Man Without Qualities

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Control of the Senate?

In a prior post the Man Without Qualities reminded readers that if the Senate were to acquire a Republican majority in November, Lincoln Chafee ("R"., R.I.) might become a Democrat or "Independent" (read, procedural Democrat).

Since Senator Chafee was the only Republican voting against the resolution authorizing war with Iraq, it seems as though he is sending some very clear signals as to his post-November intentions.

UPDATE: Some polls are now indicating that Missouri Democratic Sen. Jean Carnahan trails former Republican Rep. Jim Talent, reversing previous findings of Senator Carnahan's 6 point lead. Most political experts would say that an incumbent (such as Senator Carnahan) who has fallen behind at this stage is all but doomed, so thought about what happens if and when she loses is in order.

The Missouri race is different, because the winner will take office the day after election day - not in 2003. Regardless of which party wins control of the Senate in November, some Republicans have contemplated a "lame duck session" between election day and the new year in which only Senator Carnahan would be replaced. Confirming a lot of federal judges has been a suggested agenda.

But if that were to happen, it looks as if Senator Chaffee would try to stop it. I'm not an expert on Senate rules, but presumably it would take a full Senate vote to reconstitute the Senate committees. Senator Chaffee might bolt at that time.

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