a likely victory for me, al franken
When Reid took his victory lap on election night, it was a modest jog. With little bravado, Reid simply pledged to lead this new majority “very carefully.”
But then Reid set off alarms when he hinted early on he may invoke the powers given to Congress in the Constitution to be the final arbiter of the unresolved seats.
In the Minnesota race, when Coleman led Franken by a few hundred votes after initial ballots were counted, Reid pressed to ensure that “no voter was disenfranchised.” A recount was begun.
The constitutional provisions rose to new prominence after all 50 Democratic senators signed a letter urging Blagojevich to resign so a successor could be named and the seat filled without the air of impropriety.
“Any appointment by you would raise serious questions,” the senators wrote. No Democrat wants the scandal in Illinois to be an ethical drag on the party nationally in Washington.
But Blagojevich snubbed Reid last week and appointed Burris — daring congressional leaders to deny a black lawmaker a seat in the Senate, where no blacks now serve.
Obama stepped into the debate to back up Reid and his fellow Democrats, saying the Burris appointment should not stand.
Julian Zelizer, a professor at Princeton University who writes extensively on Congress, said Obama’s unusual decision to insert himself into the inner workings of the Senate was “pretty provocative.”
“Traditionally presidents stay out of these kinds of congressional decisions, at least in public,” Zelizer wrote by e-mail.
I wonder if it’ll reach a point where Obama looks like he doth protest too much. At the moment, all the tactical even-handedness seems pretty astute to me. If this bars me from talking about my belief that “Milk” should win Best Picture, I’m willing to pay that price if the result is a more effective left-wing president.