Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 5, 2010

AND THEN THERE WERE 53.... There were two unresolved U.S. Senate races going into yesterday, but last night, the close contest in the state of Washington was called in the Democrats' favor.

Senator Patty Murray of Washington State has won a fourth term, narrowly defeating her Republican challenger Dino Rossi, who conceded Thursday afternoon.

Her victory brings the number of Democratic seats in the Senate to 53, and reinforces a trend in which Democrats on the East and West Coasts were able to fight off Republican challengers while those in the South and Midwest were defeated. [...]

He conceded after Ms. Murray's lead widened with the latest vote counts from King County, home of Seattle and a trove of Democratic votes. Both The Associated Press and The Seattle Times called the race Thursday afternoon for Ms. Murray.

The outcome of the race in Alaska is still unclear, though Sen. Lisa Murkowski appears to have won, but the result won't affect the partisan makeup of the next Senate -- the remaining candidates are both Republicans.

As such, we now know that the next Senate will have a 53 to 47 Democratic majority (though two members of the Democratic caucus are independents). Democrats have now won a Senate majority for three consecutive cycles, the first time that's happened since 1992. Oddly enough, Mitch McConnell neglected to mention this yesterday when demanding that everyone respect his authority.

Also note, while Republicans defeated a whopping 49 House Democratic incumbents this week, the grand total of Senate Democratic incumbents who were defeated this week was two: Blanche Lincoln and Russ Feingold.

It's speculative, of course, but I suspect if you'd told Democratic leaders a few months ago that they would have a 53-47 majority next year, they'd not only have been surprised, they'd probably have been rather giddy.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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Can we stop pretending Lieberman is part of the Democratic caucus, please? Thanks.

Posted by: tommybones on November 5, 2010 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

With Nelson and Lieberman it's really 51 to 50. They're really Republicans. Now would be a good time to kick them to the curb.

Posted by: Bobsled on November 5, 2010 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

NOW is the time for all good Democrats to come to the aid of their philosophy.

Meaning. as Ben FRANKLIN said, "We must hang together or we shall certainly hang separately."


JUST SAY YES to tax increases for the wealthy. 

Republicans destroyed the economy by lax financial regulation coupled with tax cuts for the wealthy which forced great deficits upon the country.  Now they want to give the rich even more money.

 The rich have had a free ride since Reagan when the highest tax rates were cut from 70% to 35%.  Now the country and the economy are in trouble.  It is time the rich pay their fair share.

There is no reason to give Paris Hilton more Gucci handbags, music industry execs another Mercedes Benz, or Donald Trump additional Rolex watches when people are unemployed, losing their houses, and cannot afford college or health insurance.

Please, tell your elected officials you not only oppose the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, but would like to see the top rate restored to the pre-Reagan level. The alternative is a continued reliance on selling goods and services to the über rich, a weak strategy at best - after all one needs only so much Tiffany jewelry.


IF we hang together on this, we will succeed.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on November 5, 2010 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

The NFP number is in and it's ...

... +151,000! Some pretty good news, suggesting that the recovery may finally be under way -

- just in time for Boehner & co to take credit.

Posted by: Basilsic on November 5, 2010 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

No. They would have been giddy if they kept 55. Losing Wisconsin and Illinois sucks. North Dakota, Arkansas, and Indiana were write-offs from the start. Losing Pennsylvania and not flipping New Hampshire were just the breaks in a bad year.

Posted by: Tim H on November 5, 2010 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

Remember, the Republicans pushed Bush's policies -- the ones that helped lead to the current Republican Recession -- through the Senate when the split was 50 - 50. I'm tired of the Democrats' excuses.

Dems, you know what needs to be done. So pull up your big girl panties and get to work!

Posted by: SteveT on November 5, 2010 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

Pwned? Not so much when the Prez is already saying "Let's make a deal"! ..like that gave us the public option or something... So the Senate Majority huh? What are you going to do with that? More of the same bs? Yeah, I thought so.

"Done" with America? Hmmm. Isn't it bad enough we have to endure the Orange assed Neo-clown in the House of Cards??!

Posted by: Trollop on November 5, 2010 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

The Right sticks together because their leadership makes sure there are consequences for going against the party. Reid should have threatened to remove Lieberman, Nelson, Landau, et al from their committee seats. And if that didn't work, actually do it.
How many wayward Dems would we have then?

Posted by: Bobsled on November 5, 2010 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

^^Martin Landau was a US Senator? Congresswoman Barbara Bain?? If only. Sorry folks, the Trollop has angry PESD today..

Posted by: Troll-Oped on November 5, 2010 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

the grand total of Senate Democratic incumbents who were defeated this week was two: Blanche Lincoln and Russ Feingold.

And I'm sad about Feingold's loss. He's one of the good guys.

As for Lincoln, good riddance. Perhaps Democrats will recognize that this "Blue Dog" nonsense concedes far too much to Republicans, and instead run candidates that support the Democratic agenda.

Sure, the Republicans will portray them as liberals -- but they do the same thing to Blue Dogs, and with success. Perhaps it's time the Democrats learn some lessons and point out that it's the Republicans, in thrall to the neo-Bircher Tea Party, that's crazy and out of touch.

Posted by: Gregory on November 5, 2010 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

Lieberman is a pretty consistent Democratic vote on domestic policy and it would be in the best interest of the Demoratic caucus to keep him. The voters of Connecticut will presumably deal with him in 2012. The people who want to pitch various politicians out of their party are those without a particular knowledge of modern politics or even older politics as "politics makes strange bedfellows."

Posted by: BookGuy on November 5, 2010 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

The Senate's official job is now to block legislation from the House. The remaining Democrats in the Senate can receive whatever remedial training they need by remembering the last two years.

Posted by: max on November 5, 2010 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

Should Lisa M prevail, there will two sighs of relief. One from Big Oil and the other from those who love our constitution for the loss by Miller.

Posted by: berttheclock on November 5, 2010 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

Except two of those 53 are Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson.

And pay attention here. You think the sudden howling about "how much it is costing for Obama to go to India is some coincidence?'


What you are seeing is just the first salvo in a carefully orchestrated plan by the GOP to continually attack the White House with faux controversies to keep them off balance and make their lives more of a living hell than they already are.

Add to it vital "investigations" into everything from global warming to the New Black Panthers and the President will be doing nothing but reacting. Meanwhile, David Broder will put the cherry on it all by continually faulting the White House for for failure to seek common ground.

Posted by: dweb on November 5, 2010 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

This pending grid lock in DC is akin to the Good News, Bad News of Kitz winning the Governor's race in Oregon. Great that Kitz won, but, bad that the RepuGs have stormed back in the House and Senate will be razor thin for the Democrats.

Reading various papers from California to the Canadian border, there is a common theme of what programs will be cut in each state in 2011 even with Democratic leadership.

Posted by: berttheclock on November 5, 2010 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

er, Troll-Oped, aren't you forgetting "President Greg Morris"?

Posted by: berttheclock on November 5, 2010 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

"...a trend in which Democrats on the East and West Coasts were able to fight off Republican challengers while those in the South and Midwest were defeated. [...]"

I live in St. Louis and I can tell you that many voters in the suburbs and rural areas are actually stupid -no way of sugar coating it.

Posted by: Brian on November 5, 2010 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

"Martin Landau was a US Senator?"

I think he was forced to resign after that little incident of the waste storage facility going critical on the dark side of the moon...

Posted by: Brian on November 5, 2010 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. B, as you do with the "former half term governor", you might start prefacing any reference to McConnell with "Minority Leader". It's a clarification that's worth noting.

Posted by: burro on November 5, 2010 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Personally, I am looking forward to the next six months of Lisa Murkowski and Joe Miller duking it out in the courts. And of course, no seating for either until the last typo is fully resolve. Not that it will do the Democrats much good, but maybe it will restrain Joe L. and Ben N. a bit from openly cavorting with Mitch McC.

Posted by: eserwe on November 5, 2010 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

Burro, I was about to say the same thing. It needs to be perfectly clear that Republicans are the minority party. And the Minority party does not set the agenda. You'd think the democrats might have learned something from the difficulty they had moving forward with a 59-41 majority, that at least they do not cede the agenda to Minority Leader (and embodiment of evil) Mitch McConnell.

Posted by: short fuse on November 5, 2010 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

And you know what is icing on the Democratic cake?

We got rid of Blanche Lincoln!!! That's worth a victory dance right there.

Posted by: kindness on November 5, 2010 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

The bigger the Democratic Senate majority, the harder it is for the bought-and-paid-for corporate stooge Democratic Senators to blame their Republican colleagues for crushing urgently needed legislation.

But they will no doubt rise to the challenge.

That's what they get paid the big bucks for, after all.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on November 5, 2010 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

A lot of us here in Washington State are greatly relieved that Patty Murray won. Dino Rossi is a typical Republican candidate: a corporate tool who has no real interest in the policies or issues that actually matter to people. He's the warm body that the Washington GOP throws into every race.

An interesting tidbit about the Murray-Rossi race is that Rossi tried hard to run in the center as a fiscal conservative out to stop the "runaway spending train" of Nancy Pelosi, but in the last two weeks of the campaign, he put up thousands of campaign signs throughout King County (Seattle and its suburbs) that had his name and the phrase "Take Our County Back 2010." That attempt at tea party appeal no doubt backfired as a lot of moderates in this area are turned off by teabagger rhetoric and racist innuendo about President Obama. The Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove also poured millions into Rossi's race (I got at least 6 apocalyptic robocalls and 5 crazy mailers a day from American Crossroads), and I think the carpet bombing may also have hurt Rossi in King County and the other counties on the western side of the state. People in western Washington pride themselves on civility and politeness -- jacked-up, loony teabagger talk doesn't play well here.

Posted by: ameshall on November 5, 2010 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK



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