If the Dems only end up with a net gain of eight or ten, so they have 57, 58 or 59 seats, including Bernie Sanders and Joe the turncoat Lieberman, they may still be able to get a lot of legislation passed.
That's because there will be another batch of Republicans coming up for re-election in 2010 and, if he Dems don't reach 60 and they're smart, they'll force votes every time, so they can point to the obstructionist Republicans who are up for re-election. That could play a powerful role for those senate republicans who want to keep their jobs. They just may not stick together.
Wikipedia lists 19 either retiring or incumbent republican senators, compared with 15 democratic senatos.
- 1.1 Retiring Senators
- 1.2 Possible retiring Senators
- 1.3 Democratic Incumbent Races
- 1.3.1 Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas
- 1.3.2 Barbara Boxer of California
- 1.3.3 Ken Salazar of Colorado
- 1.3.4 Daniel Inouye of Hawaii
- 1.3.5 Barack Obama of Illinois
- 1.3.6 Evan Bayh of Indiana
- 1.3.7 Barbara Mikulski of Maryland
- 1.3.8 Harry Reid of Nevada
- 1.3.9 Chuck Schumer of New York
- 1.3.10 Byron Dorgan of North Dakota
- 1.3.11 Ron Wyden of Oregon
- 1.3.12 Patrick Leahy of Vermont
- 1.3.13 Patty Murray of Washington
- 1.3.14 Russ Feingold of Wisconsin
- 1.4 Republican Incumbent Races
- 1.4.1 Richard Shelby of Alabama
- 1.4.2 Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
- 1.4.3 John McCain of Arizona
- 1.4.4 Mel Martinez of Florida
- 1.4.5 Johnny Isakson of Georgia
- 1.4.6 Mike Crapo of Idaho
- 1.4.7 Chuck Grassley of Iowa
- 1.4.8 Jim Bunning of Kentucky
- 1.4.9 David Vitter of Louisiana
- 1.4.10 Kit Bond of Missouri
- 1.4.11 Judd Gregg of New Hampshire
- 1.4.12 Richard Burr of North Carolina
- 1.4.13 George Voinovich of Ohio
- 1.4.14 Tom Coburn of Oklahoma
- 1.4.15 Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania
- 1.4.16 Jim DeMint of South Carolina
- 1.4.17 John Thune of South Dakota
- 1.4.18 Bob Bennett of Utah
There are some senators in states that will have gone blue, or that now have Democratic governors. They’re going to tke a close look at the value in staying part of the GOP voting bloc when their job is on the line. Already, maverick John McCain is polling below AZ governor Janet Napolitano. Arlen Specter is getting up there and he will probably be facing Ed Rendell or Chris Matthews. George Voinovich has always been a more centrist voter and if his state goes further blue, having already one Democratic senator in 2006—Sherrod Brown, he may decide it’s not worth being labeled as one who keeps things from getting done. The same may go for Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Richard Burr of North Carolina, David Vitter (prostitute client) of Louisiana, Charles Grassley of Iowa and Mel Martinez of Florida, especially, for Martinez, if some of those latino Republican house reps are defeated in south Florida.
Smart legislation and deal making will be required, but with the massive repudiation of Republicans of 2008, those facing re-election two years later will very likely be willing and able to make deals. We may even see that the Republican leadership figures out that the REASON they were rejected en-masse from the senate was their record of 90 filibusters in one congressional session.
Then there's that thorny thing about illness and geography. If the dems call a vote, then every single one of the Republicans will have to be present to block votes. That’s another factor that could make republicans homesick and miserable—or more cooperative.
Bottom line, Failing to reach the magic 60 will be a disappointment for the Dems, but not necessarily a good excuse not to get serious legislation accomplished.
A lot of readers don't think it will matter either way, that even if the Dems reach the magic 60, they'll still act like Republicans and do nothing. My point is that even if they DON'T reach 60, they should still be able to get a lot done and that not having 60 is not an acceptable excuse.