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Wed Jan 9, 2013, 05:33 PM

Welcome to Another Golden Era of Liberal Senators

http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/111731/welcome-another-golden-era-liberal-senators#


Welcome to Another Golden Era of Liberal Senators

Norman Ornstein
January 8, 2013 | 3:13 pm


One of the most stunning outcomes of the 2012 elections was the Democrats’ two-seat gain in the Senate. With 23 seats at risk to only ten for Republicans, Democrats were hoping simply to hold their own or keep their losses to a minimum. A gain of a single seat was almost wildly optimistic; picking up two seemingly unrealistic.

But just as important as the overall gain was the nature of the new class of Democrats sworn in to the Senate last week. With the addition of Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin, Tim Kaine and Chris Murphy, and the possibility of Barney Frank joining them for a few key months and being followed by Ed Markey, the Senate has seen an infusion of liberal talent. Thanks to an impressive class of 2006 (Ben Cardin, Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, Claire McCaskill, Amy Klobuchar, and Sheldon Whitehouse all were reelected last fall) and the class of 2008, including Mark and Tom Udall, Jeff Merkley, Michael Bennet, and Al Franken, the Senate has a core of assertive, brainy liberals greater than we have seen in decades.

snip//

In the old days, we used to define senators as “minnows” or “whales.” It is not clear that the current dysfunctional political environment is conducive to a large pod of whales; minnowization is a depressing fact of political life. But the new liberal base has a slew of people who remind me of their predecessors in their passion, intelligence, persistence, and, for many, grasp of how the Senate works. There are iconoclasts like Sanders and Brown, articulate and hard-charging newcomers in Warren and Baldwin, smart and savvy younger members like Whitehouse, Klobuchar, Bennet, the Udalls, and Franken, and consummate insiders like Cardin. They are joined by senior liberal powerhouses, like Barbara Boxer, Barbara Mikulski, Patty Murray, Pat Leahy, and Carl Levin, who chair powerful committees and enjoy wider respect in the body, and party leaders like Dick Durbin and Chuck Schumer, to make a veritable Murderers’ Row on the Left. If Markey, one of the smartest and most effective members of the House for decades, joins them, it is like adding a future Hall-of-Famer to an already-strong team.

The Senate, if it works and passes important legislation, will operate from the center out, and moderates have their own impressive contingent, ranging from Mark Warner and Bob Casey to newcomers like Angus King, Martin Heinrich, and Joe Donnelly. And Harry Reid will have his hands full not just reconciling moderate and liberal views but in keeping some semblance of unity among the liberals themselves. At the same time, this group of strong-willed and ideologically determined liberals will not be pushovers for President Barack Obama and the policies of his administration. However it works, the infusion of new talent combined with seasoned veterans makes the 113th Senate a new and dynamic vessel for liberal aspirations.

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Reply Welcome to Another Golden Era of Liberal Senators (Original post)
babylonsister Jan 2013 OP
tblue Jan 2013 #1
babylonsister Jan 2013 #2
banned from Kos Jan 2013 #3

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 05:38 PM

1. I had been so frightened

that after Dennis, Teddy, and Allan Grayson left, we were done for. Turns out, not so!

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Response to tblue (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 06:54 PM

2. We're not doing bad at all!

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Response to tblue (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 06:56 PM

3. Kucinich and Grayson were never Senators.

 

But the OP is right.

This is the most liberal Senate since the 70s.

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