letters | the second senatorial debate

Control of Congress hangs in the balance

Joanna Weiss has it almost right: The Senate race is “about Senate dynamics, voting blocs, Washington power” (“An articulate and calm night,” Op-ed, Oct. 2). But it’s about more. Because the House will likely stay Republican, it’s really about control of the entire national legislative agenda.

If the Republicans take control of the Senate, Mitch McConnell would be majority leader. Senator Scott Brown’s “independence” would have no effect because, as Glen Johnson points out in his news analysis, McConnell’s name will be the only one on the ballot (“Both candidates make some illuminating stumbles,” Page A6, Oct. 2). And then McConnell will be appointing all the committee chairs and majority members.


Jim Inhofe and a Republican majority will control environmental legislation. A Republican-majority Judiciary Committee will rule on the next Supreme Court nominees. McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner — or House Majority Leader Eric Cantor — will have control of legislation.

It won’t matter how Brown votes, because the leaders will have the votes to pass what they want and bury what they don’t want. That’s why Brown’s national fund-raising materials say this race is about control of the Senate, and why South Dakota Senator John Thune says Brown’s victory “holds the key to a Republican majority in the Senate.” Those statements are true, but they don’t go far enough. This race is about Republican control of the whole Congress.

Gary Kaplan


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