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Stuart Smalley

Stuart Smalley

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Democrats now control two-thirds of the U.S.

Senate, a super-majority that redefines American politics.Republicans will continue to have enormous cultural power, with a 50-50 presence in the media.But the big debates over the next eight months or so will largely occur within the Democratic caucus.Conservative and moderate Democrats will fight to downsize the Obama-Pelosi agenda; but so far the left-of-center big tent is holding.This also gives President Obama a pretty open horizon for making Supreme Court choices.

It is a sign of how far the GOP has fallen that their final toe-hold was pried loose by a Saturday Night Live comedian, Al Franken.The man who gave us Stuart Smalley toppled Minnesota's veteran Republican Senator, Norm Coleman.For conservatives, the events of the past couple of weeks heighten to a fever pitch the importance of the 2010 mid-terms.Those elections can only be viewed as a referendum on Barack Obama's agenda.

If Democrats prevail again, expanding their majority and solidifying their mandate, Republicans will face a truly existential crisis.If the party's leaders can't stop the scandals, the in-fighting, and the ideological nastiness, building momentum (and raising money) for next year's elections will be tough.
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