Even though this is Politico, this is one of those cases where the blind squirrel finds a nut. I can't begin to express how little respect I have for the Democrats, but I will get to the polls and vote for them in the mid-terms, even if I have to crawl over broken glass. And you should, too. Because the legislative mischief corporate Dems make will not be anywhere near as awful as having the Republicans in the majority -- and Obama handing them the keys to the store:
Democrats have something else to fear after the November midterms besides just an all Republican-controlled Congress: President Barack Obama.
With Obama's political career winding down and poll numbers continuing to languish, his party brethren fret that their own president -- forced to work with GOP majorities -- would give away the store on key policy issues ranging from the budget to energy and trade. It's a concern congressional Democrats have voiced every time Obama and Vice President Joe Biden tried to cut big fiscal deals with Republicans -- and the panic is now more palpable with the growing prospect of a Senate GOP majority.
Washington's current gridlock may seem destined to last forever, but divided government has produced strange bedfellows before. President George W. Bush switched teams on some key issues in his final two years after Democrats took the House and Senate, becoming a cap-and-trade convert who bailed out Wall Street. President Bill Clinton partnered with the same Republicans who impeached him to overhaul welfare and balance the budget. And President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Tip O'Neill found common
ground reforming the Tax Code and Social Security.
While tackling anything comprehensive with legislation sounds far-fetched before the next president is sworn in, that doesn't mean there won't be moments starting after November when Obama would be tempted to negotiate with Republicans following four years of stalemate. After all, the GOP would have greater leverage. And with the White House on the line in 2016, Republicans will also want to prove they aren't just against Obama but
actually capable of governing again.
"Clearly it's a concern. It keeps me awake at night," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). "From his standpoint, better to advance the ball and maybe give away some stuff than leave nothing at all. From our standpoint, better to fight another day than give away core principles of contents and conviction."
Democrats on both ends of the Capitol were openly skeptical when asked about Republicans running the legislative agenda, particularly since any Senate GOP majority would still be well short of the 60-vote thresholds needed to overcome filibusters, much less the two-thirds majority to override Obama vetoes. For starters, House Republicans wouldn't be flying solo anymore with oversight, meaning subpoena power and testy hearings on the IRS, EPA and Benghazi would be run by the likes of Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa on Judiciary, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma on Environment and Public Works and John McCain of Arizona on Armed Services.
But it's the prospect of what Obama might bargain on with Republicans that has Democrats really riled up.
"I'm not going to create nightmares where none exist right now. But certainly for the paranoid there's plenty to fear, and maybe even just for the fearful there's plenty to fear," Blumenthal said, while adding that he still had a "basic trust in [Obama's] commitments and his instincts."
Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, one of the most endangered 2014 Democrats, has begun to warn voters back home that they may have more to fear than a GOP Senate. He’s also bluntly telling Alaska seniors that they will lose Social Security benefits, given Obama’s willingness to lower annual cost-of-living adjustments as part of past attempts at a deficit deal.
“It should worry Alaskan seniors,” Begich said in an interview. Raising concerns about the consumer price index, the inflation measure used to set benefits, he added, “Alaskan seniors will see a reduction in their Social Security payments because these Republicans will team up with Obama on chained CPI. Am I worried about it? Yes. Should Alaskan seniors be worried about [it]? Absolutely.
“I think that’s an example where someone might be mad at Obama. But if you’re a senior, and you’re mad at Obama today, you’ll be really mad at Obama and the Republicans because they are going to reduce your benefits,” he added.
Even though the polls look bad for Democrats right now, never underestimate the ability of the arrogant Republicans to shoot themselves in the foot. Get to the polls, and drag your Democratic friends with you.