I honestly have no idea why the Republicans would want to be the majority party, when they get everything they want as the minority party, and are not responsible for the fallout (“Don’t blame us, the Democrats run things!”):
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid yielded to Republican threats and agreed on Monday not to immediately seat fellow Democrat Al Franken, whose razor-close victory in Minnesota faces legal challenges.
Senate Republicans had planned to disrupt the opening of the new Congress on Tuesday by blocking Franken’s swearing-in.
And in another ugly fight, Senate Democrats vowed to block, at least for now, the seating of fellow party member Roland Burris whose appointment by embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich carries a whiff of political scandal.
The 57-year old Franken, who gained fame as a writer and performer on the satiric Saturday Night Live television show, on Monday officially was declared the victor by a 225-vote margin by Minnesota state officials from nearly 2.9 million votes cast.
But lawyers for incumbent Republican Norm Coleman complained the recount was conducted unfairly and promised a court challenge that could take weeks to resolve.
“Shortly after Election Day, Coleman criticized Mr. Franken for wanting a recount and wasting taxpayer money. Now that it is clear he lost, Coleman should follow his own advice and not subject the people of Minnesota to a costly legal battle,” Jim Manley, spokesman for Reid of Nevada, said in a statement.
“However, there will not be an effort to seat Mr. Franken tomorrow,” Manley said.
Also, I am not sure how much of this is sensationalist press write-ups, as we learned yesterday after I inaccurately flamed Gov. Pawlenty, Franken is not officially the Senator until Pawlenty signs off on the election results, which will happen in seven days assuming there are no legal challenges. That being said, I have no idea why he is not seating Franken, as he is clearly more likely to be the next Senator than Coleman, who needs his challenges to be accepted and then to have the recount of discarded absentee ballots go his way, a very tough road. Why Reid simply does not seat Franken, and then if it turns out Coleman beats the odds and comes back, seat Coleman, is beyond me.
This really is baffling to me. I understand that Obama needs to attempt to govern in a bipartisan manner, but after the last few years of GOP congressional shenanigans, you would think that the House and Senate Democrats would have a firm policy of telling the Republicans to shut up when they start their whining. By now you would think Reid and company would realize the GOP has no intent of acting in good faith, and have only one goal- getting back in the majority. Everything I did as a Democrat in Congress would keep that in mind.
Additionally, there is political gain to be had by allowing the Republicans to stage hissy fits. Let them bring in the cameras and stomp their feet, when to the majority of the nation it looks like Franken is the winner. While the Republicans are on the Capitol Steps with their “Free
Mumia Norm” signs, hold a public forum on the stimulus package. The perception from the country will be that when everything is going to shit domestically, the Republican party is… acting like spoiled children. Again. How do you think the guy who just lost his job or his health care or had his house foreclosed is going to react to news reports of Republicans protesting the seating of the winner of an election?