Another Politico story, and more on their favorite theme of doom for Democrats, so take all this with a big grain of salt. They foresee a Republican Senate in 2015, run not by Sen. Mitch McConnell and controlled by the nihilistic hostage-takers like Ted Cruz, but by—you got it—the supposed moderates.
Much like the last four years of Majority Leader Harry Reid’s tenure, when the Nevada Democrat relied on picking off swing Republicans, a GOP-led Senate would almost certainly be closely divided. A Senate led by Mitch McConnell and a narrow Republican majority would empower a small band of moderates like Joe Manchin, a conservative West Virginia Democrat, who GOP leaders would be forced to woo to pass anything at all.Well, that's certainly a nice little opportunity for Manchin do to what he does best, posture. (And by no means, do not miss Charlie Pierce on Joe Manchin.) But it's pretty much bullshit. The so-called moderates—particularly among Republicans—are not going to hold any more power in a McConnell-controlled Senate than they have so far. You've noticed how much difference Susan Collins or Kelly Ayotte or Rob Portman or Lisa Murkowski have made in influencing the GOP? Yeah, me neither.
A GOP majority would still have to depend on Democrats to break 60-vote filibusters—which means that conservatives’ biggest priorities would be unlikely to succeed. Still, Republicans would have free rein to block and stymie President Barack Obama’s nominations to key Cabinet and judicial positions other than the Supreme Court. […]
If Republicans win the Senate, McConnell (R-Ky.) — the prospective majority leader if he wins reelection — would be in a bind: stuck between demands of the tea party and moderates in both parties who are willing to strike a deal. Enter Manchin, who exemplifies the type of Democrat that McConnell would have to work with.
“I am who I am. I don’t fit anywhere,” Manchin said of his politics, too conservative for most Democrats but too liberal for most Republicans. Even so, he’s considering donating to GOP incumbents who share his centrist tendencies.
What's going to really happen if McConnell manages to be re-elected and enough Republicans win to flip the Senate is that the filibuster will be summarily eliminated for everything, legislation included. And it's not going to include any of the protections for the minority that Republicans have been whining about. Because Ted Cruz. The current crop of Republicans want nothing but scorched earth.
Which argues a great deal for the current Senate, the one Harry Reid still leads, to look seriously at the filibuster reform proposals that would still have some protection for the minority—like keeping the filibuster but making it actually count by making it a talking filibuster. Of course, it also argues for running smart in 2014, and not losing the Senate.