The good news: Sounds like they caught it early, so he should make a full recovery. The bad news, at least for Obama and Reid: They might have just lost a decisive vote.
“Thanks to routine screening, this was diagnosed very early and I expect a full and speedy recovery,” Wyden said in a statement…
“I scheduled the surgery for the Monday before Christmas anticipating that the Senate would have recessed by that time and that there would be no disruption to my work in Oregon or Washington,” he said. “However, it now appears that I will be missing votes tomorrow and possibly next week while I prepare and undergo this procedure.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid again vowed Thursday to hold votes on the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the START treaty, and the DREAM Act.
They’ve already got 61 for DADT, so Wyden’s absence shouldn’t affect that. And even if one of the yes votes flips, Manchin has hinted that he’d flip from no to yes if they’re at 59. I’ve never thought the DREAM Act vote would be a nailbiter with so many red-state Dems up for reelection in 2012 — my guess on the ceiling is 57 votes or so — but Wyden missing it will provide a bit of a cushion. Rest easy tonight, Mickey Kaus. The killer here for The One is the START treaty, which got 66 votes on a procedural matter the other day with Evan Bayh absent. In theory that leaves them at 67, precisely where they need to be to ratify it, but without Wyden they’re now in trouble and desperate for someone to flip. Reid could, and probably will, now make sure that START is the last item on the calendar to give Wyden the longest possible time to get back to D.C. (good news for DADT fans), but if he can’t make it, who’s going to switch from no to yes? All of the no’s are Republicans, and the usual suspects — Brown, Collins, Graham, McCain, Snowe — are already in the majority. Here’s the roll; feel free to nominate someone as a likely switcher. Brownback and Bunning are retiring, LeMieux’s term is over (but he’s likely to run again in 2012), and then there’s Mark Kirk, a centrist conservative and current occupant of Obama’s old seat who doesn’t have to worry about another campaign until 2016. Smart money’s on Kirky!
Here’s a little seasonal mood music for you as we meditate on the possibilities. Click the image to watch.