Thursday, February 06, 2003

Estrada-The Race to 60-I started to think about how the Democrats could get 41 votes to sustain a filibuster. With 49 senators, they could afford to lose only 8 and still keep a gabfest going. Here's a list of 15 Democrats I think would be possible cloture votes.
Mac Baucus Ernest Hollings Blanche Lincoln
Evan Bayh Jim Jeffords Zell Miller
John Breaux Tim Johnson Ben Nelson
Byron Dorgan Mary Landrieu David Pryor
Bob Graham Joe Lieberman Harry Reid

The Democrats have to bring 8 of these over. Graham and Lieberman could be brought over by presidential politics, but I think both might opt not to play that game; they can show an independent streak that will help in a general election, but the backlash from the liberal interest groups might force them to stay put. Jeffords could be won over on pure cussedness. Everyone else on that list is in Red State territory and would be swimming against the tide trying to shoot down a ABA-well-qualified Hispanic nominee just on ideological grounds. Bob Nelson, Russ Feingold and Joe Biden might even be yes votes on cloture, wanting to do the right thing for the process. The Democrats will have to keep all three of them on the reservation and pick off half of the names on the above table. I don't see it happening, but it would be interesting theater if it does.

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