Cornyn’s tough job

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynNew GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Week ahead: Senators near deal to stabilize ObamaCare markets GOP eying 'blue slip' break to help Trump fill the courts MORE, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), has one of the toughest jobs in Washington.

The Texan is tasked with getting more Republicans in the upper chamber after Democrats picked up a net of 13 seats over the last four years (14 if Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenGOP eying 'blue slip' break to help Trump fill the courts Overnight Regulation: FTC launches probe into Equifax | Dems propose tougher data security rules | NYC aims to slash greenhouse gas emissions | EPA to reconsider Obama coal ash rule Overnight Cybersecurity: Kaspersky to testify before House | US sanctions Iranians over cyberattacks | Equifax reveals flaw that led to hack MORE is counted).

Cornyn appears up to the task. He is an impressive fundraiser and has come out swinging, hitting Democrats like an NRSC chief should do. Cornyn has repeatedly attacked Democrats for their handling of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s (D) appointment of Roland Burris, setting the stage for a challenge to the new Illinois senator in 2010.

But a lot of bad news has greeted Cornyn in his first few weeks on the job.

Sens. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and Kit Bond (R-Mo.) are retiring, while Senate Democrats are staying put. This is not Cornyn’s fault, but is another sign that the Senate GOP will be the minority for years to come because, as a group, Republicans have lost their hunger for the political fight.

In 2008, then-NRSC Chairman John Ensign (Nev.) publicly blasted his colleagues for stinginess.

Throughout the 2008 cycle, he practically begged GOP senators to transfer campaign cash to his committee’s coffers, but senators were more concerned with stockpiling cash for their next reelection bid than helping others.

Democrats, by contrast, turned their minority into a majority with a team effort. Soon after he took over the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Sen. Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill This week: Senate wrapping up defense bill after amendment fight Cuomo warns Dems against cutting DACA deal with Trump MORE (N.Y.) persuaded incumbent Democrats in red states to seek reelection and refused to take no for an answer on DSCC dues.

Democrats have not reached the magic number of 60 (even with Franken), but they could reach that figure in 2010. Political winds shift quickly, but there are more endangered Republicans than Democrats, such as Sens. Jim Bunning (Ky.), Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrLawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program Facebook under fire over Russian ads in election 5 senators call for US to shutter embassy in Havana MORE (N.C.) and David VitterDavid VitterYou're fired! Why it's time to ditch the Fed's community banker seat Overnight Energy: Trump set to propose sharp cuts to EPA, energy spending Former La. official tapped as lead offshore drilling regulator MORE (La.).

Some Senate Democrats will also be sweating in the fall of next year, but the landscape is grim for the GOP.

For a moment, Republicans need to not think about open seats, fundraising and the effect President-elect Obama will have on the midterms. If they are serious about climbing back to the top of the mountain, Senate Republicans must coalesce and become more of a cohesive unit.

There is a tired cliché in sports noting that there is no “I” in team. But the letter can be found in “minority.”