62 Democratic senators

The resounding Democratic victory in the 2006 Senate campaign creates a historic anomaly in which the Senate Democratic Caucus could increase to more than 60 senators, with historic implications for American politics and all three branches of government.

The media are simply focusing on the 22 Senate Republican seats at stake in 2008. But the Republican senators considering whether to retire, and the smart K Street money, are homed in on the 2010 elections as well, where another 19 Republican Senate seats are at stake.

Do the math. Locked into the fate of one of America’s most unpopular presidents in history, with the national mood favoring a tidal wave of change, with Republicans plagued by endless scandals, and with a president pushing a disastrous war onto the desk of his successor, 41 Senate Republican seats are in jeopardy in 2008 and 2010.

Of course, many of the most distinguished Republican senators choose to retire, fearing they will spend in the rest of their careers in a shrinking Republican minority.

Of course, the smart-money contributors on K Street increasingly tilt toward Senate Democrats, a trend that will accelerate going into November 2008 and skyrocket off the charts by 2010.

In Washington politics, if you want a friend, buy a dog, and if you want influence, don’t bet on the loser. With 41 Republican seats in jeopardy in the next two elections under extremely unfavorable circumstances, with business money wanting friends in the right places, and with a tidal wave of grassroots money from the often-maligned Democratic base, the money advantage to Democrats becomes exponential.

The actions of Senate Republicans on Iraq are inexplicable. Most of them believe the policy is a disaster and know that the overwhelming majority of military leaders (including the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. William Fallon and Gen. James Jones) privately disagree with the proposals of Gen. David Petraeus, and even Petraeus tells Congress that he does not know whether his proposals make America safer.

Nevertheless, close to 100 percent of the Senate Republicans have voted for the Bush blunders close to 100 percent of the time for 100 percent of the duration of the war. When the president puts the day of military reckoning on the desk of his successor in January 2009, he puts the day of political reckoning on the backs of Republicans in November 2008.

From the summer before the 2006 elections through Election Day in 2008 the Republicans endure a news-flow nightmare. From sex scandals to war scandals, from corruption in Iraq reconstruction to corruption on Capitol Hill, the nightmare escalates as the Bush years come to a close with score-settling daggers and scandal-revealing leaks that will reach a crescendo in November 2008.

The demeaning attacks on Democrats by Republican propagandists only backfire, with 70 percent of the nation disapproving their policies, and 60 percent of the nation distrusting their integrity. Giant swaths of American society, from homeowners to Hispanics to military moms, feel threatened by Republican rule.

Republicans think they demean Democrats; 70 percent of Americans think they are demeaning them. Republicans think they outmaneuver Democrats on the Senate floor with endless obstructionist filibusters, while in fact, they fall into the political trap set by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and look to Americans like the party of incumbency blockading the nation’s hunger for change.

The president continues to try to exploit the Sept. 11 terror attacks while every American sees Osama bin Laden on television, intelligence reports detail al Qaeda’s resurgence on the Bush watch, analysts detail weaknesses in the Department of Homeland Security, and Petraeus struggles with the question of whether his plan makes America more safe.
The stage is set for a Senate tsunami.

If Republicans are smart, they will listen to Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), meet with Reid, respect the true opinion of the majority of military leaders, fight to change the policy in Iraq, and recognize that the carnage in Iraq is not only bad for the nation but a cause of the carnage that is headed for the Senate Republican Conference like a freight train coming around the bend.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then-chief deputy whip of the House. A contributing editor to Fighting Dems News Service, he can be reached at brentbbi@webtv.net and read on The Hill Pundits Blog.