As the armageddon scenario for the GOP – sixty Democrats in the Senate and Obama in the White House – becomes a possibility it might be a good time to get some perspective.
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Possible? Yes. Likely? Not really. Some extraordinary things would need to happen. And the world's biggest cocksucker would once again be thrust into a position of power.
The current Senate features 50 Democrats (counting Bernie Sanders), 49 Republicans, and Joe Lieberman.
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This gives the Democrats a nominal 51-49 edge. To reach 60 they would need to pick up nine seats in one election. Some GOP losses seem inevitable. Others would be a stretch.
Republican incumbents who are all but assured of going down include Sununu (NH), CO Open (Allard retirement), NM Open (Domenici retirement), and VA Open (Warner retirement). This means the Democrats can confidently assume a 55-45 split counting Lieberman as a Democrat.
Several incumbents have a very good chance of going down but may hold on: Smith (OR), Dole (NC), Coleman (MN), and Stevens (AK) are all in big trouble. Sweeping these four – no easy task – would leave the GOP at 59-41. Ouch. But it's not 60.
To reach 60, the Democratic candidates would have to pull off an improbable victory in MS-2 (Wicker vs. Musgrove) or Kentucky (where Mitch McConnell is fighting for his life). Neither can be considered likely. If they pull one of these races off then it is 60-40.
Unfortunately for the Democrats, it's more like 59-40-Cocksucker because that sixty includes Holy Joe. I can only imagine how deeply the party dreads having that sanctimonious asshead in a pivotal position yet again. To "Lieberman-proof" a 60-seat majority they would need to win both the McConnell and Wicker races (or some other race which isn't even considered competitive at the moment, Cornyn-Noriega in TX being the only real possibility). That is, to say the least, unlikely.
It is highly likely – something on the order of 99.9% – that the Democratic edge in the Senate will reach 55 seats in a few weeks. It's nearly as likely (let's say 80%) that the majority will be 58 or 59. But the odds drop precipitously at that point. The battle to get to 58 will be a pretty easy one but there will be rapidly diminishing returns beyond that point. Fighting their way to 60 will require an improbable victory and a few more years of kissing Joe Lieberman's ass, bending to his every whim.
Now that I've downplayed the odds as much as possible it's worth noting that the scenario is costing the GOP some sleep. In what can only be described as a ringing vote of confidence, the RNC is reportedly ready to stop spending money on McCain's rudderless ship of a campaign in order to devote more resources to a "firewall" at 40 Senate seats. Think about that for a second. If the big victory they can take away from this election is "We have enough Senators to threaten a filibuster!" then the GOP has truly suffered a beating of historic proportions. Note, however, how well the "firewall" at 50 worked in 2006. Something tells me this one will work slightly better, if only because the odds of the Democrats hitting 60 (and especially doing so sans Lieberman) are small independent of any GOP strategy.