Those who are expecting the Lame Duck session of Congress to deal with controversial issues like taxes and immigration may be disappointed. The lame duck Democrats who lost their reelection bids may not have to worry about voter reaction to their votes, but the Senators racing reelection in 2012 have a lot to worry about.
Senate Democrats up for reelection in 2012 may prefer to avoid dealing with any controversial issues because a vote either way could reduce the chance of being reelected. A Democrat who votes one way on an issue could motivate a strong Republican to run in 2012. A vote the other way might provoke a fellow Democrat to challenge in the primary.
The Democrats who were first elected in 2006 have the most to worry about because voters chose them more to protest President George W. Bush than from any real support for the Democratic Party.
Those facing reelection in 2012 will be in the spotlight during the lame duck session. No one cares what the lame ducks do. There won't be much interest in those Senators up for reelection in 2014
After the new Congress takes over in January some of the media attention will shift to the House and the new Republican Senators.