Democratic Senate wins are a ‘big effin’ deal’ for liberals

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

As Vice President Joe Biden said to President Obama on the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Democratic Senate wins on Tuesday are a "big effin' deal" for liberals. Greg Sargent writes, A big night for Democrats and liberals:

Obama has been reelected with a resounding victory in the electoral
college (the popular vote is outstanding). Democrats have routed
Republicans in the Senate races. A progressive champion has been sent to
the Upper Chamber in the person of Elizabeth Warren. The first openly
gay Senator — Tammy Baldwin, another solid liberal — joins her. The Dem
majority will be more progressive and energetic.

* * *

Obamacare will survive. It will continue to be implemented, and provided
that it works, it will grow in popularity as its benefits kick in. The
health law will slowly get woven into the fabric of American life, just
as the major progressive reforms of the 20th Century did over time.

The economy is likely to continue to recover. If Mitt Romney had won, he
and his ideas (tax cuts, deregulation, unshackling the free market)
might have been associated with the recovery, leaving Keynesianism and
stimulus spending thoroughly discredited.

Instead, Obama and Democrats
will hopefully gain more credit for the ongoing recovery, and perhaps
the idea that government can act to fix the economy will get
rehabilitated. Warren’s victory is important here, too: The most vocal
advocate of progressive taxation in the country was sent to the Senate,
at a time when the argument over whether to raise taxes on the rich to
help fix our fiscal problems is about to climax.

Greg Sargent continues in Why having a more liberal Senate will matter:

With the magnitude of yesterday’s victory in the presidential race
beginning to sink in, it’s worth pausing to note what a huge deal it is
that Democrats, unexpectedly, gained seats in the Senate — and
even more to the point, that the influx of new arrivals means a more
liberal and energetic Democratic caucus.

* * *

With the news breaking just now
that independent Angus King of Maine is likely to caucus with Dems,
that means the party has expanded its majority to at least 55 seats. But
as David Dayen notes, yesterday’s Senate victories were not just partisan; they were ideological:

Elizabeth Warren and Joe Donnelly and Angus King picked up
seats, and all of them are to the left of what is currently in that seat
on most issues, to varying degrees (obviously Warren is significantly
more liberal, while the other two more in the sense that they don’t have
the pressures of voting with an obstructionist minority). But there’s
more. Chris Murphy is well to the left of Joe Lieberman, enough that you
could call that a pickup in itself. Tammy Baldwin is way to the left of
Herb Kohl. Martin Heinrich is probably a little to the left of Jeff
Bingaman. Heidi Heitkamp is probably a wash with Kent Conrad. And a
number of the incumbents are free to vote a bit differently given that
they won’t be up for re-election for 6 years.

It’s going to be very interesting to see how this shifts the dynamic. As I noted here recently, many of the new arrivals have already pledged to back filibuster reform. [Update: Sen. Harry Reid pledges filibuster reform drive in next Congress.]

Meanwhile, Congressional expert Norm Ornstein tells me that the shift
leftward could have an impact on how the Dem caucus ultimately handles
Medicaid. [i.e., the "Grand Bargain" and the Simpson-Bowles "Catfood Commission" that the Beltway media villagers are all fixated on.]

* * *

“Having a liberal Senate means you’re going to do less onerous things to
the elderly the poor and the disabled,” Ornstein says. He also thinks
immigration reform is a real possibility, because there are going to be a
“significant number of Republicans who know their party’s dead without
it.” The details of immigration reform, he says, could be “shaped a bit
by having more liberals.”

And finally, there’s taxes. As David Dayen notes, the imminent influx of progressives suggests there’s good reason for
Dems to simply let all the Bush tax cuts expire, and then, when the
liberals arrive next year, pass Democratic tax cuts for the middle class.

"Cliff divers" to reset our tax policy and to drive a stake in the heart of faith based supply-side "trickle down" voodoo economics. The Tax Fairy, Grover Norquist, may finally be neutered and rendered impotent on tax policy.

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