I like this assessment from Campaign Spot reader Mark:
Maybe I’m making lemonade out of lemons, but if I look at the seats the Republicans won, I feel pretty good. Look at who we are trading for.
1. I’m originally from Wisconsin, so I’ll start there. Ron Johnson for Russ Feingold. I’m sure Feingold is a decent husband and father, but he is Madison’s senator. The rest of the state does not care for him. He claims to be independent, but most of his votes against Democrats were because they didn’t go far enough. So, gain a businessman and manufacturer and lose a lawyer and one of the most liberal members of the Senate who was often out of step with most of his state.
2. Pat Toomey for Arlen Specter. Think about it.
3. Marco Rubio for Mel Martinez/George LeMieux (who?).
4. Mark Kirk, someone David Brooks called a dedicated and competent public servant, for Roland Burris (or even Barack Obama). Maybe not as liberal as I would like, but look who he is replacing. Unless he goes the full Arlen Specter, this seat is much more conservative (not to mention competent and honest).
5. Rand Paul for Jim Bunning. I am starting to like Rand Paul a bit more. What once looked a little crazy is starting to look more like thoughtfulness and principle.
6. Kelly Ayotte for Judd Gregg. I hope she works out. I really liked Senator Gregg. The only change that may not be an outright significant upgrade is due mostly to the quality of the retiring incumbent.
7. Rob Portman for George Voinovich. A real professional for a mediocrity. I’ll take this trade up also.
8. Joe Manchin for Robert Byrd. I would have preferred a Republican, but this trade is good for conservatives.
I would have liked more Republicans, but for now, the ones elected seem to represent real quality.
He forgot a few: Mike Lee for Bob Bennett in Utah. John Boozman for Blanche Lincoln, a conservative Republican against a so-called conservative Democrat who usually fell in line when her party needed her. In Indiana, Dan Coats for Evan Bayh, another so-called conservative Democrat who rarely seemed to be there when conservatives needed him. It’s a real trend when you consider John Hoeven for Byron Dorgan in North Dakota.
I would note we have two more potential big upgrades pending in Alaska and Washington.