To Seat Or Not To Seat?! The Franken, Burris, Obama Mess!

7 Jan

For the record, I’m an Al Franken fan.  I even paid top dollar back in the day to actually watch “Stewart Saves His Family” or whatever it was called in a real movie theater.

It wasn’t so much Franken’s comedy career that turned me into a fan, but rather his writing career.  I’ve read two of Franken’s books.  The first was “Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot”, which was very funny and made great political points.

He had me from the start when he pointed out how he (the dreaded Liberal) had been married to the same woman for over 20 years while many of the  “family values” crowd could not say the same thing.  Most of the guys in conservative leadership at that time like Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich had been married multiple times and some had cheated on their wives.  It was devastatingly funny and effective in pointing out hypocrisy of the right. 

The second Franken book I read was less funny, but he took the extradinary step of footnoting the source of every example he cited to support his arguments.  He did so to bolster his case that many in politics and the media, especially those on the right, no longer care whether what they presented as fact was actually, in fact, fact.

So having enjoyed both Franken books, I was enthused when he announced for the senate.  I’m enthused now at the prospect of him serving.  That said, I don’t think he should begin serving anytime soon.

What exactly is the big rush to seat Al Franken?  I suspect that politics has gotten the best of Al Franken on this one.  I believe that his campaign has been fighting tooth and nail to get every Franken vote counted, as well he and they should. 

However, in the process, Franken has lost perspective.  I think Franken the author and political commentator would urge that Franken the candidate let the process play out.  Franken’s challenger should have every opportunity to exhaust all of the challenges afforded him under state law.  Then and only then, should Franken be seated.

If Franken plays politics as usual and goes along with the Democratic majority in Congress to jam him in there at the first available moment, then Franken the politician will start off as a tainted senator.  Franken will be just another of the politics as usual guys.

I was hoping for more from Al Franken.

See full size imageSpeaking of which, the President-Elect is coming into office touting a new day in Washington under his watch.  Yet, he too, seems eager to seat Franken prior to Coleman exhausting all his legal options.  It would be nice and smart of Barack Obama to approach the matter in a more bi-partisan way than he currently is.  Obama ought to make the mandate about getting every vote counted rather than getting in one more Democratic senator.  After all, Obama doesn’t really need Franken in the senate, but he will need Republican goodwill if he truly wants to bring about big change in America.

And then there’s Roland Burris, who was refused a senate seat today.  I don’t even know what to say about his situation.  He sure seems desparate to be a senator.  I suspect he’s probably right that his appointment is legal.

After all, the governor is still at his desk.  He has not yet been convicted of anything.  So, shouldn’t the appointment stand?

All that being the case, it still smells of bad politics.  I almost feel sorry for Roland Burris, but then I think about his acceptance of the job under these circumstances.

And then I realize he’ll probably fit into Washington very nicely….

One Response to “To Seat Or Not To Seat?! The Franken, Burris, Obama Mess!”

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