There’s a new gang of senators who ran their campaigns as unabashed progressives and won. Several of them will replace more moderate predecessors, led by Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a hero of the left who reclaimed the seat of the original liberal lion: Sen. Ted Kennedy. Warren, Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) join newly reelected Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island to strengthen a once-dwindling group of die-hard liberals. Howard Dean might say these are the folks who belong to “the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.” They are pro-gay marriage, pro-union, favor tax increases on the wealthy and support Obamacare. In some ways, they are populist throwbacks — in the spirit of Paul Wellstone or Hubert Humphrey — who don’t flinch from explaining the positive role that government can play in people’s lives. But the question in a divided Senate is whether the new liberals will be hard-liners who refuse to compromise with those on the other side of the aisle or negotiators.
30 Nov 2012