Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, January 05, 2009

Burris and Franken

Republicans will try to filibuster administering the oath to Franken if Coleman files a lawsuit. It is unfortunate that they may get all 41 votes to do so. I am a bit surprised that this can work. If only 41 votes are needed to block seating a senator, the Democrats should be able to block seating lots of Republicans. No reason is needed for a filibuster. And why are Democrats fretting about Burris, if a simple parliamentary trick can deny a person a seat? I am hoping that because Franken has no credentials to present in the ordinary course, the issue is that he must be seated by some kind of parliamentary motion.

The next question is... are 41 votes available to the Republicans? Will they all join together to prevent seating Franken in a hyperpartisan maneuver when they know that there just aren't enough votes out there for Coleman to win? He's contesting 650 votes. If he wins 2/3 of them, it's still not enough to win the race.

Unfortunately, Blago and Burris are messing everything up. The cynicism of Burris to try to play on old civil rights fears and rhetoric is unbelievable. He couldn't win elections in Illinois anymore, it seemed, so he made some sort of devil's pact with Blagojevich to get the seat even after it was clear that it would provoke a crisis and undermine his party. Democrats can't easily fight for Franken when the media spotlight is on the corrupt old black politician claiming he is being lynched.

Obama obviously does not want to spend political capital on this, because he has tried hard to avoid angering old "black leaders" too much. When they do get mad - like Jesse Jackson saying he would cut Obama's nuts off - it is so beneficial to him among the white community that it's embarrassing. He risks Uncle Tom syndrome. It's just too easy for white Democrats to stand against Burris' tactics when they're new black President is also with them. It's not just white America that has to move past racist politics; it's black America. And this will take a while.

Contrast Burris with Richardson. Richardson immediately stepped aside when his name got caught up in something. This won't even last one news cycle. Obama and his team can remain focused on the economic stimulus and the First Hundred Days. But Burris is turning the new Congressional assembly from a moment of hope to a circus. It is ironic that it is Burris, not the comedian Franken, who is doing this.


Raised By Republicans said...

Yeah, Burris is pretty cynical and if he were white there'd be no controversy at all about refusing to seat him.

I'd be surprised if the Republicans follow through on the filibuster threat. They'd be roasted alive in the polls. Surely even this rump of a regional party isn't that politically suicidal.

Dr. Strangelove said...

The US Senate should seat Burris but not yet Franken. Burris has been duly appointed by the governor of Illinois in accordance with the laws of his state. Franken has not yet been certified the winner of the election. Under Minn. law, the governor cannot certify Franken until after certain legal challenges have been settled.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I do not see what the Republicans have to lose by filibustering Franken. Their base would cheer. Most Americans will consider it inside baseball and won't care.

The Law Talking Guy said...

1. The filibuster of Franken can be a prime case of obstructionism that will hurt the GOP if it is properly described. Because even a court victory can't help Coleman, I believe, this will be viewed very negatively by the public that wants to see cooperation with Obama and legislative progress. The Burris scandal is making all this very hard.

2. I agree that Burris should be seated. It's obnoxious but there is no choice without evidence that he is involved in wrongdoing.

3. Both Franken and Burris lack the certification of the state's secretary of state; Franken also lacks the governor's certification. The difference between them is not that much, it seems to me. If one can be seated, so can the other. The election need not be formally certified to seat Franken if the technicality of a challenge is all that remains.