I think now that what will ultimately happen on election night is winding down, there are a few questions that are going to be asked and answered over the coming weeks and months:
- Who will be the minority leader in the House.
There were reports that Pelosi didn't want to be minority leader if the Dems lost the house and, frankly, it's often custom I think for the party who loses the majority to elect new leadership anyway. So who might be the new players in the House on the Dem side? Does Hoyer stay majority leader, or do the Dems completely clean the leadership house?
- Even if Reid is re-elected, does he stay majority leader?
It seems pretty clear that the Dems will hold the Senate, perhaps with a larger margin than was predicted (while the House looks worse than expected). Does Reid stay majority leader, or does someone like Schumer or Durbin make a play for the position?
- What will happen to the Bush tax cuts.
It seems unlikely that Obama and the Dems in the Senate will accept a permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts, but it seems equally unlikely that the GOP will pass a bill without extending cuts for the top bracket. Do they find a compromise (extend everything for 2 more years, say) and have the Final Battle over the Bush tax cuts in 2012, or do they reach an impasse and the whole thing expires?
- What will they do with the debt ceiling?
Most established GOP members know how things work and know it will be a disaster not to extend the debt ceiling. However, will they be able to convince their new members that causing complete economic chaos isn't worth standing on principle on that issue.
- Will the Congress do anything else?
Tax cuts and the debt ceiling seem like the two most immediate pending problems to be dealt with, but beyond that, will the Congress be able to pass anything beyond naming post offices? If the GOP leadership doesn't want a shut down, they will have to compromise with Obama and Obama will have to compromise with them. But are both side so stuck to certain principles that reaching an actual agreement is impossible?
- Will someone challenge Obama in 2012?
This is a serious question: will anyone challenge Obama in the Presidential primary from the left or the right in 2012. Will there be a "we spent too much" conservadem (say, Bayh) who runs from the right, and/or a progressive who attacks Obama for not doing enough (let's say it's Feingold, for example). Is there any chance Obama could be seriously threatened in a contested primary, especially from a challenge from the left?
Have at it