As voters go to the polls today in Georgia, it looks like incumbent Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss will retain his seat in spite of overwhelming Democratic wins across the nation. Chambliss already WOULD have won, except for a twist in their laws, which requires a Senate candidate to garner at least 50% plus one vote in order to win. While winning by about 3%, he fell just short of getting a majority due to third-party candidates on the ballot.
So, this will finally put to rest the possibility of the Democrats getting a 60-seat majority in the Senate to ensure defeat of any GOP filibusters. The Super Majority is dead.
Which, as far as I'm concerned, was a fantasy to begin with. The magical number 60 depended on both Al Franken winning his recount in Minnesota, and the continued good will of Sen. Joe Lieberman. I don't trust him to deal in good faith with the Democrats, as he's often stated that he'll act on his own "principles" rather than what's good for the nation or the Democratic Party.
These principles, in case you forgot, include such things as siding with the GOP to invade Iraq and taking steps to set up an invasion of Iran; campaigning endlessly for John McCain and GOP Senate candidates; favoring Catholic hospitals in denying Plan B emergency contraception to rape victims; forcing continued life-support for brain-dead patients over the wishes of spouses (Teri Schiavo); supporting ultra-conservative candidates for the Supreme Court; failing to investigate Katrina as HSC Chair; etc.
But Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats have short memories, and they decided to forgive and forget everything Joe Lieberman has done to betray his former party, all in the desperate hope that they might be able to count upon his vote to make that magical "Sixty".
Well, it ain't gonna happen now. We technically have 58, and if Franken prevails in the recount (which at this point is very much in doubt) we'll have 59. But Georgia is almost definitely going to remain a GOP seat, and all those Democratic dreams for a super-majority is going to have to wait until the 2010 election at the earliest.
I wonder if things would be different if Georgia didn't have that silly little glitch in their laws that made a runoff election, which was scheduled AFTER the Senate Steering Committee met, a necessity? If Chambliss actually won on election night and the mythical 60 was completely out of reach, would Barack Obama have withheld his support for Joe? Would Harry Reid have stuck to his original tough talk about Lieberman? Would Chris Dodd and about 40 other Senators have voted differently and punished Joe the way everyone expected?
We'll never know. At this point, it's only idle speculation and it doesn't really serve any useful purpose. But we should remember this, because, unlike those well-insulated Senate Democrats, we'll be the ones who have to live with the results of their actions.
And the first time Joe Lieberman behaves true-to-form and screws the Democrats again (like we firmly believe he will), we'll be there to remind those Senators of their actions and hold them accountable.
Hey, maybe I'm wrong, and Joe Lieberman will become a good Senator and actually work WITH the party to get constructive legislation approved. It MIGHT conceivably happen...
...I'm just not going to hold my breath.