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Cracker Squire

THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

In Washington, an Awkward Triangle of Power

Gerald Seib writes in The Wall Street Journal:

The immediate effect of the [Tuesday] vote was a reshuffling of the capital's power structure. Overnight, the most important relationship in town is no longer between the president and his party's congressional leaders, but the uneasy triangle of Mr. Obama, Republican John Boehner, the likely new House Speaker, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

Moderates [Democrats] argued Tuesday that the party lost the House precisely because it lost its hold on voters in the ideological center, and needs to move harder in that direction. Several Democratic Senators from conservative states face re-election battles in 2012, and they certainly won't think a shift to the left is in their interest, or the interest of keeping control of the Senate.

On the Republican side, Sen. McConnell faces the dilemma of being nearly, but not quite, in charge of an unwieldy institution, the Senate, while also trying to assimilate a group of newcomers who think they were sent to shake up the leadership.

Voters elected several new Republican senators who either were part of the tea-party movement or propelled by it. Those rookies aren't likely to arrive believing they bring a mandate to compromise with liberals.

Many Republican senators probably see little need to compromise when, with twice as many Democratic senators as Republicans up for re-election in 2012, the GOP has a chance to grab full control.

Sen. McConnell also realizes that the Senate already is seen as the place where ideas go to die because of its frequent bouts of paralysis, and that many independent voters cast ballots Tuesday out of frustration with what they see as Washington's failure to reach consensus on much of anything.

The man with the biggest new job is Rep. Boehner. Thanks to the size of Tuesday's Republican wave, he will have the votes to do pretty much as he pleases in the House. But he'll face a choice: He can score points with legislation he knows will die in the fractured Senate or under the president's veto pen. Or he can try to weave his way toward legislation that both pleases his troops and voters, and has a chance of surviving.

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