Skip to comments.Senate Prospect Update
Posted on 05/12/2005 11:18:45 AM PDT by Nasty McPhilthy
I have written articles ever since President Bush was elected in 2000 about the absolutely pivotal role of the United States Senate, which alone can prevent the completion of the Conservative Revolution. It was not coincidence that the defection of Jeffords was long considered the crowning achievement of Democrats against President Bush, indeed, it has been their single political victory over the President. Now, more than four years into the Bush Presidency, the salient need to have a firmly Republican and general conservative United States Senate has never been clearer.
Everything conservatives need to do can be done in two brief years, if the Senate is not allowed to obstruct things. The Senate not only prevents judicial appointments, but it can block any legislation with its sixty vote cloture rule on substantive legislation (something Republicans should change as soon as possible too.) It is for this reason that I have written a number of articles on Senate prospects. The future looks bright, and maybe very bright, for several reasons.
First, the races themselves seem to be breaking Republican. If the enormously popular Governor of North Dakota and the popular Governor of Nebraska both run for the senate (allow Tom Osborne to stroll to an easy win as Nebraskas new governor), then Republicans will pick up two seats. Tommy Franks is seriously considering running against Senator Nelson of Florida, and this liked and familiar military figure in a conservative state with strong military ties would probably win that race. Three seats seem very likely.
Senator Dayton in Minnesota is retiring and Republicans are wisely lining up behind the strongest candidate, who will be the favorite to win that race. Democrats figured to hold Senator Sarbannes Senate seat in Maryland, but the serious ethical problems of Kwsei Mfume, the scandal-ridden ex-head of the NAACP and the presence of two very viable Republican candidates the Governor and Lieutenant Governor give Republicans a good shot at actually winning that race. Senator Stabenow looks vulnerable, particularly if Mrs. Spence Abrahams runs against her. Senator Cantwell also cannot fell two secure, particularly if the Statehouse Robbery drags on. Although Howard Dean has endorsed Barry Sanders for the Senate seat Jeffords left, supporting a Socialist candidate for the Senate may be too much for Vermonters it is, at any rate, a weird race that could go Republican. If Corzine wins the gubernatorial race, then his Senate seat is open, and Republicans could win with Steve Forbes or Christine Todd Whitman, if either would run. Six seats are truly volatile.
Then there are the long shots. Robert Byrd is an institution in West Virginia, but he is increasingly goofy and Leftist. He may decide to retire or he may run and lose (the prospect of which could lead this ancient relic to leave gracefully.) If he retires, Republicans have an excellent shot at picking up a seat. Senator Kennedy is old; the Kennedy mystique is long dead; Mitt Romney is popular; and two other former Republican Massachusetts governors are popular too. Senator Akaka is very old and Republican Governor Lingle is very popular in Hawaii; should he not run or retire, she would have an excellent shot at picking up a state that, like West Virginia, is increasingly Republican. Senator Carper of Delaware might be vulnerable if Congressman Castle ran against him, and Senator Bingaman might be vulnerable if Republicans got behind former two-term Governor Johnson ran against him. Five seats are long shots.
This assumes Hillary will win without a problem, that Feinstein will win without a problem, that Lieberman will not switch parties or become an independent voting to organize with Republicans, that Kohl decides to seek another term and that the older Democrat senators have the same life expectancy over the next two years of the younger Republican senators.
Republicans really have little to defend. Lincoln Chafee is supposedly vulnerable, but his father was a beloved senator for many years, a former governor and a universally admired figure. Republicans in New England and the northeast are moderates or have already won two terms, like Santorum of Pennsylvania and DeWine of Ohio. If just two of the twelve seats Democrats could lose (counting a Lieberman independent as a possibility) happen, Republicans will have a filibuster-proof Senate in 2007.
Second, beyond the races themselves, there are two other problems for Senate Democrats. If Dr. Frist can muster the votes for the Nuclear Option, as I noted in a recent article, then the hypocrisy of Senate Democrats will be quickly exposed. Senators from states with Hispanic populations simply cannot vote against Estrada; senators in the South cannot vote against Janice Johnson, daughter of a sharecropper: those nominees will win with lopsided majorities.
Moreover, people like Hillary and Kerry will have to vote up or down on Estrada and Johnson. Consider the hopelessness of their situation. If Hillary, Kerry, Feinstein and Kennedy vote against this Hispanic man and black woman because they are extremists, but the confirmation vote is 62 to 38 in favor of confirmation, then neither looks too extreme and it is the two presidential wannabe senators who look extremist. So what if Hillary and Kerry vote for Estrada and Johnson? How many fellow Democrats in the Senate are left twisting slowly in the wind? How desperate will senators like Nelson, Nelson and Conrad be then? How much more vulnerable will Stabenow, Cantwell and the Minnesota Democrat candidate be then?
The nuclear option, along with recruiting men like Tommy Franks to run for the Senate, will probably give the Republicans a filibuster-proof Senate in 2007. What that means is even more important: President Bush can actually implement his pro-growth agenda, simplify the tax code, address social issues and put strong conservatives on the Supreme Court. This, in turn, should produce the long-awaited economic boom, which should peak in the summer of 2008. Worse, for Democrats, the strongest Democrat presidential nominees, Hillary and Kerry, would be compelled, in a filibuster-proof Senate, to cast unpopular votes and be placed, again and again, on the wrong side of the fence politically.
Which means that the Democrats will have to search for other candidates, which, in turn, means a genuinely divisive Democrat nomination process which could easily produce a nominee like Howard Dean or even Dennis Kucinich.
Third, the more likely it appears that Republicans will control the Senate and even control it with sixty votes, the less attractive serving in the Senate will seem to Democrats: making money as a lobbyist, running for governor back home, or teaching at some Leftist university will seem much more attractive than being a meaningless cipher.
The keys are winning the nuclear option and recruiting the very best Republican candidates in states like Florida, Nebraska, Maryland, Minnesota, Washington, North Dakota and Michigan, and insuring that Republicans hold the Senate over the next few elections. So far, on all these keys, so good.
I knew Barry Sanders was a great runner, but I don't think the Senate is a prospect for him.
Pretty good piece..but what's that about MRS Spence Abrahams running? Her husband was a lousy candidate. so she now runs?<P.
Here's a happy thought..after 2006, the Dems lose seats in bothe the House and Senate..they can Dean, Pelosi, and Reid..
Are you kidding? From a purely partisan perspective, this isn't a "happy thought" at all; Dean, Pelosi, and Reid are wonderful for the Republicans.
But on the other hand -- and this may not make me very popular around here -- I would like to see the extremists in the Democratic party go, because I would like to see a viable and sane Democratic party around to challenge the Republicans. Competition is good; competition produces the best outcomes, and as long as the Democrats are the party of crazies, the GOP has no competition.
By the way, I agree with much of this analysis, but "Barry" Sanders is virtually a shoo-in to win the Senate race in Vermont.
Nice analysis, I hope that the RINOs in that list are a bit more trustworthy in the future than they are now. I think we can get to 60 as well, unless we pick lousy candidates. Once we are at 60+ then SocSec and FedTax reform become much more likely in the third year of the Bush second term.
You are correct..however, what emegers to replace them will be worse..more partisan..the Dem caucus is cannabalizing itself..
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