|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
All was well within the Democratic Party, which had finally received that elusive 60th caucus member. The Republican filibuster would be no longer be a threat.
Or maybe not.
Franken is expected to come to Washington after the July 4th recess. But not everyone is convinced that his presence will make a huge political difference. The reality, which few in the Democratic Party are willing to talk about openly, is that there are really only 58 caucusing members. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-MA, has been out for nearly all of the current Congress on medical leave. Sen. Robert Byrd, D-WV, while released from the hospital on Tuesday morning, continues to face health issues of his own. Meanwhile, moderate Democrats like Mary Landrieu, D-La, and Ben Nelson, D-Neb., have made it almost a point of pride in not allowing their votes to be taken for granted. And on specific issues, the party has proven strikingly allergic to philosophical unison.
"It is good news for the Democrats and it is bad news for the Republicans. That is a simple fact," said Mo Elleithee, a Democratic strategist who has worked on Hillary Clinton and Terry McAuliffe's campaigns. "Having said that, you don't want to get too far ahead of yourself here. It is not like the caucus is unanimous on every issue."
Talking on condition of anonymity, some Democratic strategists were even blunter. "Sixty is an imaginary number," said one operative. "You are always going to lose the Ben Nelsons and all the centrists. This is why 2010 proves to be so important because it can set a buffer for that 60 threshold."