What do Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, Joe Lieberman and Mark Pryor have in common?
They remain the last bastions of so-called moderate Democrats in the United States Senate.
As Harry Reid, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Chuck Schumer and Patrick Leahy become more and more ascendant, it is obvious that the Age of Moderates within the Democratic Party are coming to an end.
And, the potential victory -- ill-begotten as it may be -- by Al Franken will spell the final end to the chapter of their moderate Democrats influence in the United States Senate.
While Franken will still only get Democrats to 59 votes -- it is a critical 59th vote for the Harry Reid Agenda.
With Al Franken in the Senate, Harry Reid will achieve a vote he desperately needs to break multiple roadblocks to his pet political issues -- the Employee Free Choice Act, raising taxes, increasing spending and further eroding our economic base by broadening the power of the federal government.
With Al Franken in the Senate, Harry Reid will be able to put even more pressure on the diminishing power of Moderate Democrats to abandon their principle and their positions.
Who does he bend to get them to break? Is it Pryor who has remained under the partisan radar as much as possible -- generally being a voice of reason but who may have some potential national dreams some day.
Or, does he get Joe Lieberman as a test of loyalty to those he once had the courage to challenge to shift change and pass an agenda that more and more moderates are seeing spells disaster for the country?
How about Blanche Lincoln? A smart, articulate woman who may be just a step away from a national perch, Lincoln must certainly be under intense pressure to simply toe the line.
As for Ben Nelson -- he's never been beneath cutting a deal to get what he wants. And, while his state of Nebraska remains a staunch conservative place, Ben Nelson is a smart politico who can wiggle himself out of some pretty tough spots.
And, with the ability to lure liberal Republicans like Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe to his side on some of these key issues, Harry Reid will effectively have his 60th vote in Al Franken.
Al Franken is Harry Reid's 60th vote. And, they both know it and that's why Reid has been upping the anty every single day since the recount began.
Al Franken is in the pocket of every liberal special interest group and his bidding isn't a question of if -- it's a question of just how high will he jump for them!
Want the private sector completely out of student loan programs and have the government (taxpayer) carry the weight on its own? Al Franken will jump high and often.
Want government health care paid for by the government (taxpayer)? Jump, Al, Jump!
Want union legislation that makes your private ballot subject to scutiny by labor bosses everywhere? Al is jumping like a rope that just can't stop!
Moderate Democrats without Al Franken in the Senate have amazing power. They force Harry Reid to have to negotiate with them -- to come to them for compromises on key issues of the day.
With Al Franken in the Senate, they have to go to Harry ready and ask for compromises -- to which Harry Reid will tell them which way the sun is shining and it isn't on their faces.
And, if you look ahead to 2010 -- when GOP ranks in the Senate are likely to thin out even more -- the final straw that breaks the camel's back will be complete. With 59 Democrats in the Senate, with Al Franken in their anks, and the potential for picking up more liberal Democratic seats in 2010, the Moderate Democrat will cease to exist in the United Senate.
The Minnesota election is never likely to be fairly decided -- particularly with a 3 court panel that seems meek and timid and unwilling to enforce the very rulings they have handed down.
With potentially thousands of illegal votes now being included in the election totals as a result of a Friday the 13th ruling by the 3 court contest judges, it is inconceivable that anyone will be able to declare victory.
And, with thousands more votes not being counted, or some of them being counted twice, Minnesota stands on the edge of being seen as a national showcase for everything that is wrong with elections in our country today.
It's been suggested that the only logical way to resolve this matter is a revote. And, whether you are a Democrat or Republican, the idea of doing it over in order to get it right has to be a far better option than accepting the results that you know are flawed and tainted.
For the remaining moderate Democrats in the Senate, if confronted with having to seat Al Franken without an election certificate as Harry Reid continues to threaten, it will be clear that they no longer have power if they are rolled and follow his lead.
And, even more problematic for them, if they accept the results of the Minnesota election -- tainted as it is -- and Al Franken is seated -- their days of influence will end as surely as the punchline: Senator Al Franken.