obama couldn't even carry this state in 2008.
- Sherod Brown in Ohio- Brown is possibly the most liberal member of the Senate. There is no reason why we shouldn't take this seat in 2012 if Obama remains as unpopular as he currently is in Ohio.
- Bob Casey in Pennsylvania- This one is a bit harder, but we are now in an excellent position to take him out.
- Debbie Stabenow in Michigan- After last's night's result and the fact that the economy is dead in Michigan, Stabenow should be gone in 2012.
- Herb Kohl in Wisconsin- He might want to retire after seeing what occurred last night in Wisconsin. Obama couldn't even step foot in that state throughout the election.
- Jeff Bingaman in New Mexico- This is no slam dunk, but we should have an excellent shot at unseating him in 2012.
- Amy Klobuchar in Mennesota- Yes, I know that this in MN and isn't in the same league as the abovementioned seats. However, Klobuchar is a very weak Senator and there is no reason why we cannot at least make a run for it.
These are 13 Senate seats that are just in red and purple states. There are several blue state Dems that could be vulnerable, but after last night, I don't have too much hope for those states. Also, as Erick Erickson pointed out this morning, we have many RINO targets in deep red states that we can replace with unabashed conservatives. We also won't have to worry about the whole inter party debate of electing conservatives in blue states.
The bottom line is that we stand an excellent chance to take the Senate back with a vengeance in 2012. I personally think that it is much better to reclaim the Senate when we will have more control and more red state conservatives than at a time in which we still have many RINO's and only the slimmest of majorities. After all, do we really need to repeat the 94'-06' cycle of frustration in the Senate again?