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Democrats Take the Senate:
The Associated Press is declaring Jim Webb the victor in the Virginia Senate race, and with it, control of the United States Senate appears to have shifted to the Democrats. As I understand it, the Chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee will now pass back to Vermont Senator Patrick J. Leahy.
Duffy Pratt (mail):
Isn't Leiberman going to force the Dems to make some concessions before he re-declares? Or is he really a loyal, nice guy?
11.8.2006 10:20pm
Oren Elrad (mail):
Joe will be chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Armed Services Committee - he'll have no problem making himself heard.
11.8.2006 10:28pm
Oren Elrad (mail):
Err, chair of the former, member of the latter (but chair of one of the subcommittees. Still, no lack of respect for Joe.
11.8.2006 10:36pm
Philip:
Better yet- Alcyee Hastings as the Chair of the Intelligence Committee in the house. Do you think he will take bribes for intelligence????
11.8.2006 11:17pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):
Does anyone else see the irony? The Dems claim that they won the election on Iraq, and then they are going to give those committees to a guy they shoved under the bus because he didn't agree with them on those issues?
11.8.2006 11:36pm
Steve:
Lieberman promised the voters that he would caucus with the Dems, and that he had been promised he could keep his seniority.

I don't understand why you believe Lieberman is so dishonorable as to renounce his promise, and to start trying to extract additional concessions from the Democrats. The bargain was struck, the voters have spoken, it's all over now.
11.9.2006 12:51am
Robert Jackson (mail):
Better Senator Leahy than Senator Specter now that Hatch cannot chair. At least no Democrats or reporters can point to Specter statements as proof that powerful Republicans agree with some silly position. At least Leahy can be demonized as a liberal.
11.9.2006 2:55am
Cornellian (mail):
I thought the Roberts appointment was a good one. If Bush gets a chance to make another appointment and has to nominate someone a bit less stellar because that candidate has other qualities that will get him past the Senate Democrats, then that's a small price to pay, in my opinion, for getting rid of a Republican majority that had pretty much completely sold out everything they stood for in 1994.
11.9.2006 3:57am
PersonFromPorlock:
Webb isn't exactly a nebbish. It'll be interesting to see if the Democrats drive him or he drives the Democrats.
11.9.2006 7:33am
liberty (mail) (www):
Now that the dems have control of both houses, it would be a great time to begin gathering data to compare some of the policy differences. One area that it is reasonable to expect the dems to push through new policies is in energy.

I would be interested to follow the growth of alternative energy sources during these past 6 years, and consider the major policies affecting such growth (subsidies, tax breaks, taxes on oil &gas, refinery regulations, etc) and then track the changes in policy and the affect on growth of the alternatives over these next two years. Will the dems push through a windfall profits tax? I don't know if we could see the true effects of such a policy in time for 2008, but its an area to watch.
11.9.2006 8:13am
ReVonna LaSchatze:

Now wasn't he the one VP Cheney verbally insulted a few years back? Look ahead, move on, work together for the good of the country ... but take names.
11.9.2006 8:27am
kovo62 (mail):
Was it Leahy who compaired the Alito nomination to Roosevelt's attempt to "pack" the court?
11.9.2006 9:22am
Tax Lawyer:
This will no doubt affect the political chances of certain potential SCOTUS nominees who have been short listed (or gossiped about) during the two most recent vacancies.

Between the health of Justice Ginsburg and the age of Justice Stevens, it seems, however unfortunately, that there may be at least one more vacancy during the Bush presidency. Indeed, the check implied by Dem control of the judiciary may well affect the willingness of either of these two to resign.
11.9.2006 10:11am
SeaLawyer:
Bush will just have to talk softly and carry a big veto stick.
11.9.2006 10:14am
Just an Observer:
Patrick Leahy is a liberal. No doubt about it. But remember that he voted for John Roberts, along with about half the Senate Democrats. (Their predominantly party-line vote against Samuel Alito, however, was far from admirable, IMHO.)

The gang at ConfirmThem.com is worried, perhaps with justification, that Leahy will stonewall COA nominees in Bush's last two years, as payback for what Republicans did to nominees in the last two years of the Clinton administration.

In addition to judicial nominations, I am keenly interested in the actions Leahy would take with regard to oversight of FISA violations, and proposed amendments to that statute.
11.9.2006 10:14am
Oren Elrad (mail):

Does anyone else see the irony? The Dems claim that they won the election on Iraq, and then they are going to give those committees to a guy they shoved under the bus because he didn't agree with them on those issues?


The party didn't shove Joe under a bus, the CT primary voters did. As much as I don't like what they did, the nomination process is (nominally anyway) democratic. I think CT primary voters wanted to send a message that it's not the party in DC that decides who runs. The party pretty much had to listen (and I doubt Joe will have any hard feels at Schumer for respecting the result of the primary vote).

On the other hand, Joe and the rest of CT sent a pretty clear message back to the KOS folks that they can be as foolish as they want in the primary but that the point is to win the general. I doubt we'll see many more such revolts in the future.


Patrick Leahy is a liberal. No doubt about it.


He certainly is but he bucks the party when he feels like it. Voted against the Brady Bill but for NAFTA, DOMA and Partial Birth Abortion Ban. He went against the party on farm subsidies and against 90 other senators to vote against renenwing the (increasingly misnamed) PATRIOT Act.

All that is enough to convince me that he genuinely has a mind of his own, liberal though it may be.
11.9.2006 10:50am
Hoosier:
Person's point is one I wonder about: Webb doesn't seem to agree with his (new) party on much of anything, short of "Bush got us into Neo-Nam."
11.9.2006 12:00pm
karlnewman (mail):
It's now official that the 2006 Revolution is as big as the 1994 Revolution was. More house seats net will change hands (60+ vs 54), Senate swap almost as big (6 vs 8) and Governors swaps slightly less (8 vs 12). In retrospect, perhaps Newt got too much credit. Anger against Democrats in 1994 was close to anger against Republicans in 2006. It seems as if no one is giving Pelosi credit, and I doubt she deserves full credit, but Newt likely was better at selling his role.
11.9.2006 12:16pm
A.S.:
More house seats net will change hands (60+ vs 54)

No, that's wrong. Only about 30 seats will change hands. (There will be a 60-person change in the parties' relative strength, because each win for the Democrats is also a loss for the Republicans; however, in 1994, there was a 108-person change in the parties' relative strength).

All in all, this victory was about 2/3rds the victory of 1994. Of course, the big difference is that, in 1994, the Republicans hadn't controlled the House for 40 years, and often during that 40-year period Democrats had very large majorities.
11.9.2006 1:22pm
Chumund:
I know many people are arguing about what it means that Lieberman won, but I think it is worth noting that it won't often be the case that the Republican candidate only gets 10%. And I could be wrong, but I think a lot of Democrats who stood by Joe did so not because of his stance on the war, but rather despite it.
11.9.2006 1:27pm
Chumund:
According to ontheissues.org (a great site), among other things Jim Webb:

Is pro choice

Supports gay civil unions and opposes a constitutional amendment on gay marriage

Is skeptical of free trade and doesn't like out-sourcing

Supports some sort of path to citizenship for illegal immigrants

Opposes SS private accounts

In general, he has claimed, "I drifted away from the Democratic Party on national security issues but I never left on social issues and issues of economic fairness."
11.9.2006 1:34pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Also, Webb saw clearly *before* we went into Iraq what a terrible idea it was, and what a quagmire it would turn out to be.

Doesn't make him a genius, of course, because that much was obvious to anyone not ignorant or hypocritical. But it was good that he spoke out, and it's good now that people like him will be evaluating any calls for war against Iran, etc.
11.9.2006 1:55pm
Chumund:
Anderson,

Unfortunately, I was trying to answer Hoosier's question, and your point actually distinguishes Webb from too many of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate.
11.9.2006 2:07pm
Redman:
Have the dems cured Parkinsons yet?
11.9.2006 2:35pm
Steve:
It's amusing to see so many people act shocked that the Democrats are electing candidates who don't fit within their traditional stereotype. Gee, that's kind of how a party gets from the minority to the majority!

Webb may herald the return of the Reagan Democrats to the fold, or he may be a one-time blip, but that's his constituency either way. The Dems kind of lost their way for a while with the white working class and they seem to be getting some of that mojo back.
11.9.2006 2:42pm
Irensaga (mail):
I was happy enough to see the Dems take the House, but I'm not sure about whether taking the Senate is a good thing for them.

What I'm worried about, is that it will provide an incentive toward smug entitlement that has afflicted the GOP for some time. Such an attitude will inevitably lead to the same problems in the Democratic party that caused the GOP to implode.

I'm thinking it might have been better to keep BOTH parties "hungry" for a bit. Would have encouraged reform.

Here's hoping the counterbalancing game between Capitol Hill and the White House proves sufficient.
11.9.2006 3:07pm
Hoosier:
Chumund--Thanks for the information. Only a couple of those issues got significant play in the campaign, so I was not aware of his stand.

I did think, however, that his "women can't fight problem" would have caused him significantly more trouble with the liberal women's groups that are a key element of the Democratic coalition. Perhaps they've now decided that the litmus test is not equal opportunity in the military, but only abortion.
11.9.2006 3:19pm
Porkchop (mail):
Hoosier,


I did think, however, that his "women can't fight problem" would have caused him significantly more trouble with the liberal women's groups that are a key element of the Democratic coalition. Perhaps they've now decided that the litmus test is not equal opportunity in the military, but only abortion.


My 18 year-old daughter, voting for the first time, described her dilemma as whether to vote for a racist or a sexist. She was more offended by "macaca" than by "women can't fight," though.
11.9.2006 3:29pm
Chumund:
Personally, I also suspect that Webb's history on women in the military did hurt him, but not enough to swing the election to Allen.
11.9.2006 3:55pm
frankcross (mail):
The exit polling confirms chumund's claims. E.g., a clear majority of Connecticut voters opposed Iraq, but enough of them voted for Lieberman.

The Dem majority on Judiciary will be significant if Stevens retires. Bush will have trouble confirming an Alito (or Roberts) for that seat I suspect. But I also suspect that Stevens will try to hold out for 2008.
11.9.2006 4:17pm
ctb:
"She was more offended by "macaca" than by "women can't fight," though."

So she got more offended by the use of a word she had never heard and still likely doesn't know the meaning of (if it even has one) than a sexist attitude?

Seems silly to me. But hey, I'm probably just a racist so what do I know?
11.9.2006 4:18pm
ctb:
PS I'm not necessarily offended by either of the two men's comments/positions.
11.9.2006 4:19pm
buddingeconomist:
you know who the biggest winners were....
11.9.2006 4:20pm
Chumund:
frankcross,

I also gather that among other groups, labor unions strongly supported Lieberman.

Incidentally, not to be glum, but Stevens actually has to hold out at least until early 2009 if he wants a different President to choose his successor. But I hear he is healthy and in good spirits in any event.
11.9.2006 4:23pm
Chumund:
By the way, Bush is renominating Bolton for the UN? Good luck with that.
11.9.2006 4:26pm
Jay Myers:
Chumund:

By the way, Bush is renominating Bolton for the UN? Good luck with that.

What will the argument be for overruling the President's choice now that Bolton has actually held that position and disproven the arguments originally used against him? He has shown great ability to work with the other ambassadors and the UN staff to acheive our policy goals.
11.10.2006 1:00pm
dick thompson (mail):
Just what we need, Leaky Leahy in charge of the judiciary and probably Jay Rockefeller who couldn't keep a secret if his life depended on it in charge of the intel committee. We will have more leaks now that when Thomas was being considered for the Supreme Court. Those two are almost carbon copies of Sandy Burglar when it comes to protecting secrets.
11.10.2006 11:57pm
Just an Observer:
11.11.2006 1:14pm