NYT’s David Firestone calls it a Second Term, Democratic Senate Political Fantasy.
The Democratic-controlled Senate is likely to be considerably more liberal than the one it replaces. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Angus King of Maine (nominally an independent) replace Republicans. Tim Kaine of Virginia is more liberal than Jim Webb, the Democrat who retired, just as Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Chris Murphy of Connecticut are more liberal than Herb Kohl and Joe Lieberman. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts will be one of the strongest voices in support of Mr. Obama’s policies, and may even push the president leftward. Democrats could also win a few other races too close to call.
So what will the reshaped chamber mean? Possibly a stronger backbone, and one of the first places to show it will be filibuster reform. A more vibrant Democratic caucus could push Majority Leader Harry Reid to do what he should have done two years ago, and use a simple majority to curb the routine abuse of the filibuster as practiced by the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell.
That, in turn, could free up the president to appoint the kinds of judges and Supreme Court justices he wants, without worrying about constant Republican obstruction. And it could give the Senate fortitude in dealing with issues of taxes and budgets, putting the House, which will still be controlled by Republicans, in a corner.
I say it’s real.