Comments on: Misreading the midterm tea leaves http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2010/11/08/misreading-the-midterm-tea-leaves/ Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: lowtechcyclist http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2010/11/08/misreading-the-midterm-tea-leaves/#comment-33798 Fri, 19 Nov 2010 15:07:21 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=8601#comment-33798 “Pundits and politicos alike would have us believe that the Obama era is over [but]Obama, contrary to the expert opinion, is still very much in the driver’s seat.”

Wrong, but not for the reasons the experts give.

1) I agree that Obama is likely to solidly win re-election in 2012.
2) The Dems may well take back the House of Representatives at that time. But:

3) The Obama era is *still* over, in the sense that his chances of getting substantive Dem-leaning legislation through Congress are just about nil during the last six years of his Presidency.

Why? The Senate. Specifically, (a) the way the Senate seats are broken into three classes by the year they come up for re-election, and (b) the filibuster.

If you look at the class of 2012, there are only 2-3 pickup opportunities for the Democrats, and lots of pickup opportunities for the GOP. And the class of 2014 is even worse: there really aren’t any Dem pickup opportunities, unless Susan Collins gets knocked off by a wingnut in a primary.

So Obama will never again have anything remotely approaching a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. He’ll need votes from Senators like Lamar Alexander and Kay Bailey Hutchinson who have been unwinnable in the current Congress in order to break a filibuster.

And since the GOP now routinely filibusters everything, that means that unless the Senate Dems have the guts to change the filibuster rules (which is a longshot), no Democratic legislation will pass the Congress between now and 2017, even if Obama wins in a landslide with major coattails in 2012.

Seriously, look at the three classes of Senate seats, which can easily be found at senate.gov. What GOP-held seats do you think the Dems will pick up in 2012? Which remaining GOP Senators can be persuaded to vote for Democratic legislation? And then how do you get to 60?

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