But is there enough muscle behind that filibuster threat to block Obama's mandate?
The short answer is no -- and the new president's own political arsenal should enable him to call the Republican bluff. (...)
Six Senate Republicans will face reelection two years hence in states that went for Obama: Judd Gregg (R-NH), Arlen Specter (R-PA), George Voinovich (R-OH), Mel Martinez (R-FL), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Richard Burr (R-NC). Having seen their fellow incumbents fall in the last two elections, that half dozen may well consider themselves in varying degrees of political peril. Poor Gregg watched his New Hampshire colleague John Sununu drop this year as their state turned deep blue. Martinez won his seat in 2004 by a single point and is widely considered vulnerable. So are Specter, nearing his 80th birthday, and Voinovich, now 72.
Several other Republican incumbents may confront difficult reelection races in 2010, too, including Kit Bond (R-MO), whose state went for John McCain by a miniscule margin (many votes fewer than the number who voted for Ralph Nader). Nor should we forget Jim Bunning (R-KY), 77 years old and aging badly, who was nearly taken out in 2004 by an underfunded, little known Democrat. Recent polls show him sinking.And finally there is McCain himself, whose popularity in Arizona has diminished markedly this year. His term will expire in two years as well, and at least one poll shows that he would lose his seat to Janet Napolitano, the state's popular Democratic governor. -Joe Conason, RealClearPolitics
Hat tip: Ron Beasley