Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Georgia Gives GOP Senator #41 - But All Is Not Lost

It's over: the Dems' hopes for a filibuster-proof majority have disappeared with Saxby Chambliss prevailing over Jim Martin. Disappointing, to be sure, but not unsurprising. That Martin was even competitive in this race is a testament to the strength of the Obama wave in the Deep South.

And let's keep this in context. A 58 (and possibly 59) seat majority is an incredibly powerful mandate. It's been 30 years since either party held this many seats in the Senate. Even at the peak of the conservative "revival" this decade, Republicans never held more than 55. Harry Reid and the Democratic leadership have the popular backing of the country to an extent unprecdented in recent political history.

The real question is, Will Senate Dems choose to govern like they hold the commanding majority they do? Republicans will try to manipulate the myriad rules and customs of the Senate to throw up a roadblock to progress, as has been done throughout history. But rules can be changed, and customs altered - as the Republicans threatened to do over judicial appointments earlier this decade, with a smaller majority.

It's important that the opposition receives a fair chance to present its case. But Harry, for all our sakes, don't let the GOP get in the way of the Change Train.