Let's try a little counterfactual...suppose that Jim Martin had edged Saxby Chambliss in Georgia in 2008 (he lost by 100K votes in the initial round) and that Bruce Lunsford had nosed out Mitch McConnell (another 100K votes). Or, perhaps, substitute for one of those Harold Ford beating Bob Corker in 2006 (just 40K votes). Along with that, give Al Franken enough votes or court decisions or whatever to be seated right at the beginning of the 111th Congress. In other words, suppose the Democrats had been a little lucky (or luckier) and had 61 Senators from the beginning of Barack Obama's presidency (not counting Arlen Specter, that is).
OK, what do you think would have been different? On the initial and subsequent stimulus bills, on health care, on climate, on banking reform, on nominations...how does everything play out?
(Unless you have a strong argument, I'd recommend assuming that the Tea Party stuff basically is unchanged. Also, I want to credit Richard Skinner for inspiring this, via email. Thanks!)