Surprise, surprise! Joe Biden got it wrong again. The voluble vice president, who is undoubtedly Washington’s greatest practitioner of foot-in-mouth disease, is now predicting that the Democrats will retain control of the Senate once today’s elections are over.
It ain’t gonna happen, Joe. When all the ballots are counted, I predict that the Republicans will win at least eight seats now held by Democrats, giving them a three-vote majority in the Senate. And the Republican margin could be a lot bigger.
Unfortunately, there are at least two states where the winner won’t be known by tomorrow morning. In Georgia, neither David Perdue, the Republican candidate, or Michelle Nunn, the Democratic nominee, is likely to win a majority of votes. That will necessitate a runoff, which won’t be held until Jan. 6. The new Congress will already be in session by the time we know who wins the seat from Georgia. I think it will be Perdue, so that will be another vote on the Republican side of the aisle.
There is also likely to be a runoff in Louisiana, where Democratic incumbent Senator Mary Landrieu faces two Republican opponents on the ballot today: Rep. Bill Cassidy and Tea Party candidate Rob Maness. Since only the top two vote-getters will qualify for the December runoff there, look for whichever Republican nominee it is to clobber Landrieu. These two victories by Republicans could push their total gains into double digits.
Of all the victories I look forward to celebrating, none will give me more pleasure than to see Joni Ernst of Iowa defeat her Democratic opponent, Bruce Braley. In a season filled with some of the nastiest negative campaign ads I’ve ever seen, Ernst wins the prize for the most delightful positive pitch. That was the one where she boasted about her farmer background and learning how to castrate hogs at an early age. Her promise to apply those same skills to Washington was a hoot.
Harry Reid, the current Senate majority leader, is afraid that Ernst’s victory will spell the end of his reign in Washington. He’s been quoted as saying, “Iowa is critical. There is no other way to say it. Joni Ernst would mean — coming to the United States Senate — that Mitch McConnell would be the leader of the United States Senate.” Yes it would, Harry. Better get ready to pack it in.
While McConnell is far from my ideal as a two-fisted fighter for constitutional principles, he is certain to be a vast improvement over Reid. His rise to majority leader will mean that many of the more than 300 pieces of legislation the House has passed will finally be allowed to come to a vote in the Senate.
How many bills cutting government spending, reducing regulations, lowering taxes and strengthening free enterprise can Barack Obama veto without severely jeopardizing Democratic chances in the 2016 presidential contest? I can’t wait to find out.
There’s some talk that the Republican resurgence could even bring some big changes to the liberal bastion of New England. There are three contests there where we should know the results pretty early in the evening. If Republican Scott Brown defeats Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen for the Senate seat in New Hampshire, it’s going to be a long, long night for the Democrats. And if the Republicans win the governorship of Massachusetts or Connecticut, where the polls say both races are surprisingly close, the evening could turn into a tsunami of defeats for Team Obama.
Oh, there’s one other positive I must mention. Now that the midterm elections are coming to an end, so will the barrage of political ads filling every commercial segment on TV, not to mention all of those robot calls that have been inundating my telephone. Thank goodness for caller ID, so I know which ones to ignore.
By all means, let’s celebrate the news that today’s elections mean the end of Reid’s reign over the U.S. Senate.
And then let’s get ready to stop Obama from achieving by edict what he cannot gain by legislation. Or as a friend of mine put it, let’s make sure Obama’s lame-duck presidency really is lame.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.