November 5, 2006


Let us suppose for a moment an eventuality that seems terribly unlikely--suppose that both the House and Senate were to end up pretty evenly divided on Tuesday, but with the chance for Democrats to form majorities in both chambers.

Consider the moderate Democrats -- especially from the South, West and MidWest -- who would be faced with the knowledge that the only significant vote they would cast in the coming term would be for (or against) their own leaders. Recall that the only two votes of any electoral significance to be cast by members of Congress in recent decades were the democratic House members in favor of the Assault Weapons Bill and Senate Democrats in favor of the Clinton tax hike. Because the votes on these two measures were so close, they enabled Republicans in 1994 to run against every Democrat who voted for them as the single reason that they passed, with predictably disastrous results for those members.

Consider too that for Democrats to not score a landslide victory on Tuesday -- in the most favorable climate (or so they think) other than the post-JFK-assassination, post-Watergate and post-Bush-taxhike cycles of the past fifty years -- would mean that every seat that changed hands that night was likely to swing back to the GOP at the first opportunity and that for those who would be up in '08 they'd face the prospect of McCain vs. Hillary at the top of the ticket acting as an automatic drag on their chances for re-election.

Could a Heath Shuler, for example, really afford to be the vote that made Nancy Pelosi the Speaker of the House and put guys like Henry Waxman, Charlie Rangel, John Conyers, Alcee Hastings, etc. in chairmen's seats? Could the folks who are up in the Senate -- Baucus (MT), Johnson (SD), Landrieu (LA), & Pryor (AR), to name only the most vulnerable -- afford to be the vote that handed committee chairs to Ted Kennedy and company? Is Tim Johnson that eager to follow Tom Daschle into the twilight? And what conceivable interest could Joe Lieberman have in caucusing with a near powerless Democratic majority for two years when he could instead caucus with a permanent GOP majority?

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 5, 2006 5:35 PM

Nice "what if" game, but the Reps. will carry both houses with ease.

Posted by: obc at November 5, 2006 6:57 PM

Lieberman claims he'll caucus with the dems. I think he's wanting to keep as many individual dems voters that he can even though the party ditched him. Perhaps he'll change.

Maybe people are telling me what I want to hear but so far none of my friends or business assoc. are turning their backs on the republicans. Nada, zip, none. Actually 4 dems that I frequently communicate with are leaning away from their party simply because of Iraq.

The dem screechers and the media are painting a pretty picture for the dems but I don't think it's going to be a happy Weds for them.

Posted by: Tom Wall at November 5, 2006 8:52 PM