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November 8, 2006

Tester wins in Montana
Posted by Patrick at 02:00 PM * 64 comments

Holy Toledo, if Webb survives the Virginia recount (and signs are that he will), we’ll actually take the Senate as well. I wouldn’t have bet lunch money on that, even as late as 10 PM last night.

Indeed, my forecast during the last several days before the election was Democrats up 3 in the Senate and 20 in the House. This was obviously far too pessimistic, but I could barely bring myself to believe we’d win anything.

Comments on Tester wins in Montana:
#1 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 02:11 PM:

Yes!! Burns is a corrupt asshat, and now he's a corrupt asshat loser.

If Webb holds on, we don't need Joe Lieberman. Bernie Sanders will caucus with the Democrats.

Bye, bye, Donnie. Here's your hat.

It's a good, good, good, good day.

#2 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 02:12 PM:

Just heard something on Minnesota Public Radio about the Democrats taking the Senate -- am off to look for confirmation. Could it be?

#3 ::: Eve ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 02:20 PM:

I have mixed feelings about this one.

On one hand, yay Senate!

On the other hand, it was kinda neat that there was a senator called Mr Burns.

*rubs hands in deliciously evil manner*

#4 ::: retterson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 02:25 PM:

What am I missing?

Here's what I saw as the latest Senate tally
Rep = 49
Dems = 48
Ind = 2
Undecided = 1

Whatever way the Virginia race goes, the Dems are still dependent on the two Independent Senators to get stuff done.

Seems to me that the Independents suddenly got a Power Boost.

#5 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 02:27 PM:

Webb is still ahead in VA - we might actually get that seat too!

I also saw a report that Limbaugh is having a meltdown himself. Maybe it's real, and maybe he'll be shoved into the dustbin of history this week.

#6 ::: Mac ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 02:30 PM:

Talked to my Montana friends this morning--they were downright giddy.

I'm a little giddy, my own self.

#7 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 02:32 PM:

I think it would take more than the Dustbin of History to contain Limbaugh's ego, even if partially deflated.

The Dumpster of History, at least.

#8 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 02:44 PM:

"Whatever way the Virginia race goes, the Dems are still dependent on the two Independent Senators to get stuff done. ...Seems to me that the Independents suddenly got a Power Boost.

Well, Leiberman could be a problem, but for the moment he's pretty much locked himself into caucusing with the Democrats, having so prominently promised to do so. Sanders is no problem at all; he's been an independent Congressman caucusing with the Democrats for the last twelve years, and there's absolutely no reason to believe he'll stop now that he's in the Senate.

#9 ::: Cynthia Gonsalves ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 02:48 PM:

I don't trust Lieberman at all, and if the D's in the Senate have any smarts, they'll be very wary of him. I hope Webb pulls it out.

#10 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 02:50 PM:

Joe L has very little respect for promises, otherwise he'd have not been on the ballot as his own party yesterday. He still has to account for all that petty cash, too. (The betting is that that money went to pay his 'volunteers', which is why it isn't properly recorded.)

They're expecting Doolittle (CA-corruption) to be indicted in the next month or so, which would result in a special election. Charlie Brown is waiting in the wings.

#11 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 02:53 PM:

retterson at #4, I think you are right. With the two independents and Webb, the Democrats will have 51.

Patrick, I believe that Lieberman will caucus with the Democrats, but I also believe he will exact a price. I wonder which committee he wants...

#12 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 02:53 PM:

We don't get the Senate. Stop counting Joe Lieberman as a Democrat. He defeated a Democrat. The Senate is 48+1/48+ Holy Joe, and Cheney will break the tie.

Pretending to have the majority puts the entire Democratic Caucus at the beck and call of Joe Lieberman. If they don't do exactly what he wants, he flips and they lose the Majority.

The right answer is to burn him now, tell him he isn't getting a single committee seat, certainly not a chair, and he can go to hell. If he plays ball for two years, maybe they'll let him back into the caucus. Otherwise, go be a Republican, and while you're at it, fuck off and die.

Accept losing the majority, because the Democrats don't have the majority. Joe Lieberman is the reason the Democrats don't have 50+1, and doing anything that rewards that is foolish at best.

The only thing to do is to defang the threat and show the caucus that what Lieberman did is unacceptable. Burn him hard, and accept that you're in the minority. Make life hell on the GOP for two years, and in 2008, when you have 12 D and 24 R seats up, that's when you take a real majority.

#13 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 02:53 PM:

Patrick and others who think Lieberman has "locked himself into" caucusing Dem:

Excuse me, you are incorrect. Is anyone listening to what Lieberman has actually been saying (not that his word is worth much)? Lieberman had so pledged a few months ago, but lately he has been hedging on that, stating that he would caucus with whoever recognizes his seniority. So much for principles - that sounds like the opening lines of blackmail to me. His victory speech extended no hand to the Dems (remember, we voted wrong by his standards) and did include lines about how he expects to work well with both parties and that this race was a declaration of his independence from partisanship.

I certainly hope you're right that he will caucus with the Dems, but I would not consider it even remotely a sure thing.

I'm just glad he didn't cost us the House, though he may well have cost us one or two seats. Fortunately, we have them to spare now. But he has spent the last few weeks campaigning hard for Republicans along with himself. I don't trust him one bit.

But then, I didn't before, either.

#14 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 02:56 PM:

Erik:

In my dreams. Do you really think the Dems will have the guts to do this?

#15 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 02:56 PM:

If the Dems win VA, I see Lieberman putting Joemenutmâ„¢ on the market to the highest bidder - minimum bid a committee chair.

Sanders will caucus with the Dems. No worries on that front.

I do note with some amusement that the presence of two (I)s in the winners column has really confused some news orgs, who now seem to think the Senate has more than 100 members. (See retterson @ 4, undoubtedly taken from CNN)

#16 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 03:01 PM:

Susan, I think you're right -- Lieberman's a blackmailer. On the other hand, he got a lot of Democrats to vote for him and his constituents are going to be pretty pissed if he starts voting Republican. I hate, hate, hate it that he gets to be the swing vote. Erik, I'm thinking hard about what you said. It has a nice hard-nosed ftup-you sort of ring to it...

#17 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 03:01 PM:

I say a few of us should dress up like old-movie mobsters and take Joe for a ride.

#18 ::: Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 03:08 PM:

The big advantage to having the majority is the majority party gets to set the agenda. This is probably more important than just having more votes. There are a lot of votes in the senate that don't go strictly by party line anyway.

If VA goes to the Democrats and Joe caucuses with the Republicans, Republicans will control the committees.

#19 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 03:17 PM:

I've been listening very carefully to what Lieberman has been saying, and I don't trust the man for a second.

I repeat, I think he's locked in to caucusing with the Democrats for the moment. Which is to say, assuming Webb's win holds, Leiberman will vote for the Democratic caucus's organizing resolution, making Harry Reid into Majority Leader and various Democratic senators into committee chairs. He will then vote the Administration's way on bill after bill. In so doing he will get tons more for himself, and be a much more effective tool of the Bush cabal, than he would be if he actually switched parties.

Remember, the Bush people care more about getting their way than they do about the political interests of Republican senators. Those 49 GOP members in the Senate have political interests than run long past January 20, 2009; George W. Bush doesn't, and he doesn't care about their future careers. It's entirely easy to believe that GWB would be happiest with Joe Leiberman as a nominal Democrat.

I'm not wedded to this analysis, and I won't fall off my chair if I'm wrong, but from here this looks like the maximum-yield strategy from Holy Joe's point of view, and a pretty decent (albeit, as usual, sociopathic) strategy from GWB's POV as well. I'm not for a moment postulating that Leiberman has any honesty or integrity whatsoever.

#20 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 03:18 PM:

Alan @18 sez: "There are a lot of votes in the senate that don't go strictly by party line anyway."

That's less true today than it was yesterday. Several of the "moderate" Republicans went down; what remains are the more ideological ones.

#21 ::: Miki Garrison ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 03:23 PM:

Driving in this morning, I heard something on the radio about Lieberman that pushed my suspicions and distrust up to a higher level than I thought possible.

Apparently, the Bush administration may be considering offering Lieberman a federal appointment. If he takes it, the (Republican) governor can appoint anyone they want to the seat.

#22 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 03:33 PM:

I'm not for a moment postulating that Leiberman has any honesty or integrity whatsoever.

Maybe he should report it stolen.

#23 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 03:55 PM:

Lizzy L.:
>Lieberman's a blackmailer.

Is he also a well-poisoner? You're labeling him based on suspicions of potential future actions.

If you look at his voting record, aside from the Iraq war, his votes have been solidly left-liberal. On abortion, guns, business, civil rights, animal rights, immigration, labor, pretty much anything you can name, he has been highly-rated by liberal vote-trackers, and low-rated by conservative vote-trackers.

For having the gall to actually be independent of the party on the War, and maybe curry favor with the Royal Administration, some commenters want to (politically) burn him, beat him up, call him names, etc.

For the Democrats to throw away a solidly liberal pro-party vote would be stupid. I don't think Pelosi and Co. are stupid.

#24 ::: Byrd ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 03:58 PM:

This Montanan living in the East is also mightily pleased that Tester won as are my parents who still live there. Some of the news reports seem to be a little unsure of it and how to describe him. I saw one about Tester being a seven fingered grain farmer. (His left hand was hurt long ago in an accident in his families butcher shop). He's also a college graduate, was a music teacher in the local schools and was president of the Montana state senate. I think the family farm has been going for about 4 generations.

#25 ::: Byrd ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 04:02 PM:

Oh yes, and as a side note, Tester is an Organic farmer, too.

One of the deciding factors seems to have been the strong vote for Tester or against Burns on the various reservations. Burns tried to donate money to the tribes after it came out that he had a link to Abramoff. The tribal leaders rejected the money saying it was dirty. I don't think they were too keen on what looked like an attempt to buy them.

#26 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 04:04 PM:

My read of the situation is that Harry Reid should tell Joe Leiberman that he is not a member of the Democratic Party and is welcome to vote however he wishes.

Joe Leiberman has tremendous value to the Republicans if he is a Democrat. He has no special value if he is a Republican--he's just more of the crowd. A one-seat majority in the Senate is barely better than no majority at all, thanks to the filibuster, and the Democrats have the House to use to issue subpoenas. Preserving that majority by kowtowing to Lieberman is toxic.

Reid should then make it clear to Chuck Hegel, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins that the Democratic party is open to all, that seniority will be honored, and that it's time to bring democracy back into the Senate.

Won't happen, of course.

#27 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 04:05 PM:

For defanging Joe: Find out where that missing money went. If ethics charges are a real possibility, the Republicans won't take him. The Democrats can allow him to caucus with them, and make a chairmanship conditional on good behavior. Any chair he is given should be policy-oriented, not investigatorial. Make sure that the equivalent committee in the House is chaired by a strong investigator who can keep an eye on Joe.

Much as I like the idea of toppling Joe, I think a strategy of containment, sanctions and inspections would be more practical and effective.

#28 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 04:18 PM:

AP: "...Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., told fellow Republican lawmakers on Wednesday he does not intend to run for minority leader when Democrats take control of the House in January, officials said..."

#29 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 04:19 PM:

I predicted a probable Democratic win in 2006, but I scarcely dared hope for such a comprehensive one. I'm still stunned--reason said radical authoritarianism was losing credibility, but all around me there were people who believed and I doubted. And now reason is silent; we are finally at the turning point I saw long ago, where we begin to choose our path through the new world. There are many choices before us, as individuals, a nation, and a world. And I've not the least idea of what will be offered, or which we will make. The USA has rejected reactionary authoritarianism, to be sure, though there is yet more rejecting to be done. But what will we embrace in its stead?

#30 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 04:28 PM:

Do you really think the Dems will have the guts to do this?

Certainly not. The right time for this to have been done was the day Holy Joe announced he was running against a Democrat.

Reid's too fixated on being the Majority Leader to be a Democrat. He'll do just about anything to keep Joe in the Caucus, so the horrible price one pays for betraying the party will be your pick of committee assignments.

If Reid was focused on the party, rather than himself, he would have done this months ago. Now, it's a disaster -- he's dependent on a Bush lackey for his position in the Senate.

I'm just hoping Pelosi remembers the evil conference tricks, because that's the only way Democrats will get to advance legislation. Anything even remotely Anti-Shrub won't pass.

And, I'll say it again. Speaker Pelosi is wrong. Majority Leader Pelosi is correct, get someone who can do the dance in front of the camera for the Speakership. Pelosi has gifts, but the press isn't one of them.

(This was a GOP mistake -- when the very competent Livingston was tripped up, they put up that oaf Hastert. They knew better than that, but the important thing was to keep Delay away from the cameras.)


#31 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 04:28 PM:

Jon Baker at 23: For having the gall to actually be independent of the party on the War, and maybe curry favor with the Royal Administration, some commenters want to (politically) burn him, beat him up, call him names, etc.

You betcha, dude. I don't want to beat him up, but I do want him to go away. I have a friend currently in Iraq. One of my students came back from Iraq with a permanently damaged back, no hearing in one ear, and two shattered ankles. He's constantly in pain. He's 25 years old and he's going to be on disability for the rest of his life. I'm all for independence, but sometimes independence is just another word for egotism. Lieberman's support for the war is not forgivable in my book.

#32 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 04:29 PM:

Jon in #23: Joe's liberal record is deceptive. For example, he voted against confirming Alito, but only after opposing a filibuster which was the only practical way Alito's nomination could have been stopped. Joe's good NARAL record is deceptive because NARAL leaves out the most important votes, otherwise they would have to kiss off the last of their Republican so-called allies. That's just the first category in his supposedly liberal voting record.

Another factor which was decisive in uniting Democrats against Joe was his disloyalty to his fellow Democrats, and his sucking up to Bush and the Republicans. Joe is not just a loose cannon; he is a spoiler.

#33 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 04:30 PM:

(I didn't know animal rights had a definitive place on the liberal-conservative axis.)

#34 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 04:35 PM:

Quoth PNH:
I'm not for a moment postulating that Leiberman has any honesty or integrity whatsoever.

Joe "I will not serve more than eighteen years" Lieberman not honest? Say it isn't so.

By the way, while I'm sure it isn't deliberate, his last name has the vowels in the same order as yours. I loathe the man, but the repeated typos are driving me nuts.

#35 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 04:41 PM:

Please let us indeed bad-mouth the Democrats who are out there in the Arena, none of whom are saints, but not all of whom are total crooks. Those people do what they can with the system that they have. It's so damned easy for us to spit on them from the sidelines.

#36 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 05:11 PM:

"A one-seat majority in the Senate is barely better than no majority at all"

This is just silly.

#37 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 05:18 PM:

I saw a few Tester commercials when we were in Missoula for freshman orientation at UM. I kept thinking "I know that guy." but it's just that, as a waitress at Ruby's said "we're all westerners."

He's not 100% what I would wish, especially on abortion, but he's got an interesting life history, and since Burns has been Ted Steven's understudy for the position of chief clueless jerk, it looks like progress to me, beyond the party balance.

#38 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 05:28 PM:

When Lieberman was asked in mid-October whether he wanted the Democrats to take back Congress, he didn't answer the question until several days later. Then, it was a tepid, "yes, but they'll need to change their (anti-Bush) tone" type of answer. Is it any wonder Democrats don't trust him to have their backs?

#40 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 05:45 PM:

"A one-seat majority in the Senate is barely better than no majority at all"

This is just silly.

I'm not sure what the objective advantage of controlling the Senate is if the Republicans can keep their party loyalty together. I'll admit, on reflection, that's a big "if".

The Democrats can't pass legislation without the cooperation of Republicans in both the Senate and the White House, even if they have Lieberman's loyalty; they can't even realistically set the legislative agenda without help. The Republicans can filibuster anything even slightly contrary to their wishes, and Bush can freely veto. The Gingrich Congress demonstrated how difficult it is to govern from Capitol Hill against a determined opposition President.

Perhaps I'm wrong. The popular rejection of the government shutdown of 1996 could indicate that the American people will cheer for whichever side they like more in a confrontation between Congress and the President. But I fear that it shows that the public will side with the President against Congress given half a chance.

I'm delighted to have the power of subpoena in Democratic hands. I'm just not sure what actual benefit comes from having the Senate, too, if power in the Senate depends on the good will of Joe Lieberman.

Oh. Hmm. Judicial nominees. Of course, Lieberman has already shown his colors on that; any plan which depends on him standing up to the reactionaries nominated by Bush is a non-starter.

It's possible I'm missing something; I feel that I am, but I keep coming back to the impotence of the Senate to challenge Bush on anything when it Bush's Favorite Senator(tm) is both acting as a gatekeeper on Senate activity and providing "bipartisan" cover to Bush on his policy proposals.

#41 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 05:47 PM:

What if the current White House administration really were demons in human form? How would Joe deal with it? Here's the answer.

#42 ::: retterson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 05:48 PM:

The other small problem I see with the Senate is that the Dems aren't as good at goose-stepping -- eh, I mean, lock-stepping as the Republicans have been these past for years.

With such close numbers, I'm not sure how much the Dems can get done. They won't be able to override vetoes and you can be sure that Georgie is going to start flexing that muscle a bit more.

A record of do-nothing will be used against them in two years. I rather see the point of one pundit I read a few months back -- that winning the mid-term election might mean losing the Presidency in two years.

#43 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 05:50 PM:

Jesus, some of you need to go back for a remedial civics course. Do you think the business of the Senate is all just up-and-down yes-no votes? Almost none of it is. Just taking judicial nominees as a for-instance, it's an enormous advantage for Democrats to control the agenda--and, for heaven's sake, the staff resources--of the Judiciary Committee.

This isn't the Student Council. Senators aren't little binary monads. We're talking control over immense amounts of infrastructure, resources, scheduling, agenda, staff.

#44 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 05:53 PM:

"I rather see the point of one pundit I read a few months back -- that winning the mid-term election might mean losing the Presidency in two years."

This is ridiculous. Power begets power. It's almost always better to win.

#45 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 05:55 PM:

I rather see the point of one pundit I read a few months back -- that winning the mid-term election might mean losing the Presidency in two years.

Very Naderesque: lose now so we can win later. The way losing the midterm elections in 2002 helped Kerry win the presidency in 2004.

Oh, wait.

#46 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 06:01 PM:

I don't believe for an *instant* that Sanders could possibly caucus with anyone but the Democrats, even if he didn't have a decade-long record in the House of doing just that. I mean, the man ran as a *socialist*. I'm vaguely wondering if we'll find several sudden vacancies in the Senate as Rethuglican heads explode at the very idea... :)

#47 ::: Joe Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 06:42 PM:

Deadlock may hurt the Democrats on bills where most people are divided, or don't really care or understand and can only see that Congress is being ineffectual. However, if they propose legislation that has broad support - on health care, for instance - and it gets filibustered or vetoed, then it's the Republicans that look unstructionist.

#48 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 06:52 PM:

Almost none of it is. Just taking judicial nominees as a for-instance, it's an enormous advantage for Democrats to control the agenda--and, for heaven's sake, the staff resources--of the Judiciary Committee.

And that's why Holy Joe is such a disaster. He'll make it very clear -- he already has -- that if the Democrats dare to bring anything to, or hold anything from, the calendar, he'll flip his support to the GOP caucus, and then Cheney controls the calendar.

That's why the Democrats must not pretend to hold the majority. They do not, unless Joe Lieberman allows them to. That's not a majority, that's blackmail.

Personally, I'd look at those supposed moderate Republicans and offer them a chance at salvation. Go Independent, caucus with us, and you get Holy Joe's committee seats. Get one of them to flip, and you can hold a ten hour long session of the Senate Rule committee dedicated to coming up with imaginative ways to tell Joe Lieberman to fuck off.

Otherwise, no -- the Democrats are in the minority -- either 50-50, or 50 to 1. They yield to Cheney, or they yield to Lieberman.

The choice there is clear. Don't let the Fox News Democrat run the Senate.

#49 ::: retterson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 07:04 PM:

We'll see if it's a pyrrhic victory or not because, as you said, it's almost always better to win.

A tenuous majority does not create power. It's ridiculous to celebrate victory when the Dems have yet to prove that they can effectively wield what power they have.

They've just stepped on the Yellow Brick Road and there's a long journey ahead of them, and Bush's Flying Monkeys are just waiting to tear them to pieces along the way.

So forgive my skepticism. B. A. in Poli Sci, worked for my Cong on the Hill for a year -- too painfully aware of how things work there.

At the same time, don't mistake my skepticism. I'm not arguing that it's a bad thing that the Dems won. I'm such a geek -- I keep thinking "with great power comes great responsibility." Their victory builds expectations of change and the slim lead they have doesn't really give them much but the power to disappoint.

Finally, the 2008 election is quite a different beast than the 2004 election. Anyone going up against an incumbent president who hasn't seriously screwed up (in the voters' minds) has a hard row to hoe. However, 2008 is going to be wide open. Cheney can't run, so there's no Republican heir apparent. Reps and Dems are going to be on relatively equal footing as far as voter familiarity with candidates goes. So the 2002 midterm election loss isn't the same deal -- and I could argue as well that at least by losing in 2002, the Dems didn't create a track record of ineffectiveness upon which the Reps could capitalize in 2004. In that respect, the 2002 midterms were a null proposition for them.

I'd bet a paycheck that if the Dems don't effectively use what has been given to them, the Reps will use that to their advantage in 2008. Any takers? Probably not. This is self-evident.

I hope the Dems use this victory effectively; I fear they won't.

BTW -- fear can be a good thing -- it has a remarkable ability to motivate the will to power.

#50 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 07:53 PM:

latest tally:
Tester 176,857
Burns 175,059

Yahoo news just posted that Burns has not conceeded the race.

#51 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 08:16 PM:

Oh, hey, few people think less of Lieberman than I do, but I think it's important to factor in that although there may be a bare majority of actual Democrats, there are an awful lot of Republican Senators with elections in two years who just had the fear of the angry God they only pretend to believe in for political purposes put into them.

The former Republican congressperson slots are full after this election, and the wurlitzer is all about protecting their gains rather than trying to make more. FFS, Bush is talking about raising the minimum wage.

I suspect Republican party-line voting just died a babbling syphilitic death.

Fuck you, Senator. Vote such conscience as you have.

Enjoy the minority.

Just a note: your friends in the White House threatened the usual suspects in the press. No-one threatens the usual suspects in the press and gets away with it.

Tread carefully, dude. You don't want to lose the only friends you have.

#52 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 08:42 PM:

yahoo says Webb won Virginia

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061109/ap_on_el_se/democrats_senate

They also say Montana has not been conceded by the republican candidate. Still.

#53 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 08:59 PM:

Yep. AP calls it Webb in Va by virtue of calling every precinct in the state.

#54 ::: CaseyL ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 09:59 PM:

Are you guys nuts, or what? If this is some cockamamie liberal thing, to lament having actually won, count me out. I've been on Cloud 9 since midnight.

Something thing to keep in mind about Lieberman: if his primary motivation is ambition, then he gets no boost from consistently betraying Democrats because the Democrats will already have the majority.

Thinking he'll flip to GOP in order to score some Republican goodies assumes that the Republicans have goodies to give - AND that they'll keep their word to Joe - neither of which are sure things. People use traitors; they don't trust them; why would the GOP trust someone who has already consistently shown himself to be untrustworthy?

It probably would have been different if the Democrats hadn't taken VA, MO and MT (because hardly anyone was counting on getting all three) but we did, and that reduces Lieberman's maneuvering power considerably.

And any comparisons to Jeffords are wide of the mark: Jeffords couldn't stand Bush, couldn't stand the GOP policies or leadership, and switched over when the rest of the country was coming to the same conclusion.

If Lieberman switches, he'd be switching over to a Party soundly repudiated, in order to serve a President roundly despised. His political career would be over forthwith.

#55 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 10:26 PM:

Those looking to Jumpin' Joe's past voting record are forgetting to note that he has missed an INCREDIBLE number of votes over this past term (and that started even *before* he ran for President/VP).

In my Utopia, Joe calls a spade a spade and switches officially to the Republicans ... but then Olympia Snowe does the same and switches to Democrat (she's an old friend of my family so I may be biased, but really she's much more blue than red), and balance is maintained and the Senate suddenly makes a wee bit more sense.

#56 ::: "Charles Dodgson" ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 01:31 AM:

Shorter TomB@32. Almost all the time, Lieberman votes with the Democrats. The Republicans hardly ever have his vote. Only when they really, really need it.

#57 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 04:37 AM:

For having the gall to actually be independent of the party on the War

or perhaps for handing the news cycle back to the Republicans when Democrats were trying to address the quagmire that's slaughtering hundreds of thousands of people and making the world exponentially less safe by peddling the not only false but actively unamerican canard that it's traitorous and unpatriotic to hold the President and his party accountable in time of war?

You know, the one he doesn't actually believe, because he went on the floor of the Senate and jumpstarted the Clinton impeachment while Clinton was trying to take out al Qaeda after the previous time they attacked us (remember presidents trying to take out the people who attacked us? Good times)?

Or maybe the sloppy blowjob of a forty-five minute rubber stamp hearing he gave to Michael "damn, I hate it when the destruction of US cities and the massive death and thousands of US citizens floating in their own waste while soldiers with guns keep relief supplies away from them interrupts my dinner" Brown?

Or the fact that he wants women who have been raped to put their clothes back on and walk to another hospital (hell, the police will find them) if the one they're at doesn't offer emergency contraception?

If you're going to say something really silly, it might be best to say it in a less abusive way. It annoys people.

#58 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 07:54 AM:

I will say that after conversation with Patrick and some further consideration, I think that it would, indeed, be silly to alienate Lieberman until after Reid manages to flip one of the other centerist Republicans.

Controlling the committees prevents bad legislation and bad nominees from reaching the floor. Lieberman can't stop that from happening by holding his breath.

Lieberman is one of the most damaging forces in American politics today, and the idea of having the Democratic majority in the Senate resting on him is building on quicksand filled with, I dunno, poisonous sand-sharks with ray guns that fire Pure Evil. But he's not the only evil, and controlling the Senate even with him helps mitigate the other evils.

#59 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 08:37 AM:

Lieberman can't stop that from happening by holding his breath.

He can by simply objecting to any unianimous consent request, then voting with the GOP, then calling for a calendar vote.

The whole point is simple -- Lieberman is an extortionist. The way you handle this is to not play. The momement he says "I get my committee seats as befits as 4 (5?) term Democratic Seanator" is the moment you say "No, you get the seats of a first term Senator who beat the Democratic candidate. Get thee to the other side and see what crumbs you can scavenge."

The right answer is to go in knowing you have 50, and they have 50, and making Dick Cheney spend all of his time on or near Capitol Hill. If Joe proves that he will play ball, then maybe you let him back in, but not until he proves that he will be a good little junior Senator.

What Harry Reid is saying is simple -- there is no penalty for betraying your party. The CT Democrats spoke clearly -- they did not want Joe Lieberman. His answer was to run against, and beat, their nominee. Harry Reid intends to reward that behavior. What Harry Reid is saying is that the will of Democratic voters is less important to him than his own personal power.

This is the sort of penny wise, pound foolish behavior that got us into this mess. I understand big tent, but when somebody attacks the tent pole with an axe, you throw them the fuck out.

This never should have come to pass -- they should have burned Lieberman hard the moment he re-ran. But, no, and now, they're slaves to Holy Joe's whim.

#60 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 09:23 AM:

I will say that after conversation with Patrick and some further consideration, I think that it would, indeed, be silly to alienate Lieberman until after Reid manages to flip one of the other centerist Republicans.

Little late for that - he's been alienated for months, ever since the Dems here done him wrong by voting incorrectly for someone else for Joe's seat. Whether that will extend to the Dems in the Senate is unclear, but he's pretty pissed off at folks around here. Joe is not showing any introspection about how maybe he ought to rethink his positions or anything. He knows he's right and we're wrong.

Yeah, I'm bitter here, and I will be for quite some time. I do genuinely hope I'm wrong about Joe's desire to get his own back by screwing the Democrats.

#62 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 09:45 AM:

He can by simply objecting to any unianimous consent request, then voting with the GOP, then calling for a calendar vote.

Lieberman could, conceivably, bring the Senate to a crashing halt by holding his breath; I know that and I believe I've stated that. What he can't do is do it every second for the next two years; neither the Democrats nor the Republicans will let him run the Senate as a Party of One.

#63 ::: Scott ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 10:02 AM:

Hey, the good news about our Republican filibuster planning is that the Republicans have demanded, insisted, and pounded their fists claiming that the filibuster is a dirty trick that no civilized senator would even think of! *eyeroll*

#64 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 11:15 AM:

Julia: Here is a tiara for #57. The invisible tiara is light-weight, extremely comfortable, and never falls off. Please enjoy wearing it.

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