Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 17, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

FILIBUSTER PROOF IN 2008?....We all know that Democrats had an uphill battle to win control of the Senate this year because there were so few incumbent Republican seats in play. Democrats had to practically run the table to gain six seats.

In 2008 the situation will be just the reverse: of the 33 seats up for reelection, 21 are held by Republicans, which makes further Democratic gains pretty likely. Still, the folks at Democratic Strategist might be getting just a little too optimistic:

Bottom line is that the nine seat pick-up needed for a veto-proof Senate majority is within reasonable range. Ironically, Dems probably wouldn't need it, because if we pick up nine Senate seats, we will likely win the presidency as well.

Now, I assume what they're really talking about is a "filibuster-proof" majority (veto-proof would take two-thirds, or 67 seats), but even that seems like a stretch. Still, always good to aim high, I suppose.

Kevin Drum 1:27 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (60)

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Comments

There's always the "Constitutional Option."

Posted by: jimBOB on November 17, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

If there were any justice in this world, by 2009 the Republicans in the Senate ought to only slightly outnumber the Whigs . . .

Posted by: rea on November 17, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

In 2008 the war in Iran will overshadow all this.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on November 17, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Even a net gain of 9 seats might be a little optimistic. Unless, of course, Dumbya insists on "staying the course", then, who knows?

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on November 17, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

(good - no cats)

Let's see where we are with Iraq in '08. Unless Democrats decide it's their turn to be corrupt, Iraq will be the only issue worth changing seats over.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on November 17, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

rea,

But there are still the Know Nothings - Oops, they are the Know Nothings.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 17, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, how about after the 2006 election we spend a little while focussed on ideas rather than immediately shifting to 2008 horserace predictions.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 17, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

The system is created in part to create balance, as we saw last week. I really doubt that even if there were 60 Dem senators that they would all agree on something enough to prevent cloture, especially if Joe is one of the 60.

Posted by: Jon on November 17, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

FILIBUSTER PROOF IN 2008?

Nonsense Kevin. When Democrats were not in power, they could just blame Bush first without offering any plans to fix any problems. But now that they're in power, they must take responsiblity for whatever happens next. Anything bad that happens in Iraq is just as much the Democrats fault as Bush's. If Democrats are saying bad things are happening in Iraq, they must offer a plan to fix it. When the American people see the Democrats are nothing more than empty suits with nothing to offer, the American people are going to vote for Republicans and conservatives in droves because they offer real solutions to real problems. Watch for this to happen in the next elections.

Posted by: Al on November 17, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, there's LOSER AL.

Hey, LOSER AL, you repukeliscum are losers.

And in 2008, you will lose even bigger.

Dems will control a MINIMUM of 55 seats in the Senate

Posted by: POed Lib on November 17, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Much too soon to be talking about this. It should be right up there with "What if I won the lottery" only not as much fun.

Posted by: tomeck on November 17, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

rea: "by 2009 the Republicans in the Senate ought to only slightly outnumber the Whigs..."

Trouble with a Two-Party System (tm) is that it is just as hard to kill one of the two as it is to start a third. That is, practically impossible.

Of course, that's probably what the Whigs thought.

Posted by: Grumpy on November 17, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: 1:42 PM
"...we spend a little while focussed on ideas..."

Spot on.

Posted by: Jon Karak on November 17, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with cmdicely and tomeck. Can we please get out of campaign mode and focus on the major policy issues that we face???

Posted by: Wonderin on November 17, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Al is a complete turd.

Posted by: Ace Franze on November 17, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Given the last part about the presidency in 2008, I think it safe to assume that they meant "veto-proof", but just didn't know that the bar is higher than 60 seats.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on November 17, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Al the parody troll wrote: "If Democrats are saying bad things are happening in Iraq, they must offer a plan to fix it."

Senator Russ Feingold and Rep. Dennis Kucinich have both offered plans to "fix" Iraq, by withdrawing all US troops by June of 2007. Republicans, and some other Democrats, may not like those plans, but it is false to imply that no plans have been offered.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on November 17, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sick of the mindless liberalism on this site, and I'm sick of you all saying I'm a fake.

I'm also frustrated that people are forging entries under my name and misrepresenting conservatism.

Goodbye all you democrat nitwits. I'm leaving for other web sites, where I will be appreciated.

Posted by: Al on November 17, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Never misunderestimate fake Al.

We should stop referring to any plans for Iraq, good or bad, as a "fix". Cain't be dun.

Posted by: not Al on November 17, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

"Goodbye all you democrat nitwits. I'm leaving for other web sites, where I will be appreciated."

Man, where exactly would that be anyway? What respectable website would appreciate Al? Maybe The Onion?

Posted by: Doug-E-Fresh on November 17, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

I think Al just admitted that everything that's gone wrong up to now in Iraq is Bush's fault.

Posted by: Ben Cochran on November 17, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

This talk of a veto-proof or filibuster-proof majority sounds vaguely similar to what the Republicans were saying just after the 2004 election. I don't think that worked out too well for them so maybe we should just knock it off.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano on November 17, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, LOSER AL, since you are touting the Repukeliscum "solutions".

Provide for us reality-based types 1 problem and 1 solution from the Repukeliscum.

In point of fact, ALL OF OUR PROBLEMS TODAY WERE CAUSED by the Repukeliscum Congress.

Posted by: POed Lib on November 17, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

9 seats is flipping insane. Not only do we have to hold seats in Louisiana (difficult) and South Dakota (only in trouble if Rounds runs), but to get to 9 gains we have to win in places like Oklahoma and Alabama and Idaho. Ain't gonna happen. I'd be pleased with any gains we get this year.

Remember, we ran the table on close races this election, but there were no seats up in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, or Louisiana. That helps. The next class has a lot more Corker-Ford and Pederson-Kyl races on the docket than Casey-Santorum or even Brown-DeWine.

Posted by: Brittain33 on November 17, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

I gotta agree with your spot on analysis.

These crack smokers probably thought they'd win six seats this time and take control of the Senate.

Well, I suppose they're entitled to their math and you're entitled to THE math.

Posted by: Lettuce on November 17, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, looking at the map, to get to 9 we'd have to succeed or replace the following senators in rough order of feasibility:

Norm Coleman (MN)
Wayne Allard (CO)
John Warner (VA, feasible only in retirement)
Gordon Smith (CO)
Susan Collins (ME)
John Sununu (NH)
Liddy Dole (NC)
Pete Domenici (NM)
and God, who could be ninth. Lindsey Graham (SC)? James Inhofe (OK)? Saxby Chambliss (GA)?
It doesn't matter, by now it should be clear that we are not going to be unseating this many senators.

Lamar Alexander, Jeff Sessions, Chuck Hagel, Larry Craig, John Cornyn, these are not people who are going to be fired by their red voters. They need to get deep into Conrad Burns territory and then some and I just don't see it.

Posted by: Brittain33 on November 17, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Lettuce, the crack-smokers this time around fully expected to have Senator Jim Pederson and Senator Jack Carter taking the oath of office next month, with Senator Harold Ford, Jr. winning by a big margin.

Posted by: Brittain33 on November 17, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote: "Hey, how about after the 2006 election we spend a little while focussed on ideas rather than immediately shifting to 2008 horserace predictions."

Very well. Let's focus on ideas. Here's an idea. I propose legislation to ban the Republican Party as an anti-American terrorist organization and make membership therein a capital crime.

After January 2009 when the Democrats have veto-proof majorities in both houses of Congress and a Democratic president sits in the White House, and Bush, Cheney et al are already on trial for treason, war crimes and crimes against humanity, this legislation will pass easily.

All Republicans serving in the Congress at that time will be given a one-time amnesty, an opportunity to renounce their membership in the Republican Party, and join the Democratic Party, or another party, or become independent unaffiliated office holders.

Then the Green Party and the Libertarian Party will compete with the Democrats in the 2010 mid-term elections.

America will be forever freed from the spectre of Republican fascism and anti-Americanism, and the two-party system will be effectively abolished and replaced with a multi-party system.

Posted by: Death To All Republicans on November 17, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm sick of the mindless liberalism on this site, and I'm sick of you all saying I'm a fake."

Hey, I said you were a turd.

Posted by: Ace Franze on November 17, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

There are many Als, but no Al is the Al.

I think we have not seen the last of him.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on November 17, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I still think a veto-proof Democratic Senate with a Democratic House and a Democratic White House would be a distinctly bad thing.

A better thing than Republican majority, but a bad thing nonetheless.

Posted by: Saam Barrager on November 17, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Agreed, Saam. One party rule most likely would not be centrist (as we have seen).

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on November 17, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Brittain33 on November 17, 2006 at 2:21 PM

Gordon Smith is the GOPer from the greatest state in the union which is Oregon. He's a goner.

Posted by: Mel on November 17, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

wishIsuz2 wrote: "One party rule most likely would not be centrist (as we have seen)."

I can think of a lot of reasons why "one party rule" would not be a good thing, but not being "centrist" isn't one of them.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on November 17, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Agreed, Saam. One party rule most likely would not be centrist (as we have seen).

Well, I don't mind not being "centrist" (although most of the Dems in Congress could be categorized as such), but it is a recipe for unchecked corruption, hubris and tyranny.

Posted by: shortstop on November 17, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop:

And also getting through Clinton's first budget without a single Republican vote.

But no arguments there. Lords know I vote Republican and/or Independent for officers of my machine Democratic county.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 17, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Still, always good to aim high, I suppose.

How about aiming just high enough to pass good legislation this term of Congress and letting the next election be about the voters rewarding the Dems for being good stewards of our political heritage.

Please let's not out republican the republicans.

Posted by: Keith G on November 17, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Based on the behaviour of the Bushites over the past few years, it is not hard to see that they are the major policy issue that we face. So, I agree, let's get down to fixing a policy that has been running loose without the benefit of legal, moral, or just about any other kind of oversite you can name. And let's change those policies back to ones of justice, rectitude, and Constitutionality at the earliest opportunity...which seems to be approaching come January...

Posted by: parrot on November 17, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

The "nuclear option" reduces the requirement a bit.

Which is why I always wanted the Dems to go ahead and filibuster. To have the Republicans do away with the rule.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on November 17, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

I've always been pro-filibuster. There have been misuses, certainly (some pretty awful ones -- that whole civil rights unpleasantness, for instance /snark), but it's a good mechanism for forcing compromise of one sort or another.

The filibuster ensures that things will not happen too quickly. In the scope of history, that's a good thing. The country needs time to catch up with ideas, and ideas are best implemented when they have devloped support (or when "their time has come.") So I don't think the Senate should consider ditching the filibuster just because the Democrats are in the majority.

(In any event, the nuclear option was always unconstitutional. If we had not taken the Senate, and Cheyney had threatened to nuke the filibuster by calling outside the Constitution, I had hoped Nancy Pelosi would state publicly that if the VP were to deliberately rule against the Constitution that she might consider impeachment -- but I digress....)

Anyway, nice to dream. Saxby Chambliss is up in 2008? What's Max Cleland up to these days? Think he might want a rematch?

Posted by: zmulls on November 17, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Yes. Why don't we do the Republicans a favor and choose the "Constitutional Option" that they're so fond of?

Posted by: keptsimple on November 17, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

It all depends on who retires. The Democrats are not going to unseat Warner, Domenici, etc, which means that their seats only become potential pickups if they retire.

Democrats should be able to pick up Minnesota and Colorado, as both trended Democratic this year, and they'll have a shot at Gordon Smith in Oregon if they come up with a good candidate. However, they will also have to hold Landrieu's seat in Louisiana, which will be difficult given the migration of African-American voters out of Louisiana after hurricane Katrina and Landrieu's generally uninspring performance.

The interesting seats to watch will be New Hampshire and Maine. Olympia Snowe got handily reelected this year in Maine, and both Collins and Sununu are just as popular despite the fact that their states are trending Democratic. On the other hand, Lincoln Chafee was also a popular moderate but got his hat handed to him by Whitehouse.

If I was a betting man right now, I'd say a one seat Democratic pickup (pick up MN and CO, lose LA), since the three vulnerable moderate Republicans (Collins, Sununu, Smith) will now all be able to oppose Bush with impunity. However, if Warner or Domenici retire, I think the Democrats will pick up one of those two seats.

Posted by: mfw13 on November 17, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Al is a complete turd.
Posted by: Ace Franze on November 17, 2006 at 1:53 PM

Well met, Ace! I am increasingly suspicious that "Al" is a little piece of fiction created by Kevin to keep the pot stirred around here. I mean, who could really be that clueless? Be that as it may, "Al" has forgotten the new principle firmly established over the last 12 years: For the party in power, every bad thing is the fault of the last president of the other party. So long as Democrats maintain dominance, everything is W's fault.

Posted by: chasmrich on November 17, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Gahh ... remember after '04 and the Ohio bitterness, when Bush said he had "political capital" and he was going to "use it?" And all the Rove-is-invincible palaver, with that analysis on "value voters" that turned out to be based on a badly-worded question? And all the social conservatives who came out to Save Marriage(tm)?

Democrats were so whupped we didn't think we'd *ever* win another national majority. JFK had an election handed to him on a silver platter because he was Not Howard Dean(tm), and he *completely* blew it. We didn't have our act together on war and social issues. And we were bickering like mad -- the netroots screaming for the heads of the DLCers who concocted yet another idiotically cautious, losing Republican Lite strategy. We were a fucking basket case of a national party. We were practically begining to evidence Stockholm Syndrome.

And so we definitively sweep a midterm and all of a sudden Kevin puts up a thread about a *veto-proof* Senate? What ... the thrill of a simple majority is gone already?

Let's freakin' chill on this until the time is just a tad more ripe and see what this damn Congress can do in its first months before we start provoking 9-11 calls to the Hubris Police(tm).

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 17, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently there was a real Al a year or two ago. He died of prostate cancer. All Als since then have been either parodies or immitators. How many? Who nows.

Posted by: Al's Hammer on November 17, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

--->Let's freakin' chill on this until the time is just a tad more ripe and see what this damn Congress can do in its first months before we start provoking 9-11 calls to the Hubris Police(tm).

Word, on that.

Come on! They're not even SWORN IN yet!

Posted by: mercury_man_242 on November 17, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Always been hard to imagine the uber-Al (the one who's always near the top of the thread with his RSS feed) being a parody, only because he links to so many wingnut sites nearly every post. ALWAYS CLICK THE LINK.

You don't really need to go to all that trouble to mock the talking points -- but lords know I've been wrong before about this sort of stuff.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 17, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

Come on! They're not even SWORN IN yet!

Yes, this twittering and nattering is really getting insane.

Come on guys go out on a date or something.

We got a long way yet to go.

Posted by: Keith G on November 17, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G,

Word.

mm242

Posted by: mercury_man_242 on November 17, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

The most effective way to approach elections is to have a short list of targets with activists pushing to add targets to the list.

Dems may have another solid year. GOP is outa steam in many ways.

Here's the dream scenario for Dems.

Lots of Republicans retire:

Wayne Allard (CO)
Thad Cochran (MS)
Liddy Dole (NC)
Pete Domenici (NM)
Chuck Hagel (NE)
Jim Inhofe (OK)
Pat Roberts (KS)
John Warner (VA)

Picture 6-8 of the previous retiring. Dems could win 5-6 of these seats.

Ted Stevens (AK) could very well die campaigning since he's refusing to retire at 85.

Norm Coleman (MN)
Gordon Smith (OR)
John Sununu (NH)

All three of these could get beaten in a strong year for Dems.

And I wouldn't rule out something happening that puts one of the four into play: Saxby Chambliss (GA), John Cornyn (TX), Mitch McConnell (KY) and Jeff Sessions (AL).

So winning nine seats is possible. Obviously 3-5 is more probable.

But you can see why jumping the fence is not a good option for Lieberman. He'll lose his invites to the Sunday morning shows and he'll be a hated member of the minority.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on November 17, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Scratch Domenici as a retirement possibility. He's running. He'd be hard to beat.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on November 17, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1 wrote: ... but lords know I've been wrong before about this sort of stuff.

Fracking A.

Posted by: Tom Servo on November 17, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

An aggressive strategy to maximize democratic gains in 2008 would be to throw as much popular legislation at bush as possible that democrats know he will veto just make shit up, like making private accounts illegal for social security, like passing tax increases for the very wealthiest, like passing windfall profit taxes on oil companies But of course if democrats were to do that wouldnt be like democrats playing politics with the peoples business theyd be republicans.
.

Posted by: zoot on November 17, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

"Goodbye all you democrat nitwits. I'm leaving for other web sites, where I will be appreciated."

God DOES answer prayers!

(It must be that he misses his mommy. Al's Mommy hasn't posted in a couple of days. . .)

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on November 17, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

actually, the "real" Al continues to comment over at matthew yglesias' place. while a conservative, he's neither an idiot nor a troll....

Posted by: howard on November 17, 2006 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Brittain33, when I walked past them smoking their crack they were discussing how difficult taking the House was going to be.

This was in South Carolina, during one of Felix Macaca's early campaign stops on the road to 2008.

Posted by: Lettuce on November 17, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

--->actually, the "real" Al continues to comment over at matthew yglesias' place. while a conservative, he's neither an idiot nor a troll....

Here you go, Melvins. Here's a free one.

KDrum does Al when he goes and reads MYglesias. MYglesias does Al when he goes and reads KDrum. That's been going on for years, Melvins, and if you looked at how often they link to each other, you'd know that.

Not a bright group here, is it? Huh?

mm242

Posted by: mercury_man_242 on November 18, 2006 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

mm242:

I thought you just asked what constituted "troll behavior" on another thread?

You know ... like some innocent young coder fresh from MoveOn election work.

Looks like you don't need too much help sussing things out after all, huh.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 18, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

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