The Gregg nomination was fascinating. I was worried about the expense and difficulty taking that Senate seat away from him would involve in 2010. I had no particular doubts it would happen, and that Hodes would replace Gregg. Gregg's time has gone away, and Hodes Always Votes Correctly. But it was going to cost. With Gregg in Commerce and his replacement saying she wouldn't run in 2010 (even tho she was Republican, she's at least more like the Moderate Republican Caucus domiciled in Maine than like the idiots from NH who primarily got mercury emissions from coal burning plants right and very little else), I was happy.
With Gregg _not_ in Commerce and saying he's not even gonna run in 2010, we may actually see Hodes and Shea-Porter duke it out in the primary. Nice.
Of course, I'll be south of the border, where my vote won't count, as I'll be overwhelmingly surrounded, once again, by people voting largely the way I do.
Maybe reflect a bit on that.
While the folk from the state of Illinois are Very Worried about what happens in 2010 or 2012 if the economy doesn't turn around by then (small sample size: inferred Obama, and Nate Silver based on what he writes over at 538), I think this is a bunch of foolishness. What, we're going to try a couple years of half-assed regulation and weak stimulus, watch it not work, and then go back to optional wars, tax cutting for the rich, benefits cuts for the needy, Intelligent Design taught in schools with a side of torture? Really? I think the Sock Puppet Party is more appealing than _that_ as an alternative.
But wait! There's a third choice. Okay, not the libertarians; those are just closeted Republicans anyway. No, and I don't actually mean the Greens, either. The Progressive Caucus is the largest caucus in the legislature (or so I've heard on the TV machine). At some point, when efforts at bipartisanship have exhausted everyone's patience, I could sort of see the Progressives and the Blue Dogs duking it out for control of the party. And at that point, there will be an interesting fork in the road.
We might see the return of Reagan in some form, with the Blue Dogs uniting with the neo-John-Birchers to rejuvenate the Republican party. It has happened before -- conservative dems tilting us back to the right. But there's a chance -- at least a small one -- that instead, the Progressive Caucus could break out on its own as the Progressive Party, leaving an anemic Democratic Party in the hands of the Blue Dogs. The Democrats get stuck holding the bag for the weak-ass efforts to fix things. The Progressives get to carry the torch down the road a piece, and the Republicans fade into that dark night that holds the Whigs, the Federalists, the Know-Nothings and a whole lot of other parties.
In that world, my vote in Massachusetts would count. For a lot.
I might be wrong about Obama and bipartisanship, too. The progressives and other Democrats in the house have been a bit pissy about the president, on account of him giving so much Time and Attention to their bratty siblings in the other party, and also the Blue Dogs. After that press release describing Gregg stepping down from Commerce, the progressives might want to rethink that. When Obama spends a lot of time courting folk, those folk often wind up losing out on the deal. Perhaps only a schizophrenic would think that pattern exists, or means something. Now, anyway.
Down the road a piece, however, that pattern might start looking obvious to a lot of people.