The Republicans certainly have the wind at their backs when it comes to the 2014 Senate elections. Indications abound that mainstream Republicans are taking charge and increasing the chances for a GOP Senate Majority:
1. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and other mainstream Republicans eradicated right-wing opposition in the primary. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who refused to endorse Cornyn, looks churlish. Did he actually favor Cornyn’s opponent, the wacky Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Tex.), who got less than 20 percent of the vote? As an added bonus, the wacky Stockman will be out of a job soon, eliminating one of the more extreme voices in the GOP conference.
2. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) is in deep trouble in her reelection race. Her approval is down to 33 percent.
3. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) appears to be in high panic, accusing Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) of sporting a sense of “entitlement.” Pryor claimed, “Obviously in the Senate we have all types of different people, all kinds of different folks that have come from all types of different backgrounds-and I think that’s part of that sense of entitlement that he gives off is that, almost like, I served my country, let me into the Senate. But that’s not how it works in Arkansas.” That will go over like a lead balloon in the pro-military, red state.
4. President Obama’s weakness and unpopularity in red states continues to act as a weight around the ankles of Democratic incumbents.
5. Former senator Jim DeMint, who made a career out of offering himself up as the titular head of the tea party, now denies association with it. That suggests he is trying to distance himself from the impending train wreck for right-wing candidates. As founder of the Senate Conservatives Fund, he played a critical role in the “primary the incumbent” mentality that is at the heart of the tea party strategy. His leadership in the shutdown and appearances on behalf of Heritage Action and other tea party groups belies the notion he is apolitical.
6. The president’s latest unilateral delay of Obamacare confirms his signature legislative agenda is a cloud hanging over Democrats who voted for it.
7. Liberal pundits have started making excuses for a potential loss, oddly blaming the economy. (Isn’t it Obama’s economy?)
8. The president’s fantasyland budget is plainly aimed at trying to gin up the base for 2014, but the result will be to further alienate red state voters.