Liberal ‘Hell No’ Caucus Rises
(Politico) – The defeat of the Keystone XL pipeline in the Senate marked a major show of muscle for next year’s new hell-no caucus: liberals.
Liberal Senate Democrats united to block the controversial project, even though their imperiled Democratic colleague Mary Landrieu of Louisiana begged them not to at a Democratic Caucus lunch on Tuesday afternoon.
It was a remarkable move for a group that has stood behind Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) over the years, as he sought to protect vulnerable moderates, like Landrieu and some of her now-ousted colleagues, from taking tough votes on divisive environmental, health care and social issues.
But red-state Democrats like Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska are on their way out, and liberals like Jeff Merkley, Bernie Sanders and Sheldon Whitehouse — with Elizabeth Warren leading the way on messaging — may cause as many headaches for Senate Republicans as tea partyers caused Democrats in the past four years.