The first vote of the new junior Senator from Connecticut is likely to be the most important vote he or she casts in the Senate because it will determine who is the Senate Majority Leader. The Senate leadership, not the junior Senator from Connecticut, will determine which party controls the Senate and thus the course of legislation and appointments at least for the next two years.
Linda McMahon will vote for Mitch McConnell and Republican leadership. McConnell, who famously declared at the beginning of the Obama Administration that his primary goal was to see that Obama was a one-term President, led the minority in an unparalleled series of filibusters to deny President Obama any hope of bipartisanship. That he did so starting in 2008 when the country was slipping into deep recession suggests how cooperative he will be to a second Obama administration.
That is why Senator McCain could declare so confidently at a McMahon rally this week that her vote will end Obamacare. Add to that her support for turning Medicare into a voucher program as Paul Ryan advocates and "sunsetting" social security as she suggested at a Tea Party rally in April and a new Republican majority may roll back many reforms and marginalize social programs. Given also that the next President may have up to three Supreme Court appointments, McConnel's elevation may also decide the future of the Supreme Court for twenty years.
Scott Brown, a Republican incumbent running in the blue state of Massachusetts, hedged his bet when he was asked who he would support as Majority Leader. I doubt he fooled anyone. With a four vote swing the difference, electing McMahon and re-electing Brown would put the Senate half-way closer to Republican control.
By contrast, the election of Chris Murphy and Elizabeth Warren will ensure continued Democratic control of the Senate and implementation of Obamacare as part of general health care reform. Rather than obstruct the Presidents' programs, Murphy and Warren will work to reform the filibuster rules and work with the President. The Supreme Court nominees and the other appointees Senators Murphy and Warren will support would be far different than their opponents' choices.
Polls in both states suggest a large majority favors re-electing Barack Obama. If so, it makes little sense to vote for Obama and then turn to a Senate candidate dedicated to obstructing his success. Millions of dollars in advertising should not be able to disguise the very real differences between the candidates of the two parties this November.