December 29, 2004


How five newcomers could change Senate: Staunch GOP conservatives shift from the tightly organized House to the prestigious club of 100. (Gail Russell Chaddock, 12/30/04, CS Monitor)

Call them the five horsemen of the Republican Revolution: incoming US Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, John Thune of South Dakota, and David Vitter of Louisiana.

Their arrival in the US Senate next week gives a powerful boost to both fiscal and social conservatives on issues ranging from judicial nominations and abortion rights to tax reform. It also tips the number of former House members in the Senate to 52 percent - the first time it has passed a majority. More than just an additional five GOP votes, they bring a hard-driving style and ideological focus that is at odds with the collegial culture of the Senate.

"The big question is to what extent they will maintain their House attitudes and behavior ... and the uncompromising, disputatious positions that House members are likely to take," says Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

There's already speculation about how this group will interact with Republican colleagues, especially the moderates who often swayed key votes in the last Congress. They could transform the tone of an institution that has been tottering between its clubby past and the more disciplined, partisan style of the US House.

The Senate could use some hard driving.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 29, 2004 8:37 PM

Since the advent of direct election of Senators, that body has served no purpose whatsoever. The President won re-election without even the merest hint of compromise of his agenda. He is entitled to have a Senate that will approve his nominations and his policies without a whimper. The Hagels, Stevens, Domenicis, Chafees, Warners and Specters are just going to have to get lives.

Posted by: Bart at December 30, 2004 6:28 AM

Boy, I wonder what it is about Johnny Isakson that led to his absence as a horseman of the Republican Revolution. To receive no mention at all in the article is quite odd. After all, he's a relatively conservative Southern Republican who is graduating from the House to the Senate. While more moderate than Coburn and Demint and perhaps more moderate than Vitter, Burr and Thune, he never caused headaches for the conservative House leadership and promises to bring the House model to the Senate in the same manner as the other five (or, if you count the Class of 2002 (Graham, Sununu, Talent) as well, the other eight).

Posted by: Lee at December 30, 2004 9:46 AM

Sorry about the multiple posts.

Posted by: Lee at December 30, 2004 9:55 AM

I wouldn't get too excited about this. I remember that when Trent Lott "graduated" to the Senate he was going to shake things up, too. We all know how that turned out.

(I thought I posted this last night. Did I get caught up in a purge?)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 30, 2004 2:55 PM


We have been more aggressively purging comments--mostly because of Bart--but I don't think I whacked any of yours except by mistake. If I did so, my apologies.

Posted by: oj at December 30, 2004 4:27 PM
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