Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 2, 2010

CORNYN OFFERS WELCOME MAT FOR PARTY-SWITCHERS.... Most prognosticators believe Republicans will pick up a whole lot of U.S. Senate seats today, but not the 10 they need to claim a majority. That doesn't mean it won't happen, but not even GOP leaders seem to think it's possible.

But if Republicans end up with a caucus of 48 or 49 members, don't be too surprised if they start looking for party-switchers across the aisle. Indeed, some of this has already started.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said Senate Republicans would "welcome" any Democrats who wish to switch parties and caucus with the GOP.

Cornyn, the head of Senate Republicans' campaign efforts, floated the possibility that the GOP might target Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.), an Independent who caucuses with Democrats, or another Democratic senator if Republicans come close to winning a majority but fall short.

"I think he votes like a Republican on those areas, and we would certainly welcome him or any other Democrat who wants to switch sides of the aisle and caucus with us," Cornyn said of Lieberman during an Election Day appearance on Fox News.

Other potential targets, according to the report from The Hill, are Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), or perhaps West Virginia's Joe Manchin (D), should he win today.

It's hard to guess what members like these might do, though I'd note that Ben Nelson, as recently as August, said he's not leaving the Democratic Party. Lieberman hasn't said much on the subject, and as far as I can tell, Pryor and Manchin haven't even been asked.

That said, it's probably worth keeping an eye on, especially if Cornyn & Co. get close enough to a majority to make this kind of outreach wildly important.

And just as a refresher, we talked a month ago about a similar scheme that's been in the works among House Republicans, but that would only be relevant if the GOP failed to get a net gain of 39 seats today, and few observers, if any, think they'll come up short.

Steve Benen 1:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

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Comments

What was the name of that Rep down South who switched from D to R? All the congressional Ds really ought to remember him.

"Yeah, come over to our side! Then next election, we'll vilify you anyway and primary you away!"

Posted by: Shade Tail on November 2, 2010 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

"Cornyn, the head of Senate Republicans' campaign efforts, floated the possibility that the GOP might target Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.), an Independent who caucuses with Democrats, or another Democratic senator if Republicans come close to winning a majority but fall short."

Sure, but you have to attack Iran first.

Posted by: Bob on November 2, 2010 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

right... Sure they will switch... If they want to be on the side of the corporations and idle rich remember The Republicans are destroying the middle class by anti-union activity and tax cuts for the wealthy.  IT is time the rich pay their fair share.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on November 2, 2010 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Lieberman has been fueled primarily by snittish bitterness since 2006, and he knows he's unelectable in 2012. It seems very likely that he'll spend his last two years being as big an asshole as humanly possible to the Dems who refused to properly appreciate his very special gifts.

Posted by: shortstop on November 2, 2010 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

...especially because switching to the GOP will give him added cred in his next career, insurance and pharma lobbyist.

Posted by: shortstop on November 2, 2010 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK
What was the name of that Rep down South who switched from D to R? All the congressional Ds really ought to remember him.

That was Richard Shelby of Alabama who switched from D to R the day after the 1994 elections.

Posted by: "Fair and Balanced" Dave on November 2, 2010 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

I think what happened to Arlen Specter might discourage party switchers. There'd be some Republican who'd primary the switcher, and that Republican would be likely to win.
Party loyalists don't like traitors, even the ones who defect to their side. Shelby switched when many Alabama voters were switching to straight Republican voters, so he got away with it. That was a long time ago.

Posted by: JMG on November 2, 2010 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Correction.

Obstruction mat.

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 2, 2010 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

If I were a voter in West Virginia and voted for Manchin because he was a Democrat I would be very annoyed.

Posted by: John on November 2, 2010 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, come on, folks! Democrats have integrity; wouldn't even THINK of switching sides. . .for less than a million dollars and some senority.

Posted by: DAY on November 2, 2010 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, I think they will get the 10 they need. This is going to be a huge wave, the enthusiasm gap will spell doom for some holding a lead.

Posted by: Redflag on November 2, 2010 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Any Senator that switches to the Republic party ought to have his/her head examined. If it is empty then no harm, no foul.

Posted by: gridlock on November 2, 2010 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

When the Dimocrats had 60 votes, briefly, Liebershit became the most powerful man in the Senate. If the dim hold 51 or 50 votes he will once again become powerful, and he may simply not care since he's a lame duck in Connecticut. The shenanigans won't be over by tomorrow morning, if as everyone suspect, the Senate will be close.

No one is talking about the Dims talking a few, and there are only a few, moderate Rethugs into jumping ship. Why not? Doesn't it work both ways if the Rethugs only get a bare majority in the House?

Oh, I forgot. The Dims don't do that. That would be politics. They only play nice.

Posted by: rrk1 on November 2, 2010 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Looks like Harry Reid is gone no matter what happens with the Senate. Polls turn against in the last couple of days and has moved outside the margin of error.

Posted by: Redflag on November 2, 2010 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

It's hard to guess what members like these might do

It's not hard at all. They start taking bids.

I think the party switcher Shade Tail meant was Rep Parker Griffith, who lost in the primary this year. Shelby has done very well for himself by switching parties.

Posted by: martin on November 2, 2010 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

I fully expect Joe L. to try to start a bidding war for his loyalty. I think he should have been rejected by the Dem caucus two years ago. It made the Dems look weak and foolish, gave Lieberman power he didn't deserve and it did nothing to advance their agenda. (Thank you Harry Reid!)

Posted by: tomb on November 2, 2010 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Bye Joe, don't let the door hit you in the face!

Posted by: T-rollop on November 2, 2010 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Joe will leave in a heartbeat.

Posted by: Dems on November 2, 2010 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Looks like Harry Reid is gone no matter what happens with the Senate.

Putting a stake through Reid's cowardly heart is one of the few bright spots in this election (especially if the Democrats otherwise retain control of the Senate).

Posted by: Just Dropping By on November 2, 2010 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

"and it did nothing to advance their agenda. (Thank you Harry Reid!)"

Except for being the 60th vote to pass HCR against
a unified GOP filibuster effort. Also voted FOR Lilly Ledbetter Act and Stimulus (on the Sabbath).

So still far better than a GOP vote on those.

Posted by: catclub on November 2, 2010 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting how they now think they'll only need 51 votes to get anything done. What happened to that 60-vote super majority that they kept insisting on?

Posted by: 3reddogs on November 2, 2010 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK
"...we would certainly welcome him or any other Democrat who wants to switch sides of the aisle and caucus with us," Cornyn said

Ha Ha, Liebershmuck Nelson & those other names
would be Teabagged right out at the first primary.
Those demented elephants never forget.
It's like some kind of South Rising Again
zombie
movie dream/nightmare
and ya can't wake up...

I gotta Get Outta Here
I gotta Get Outta Here

Posted by: cwolf on November 2, 2010 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

... what about the reverse? Any thoughts of Democrats going after, say, the Maine Sisters (who have to know that they're the next on the Teabagging Hit List) or someone else?

Posted by: EdgewaterJoe on November 2, 2010 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

"What happened to that 60-vote super majority that they kept insisting on?"

The Dems will never stick to that.

Posted by: Get Real on November 2, 2010 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter John Cornyn:

"Hey Democrats, we've spent the last two years comparing you to every mass-murderer and despot in history so come join us."

Posted by: "Fair and Balanced" Dave on November 2, 2010 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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