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Storming the Senate

Storming the Senate

According to Larry Sabato’s “Crystal Ball,” Republicans are likely to take control of the Senate in 2012:

As we take a fresh look at next year’s Senate races, one thing is clear: Barring an unexpected reelection landslide by President Obama, Republicans are at least slightly favored to take the Senate. It’s just a basic matter of numbers.

Republicans need to pick up either three or four seats, depending on whether they have the vice president’s tie-breaking vote in 2013. North Dakota is all-but-switched to the GOP already. Besides North Dakota, the hardest states for Democrats to hold will be Nebraska, Montana and Missouri, in that order, because it’s hard to imagine Obama winning any of those states. Nebraska will probably feature a runaway GOP presidential victory, further damaging Sen. Ben Nelson’s (D) chances of reelection.

It’s still early, and anything (read: scandals, a changing economy and international events) could happen to alter the basic dynamics of 2012. Yet the Republicans have so many tempting Senate targets that Mitch McConnell (R-KY) could trade “minority” for “majority” in his leadership title quite easily.

Don’t take anything for granted.  But this reminds us how important it is to protect the majority in the House and to take the Senate.

Regardless of the current polling, the likelihood is that Obama will get reelected.  The mainstream media will not have it any other way.

Think of the House and Senate as an umbrella insurance policy, protecting us in the case of another presidential electoral catastrophe.


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Pasadena Phil | June 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm

With the kinds of “Republicans” we elect to the Senate, it would take 90 seats to make it a “Gangs of McCain-proof majority. When either party gets too big a majority, they shy away from taking the blame for everything. They lose the bi-partisan shield.

While Obama will maintain the black vote, Obama did exactly what John Kennedy did to win the election; he tapped into the youth vote. The 18-25 crowd that were first time voters. With the high unemployment rate that group now suffers, Obama is losing the youth vote that he had in 2008. When you graduate from college, $150K in debt, and you can’t find a job, you tend to re-evaluate your political stance.

Obama also tapped into the war-weary independents, but poll after poll show he is losing them in greater numbers.

Pasadena Phil, what kind of Republicans did we elect in 2010? Marco Rubio, Allen West, Mike Lee, et al, all who are a thorn in Obama’s side. Go along to git along Republicans were rejected as were Blue Dogs because Americans wanted real conservatives, not pretend conservatives.

“Nuts!” was the response of the XO and acting commander of the 101st Airborne at Bastogne to the German requests that he surrender when they had him surrounded. I can’t literally compare the 2012 election and the current political/economic situation to a wartime combat battle but in a figurative sense that is where we are today. I don’t believe it’s coincidental that the 2012 election is the 100th anniversary of the 1912 Presidential Election: from what i’ve seen since the 2008 election it was the 1912 election that had the 4th place “Socialist Party” making a Perot grade voting percentage and the second place “Progressive Party” making an ‘almost but not quite’ showing. What was unfortunate is that “The Progressive Party” was a civil war of sorts within “The Republican Party” – Teddy Roosevelt got ego and beat out the Constitutional Republicans under Taft. I’d really like to see the 2012 election mirror the 1920 Harding/Coolidge election thus beating the quantitatively worst 20th Century Depression in very rapid form. Getting back to Todays situation going into the November 2010 election I think it was only Dick Morris who talked winning more than 60 seats. Compare that with the 1894 House Election where the Republican Party won a GAIN of +124 seats to achieve 254 seats. At LI you posted on the Delaware, Nevada, and Alaska Senate races but another way of looking at the November 2010 election is the number of long term leftwing candidates who were forced to run competitive campaigns. Wasn’t there a two-generations Dynasty in Michigan that was voted out?

“Regardless of the current polling, the likelihood is that Obama will get reelected. The mainstream media will not have it any other way.”

By far the most depressing thing L.I has ever posted.

Cowboy Curtis | June 23, 2011 at 2:43 pm

I’m always curious what these ‘international developments’ are that might suddenly swing voter back to the dems. The Middle East becomes a garden of peaceful democracy? Israel and the Palestinians start living in peace? Oil prices plummet? Iran decides to ditch its nuclear program? Socialism and entitlements saves the Europe’s economies?

In what heretofore unknown dimension of unicorn awesomeness does anything overseas get anything but worse than it is right now in the near term?

I know that there’s an enormous incumbent advantage favoring Obama to be reelected, but at this point, barring an economic recovery that takes unemployment to somewhere south of 6%, home sales as a recovery to at least 2003 levels and no major stock-market corrections (very unlikely) between now and Nov 2012, Obama is toast as a Presidential candidate.

As for the Senate, it’s FAR worse for the Democrat party than ANYBODY is really reporting yet. A LOT of the Democrat voters who voted in these clowns in the 2006 election cycle are horribly disillusioned with their voting record. The Liberals were promised Bush impeachment and trial for war crimes, a single-payer universal health care system, closing of Guantanamo as a enemy combatant containment center, EPA regulation of Carbon emissions, Green energy, and end to the Bush Era tax cuts, a return of the Estate Tax, Public School growth and stable highly paid Union jobs and Union protection. The liberal voters got NONE of these things, and the Liberals are steaming mad about it.

Also, the election numbers themselves are painfully damning: 5 reliably liberal (and one moderately liberal: Lieberman) Senators retiring leaving open contests(4 in Republican States); Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Florida, New Jersey and Ohio are all leaning Republican already. In all the other states, expect moderate to strong Republican Candidates (except California, it’s lost forever). So the Democrats are going to have to spend a lot of money just defending their usual “safe” seats. I would expect nearly all of the states above to be told “hey, we’ve got to put our money to save who we can, and we can’t save you. You’re on your own.”

It’s entirely possible that the Republicans may end up with a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. Barring some nationally damaging party scandal that taint everybody, at least from the numbers at this point, the Republicans WILL control the Senate by a large margin. Now, it’s a matter of giving the RINOs in the party a swift kick from the TEA Partiers and Conservatives. You WILL see it happen to Olympia Snowe and to a lesser extent Scott Brown this primary season. Guaranteed.

Cowboy Curtis – the International developments that could swing Democrats out to vote (or would at least lessen chance of turnover) are things like major international war between Israel and Iran starting at the end of September 2012 where we are suddenly forced to commit troops to Israel’s defense, a war between Iran and the US, Sudden MAJOR drop in oil prices (to less than $50 per barrel), a massive Chinese move against Taiwan or Japan, or finally some sort of localized nuclear conflict on the Indian sub-continent or in the middle east.

It’s not so much that the Conservative voters would suddenly vote for the Democrats, but that the population that would turn out to vote would change drastically. These sorts of things tend to create a “rally around the flag” response, where individuals then don’t vote for a massive governmental change due to the uncertainty that creates in the public. Voters abandon their principles for the safety of what they currently know (meaning the Conservatives stay home, and the Liberals vote in droves).

The only problem with taking the Senate and keeping the Congress is the ratbags could use the possibility to campaign for Obama based upon the divided government meme.

Obama is getting around the law of the land by adminstrative rulemaking. The country cannot afford eighteen more months of the current term let alone an additional four years if he is elected to another term.

The actions of the Obama Administration should put to rest the idea that the USA has a elf correcting mechanism in the elections every four years.

Pasadena Phil | June 23, 2011 at 3:32 pm

As Trump demonstrated in spades, Obama is very weak but the GOP candidates are lame beyond belief. It’s not the incumbency that is working in Obama’s favor but that the GOP insists on making a close race of it.

I predict the GOP will nominate yet another Democrat who polls poorly against Trump and that Trump will then run independent. It’s all up to the GOP to grasp a landslide victory that is there for the taking.

But again, that is why they are called The Stupid Party.

“Regardless of the current polling, the likelihood is that Obama will get reelected. The mainstream media will not have it any other way.”

Sorry, Prof J, but my premature electoral calculations say that BHO does not have a sufficient number of electoral votes to win in 2012. Based on the results of the ’09 & ’10 mid-term election results, IMHO (7)of the ten swing states, have trended back to the republican category. (FL,OH,NC,VA,IN,IO,NH).
The other (3), seem to be holding in the Dem camp. (COL,NV,NM).
This would leave BHO with 262 E.Votes. (270 to win)

Subotai Bahadur | June 23, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Chuck Skinner | June 23, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Now, it’s a matter of giving the RINOs in the party a swift kick from the TEA Partiers and Conservatives. You WILL see it happen to Olympia Snowe and to a lesser extent Scott Brown this primary season. Guaranteed.

A consummation devoutly to be wished. However, one of the things we have to account for is the guaranteed treachery of the Institutional Republicans. If we are barely over the level of votes for either control of the Senate, or in the best case a filibuster proof majority [an over-ride majority is fantasy] you will see the Democrats offering the sun, the moon, and the stars, and a lifetime free pass at the non-governmental “house of negotiable virtue” of choice to any Republican Senator who will switch sides. There is precedent, successful precedent.

And to be honest, when faced with the possibility of any conservative legislative victories; many Republicans would rather become Democrats and would feel ideologically at home, and a lot more comfortable than while dealing with us nasty conservatives and TEA Party types.

Collins, Snowe, Brown, Murkowski, [that last with the approval if not the accompanyment of Cornyn], McCain [whose faith in the essential goodness of the Left and contempt for Conservatives and the TEA Party is beyond reality testing], Graham, and Lugar could easily switch if they were stroked enough and promised enough. Especially if the Institutional Republicans are no longer in the ascendant in the Party. Can anyone in their heart of hearts believe that they would not remain across the aisle where they spend so much time already?

Just sayin’ …. IF the 2012 elections go as scheduled, IF the votes are honestly counted, and IF the Democrats are defeated for control of the Senate; there is yet another battle to be fought to retain control due to turncoats. It may be lost, but at least finally we will definitively know who is on which side.

Cowboy Curtis | June 23, 2011 at 5:41 pm

I understand that those are the sorts of situations that might shore up a normal president’s support. But he ain’t normal, he’s the farthest to the left (by several steps) ever. It certainly could have helped Clinton. But this guy? I can see plenty of rally around the flag scenarios….but no rally around Obama ones.

Gas prices taking a sustained and lasting nosedive would certainly help some, but under what scenario does that happen? The Middle East is increasingly on fire and our domestic production won’t be growing while Obama is office, so I don’t see where some new market stability and reasonably priced new supply is going to come online over the next 18 months.

Cowboy Curtis is on to a most important aspect of the coming election; international events. There are simply too many undesirables out there to let something like an Iranian hostage incident become the albatross around Obama’s neck that costs him the election. They need him. The appearance of a high visibility, engineered international “incident” timed to permit a great deal of global angst, requiring insight and diligent diplomacy, followed by the presentation and acceptance by all parties of a wondrous solution developed by Obama, all at the height of the campaign would provide a glorious story line for the MSM to push day and night before the election. The world’s miscreants will not repeat the mistake Iran made with Jimmy Carter. Obama is too valuable to them to be allowed to slip away in 2012.

common tater | June 23, 2011 at 9:20 pm

The real entrenched incumbents to defeat are the media, to include lazy, sensationalistic, opportunistic FOX. The NYT and other orthodox left-of-center publications are on the ropes; may they hang soon with nary a nostalgic tear. Let’s encourage, instead, less jingoistic and more sophisticated “news” presentation that’s steeped in less partisan analysis but with a nod to the libertarian right, Tea Party celebration of cordial libation and essential liberty.

Seems to me that our prevailing in ’12 will be a mixed blessing, though. How can any Tea Party’s electoral success not engender the hardening of other ideological offshoots, such as Greens and other color-based constituency parties in a nostalgic move to mimic 20 C. socialist Europe, (just as smart Europe is trying to abandon its not-so-fair and untenable socialism in favor of overall socio-economic sanity?) Most smart academic thinkers are too doctrinaire and derivative for everybody’s good. And sufficient numbers of pols rollover.

IOW, I think we’ll win just to face another war. Going for broke always borrows trouble, don’t it? Must be why history never ends, Fukuyama.

[Again I ask, are there Preview and
Edit functions when commenting here?]

Hi Subotai Bahadur – Quote – “Collins, Snowe, Brown, Murkowski, [that last with the approval if not the accompanyment of Cornyn], McCain [whose faith in the essential goodness of the Left and contempt for Conservatives and the TEA Party is beyond reality testing], Graham, and Lugar could easily switch if they were stroked enough and promised enough.”

I would hope that each and every one of these would take a good, hard look at what happened to Arlen Specter after he turn-coated. Now, there’s something to be said for the fact that Specter KNEW (unequivocally) that he was going to lose his primary.

McCain and Graham, while RINOs, aren’t stupid enough to change parties. They know that the Democrat voters won’t vote for them. They’re too damaged from prior positions, no matter HOW much they pander with the various “Gangs” of bipartisan-ness.

Collins and Snowe might be foolish enough to think that the Democrat party would welcome them, but it would be their swan-song, because the Independent voters, and a lot of the Democrat voters, in Maine REALLY want to pull that (R) lever, because the (D) candidate is usually REALLY out there. Only because they are so moderate might they be able to get away with it (and it would ALL be based on personality).

Brown I don’t have an opinion on yet. I would hope he wouldn’t stab those who supported him in the back so openly, and I don’t think the Democrat party of Massachusetts would have him after denying them the FULL Obamacare bill (especially if it fails at SCOTUS) due to having to be passed as a “spending bill.”

Murkowski – … There’s a special place in political hell for people like Murkowski who say they won’t violate the public’s trust by opposing the candidate chosen in a primary and then doing so. If I were the Republican Leadership, I would have stripped her of any and all committee positions and told her she’s on her own, and then if/when she turn-coated fully funded an Alaskan Recall petition. But, I’m not in the Leadership, and they seem to want to let bygones be bygones.

I would also hope that the voters in the individual states would rise up and demand whatever recall process (if applicable) be instituted to try to force any turn-coats from office. It’s expensive, and nasty, and painful, but after Jumpin-Jim Jeffords, I think the Republican Senatorial Committee needs to make an example out of the next person who runs as a Republican and then decides to jump ship.

One of the problems with most hardcore Republicans is that they fail to understand that perfect is the enemy of good. Stay away from social issues like abortion and gay marriage and focus on the real problems that affect every day Americans such as jobs, out of control spending and excessive regulations. The Tea Party movement understands this but hardcore Republicans fail to grasp this. With all of the candidates in the pool, no one candidate is perfect, so we divide up into small groups who fight among ourselves for a bit of the pie. And we lose.

Cowboy Curtis | June 24, 2011 at 1:35 pm

The Tea Party is the hardcore of the republican party. If you remove social issues from the mix, you gain a small portion on independents yet alienate over half your core support base (the people that volunteer for your campaigns and spend weekends knocking on doors). How does that put you ahead? McCain tried a variation of this in ’08, and it didn’t play out well.

Abortion and gay marriage aren’t my big issues, but really, if they were such losers, then their supporters would actually have legislative victories to show for it.

Subotai Bahadur | June 24, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Chuck Skinner | June 24, 2011 at 3:15 am

Hi Chuck Skinner,

I grant that I may be wrong on an individual Senator or two, but allow me to run down my chain of logic.

1) IF there is a Republican takeover of the Senate, it is not going to be based on a sudden infatuation of the country with the Institutional Republicans. It is going to be based on the efforts of the Conservative base and the TEA Party, who are standing in opposition to the Obama regime and not trying to come to an accommodation with it.

2) Keeping in mind that the Senators listed are all late 20th Century, early 21st Century party hacks; with the possible exception of Brown, who is still trying to fit into the Democrat template in Massachusetts. If they were bitten by a principle other than enriching/empowering themselves and their cronies; they would use their deluxe Congressional health care plan to run screaming for a shot of anti-venom.

3) The atmosphere and balance of the Republican caucus is going to change drastically if they take the Senate. The listed Senators are going to have their prestige and power severely degraded. Also, if there is Republican control of both Houses, and especially if there is a non-RINO Republican as president; it is going to be extremely busy. If the country is to be saved, it is going to be like the British surrender at Yorktown; where the British Army band played “The World Turned Upside Down”. The things that are going to be changed, are the sources of their past power and wealth. They will have to stand against their friends across the aisle, and with those they despise. If they don’t go along with the program, they know that the new power in the Republican Party will be openly at war with them.

3) Looking at the individuals:

McCain: 75 years old. Term expires January 2017 regardless of what party he is in. He will be 81 years old, and he has more than a few health issues based on his treatment as a POW. He is in his last term, and is immune from the voters. He is primarily known in the Senate for stabbing Republicans in the back, and the Kerry campaign asked him to consider becoming the Democrat candidate for VP …. and he took weeks to say no.

Graham: already on the TEA Party and Conservative Republican hit list to be primaried out of office when he comes up in 2014. He has nothing to lose in changing parties.

Collins: same as Graham, except for putative change of gender.

Snowe: same as Graham, except for putative change of gender and she may have that primary opponent in 2012. If she survives that challenge and the election, she will not have any reason to be loyal to those who are undoing the things she voted for.

Note also, that there have already been media rumors of both Maine Senators considering a party switch because of the mutual dislike between themselves and the TEA Party.

Brown: Professor Jacobson has had a few words about Brown.

Murcowski: Not a principled bone in her body. Already willing to go Democrat.

Can I assume that since you did not mention John Cornyn [up for re-election in 2014 and openly hostile to Conservatives and the TEA Party to the point of being willing to sabotage their campaigns when they are nominated] and Richard Lugar [up for re-election in 2012, no love lost between him and the TEA Party] who were on my list; that you do not rule out their switching?

I would also hope that the voters in the individual states would rise up and demand whatever recall process (if applicable) be instituted to try to force any turn-coats from office.

I really wish that we could. However, there is no Federal right of recall in the Constitution, and the only court decision I know on point is the Senator Bob Menendez recall attempt where on Nov. 18, 2010, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that even though New Jersey statutes specifically allow for such a recall, Federal law pre-empts.

Hi Subotai Bahadur

Your overall logic is sound. I would quibble with the following ideas, but they’re for the most part opinion, not necessarily factual:

1.) I think that McCain has at least one more Senate campaign in him. I hope that he loses, if he does, or chooses to retire before his term is up, but I can see him taking the Robert Byrd / Strom Thurmond approach to the Senate and trying to die in office. Yes, his POW treatment is catching up to him, but I don’t think his overall health is so bad yet that without some major health issue he won’t be able to run for one more term. That being said, McCain can’t win in Arizona if he runs as a Democrat unless the Republican nature of Arizona is severely damaged by the 2016 cycle.

2.) Senator Gramnesty I’m hoping will think that he can’t possibly win running as a Democrat in South Carolina, and that the independents will save him in the Republican Primary as an open primary state. This may cause him to moderate his more liberal leanings. If he does jump, I think he’s doomed, because the Liberals won’t vote for him. If I were one of his advisers, I would be telling him this.

3.) Lugar I’m hoping will be defeated in a 2012 primary by the Tea Party candidate (or will decide to retire sometime between now and then if his polling looks awful enough).

4.) Cornyn, I have a feeling, will end up getting on the right side of the TEA Party after the 2012 election. He is openly hostile to them NOW, but if he doesn’t get his act together quickly he will find his reelection chances VERY badly damaged given the electoral changes that are going on here in Texas. The Legislature is moving a solidly pro-Conservative agenda over the howls of the liberals, and the people of Texas resoundingly approve of it. If he’s not VERY contrite to the Conservatives by mid 2013, he will find himself on the wrong end of a very nasty primary fight which he will lose badly. I’m convinced that’s why Kay Bailey Hutchison is retiring, rather than risk a nasty primary which she very well might lose, especially after her poor showing in the primary election for Gov. of Texas against Perry.

As for recall, there wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) be a federal procedure. It would have to be state-specific. The New Jersey Supreme Court decision can’t bind any other state which may or may not have a recall procedure (hopefully in their state constitution) where it would be controlled. The Menendez NJ Supreme Court decision is ridiculous on its face, and citing U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton*, 514 U.S. 779 (1995) as making term limits the same as a recall is absurd.

Further, the suggestion that U.S. Term Limits’ argument that the Tenth Amendment doesn’t apply to such cases that “the states can exercise no powers whatsoever, which exclusively spring out of the existence of the national government, which the constitution does not delegate to them. . . . No state can say, that it has reserved, what it never possessed” is patently absurd as WELL as being a complete misreading of Federalism and a Constitution of LIMITS of Federal Power not of GRANTS of rights to states. The footnote where they specifically note the Convention’s rejection of the “Virginia Plan” which allowed states to recall Senators doesn’t PREVENT the recall, it just means that it is 10th Amendment DELEGATED to the States rather than having a Federal procedure for it. This is not a power that the people have ever expressly given up, nor would they give up willingly.

I would much rather see a SCOTUS decision (or to see them demur to make a decision by expressly saying “that’s a political issue, take it to Congress” on an appeal from a State Supreme Court ruling one way or the other). Now, the New Jersey Menendez decision may actually give them that opportunity, and I’m REALLY hoping that SCOTUS says something, ANYTHING about it in order to give some clarity.