A trio of Senate Republicans – Coleman, Stevens, and Smith – are hanging on by their fingertips. If Ted Stevens of Alaska, convicted on felony corruption and bribery charges, ekes it out and his appeal fails, Sarah Palin will appoint his replacement. There’s a twist, given her storied opposition to her own party’s corruption. Gordon Smith of Oregon, who explicitly allied himself with Obama, may benefit from that cold calculation. And Minnesotans were apparently confounded between the choice between Norm Coleman, a smart, moderate Republican, and a mean clown who didn’t pay his taxes or workers comp bill. (The race is essentially a tie, no small part due to the presence of an Independent who garnered over 400,000 votes).
If these three hold on, the GOP Senate losses are really the lowest one might predict under the circumstances. Combined with more modest House losses than might have been the case, there may be a message in there: change, but not so fast and not so much. Obama coattails? Long, especially in North Carolina; but not that long.