Watching "Special Report" last night, in a discussion about the senate races, Democrat strategist Joe Trippi actually used the "w" word...as in "wave"...the first time I'd heard that from someone connected, and in good graces, with Democrat politics. ( thus discounting Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen)
I personally think it's going to be a very good year for Republicans in Congress. Democrats seem already resigned to defeat, and are focused instead on 2016...and "will she or won't she run?"
Reid's gaffes are becoming more pronounced, and we're actually starting to hear some in Congress question, albeit anonymously, if Harry still has all his marbles. And of course, we're about due for Pelosi's third consecutive bi-annual prediction that she will once again be elected Speaker by a new Democrat majority in the House.
What's most surprising, given as that politics, even more than nature, abhors a vacuum..there's been almost no speculation as to what happens in the next Congress. It's two months until the election..you'd think there would be a lot more maneuvering, posturing.... among congressional Democrats. Instead, we hear more about possible challengers to Hillary two years hence.
So, I ask you...what are your thoughts....your best guesses?
Will Pelosi retire, considering that the Dems will likely lose seats in the House. I think she wants to stay on, but she's in the process of becoming a caricature of herself. Three strikes and it's time to go.
Will Hoyer succeed her? The guy's been near invisible of late, flying so far below the radar he's underground. Could be he's busy lining up votes? Who else is there? Clyburn? The CBC will be the largest voting bloc in the Dem caucus. They might decide to push for one of their own. Becerra? Probably depends on what Obama does with amnesty before the election. Chris van Hollen? Meh!
What will make it really interesting is if, as I think likely, Hoyer declines to run for leader. He's 76...and given that the GOP will likely control the House for the next 8 years, why would he even want the job? The next Democrat House caucus will be much more liberal..far to the left of Hoyer, and far more fractious. The minority leader's main job is running around the country, raising money, and he'll never even come close to Pelosi in that regard, so why even try. I think he punts. He might even decide to take his revenge on Pelosi for how she repaid him after he decided not to challenge her in 2010.
Imagine this scenario. It's a few days after the election. Dems lost seats in the House. We're waiting to hear something from Pelosi about her plans. Hoyer holds a press conference; announces he will NOT run again for whip. He'll say it's time for new leadership, for the next generation of Democrats to assert themselves. And, as he's happily shoving Pelosi out the door, he'll announce that this will be his last term in Congress..that he won't run in 2016.
He instantly is canonized in the Democrat and MSM pantheon. He'll be courted..lots of offers, and will probably retire to take the big $$$ a few months later.
The point is..that would make it all but impossible for Pelosi to stay on. And then, it's wide open.
In the Senate, it's even stranger. The odds are at least 50/50 that the Dems lose control, yet there's been almost no speculation about Reid's future. He's said that he can't wait to run in 2016, but that's just the inane babbling of a punch-drunk fighter.. Reid would lose, and badly, to Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.
If it's indeed a GOP wave, Reid will bow out. I can't see him wanting to stay on as a backbencher..giving the occasional speech castigating the Koch Bros. He'd have to immediately begin preparing for the 2016 race. And if he's not going to run in 2016, why hang on?
If Pelosi exits, that will only up the clamor for a change in leadership across the board. Reid does have a face-saving exit. His wife, sadly, is quite ill, and he could say after the election that he now has to devote all his time and energy to caring for her, so he's resigning from the Senate. As the GOP will likely have a comfortable majority, letting a Republican governor name his successor won't have an impact.
The two Democrats viewed as most likely to succeed Reid are Schumer and Durbin. One can visualize a steel-cage death match between the two inside the Democrat conference.
It's important to remember that the next Democrat senate conference will be far more ideologically hard left.
Both have problems. And curiously ( or not??) both have been been pretty quiet the last few months..( counting votes??) which is especially strange behavior for Schumer.
Durbin is from Illinois, Obama's home. Durbin is duct-taped to Obama. And Illinois will likely elect a GOP governor, and is going to have major fiscal problems the next few years.
Schumer's problem is that he's Jewish, and from a heavily Jewish state, and that today's Democrat party base is more anti-Israel than ever before. The current Israeli-Hamas war..and Obama's non-existent relationship with Netanyahu, are making life difficult for Chuckie.
Senate Democrats will immediately begin planning to win back control in 2016. Schumer was very effective in helping Dems win the Senate in 2008, and he'll play upon that strength. It's also going to be curious to see who Reid votes for.
There's a possibility that the Clintons might start to exert control over the Democrat party apparatus, and influence the decision, possibly in a compromise candidate. There's no great love between the Clintons and Schumer..blind, naked ambition easily recognizes the same in someone else, and can't tolerate it.
There could well be a compromise candidate, encouraged/brokered by the Clintons. And that's what will happen. Patty Murray is perfect. She's been in the Senate long enough, she's in the leadership..she's highly acceptable to the Clintonas...she's female..and most of all, she's not Durbin or Schumer.
So, there you have it..the future of the Democrat Congressional leadership, as I see it.
In the House...both Pelosi and Hoyer step aside, and I truly have no idea who gets the slot. I think Becerra has the best chance, ( the whole Latino thing) and if the Black Caucus gets behind him, it's a done deal.
In the Senate, Reid's out..likely retires...Schumer and Durbin cancel each other out. Patty Murray's the go-to-gal.
That's my take. What say you all?
And best of all, we 'll know the answers in a few months.