As 2013 comes to a close, we at PoliticusUSA thought we’d take a look at some of the year’s biggest winners and losers. For this particular column, we asked several writers to give us their pick for the winner in the US Senate in 2013. Here are the responses that we received. Enjoy!
Sarah Jones: Managing Editor/Columnist
The Senate had a good year between Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Al Franken standing up for the people and Kirsten Gillibrand fighting the inherent status quo of the rape culture as protected in the military.
Justin Baragona: Senior Editor
I would have to say that the biggest winner in the US Senate for 2013 was Elizabeth Warren. While another freshman Senator (Ted Cruz) was going out of his way to not only bring attention to himself, but to try to destroy the federal government from the inside out, Warren gave progressives a voice and someone to look up to. Her speech on the Senate floor during the government shutdown is already considered a classic and could be looked at as a seminal moment for liberals years down the line. In 2013, Elizabeth Warren proved that she will be a force to be reckoned with for a very long while.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson: Editor/Columnist
The biggest winner in the Senate was Harry Reid for finally finding the testicular fortitude to go with the so-called nuclear option, and then, as the year wound down, forcing Republicans to cut a deal to finally confirm a batch of Obama nominees. My vote for Reid is almost grudging on account of the fact that he let this farce go on so long. I appreciate that he did not want the GOP to be able to take advantage of filibuster reform in the event they regain control of the House, but that possibility should have been weighed against the ongoing reality of the GOP’s obstruction of the Obama administration, which has done lasting harm to this country.
RMuse: Opinion Columnist
The Koch brothers were the big winners in the Senate. Through Ted Cruz, they kept moderates on a short leash, controlled House Republicans masterfully through their teabag acolytes, and successfully got Senate Democrats to accept the austerity budget Paul Ryan failed to achieve three years in a row. The extremists Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul are Koch surrogates who successfully obstructed President Obama’s agenda until Harry Reid took action on the filibuster for Presidential nominees, but only after the Kochs prevailed for 5 years to prevent Obama from staffing the courts or Departments with people they did not approve.
Keith Brekhus: Contributing Writer
The biggest winners in the US Senate are the crop of first-term Democratic Senators like Elizabeth Warren (MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) Jeff Merkley (OR) and Tammy Baldwin (WI) who continue to push the Democrats in the Senate in a more progressive direction.
Trevor LaFauci: Contributing Writer
In the Senate this year, we now have two progressive senators who are making the case of American economic populism. Both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have been vocal opponents of American inequality this past year. They have been staunch opponents of any cuts whatsoever to social security and they have even tiled the arrow in this discussion to the possibility of actually expanding social security rather than cutting it. Warren has made a name for herself by openly taking on Wall Street and demanding there be actual accountability for the actions that led to the 2007 crash. Sanders has been an unwavering proponent of health care and his home state of Vermont recently became the first state to vote on universal health care for all its citizens. These two senators, among all others, have shifted the political discourse in this country and have brought the issue of economic imbalance to the forefront where it belongs.
Dennis S. : Contributing Writer
That’s a tough one. Probably the American people insofar as the Democratic Senate saved our citizen’s gizzards in repeatedly turning back the unceasing avalanche of the most inane and asinine legislation ever passed by a modern-day House of Representatives. Majority Leader Harry Reid finally found his voice in introducing the nuclear option. Bernie Sanders, an Independent, has always been a reliable speaker of truth to power. Elizabeth Warren is a Godsend in keeping the financial tinkerers from being even more crooked than they already are and Sherrod Brown will face off with the best (or worst) of the extremist opposition. Not to be trusted, Democrat Mark Pryor of Arkansas. He was one of two Democrats to vote against the nuclear option. West Virginia’s Joe Manchin was the other.
Pryor waves a bible around in his latest campaign ad and helped grease the skids, as a member of the ‘Gang of 14’, for the appointment of right-winger Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court where he spends much of his spare time at fundraisers for arch-conservatives. Can’t thank you enough, Mark.
And there you have it, folks. These are PoliticusUSA’s picks for the US Senate’s biggest winner of the year. Feel free to comment at the bottom and provide us with your thoughts. We will be posting more of these columns over the rest of the holiday season as we say goodbye to 2013.