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January 5th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Moderate Senate Democrats already looking ahead to 2012?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the new Congress convenes today, the next election in 2012 already looms as a possible impediment to the Democrats' Senate majority.

Politico reports that several moderate Democratic Senators up for re-election in two years will be more likely to buck their own party in order to save their seats.

And it's already started. During the lame duck session of Congress, when Harry Reid tried to prevent an extension of the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy, three moderate Democrats defected. When the Republicans proposed deep spending cuts, two more Democrats joined them. And yet another moderate jumped ship when Reid pushed through President Obama's tax compromise.

In all, 21 Senate Democrats - plus two Independents who caucus with them - will be up for re-election in 2012.

You can bet these Democrats are well aware of the "shellacking" their party took in the midterms; and they don't want to be the next casualty. As Senator Claire McCaskill - who is up for re-election herself - puts it: "If you're in re-elect mode, there's a tendency around here just to hide under a chair instead of making the tough calls."

Meanwhile Republicans are worried that Senate Democrats may try to eliminate the use of the filibuster now that they have a smaller majority of 53 seats. Some Democrats are proposing a rule change that would require only a simple majority of 51 votes - instead of 60 votes - to break a filibuster.

The GOP calls this a "naked partisan power grab."

Here’s my question to you: How effective can Senate Democrats be if some moderate members are already looking ahead to 2012?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Loren writes:
How effective should they be? Clearly, the electorate was unhappy with the programs of the Democratic Party. If a minority of that party continues to choose programs that are unwanted by the American people, do all members of the party have to support those programs? The joy of democracy is that when the people speak, the elected dance.

Kathie writes:
Face it, Jack. The people we elected to represent us are only interested in themselves and their own re-election. Another reason that term limits are needed.

Tony writes:
Senate Democrats will have to start thinking about their careers and distance themselves from the Pelosi-Reid politics of the past several years. If that happens, perhaps we can get this economy going, get more people working and eliminate the idiotic parts of the so-called health care reform bill. It always comes down to "me first and the people second." Now they had better listen or the people will speak loudly in 2012 as they did this past November.

Adam in California writes:
The midterms were a referendum on the left's politics, and unless they come from districts that are full of nanny-state ideologues, they better wake-up. Obamacare is a stone around the neck of every "yes" voter. The majority of Americans do not want to live in a European-style Social Democracy and the ones who do are free to move there. I'll help them pack.

Randy writes:
Jack, This left, right, moderate concept is getting as old as the Harlem Globetrotters. The Globetrotters (Republicans) always win and play the Generals (Democrats) for fools while both teams laugh all the way to the bank(ers). The real losers are always the poor and middle class Americans who fall for this charade every 2-4 years.

Philip writes:
Enough with the re-election talk! We just elected a newly batch of weasels that hopefully can concentrate on doing the job they were meant to do!


Filed under: 2012 Election • Democrats • Senate
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    Since they have already passed legislation that was contrary to the will of the American people, perhaps we should be thankful that their ability to do that, is now severely diminished.

    January 5, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  2. Joe R - Houston

    Your question implies that moderate Senate Democrats will begin their usual pre-election rhetoric centered around promising me a continuation of handouts and social services rather than concentrating on decreasing my grandchildrens obligation to pay for today's excesses. That strategy will insure my vote goes to someone else.

    January 5, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  3. John from Alabama

    Jack: People want results from Congress. The U S Senate has held up needed pieces of legislation because it could not be debated, or there were not enough votes to stop a filibuster, and so .... for a number of years. Congress needs to tackle assisting making the power grid stronger and reliable. Congress needs to provide veterans who have been waiting years on their claims to have a final decision. There are over 1 million veterans who are in limbo. Congress needs to provide modern rapid transit in this nation. I could go on for along time.

    January 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  4. Steve, NY

    If you take away the drum beat of "tax cuts for the rich" again the "tax cuts for the rich", which everybody is getting sick of hearing, the Democrats have nothing left on their platform. If the Republicans were smart, they would raise the taxes on the rich (the top 2%) and this would shut the Democrats mouths and they would have nothing to complain or campaighn about. They might as well call themselves Republicans.
    Now reivise the health plan to the likings of the majority and we have peace in this country. This is a no brainer, very logical solution.
    Jack, I have a recommendation, ask the question of your audience for a perfect candidate with his platform. A little bit of the positives from both the Democrat and Republican philosophy and you may create a " Dream Candidate" for 2012. .

    January 5, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  5. Dave, Orlando, FL

    They can’t be effective advocates for us at all. Apparently, everyone except you, Jack, and me was absent from history class the day they were teaching the part about Congress. Senatorial seats were only temporary positions. They were to be filled by ORDINARY people to solve the problems of ORDINARY people. Then they were expected to step down. They were paid very high salaries so as to discourage them from the “pay to play” system we have now. Unfortunately, mega corporations can easily buy a Senator today. Our Founding Fathers never intended these bums to act the way they do.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  6. Bradley, Portland, OR

    The Blue Dogs were stone-walling legislation over the last 2 years along with the Republicans, so if preoccupation with 2012 diverts them from their obstructionism, that would be a good thing.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  7. FreedToChoose

    It's not just moderate Democrats who are looking forward to 2012, every Congressperson is... except those who aren't interested in reelection. Some have said so, but fewer are disinterested than say.

    Moderate Democrats are the focus because of the public mindset that Democrats are liberal and Republicans are conservative. This is, as are all generalities, false. The question of a candidates leanings, while important to the media, are often less important than their view within their Congressional District. Consider Charles Rangel. Does anyone think a Republican of any stripe could be elected in his District?

    It is important to remember that each District has a political leaning and many are centrist where moderate Democrats will rule because the moderate Republican is endangered... nearly extinct.

    Las Cruces, NM

    January 5, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  8. Bob Dame

    Moderate Senate Democrats will be deliberately ineffective at passing more toxic liberal laws like Obamacare and the stimulus, and that will be their only effective method to re-election in 2012.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  9. southerncousin

    The last moderate democrat I knew of was Joe Lieberman and they threw him out of the democrat liberal party.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  10. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    These people are appalling in every aspect of their so called oath of office. It is amazing to me that we have survived the lack of unity by Congress but at the rate they are going it won't be much longer and we'll be wishing we hadn't put the people in power in the House. The Democrats had a great opportunity and blew it.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  11. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    In Russian the word it NIT. In other languages it's none, nello or zippo.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  12. Kathie

    Face it, Jack. The people we elected to represent us are only interested in themselves and their own reelection. Another reason that term limits are needed.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  13. Loren

    How effective should they be? Clearly, the electorate was unhappy with the programs of the Democratic Party. If a minority of that party continues to choose programs that are unwanted by the American people, do all members of the party have to support those programs?

    The joy of democracy is that when the people speak, the elected dance.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  14. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    I would hope that Senate Democrats are more focused on coming up with solutions to the economic problems the U.S. is facing. I would also hope both parties start working with, rather than against, each other. If neither party can stop the in-house fighting, I won't vote for the people who are supposed to be representing my interests.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  15. bud rupert

    From what I've observed it doesn't matter Jack. Not really. The ideological band wagon on the left and the right has left the station.
    The President has knows this and will be making deals to get legislation past. At least I hope so.The public wants to see both sides deal with problems and issues that can affect change for the betterment of the country. The idealogs will have to learn to find common ground or they may be looking for a job come next election.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  16. Ron in Ohio

    Jack, the Democrats did not take as much shellacking as did our fellow citzens. We are like sheep but with short memories. We gave power back to the very Republicans that enabled our economy to falter due to their love of deregulation. All they could scream about in their hate ads were about spending too much money, except the their own projects, their own subsidies. And now they want to go back to work for the health insurance industry and repeal health care reform even though it will save billions while helping fellow Americans, and we seem to dumb to see through their tactics.

    As a group, the Democrats need to grow a backbone and call them out for what they do to us. If they do, they should be fine in the next election because we should know by now that Republicans do not serve us. Here in Ohio we have put the fox guarding the chicken house, by electing a former Lehman Brothers employee as governor and he is about to decimate our state. Demcrats- stand firm- you know untied and survive or divided and fall. And fellow Citizens, don't be so stupid. See Republicans for what they are including their offspring the Tea Party kids.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  17. Ed from California

    All of our "represenatives" need to be concentrating on getting Americans back to work, and quickly, or another shellacking is in the offerings. The Republican/ Millionare/Billionare Party and the Tea Party suckers, were elected into office mainly by states w/high unemployment/ high outsourced jobs, with the promise of getting those outsourced jobs back or getting new jobs created.

    This past Congress the Dems and the president failed miserably in getting work for the masses returned, or creating new work for that matter. I just have a sinking feeling that this "new" Congress will call good/decent work as sweeping your Daddy's bar! I just hope tens of millions of out of work American's have a "Daddy's bar" to sweep.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  18. Chuck Moore / La Garita, CO

    Dear Jack,

    Perhaps the fact that they are worried about keeping their jobs will
    force them to pay more attention to what the people want them to do
    instead of whats best for their party. I doubt it, but maybe.

    I do know that I am tired of "the party" being more important than the
    nation.

    What would happen if Congress did not have the other party to blame.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  19. bud rupert

    From what I've observed it doesn't matter Jack. Not really. The ideological band wagon on the left and the right has left the station.
    The President has seen the light and will be making deals to get legislation past. At least I hope so.The public wants to see both sides deal with problems and issues that can affect change for the betterment of the country. The idealogs will have to learn to find common ground or they may be looking for a job come next election.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  20. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    as effective as they have been the last 4 years, Jack. which is to say NOT AT ALL.

    starting with Harry Reid, they are the worst bunch of disorganized political GOOFBALLS I have seen in my 65 years. no wonder the Republicans are kicking their butts.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  21. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    Hopefully, decidedly ineffecitve. The mid-terms were a referendum on the left's politics, and unless they come from districts that are full of nanny-state idealogues, they better wake-up. Obamacare is a stone around the neck of every "Yes" voter. The majority of Americans do not want to live in a European-style Social Democracy and the ones who do are free to move there, I'll help them pack. That was never the vision of this country. Moderates need to fix their track record and repeal/replace Obamacare if they want to continue on in Washington.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  22. Rich McKinney, Texas

    I think that the Senate Democrats could be very effective as long as they have something good to offer the American people. In the past the democrats have not had the people behind their schemes. They have told the American people how things were going to be regardless of what the American people wanted. They saw how well that worked in the last election. Currently neither party has cornered the market on great ideas. In fact I have yet to hear a good idea every since the last great idea to Invade Iraq. What a winner of an idea that was!! 14 trillion dollars and 10 years later and Bin Laden is no closer to capture and people are still trying to blow Americans and our allies up all over the world..

    January 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  23. Mike, NH

    Jack, it will mean we will finally get that bipartisanship Obama promised. However it won't be his agenda that will be supported, it will be the GOP agenda. That's a good thing.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  24. Paul Austin,Texas

    Just as effective as the Republicans where. Why not look to 2012 because what I see is we now have a Congress that will do little on getting anything done. In turn in 2012 we will have another change if I am right. You see Jack the american voter wants everything to happen in an instant. If we all weigh all things considered that will never happen in out complex system. Effectiveness will be rated by the voters and only time will tell.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  25. Tony from Southport

    Senate Democrats will have to start thinking about their careers and distance themselves from the Pelosi – Reid politics of the past several years. If that happens perhaps we can get this economy going, get more people working and eliminate the idiotic parts of the so-called health care reform bill. It always comes down to "me first and the people second." Now they had better listen or the people will speak loudly in 2012 as they did this past November.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  26. Judy

    I believe they can be very effective if they use the right political tactics to get the job done. You may not like Harry Reid, but the guy gets the job done for his party. Congress is all over the map right now. People are switching parties so they can keep their seats, or changing how they vote just to stay in power. I wonder how much of this the voters will tolerate before it blows up in their faces. The GOP had better be careful talking about cutting Social Security too, if they keep that up, the baby boomers will come out in force and knock them off their perches, and I will be one of them.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  27. Sylvia from California

    Jack,

    This is why we need term limits.... Everyone of them, regardless of party affiliation, will be consumed with the 2012 elections. This distraction may be just what our country needs to get them to stop spending money that we do not have..... We can only hope!!

    January 5, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  28. Gary H. Boyd

    MODERATE Senate Democrats Jack? I didn't know there was such a thing. Democrats are LIBERAL. It's what makes 'em get up in the morning. To be a MODERATE in the Democratic party is like a zebra that doesn't know if it's white with black stripes or black with white stripes. They'd be clueless. Any that try will simply muck up the agenda.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    January 5, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  29. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua

    A better question would have been, "Should the numerical minority be allowed to continue blocking the majority?"

    January 5, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  30. Jane (Minnesota)

    Why would it be different than any other start of a 2 year congressional cycle, Jack. I Imagine the Repubs are also doing it. Same old, same old, so sad.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  31. Dennis north Carolina

    the next two years will spell out to the voters which people are running for office for their career or to represent the citizens. we need term limits and other new rules to bring government back to the citizens and not special interest groups.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  32. Norm

    The American people want leaders instead of the same political hacks that the media put forward year after year. At this point, who cares about 2012, 2016, or 2020. We all know in advance who the contenders will be. They just reshuffle the deck. It stinks!

    January 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  33. ken, atlantic city, nj

    2012 re-elections make no difference, the dems will be just as ineffective as ever because the only thing they care about are their corporate masters. Moderates are people who can't make a decision so they just stand in the middle of the road. The senate democrats talk but don't deliver. Solving problems for the people on main street is not a high priority with senate democrats or senate republicans. If voters keep electing the same people they will not see anything different in washington.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  34. Gail, Plano TX

    I would like to see a list of these moderate Democrats in the Senate who are more interested in re-election than governing. I have wondered these past 2 years why Democrats have not supported their party or President. The answer is becomingl increasingly clear now. They are afraid. They are afraid of the GOP and the tea party. Shame on them!

    January 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  35. Pete from Georgia

    Look this whole Federal Gov't. is nothing but a den of special interest snake oil salesmen.................both sides. The American public is finally seeing the charade for what it is. A cruel joke.
    The ONLY thing that means ANYTHING...........................ANYTHING to any politician in Washington is .............................re-election.
    Once we all admit that and see it for what it is we can start digesting our food again.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  36. Jeff In Minnesota

    I understand these Democrats concerns about 2012. However, a lot can happen in the next year and a half. So while I would want to make some preparations, I wouldn't necessarily want to commit to anything until the election was a lot closer.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  37. Phil, Jersey

    A life principle is that truth always triumphs power and as long as democrats continue to stand together and push truth, republicans will eventually collapse.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  38. Dave in Arizona

    As effective as congress has ever been...at destroying our country.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  39. Richard Oak Harbor, Wa

    Moderate Senate Democrats can bolster their 2012 re-election bids by challenging rookie Tea Party Republicans to steer away from full employment in developing countries in favor of bringing back meaningful jobst to Americans at home. Compromises in healthcare, financial reform, alternate energy production and critical infrastructure maintenance can be led by Democrats for bipartisan agreement. Immigration and border solutions as well as troop reductions from current hot spots are also logical focal points for moderate Democrats to maintain, even increase their numbers for the 2012 Congrssional term.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  40. thom richer

    About as effective as they and the "other side" have been for the past 11 plus years. Not at all. The question really is, "How ineffective will Congress continue to be after?" Until both the House and Senate divorce themselves from special interests, person and political ambition, it will remain as is. Congress must recognize the need to rebuild America from the bottom up. Not from the down. Nothing I know of can be built from the top down. The bottom here is the poor, unemployed, under employed and uninsured. Already the new "batch" is showing its commitment to Corporate America and the wealthy by attacking the Health Care system to enable even more monies to be funneled to the insurance companies by creating higher rates, less coverage and campaign kickbacks. Till the people are once more represented by Congress, we will continue to falter until complete economic and most importantly, social collapse, occurs.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    January 5, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  41. birddog in Mississippi

    Jack, those same Senators have been voting with the right on many issues over the last two years. That's why they're called Bluedogs. I would not, however call the 'moderates'. It's not 'moderate' to add $300 billion to the deficits by giving tax cuts to those making over a million dollars, nor is it 'centerist' since the majority of the country didn't want it. What it was – was stupid. All of the GOP and a few of the Ds care more about their own corporate contributers than they do about the country.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  42. HURRICANEPAUL from Hawaii

    Jack, the word "bipartisan" is all about the Republicans working with "we the people".

    As long as the Republicans don't lose sight of WHY they were elected on Nov. 2nd, it doesn't matter what the Democrats do or don't do...the Republicans will win.

    It's all up to the Republicans, and the job they DO, or DON'T do, that will decide which party will win in 2012.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  43. Jan

    How effective are ANY of our elected officials when they are ALWAYS planning for the next election?!?

    January 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  44. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    They are ALL selfserving cowards! They will do what ever it takes to protect their lifestyles and keep power. They certainly are not there for the American people. Look at the mess they have made out of our country.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  45. Jenny from Nanuet, NY

    Politically, 2012 is a lifetime away. Nobody knows what mood the majority of the country will be in. They may very well swing back to the progressive side after 2 years of a "Tea Party-influenced" agenda. Conservadems may very well end up losing in '12 if they think the country feels the same way they supposedly do now. Remember Arlen Specter?

    January 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  46. Gary L.

    They have proven no matter what they will do what they want. It's all about power. As it's been done for years, promise you the world to get elected and once they are in office they don't even know where they are from. Term limits is the only answer. Elections are not term limits.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  47. Paul, New Port Richey, Florida

    The November 2, 2010 election sent the message that if congress and the president choose to ignore us and do as they damn well please, do so at their political peril. From now on; it's our way or the highway.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  48. Jenny from Nanuet, NY

    Politically, 2012 is a lifetime away. Nobody knows what mood the majority of the country will be in. They may very well swing back to the progressive side after 2 years of a "Tea Party-influenced" agenda. Conservadems may very well end up losing in '12 if they think the country will feel the same way then that they supposedly do now. Remember Arlen Specter?

    January 5, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  49. June

    About as effective as Republicans looking toward 2012.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  50. CRAIG R. MCNEES

    Tampa, Fl I'm looking forward to 2012 myself. We got rid of 61 members of Congress that continually voted for Amnesty. 2012 We can get rid of the rest of them.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  51. John from San Antonio

    Define effectiveness. None of them are effective because their only concern is getting reelected. Our problems are deep and severe and the politicians are anly going to talk about issues such as Social Security, medicare, repealing health care and issues that will promote much debate and delay action while our debt reaches critical mass. Abolish Homeland Security and the Dep't of Education, downsize all other agencies such as the FDA and the department of Defense and limit them to their original purpose. Cut deep into the bloated number of parasites, as Thomas Jefferson called them, and we can start making progress towards fiscal responsibility.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  52. Jim

    With all the hate and bitterness when it comes to politics in this country a better question would have been, will we still be a nation in 2012

    January 5, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  53. Alex in Gig Harbor, WA

    I think the Democrats can still be effective if they have the guts to do so. Yes. there has been a national move to the right as the fight over "Obamacare" ended with a messy procedural vote. But when the GOP and their Tea Party allies overreach as they try to end all of the popular aspects of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the country will drift back to the center and the moderate Democrats will be OK in 2012. Especially when the economy continues to improve and the unemployment declines.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  54. Fred in L.A.

    Happy New Year Jack,

    These so called moderate Democrats may not be worrying about 2012 but are finally just using the good sense that they were born and raised with. The Constitution isn't a living document ready to be updated. It was written with a lot of thought on how to keep the Federal Government from running rampant. The liberal progressives can't seem to grasp that fact. These so called moderate Dems seem to understand exactly what this last election was about, and are now doing the will of the people.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  55. Dee in New Paris Ohio

    Since it appears that the main job of our elected officials (both Democrats and Republicans) is to 1. Run for office, (2) get elected and (3) run for re-election, they will probably be very effective at those jobs.

    It's pathetic that we allow this to go one forever. No wonder so many private sector workers feel their main job is just to show up, forget doing any work, and go home at night!

    Will those politicians be effective at anything productive? IMHO, not a chance! Oh, maybe they will be effective at buffoonery and pomposity, and garnering campaign contributions. But at the actual work? Not a chance.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  56. Bob Mears

    Anybody who thinks this budget mess will heal itself is a fool. Cost cutting is a pipe dream, nobody will agree to that. Bush tax cuts?, well look where that got us. This country has to admit a tax increase is the only answer. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  57. KDS Irvine, CA

    Jack,
    Politicians think for themselves first. In other words, its always in election year in Washington. The House will be pro-active to finding solutions to fix our problems and the lame Senate will just sweep whatever bills comes their way under the rug. Nothing is going to get done with a split in Congress. And the American people will suffer for it.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  58. Greg of Mechanicsburg PA

    It won't make a bit of difference, Jack. The so called moderate Democrats where never behind the "yes we can" movement ushered in with the election of Obama. These are the ones that made the filibuster work for the Republicans. These are the ones who stoked the fires along with FOX News concerning "Death Panels" during the debate over health care reform. These are the ones who gutted every point of progress or potential progress that the liberal base of the Democratic Party tried to pass during the past two years. These are the ones who give the Democratic Party a bad name. They should drop the sham and call themselves what they really are, Republicans.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  59. Mark in Arkansas

    Senators, be they Democrats of Republicans need to worry about fixing the Nation. IF they do their JOB, they won't have to worry about the election.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  60. Milli

    Jack – no matter which party the senate are representing, the old school should be worried as the puplic have demonstrated that they have had enough of 'business as usual' and that fiscal responsibility and govern for the people should be the focus of this body. For the past few administrations we have seen irresponsibile spending, out of control budgets and no sign of retreating back to the founding fathers constitution.

    Mills from Georgia

    January 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  61. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, New York

    Jack,

    Every single politician, moderate, liberal, or conservative, is already raising money for their re-election on the day they take the oath of office.
    The only way to break this cycle of gutless self-interest and greed is to enact both term limits and public financing of campaigns.
    However, Speaker Boehner, other than his crying jags, is best known for handing out lobbyists' checks to fellow Republicans in the well of the Congress. So raise a glass of champagne – courtesy of the distilled spirits lobby – to more of the same Washington cowardice.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  62. Mike Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    They will continue to be extremely effective for the Corporations they represent.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  63. Kelvin

    They can be very effective. They just have to stop looking out for their own career goals and remember who sent them to Washington in the first place.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  64. Randy

    Jack,

    This left, right, moderate concept is getting as old as the harlem globetrotters. The globetrotters (republicans) always win and play the generals (democrats) for fools while both teams laugh all the way to the bank-ers. The real losers are always the poor and middle class americans who fall for this charade every 2-4 years it rolls around because right wing policy always favor the rich and corporations.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  65. Alvin

    Let's face it, the congress is made up of just politicians not democrats or republicans, nor independents. Neither are representing their parties nor supporting anything but their own agendas. A politician, in my opinion, should not care about being re-elected but rather that they are representing their constituents and the greater interests of the overall melting pot of americans. If they do that, re-election will be imminent. There is no bi-partisan work being attended to. The only thing a congressman is working on is his or hers own interests, and that interest is re-election, from the moment they are elected until the next election. Every decision, on legislation, is made with an investigation before hand as to the damage it will cause them in the next election. If they must vote for a damaging piece of legislation, they will begin a campaign of propaganda to convince their constituents that it is a good decision even if they believe otherwise. Of course there are some congressmen that share the same interests and do appear from time to time to support one another in matters that are important to the people. The overall picture reveals to us that lining their own pockets with special interests money, and leading this nation in the direction of these special interests, is best for the people. In fact it has brought this fine country to its knees. "Decention of government is the greatest form of patriotism" Thomas Jefferson. We are no longer afforded that luxury as the mere mention of "decention" is followed up by a five star investigation and another life ruined. The government is for the government ,by the government, and when someone steps in the way they shall surely be disregarded like yesterday's trash. One's accomplishments are not determined by the mere time spent at the job, but rather the battles won for the people while doing it.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  66. Lawrence Johnson

    Jack, this is the problem now , you can't be very efective if your consantly worried about your reelection. We need to get these people to have a set and vote the way the people want , reguardless of how it is going to effect their reelection prospects. For the people by the people

    January 5, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  67. Laith F. Gulli

    Hi Jack:
    Senate Democarts must more precisely define themselves as a PARTY and stick to the agenda. The Republicans should not be fooled for they are " Panzie's in the middle,"and were only elected to kick start President Obama to do and communicate more.

    Laith F. Gulli, Columbus, Indiana

    January 5, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  68. michelle - san francisco

    Jack: I am a liberal so I do not have much respect for the Republican party (they're all hypocrites in my book) and I have lost practically all respect for the Democratic party. I have become a real cynic as far as national and local government goes. I still vote but each time I ask myself 'why' and the answer is always 'hope' that maybe this time it will be different...no luck so far

    January 5, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  69. Annie, Atlanta

    Our worthless politicians wrry more about keeping their jobs rather than doing their jobs, which never produces winners. Democrats should read and memorize the party platform. As we saw in midterms, the Blue Dogs suffered the largest losses – duh! If you don’t really embrace what your party stands for, run under another banner. "We the people" will be better off without you.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  70. Jim Blevins

    All politicians should always be looking forward t the next election. That is to say that a politician should always be trying to find the best solution to priority problems, attempting to convince his colleagues to support this and working to convince constituents that what he is doing is in their best interest.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    January 5, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  71. D. Kelly

    Jack,
    Who says the 'democrats' are already looking at 2012? The corporations run this country. It is whoever has the bigger pockets and donations to get them the votes, to hell with the rest of us.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  72. Carl

    Carl January 5th, 2011 2:34 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Jack,

    This is what is wrong with our once great country, far to many self serving Scum-Bag politicians. It doesn't matter who is the new house speaker, big deal, it's just old garbage out and new garbage in. Who heard it here first, our corrupt politicians have gone way to far this time for any kind of a recovery. With an over paid, corrupt government like ours, no jobs, 2 useless wars, free hand outs of all our resources to every illegal alien invader that crosses our border, a government that is so politically correct that it is killing us, we are doomed, it's just a matter of time. We will have to fall on our faces and go totally broke before anything at all will be done. How can we continue the vicious circle of foreign aid to just about every country in the world and then turn around and borrow money from China, tell me Jack, is this good old common sense government? And as far as the worthless so called dream act, this will just invite more illegal alien invaders, it should be called the Nightmare Act. Enough is enough, we need to take care of our own legal American citizens for a change, don'y you think

    January 5, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  73. Tim in Texas

    It doesn't make much difference. For the last two years the TPGOP has been screaming about 'debt for your kids." So what did they do? Insisted that rich folks shouldn't have to pay a little more in taxes now so that your kids won't have to pay for the wars we're fighting now. What's the House going to vote for? Repealing health care reform. Repeal will add $146 billion to the deficit by 2019 and about a trillion to the debt in the ten years after that. Not to mention that the kids will have to give up the option of being on their parent's plan now. Brilliant.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  74. MIke in TX

    Jack it's a sad but accurate sign of politics today. It's not just Democrats but Republicans and Independents as well. They were sent there by us to do their jobs based on the principles they ran on yet their priority is first getting re-elected. The fact they are willing to give up their principles solely for re-election shows the public is the one getting the shellacking just as we are seeing the Republicans already backing down on their promises of budget cuts, and other promises. The Republicans stated very first priority is to insure Pres. Obama won't be a second term President. The negative ads are being produced as we speak. I hope you don't expect much to get done in the next two years.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  75. Nancy, Tennessee

    As the Republicans pass laws that support trickle down economics, the people will realize the mistake that they have made in the 2010 elections. The Democrats will not be effective, but will get a second chance after the 2012 elections. Waiting for the Republicans to change their ways of assisting the wealthiest Americans will bring the voting public back to the booths to vote for the Democrats.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  76. Michael Kydes

    Michael, Boston

    It seems to me that the best way for a politician to keep their seat in the next election is to vote in the interest of the majority of their constituents. In this case it seems that democrats are drawing some correlation between effectiveness and their ability to vote for something unpopular. That can really only be based on the philosophical belief that decisions are best left to the intellectual elite as in Plato's vision of a Utopian society. Heres a novel idea for lawmakers. Listen to the voters and do what your told. This is a representative government, do your job, step up, and represent.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  77. Ken in Maryland

    A lot can happen in 2 years. Especially if we start sliding backwards thanks to the new Republican Congress. If they spend all their time trying to undo the things that passed in the past 2 years, which will be unsuccessful thanks to the Democratic Senate and White House, they will have wasted an opportunity legislate.

    The GOP calls this a "naked partisan power grab." They know all about those, don't they...

    January 5, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  78. Susan from Idaho

    If all they are doing is trying to save their jobs, throw the bums out.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  79. Meg from John Boehner's district in Ohio

    Jack–
    There will be very little accomplished as all Representatives and the one-third of Senators who face election in 2012 jockey for a good position with their bases. That goes for all of those Republicans who envision themselves challenging Barak Obama for the presidency. We voters are going to have to have patience, a sense of humor, and a good supply of happy hour beverages. And a realization that very few things to benefit Americans are going to happy in this Congress.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  80. Michael G Scott

    Jack,
    Your question implies that Senate Democrats have been effective – they haven't. Neither have Senate Republicans for that matter. At least in terms of terms of representing the people of the United States. They all appear to spend most of their time working to get re-elected. The needs of the country are way down on the list.
    Michael in NC

    January 5, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  81. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Effective or not they still get paid by us, the tax payers and we're the ones affected.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  82. Birddog in Mississippi

    Our new speaker once handed out checks from the tobacco lobby on the House Floor. The whole GOP and the Bluedogs are tools of the corporate world. The TPGOP might just as well be called the corporate party of the US. The next two years will be great for big oil. Not so much for the average American.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  83. Frank from Long Island

    Both parties put there own self interest first ahead of the country's needs. The Republicans (who put us in this mess) are doing everything they can to stop the President's policies from succeeding just to try to win back the White House in 2012. The Democrats for their part will continue to shoot themselves in the foot with bickering and waffeling. A pox on both their houses.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  84. Keegan

    Not really. Its nice to see politicians break from thier party line but it should be for the people not for political cover you rear. If any democratic leader wants to win, the president needs to dewussify and get tough about what he believes in. The same goes for all democratic leaders.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  85. kim macauley

    if we want to stay "by the for the people " we need to hold strong on all democract fronts i fear for myself as an american citizen that beohner is going to go to hell in a hand basket

    January 5, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  86. kathy peoria az

    I think it's wrong but republicans do the same thing. Instead if them worrying about jobs it's already about immigration and health care. Lets get rid of them all. Let the people who don't have any money run things and maybe something might get done.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  87. Lloyd Creech Senior Canadian

    Who can understand what the American people want?
    Even if the Democrats worked and voted for legislation they want to improve the country for the people they could still be voted out.
    Republicans, who are only concerned about their ideology (everything for the rich at the expense of the lower to middle class) just about ran the country into a "depression" like the 1930's.
    President Obama and the Democrats gradually got the country back on the right track and even started a fix to the failing health care system.
    So the voters elected a bunch of Republicans again?
    Do Americans want to continue increasing the debt, by tax cuts for the top 2% earners and moving the country into a "depression" or do they want a country prospering, like under President Clinton?

    January 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  88. Ken in NC

    They will be about as effective as a band aid on a leaking high pressure hose. A Moderate Democrat can be called a DINO, Democrat In Name Only. Republicans march united to one drum beat while Democrats each march to their own seperate bunch of drums.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  89. Renee Peoria,Ill

    Democrats need to ask themselves, did changing lanes help Arlen Specter? Acrosss the country the people are shouting, 'Less self-service, more public service!' Every election, those who won claim they have received a mandate from the people. But we continue to shift back and forth between the parties because they're not doing their jobs. It's the Republicans who need to worry about the next election. In 2012 it will be their turn to defend whatever they've been doing (or not doing).

    January 5, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  90. Rick in Phx

    I'm actually more worried about the people that will be doing the voting than I am about what political group is preparing for 2012. Those on the far right say they sent a message to Washington by their turnout in November (As if the generations before didn't feel they were sending a message by casting their votes). Then there's those on the left who say the people spoke when they elected President Obama (As if the generations before didn't feel that they had spoken when they elected a President. Though I do approve of the what the President has done with what he had to work with when taking office, all in all it still amounts to the same. Those of us in the middle are left having to suffer because people in the 21st century are still waging the same idealogical wars that their Great, Great grandparents were arguing about. Who cares how effective candidates can be. I'm wondering when the American voters will ever be effective.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  91. AG

    An unfaltering representation of American people, the smart ones unfortunately know better then to get involved in politics.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  92. Carol - Chattanooga, Tn.

    They can't be any worse off than they are now. I and the rest of my liberal friends watched in horror as the Senate imploded over the last two years. The minority party ran the country through the use of the filibuster. If the Republican party has the majority, they won't have to filibuster. That will give them more time to run the country into the ground and they will have a lot more time to raise money for the next election. After all, that is all the Congress seems to do – get elected, raise money for re-election, run for re-election, get elected – and the merry-go-round starts all over. And both Democrats and Republicans are guilty of the same misbehavior. I cannot believe that anyone in this country believes that the members of Congress (both houses) really have any desire to govern. That would simply take too much time. They need that time to get re-elected. And the more they lie, the harder it is to cover up the lies. So, it's just easier to say nothing and stand for nothing and go about the business of getting re-elected. They all know how to do that. If, in the meantime, they can spare a minute to help the upper class (of which they are all members) attain more wealth, then, they might do that.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  93. Aaron D.

    Jack, the democrats need to pay attention to the happenings of today instead of two years from now. Keep your mind on the enemies within and without and how to protect the American people and our country today. I would hope they learned something from what just happened in the republican court. They were elected to assist the president in promoting his agenda. If you don't agree with him, let it be discussed in meetings and leave the final decision to him as he has to consider the views of others in his cabinet and make a decision for which he will be held accountable. Also, I am sick of politicians saying what "THE AMERICAN PEOPLE want". I am part of millions of the population that does not agree with anything the Republicans say or do. The president obviously cares for the non-wealthy citizens so I support him and how he must fight against those who apparently do not. They can afford to buy their supporters. He is fighting against those who have admitted publicly that they are out to see him fail. Some agenda. Does that sound like someone who cares about our country and the people?

    January 5, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  94. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    Anarchy, seems to be in order.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:49 pm |