Can Obama Change America Without a Filibuster-Proof Senate?
Fortunately DeWine is gone but you don't want to count on this crew to bring about progress
Today's Washington Post speculates that even if Georgia, as expected, re-elects extremist Senator Saxby Chambliss, a die-hard obstructionist who is as much to blame for America's economic crisis as Bush or any other lockstep Republican ideologue, Obama will still be able to get much of his agenda through Congress. Chambliss' re-election means that even if Al Franken wins the Minnesota recount, Democrats will not have the votes they need to win cloture votes and stop an onslaught of partisan filibusters.
Though they are two votes short of their quest for 60 votes-- with two races still undecided-- Democrats say that regular support from a few Republican moderates will allow them to pass bills that were halted in the current Congress by GOP parliamentary roadblocks. These include healthcare programs, immigration revisions and presidential nominations.
"The truth is . . . we will be fine on most major issues. We will almost always have some moderate Republican support," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)
There's more than just math at work here-- and any given issue is likely to result in different coalitions. One "Democratic" vote belongs to the
Likely internal divisions among Democrats make it difficult to handicap the outcome of the biggest issues next year, particularly comprehensive efforts to secure universal health insurance and energy independence legislation, aides say.
Example: notorious right of center corporate shill Max Baucus is trying to grab health care reform away from progressive Ted Kennedy. Kennedy will be fighting for working families and Baucus will be fighting for corporate campaign contributors.
The Post story sounds confident that Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine can be counted on by the Democrats. Snowe is a good guess; Collins isn't. She just won re-election and is filled with animus towards Democrats who campaigned against her and has nothing to fear from moderate voters for 6 years. She's likely to show an extremely conservative side for at least four of those years before "turning" moderate again.
The Post also concludes that Arlen Specter and John McCain, each of whom will face voters in 2010, are likely to lend Obama a hand from time to time. Specter will probably be challenged from the extreme right in a GOP primary and he'll be looking to burnish his conservative cred between now and then.
A combination of shifting alliances, a lack of party discipline and incredible corruption guarantees that nothing is for sure and that Obama will have to fight for anything he hopes to accomplish. It isn't a good sign that he's unwilling to go down to Georgia and fight to elect Jim Martin in the face of a constant barrage of attacks by extremist Chambliss who is campaigning on a platform of sabotaging Obama's agenda.