President Obama and Mitt Romney are giving dueling economic speeches today in Ohio, presenting their proposals to a skeptical public. But one question that's gone unanswered is which candidate has a better shot at getting their agenda passed if elected?
In recent months, it's become accepted conventional wisdom that gridlock is the new permanent reality in Washington. President Obama and Congressional Republicans haven't been able to reach common ground on any of the intractable fiscal challenges facing the U.S. If Romney won the presidency, under a Republican-controlled Congress, he'd face obstacles from a defeated Democratic minority, which could use the filibuster to block his agenda, and be subject to the whims of an increasingly uncompromising, conservative Republican party.
There is, however, one reason to expect a surge of bipartisan Congressional activity: There are a number of moderate Democratic senators, who will be up for re-election in 2014, who are running in states that Romney is expected to win easily. It would be in their political interest to work together with a newly-elected Republican president.
If Romney is savvy, the first people he'd reach out to would be Sens. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., Mary Landrieu, D-La. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, Kay Hagan, D-N.C., Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V. Add independent Angus King to the Senate - he's the frontrunner in this year's open seat Maine Senate race - and pragmatic Virginia moderate Mark Warner and there's a caucus of at least eight clear swing votes that could line up Romney's way.