Senators up for re-election in 2012 oddly united in support of tax deal

posted at 8:48 am on December 16, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The roll call votes of Senate Democrats voting in favor of the tax deal hammered out by the GOP and Barack Obama reads like a Who’s Who of the 2012 election cycle.  Jon Tester (MT), Sherrod Brown (OH), Claire McCaskill, Bob Casey (PA), and Mark Pryor (AR) all voted to keep tax rates at their current level, opposing 14 of their colleagues as well as five Republicans to pass the bill.  Some, like Sherrod Brown, insisted that he didn’t cast his vote for the tax rates as much as he did for extending the federal unemployment, but Politico notices that the pattern seems a little too clear to ignore:

In 2006 ten freshmen Democrats marched into the Senate, propelled by a wave of popular outrage at the Bush administration.

Fast forward four years.

Nine members of the same class voted Wednesday to extend the signature policy of the very administration they once vowed to take on, joining 24 fellow Democrats up for reelection this cycle in supporting the measure, which passed easily 81 to 19. Democratic first-termers from states where Republicans made major gains last month, including Sens. Claire McCaskill, Jon Tester, Jim Webb, and Sherrod Brown, voted in favor of the package.

It’s a stark change from the 2006 cycle, and a signal of how 2012 Democrats hope to avoid the same shellacking their party endured this November, after Republican campaigns slammed them for the liberal policies passed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Jon Tester didn’t shy away from the tax issue.  After heading home to deeply conservative Montana to mull over his choice, he came back to Washington DC to stop “the biggest tax raise in history.”  Jim Webb, looking over his shoulder at George Allen’s preparations to run for his old seat in 2012, was the first Democrat to announce that he would oppose the tax increase.  Ben Nelson (NE) was a no-brainer; he got himself in hot water over his vote for ObamaCare with Nebraska voters and needs to climb out of the soup pot.  Bill Nelson (FL) may have been a little more of a surprise, but not if you consider how his state voted in the midterms, tossing Democrats out of office almost across the board.

Considering just how sharply most of these at-risk Democrats turned after the midterms, it appears that at least some of them got the message.  Then again, some others obviously haven’t:

More than a half-dozen defeated House Democrats are considering running again for the seats they lost in the November elections.

Some members — including Reps. Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire, Phil Hare of Illinois, Dina Titus of Nevada, Frank Kratovil Jr. of Maryland, Alan Mollohan of West Virginia and Glenn Nye of Virginia — have said publicly that they are mulling over rematches. Others have been more private in their deliberations or more measured in discussing their intentions.

“I’m open to it,” said Ohio Rep. Steve Driehaus, who lost a rematch against Republican former Rep. Steve Chabot, before adding, “I’m an elected official.”

Alabama Rep. Bobby Bright, a conservative Democrat who lost to Republican Martha Roby, said he had given “quite a bit” of thought to running for his seat again.

A few of these outgoing Democrats got defeated by former incumbents, so it’s not exactly unprecedented.  However, given the pounding most of these took and some of the public statements made that led to their defeats — especially Phil “Who Cares About A Dusty Old Constitution” Hare — they’ll likely just serve up a Wave II election.  In fact, if Republicans had their way, they would fight 2012 on the same battle lines as 2010 — on tax hikes, overreaching government, and Democrats who don’t listen to their constituents.  So far, thanks to the tax deal, we’re solid on the first pillar as the tax deal expires at the end of 2012, and if enough of this midterm’s losers come back for another round, we’ll be solid on the other two pillars as well.


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“Can you hear me now?”

-American voters

search4truth on December 16, 2010 at 8:53 AM

Message received? Nah, this is about that scorpion who rode across the river on the back of the croc.

Smoke and mirrors for 2012.

Limerick on December 16, 2010 at 8:58 AM

Rule #107: If the normal special interests that you pander to are split, then as a backup plan, consider the effects of the pending bill on your constituents as a whole.

RBMN on December 16, 2010 at 8:58 AM

Anyone know where Daggett went? Man, I miss that dude.

The Mega Independent on December 16, 2010 at 9:00 AM

This tax bill is a disaster, of course they support it.

True_King on December 16, 2010 at 9:04 AM

This tax bill is a disaster, of course they support it.

True_King on December 16, 2010 at 9:04 AM

Not only a disaster but a huge political win for Obama. While it is true that the new congress is not yet sited, the Republicans have started wasting the tremendous political capital they got from the election results. They had Obama and the Dems on the ropes and, as usual, turned an opportunity into a Dem win. Obama won’t need triangulation, the Republicans will give him all the helps he needs.

neuquenguy on December 16, 2010 at 9:11 AM

Obama won’t need triangulation, the Republicans will give him all the helps he needs.

neuquenguy on December 16, 2010 at 9:11 AM

Certainly does appear to be another case of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Tim Zank on December 16, 2010 at 9:17 AM

neuquenguy on December 16, 2010 at 9:11 AM

Across the board. It’s obvious that nothing short of a complete, Conservative revolution within our own party would have changed the direction we were going. It’ll take a little longer, but we’ll still get where the liberals want the country to go.

Not optimistic at all.

hawkdriver on December 16, 2010 at 9:18 AM

They have not received the message. This would be Stimulus 4(?) it is nothing but pork oh and they are extending the current tax rates. I also heard on the news yesterday that this bill has the ability to push the US out of the AAA bond rating.

Rather then listening to what we said, they are trying t tell the nation that we said we want the Dems and Reps to work together. I only want them to work together if they are all working on conservative legislation. In 2012 these senators will be gone.

jeffn21 on December 16, 2010 at 9:21 AM

I’d swear Sherrod Brown, who I have never see outside of MSNBC’s Special Ed and Olbermann show, would have gladly raised taxes had an election not been down the road. That loon is worse than Bernie Sanders, and a cowardly loon he is to not stand behind his convictions when the shooting starts. Special Ed and Olbermann can’t be happy.

Marcus on December 16, 2010 at 9:22 AM

Marcus on December 16, 2010 at 9:22 AM

I loathe Brown. I hope someone here in Ohio is in a position to knock him out. Unfortunately, I can’t think of a strong contender. We already used Portman to replace Squishy-vich.

At any rate, I’m more disappointed with the Omnibus bill and Dream Act. Republicans who vote for this stuff should face a firing squad.

BuckeyeSam on December 16, 2010 at 9:30 AM

Just goes to show…..Republican, or Democrat….they’re both willing to do, or say anything to keep themselves in a position of power.

Country first, is a fantasy. It’s the me, me, me generation running the country.

capejasmine on December 16, 2010 at 9:34 AM

Alabama Rep. Bobby Bright, a conservative Democrat who lost to Republican Martha Roby, said he had given “quite a bit” of thought to running for his seat again.

Whose seat?
They really are tone deaf aren’t they?

chemman on December 16, 2010 at 9:46 AM

Not optimistic at all.

hawkdriver on December 16, 2010 at 9:18 AM

Neither am I. It doesn’t matter if you are in the main current of the river (dims) or paddling along by the shore side (pubs) you will still go over the waterfall because they are in the same river.

chemman on December 16, 2010 at 9:50 AM

Term limits as exercised individually at the polls. We need a law identifying incumbents at the voting booth – preferably one of those red circls with a diagonal slash across it over their name….

Don L on December 16, 2010 at 9:51 AM

This was an easy vote, sorry. If they’re really serious about beginning to try to get on the right side of the voters they better be voting against cloture on this abomination of an omnibus spending bill.

lizzie beth on December 16, 2010 at 9:52 AM

Term limits as exercised individually at the polls. We need a law identifying incumbents at the voting booth – preferably one of those red circls with a diagonal slash across it over their name….

Don L on December 16, 2010 at 9:51 AM

+100

search4truth on December 16, 2010 at 9:57 AM

There was a timely poll released yesterday by the pollster for DailyKos, PPP, showing Brown is in trouble. His negatives among indies are worse than Stricklands were before he lost to Kasich and, in Ohio, you have to win among indies to win a statewide election. He’ll vote for lots more tax cuts between now and 2012, but he plans on taking it all back in 2013.

MTF on December 16, 2010 at 10:13 AM

Phil Hare might want to bone up on the Constitution before he runs again. Voters may have noticed his disregard contempt.

mchristian on December 16, 2010 at 10:43 AM

I think it’s sweet these pols still think they have a shot with the people. Ramming through Porkulus and Obamacare were repugnant unforced errors that no one will forget. We are in the beginnings of a Reagan revolution.

John the Libertarian on December 16, 2010 at 10:43 AM

So the American people voted to stop the spending insanity. And the message received by McCaskill is to vote for 13 months of new unemployment welfare spending at a cost of several trillion dollars that we don’t have.

Makes sense.

angryed on December 16, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Pryor was re-elected in 2008 (with almost 80% of the vote). He’s not up until 2014.

InterestedObserver on December 16, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Claire McCaskill is a venomous liar. She is truly the snake she appears to be…….

During the “Town Hall” meetings she chided her constituents by threatening to use her “Mother’s voice” if they would not be quiet and listen…..

rabidamerican on December 16, 2010 at 1:29 PM