Saturday, January 5, 2013

Donnelly to Follow Path of Moderation

Like his predecessors Senators Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar, newly sworn-in Senator Joe Donnelly tells RTV that he will follow a path of moderation, not ideological purity: “We have had just a tradition of being a state where the senators who represent us are not extremists, but are ones who are looked to by the entire nation to bring us together."

Donnelly says he will work with a growing group of moderate senators that includes Republicans, as well as Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virgina, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and others. “There has been a group in the past, but you saw in this last election a number of additional moderate senators. [The moderate group] has even expanded, and I believe it will not only influence legislation that will be brought by the caucuses, but also bring legislation of their own.” You can read more here.

Opinion appears divided as to the level of influence these moderates will have on the Senate. “I think moderates are always tilting at windmills,” says Indiana University political science professor Marjorie Hershey in an article for Indiana Public Media. She thinks the moderate coalition won't get much traction: “We seem to admire intense views, even if they don’t make an awful lot of sense. Given that, it’s hard to be an intense moderate.” In the same article Indiana Legislative Insight editor Ed Feigenbaum, says Congress's 10 percent approval rating will inspire a movement toward the center, and "the folks in the center will become a little bit more important to the whole process." He thinks Donnelly could become important swing courted by both sides.