The political fall-out

There’s lots of speculation about what The Deal means for various potential presidential contenders on the Republican side. Here’s mine. First, I think that if a single nominee is denied an up or down vote, all seven Republicans who entered into the deal are eliminated. Under that circumstance, Senator Hagel, who seemed to be aligned with the seven, is virtually eliminated. The same for Senator Frist. In his case, I think that result is unfair, but inevitable. He can’t justly be blamed for the defections. But he will have no easy answer to the facile question, if you can’t keep Lindsey Graham and Mike DeWine in line, how are you going to fare with Putin.
As a general matter, I think that the deal helps show why no sitting U.S. Senator has been elected president since 1960. Senators value arcane and democracy-curbing traditions. They come across as members of a secret club or cult. They pride themsevles in being less pragmatic than other public officials. They pride themselves, period. Usually, none of this plays very well outside of Washington and other MSM strongholds.
This deal will confirm the perception that Senators are clubby, timid, and self-congratulatory. In fact, most Senators on both sides weren’t clubby or timid this time. But I don’t think that will matter.


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