Sometimes in life, it’s better if you don’t achieve your short-term dreams. A case in point was the dancing in the streets by Democrats when Arlen Specter switched parties, meaning they would have 60 seats in the Senate once Coleman gave up in Minnesota.
Well, let’s start with Specter. In order to get him, the Democrats promised to give him election support and permit him to retain his seniority status. Anyone who has followed his career knows that there is only one thing that Specter cares about, … Arlen Specter. Look how differently things would be if he’d stayed Republican. Toomey would’ve faced a primary fight that he obviously would win, but it would divide the party and cost him money, while Sestak would have an easy primary road. So, Obama-Biden should have just told Specter thanks, but no thanks.
As well, it turns out that when the majority has 60 votes, it might well be the absolute worst number of members to have. They never have to accede to anything the minority wants, so everything is solely their responsibility. But then they are collectively liable for the individual peccadilloes of each of them, be it Landrieu, Nelson, or the Arkansas babushka woman’s blackmail.
Now, the Democrats are faced with a loss of 7-12 seats in the Senate next year. Senators took policy positions that were not in the interest of their constituents, and either find their re-election chances severely reduced, or a la Bayh, have decided to give up. With a weak economy, their majority will be below 55 members, if it is retained at all.