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Sen. Angus King (“I,” Maine) thinks that he can change his coat! …Erm. Well. Actually…

…that’s an interesting thought, huh?

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who caucuses with the Democrats, will decide after the midterm elections whether to switch sides and join the Republicans.

He is leaving open the possibility of aligning himself with the GOP if control of the upper chamber changes hands.

Yes, I am fully aware that the reflexive answer here is going to be ‘no,’ not least because Senator King is being so remarkably mercenary about this (he publicly admits that he prefers to be on the majority side of any particular Congress). But there are two questions that pop into my head, here: What is his price? and Does Sen. Angus King stay bought? Because if the answers are ‘Not too high’ and ‘Yes, reasonably speaking’ then I’d be happy enough to hear his offer.

I know: even entertaining the idea is horrible of me, no doubt.  But there are three reasons why I am not dismissing this thought out of hand:

  1. Angus King’s defection would be another blow to the Democratic party’s self-confidence, and I want that self-confidence in tatters and begging for its mother by Election Day.  The worse they feel, the better we’ll do. And that will benefit candidates who are more conservative than Angus King, pretty much by definition.
  2. We need a good Senate buffer for 2016. If we have 51 seats in January, the ’16 Senate battle will be more of a brawl, only with flamethrowers.  Every seat we have above that gives us palpable relief.
  3. Again: why do we care about controlling the Senate? Judges, committee chairmanships, and – as I was reminded privately in email – staffs. Remember this article from 2010? Or this one? The 2010 elections removed over 2,000 Democrats from positions of power and influence in DC: flipping the Senate will not have the same raw numbers, but we want to have as many Democrats angrily updating their resumes as we can reasonably manage.

Finishing up: it may very well be that Senator King’s price will be too high, or that we’ll decide that he won’t stay bought.  If so, so be it. But there’s no harm in finding out, one way or the other. It all comes down to how much French real estate this particular Mass would buy…

Moe Lane (crosspost)

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