Tag Archives: Senate seat

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….

Kennedy Knows What She Wants While Obama Isn’t Sure What He Did!

16 Dec

Caroline Kennedy, who was part of Obama’s veep search committee, is off and running for Hillary Clinton’s soon to be vanquished Senate seat.   What qualifications does Ms. Kennedy have beyond being on Obama’s VP committee?

See full size imageLet’s see.  There’s her name and the poetic image of her taking over a seat once held by her late great uncle Robert Kennedy.  I’ve always been a Kennedy fan.  I thought JFK was a good president who might have achieved true greatness had he had the chance. 

I think RFK was a man of contradictions, who by the end of his life had figured out who he was and the nation was better for it.  RFK was going to be a greater president than his brother in my humble (but always correct) opinion.  But, of course he never got that chance. 

Instead the nation got Nixon another man of contradictions but whose personal demons rather than an assassin’s bullet brought him down.  Luckily, the country didn’t come down with him.

See full size imageBack to the Kennedys…. Then, there’s Teddy.   Yet another man with contradictions.  A man whose inaction and selfish acts may have contributed to the death of a young lady.  Ted Kennedy will never remove that stain from his record.  However, when you talk about Ted Kennedy, you must look at his complete record.  In many ways, Jack & Bobby’s youngest brother has surpassed them in real accomplishment.  Senator Kennedy has done an awful lot of good during his time in the Senate.

Taking the example of JFK, RFK and Teddy, other Kennedy clan members have jumped into public life.  Caroline has done her best to stay out of the public eye and yet now she is pursuing the family business at last.

Is she another person with contradictions?   Come 2009, we may all find out.

For Governor David Patterson, the choice on who to name will all come down to two things:  who can help him win re-election and who can win the special election in 2010 to finish out Clinton’s term in the U.S. Senate.

Caroline Kennedy, given her name, her history and her money, can help David Patterson on both counts.  No doubt she’ll be on the Governor’s short list if she isn’t already.

Switching gears…  So Caroline knows what she wants and Barack Obama isn’t sure what he did in relation to the search for his senate seat replacement.

For the record, I don’t think President-Elect Obama did anything  inappropriate regarding his senate seat.  I used to think his staff didn’t do anything inappropriate either.  I guess I still do.

But, I don’t think the Obama team is helping itself by how they’ve handled the Blagojevich mess.  Early on Obama and a member of his team contradicted themselves on whether anyone from their camp had any contact at all with Governor/Prisoner Blagojevich about the matter.  So, it didn’t get handled well from the beginning.

Since then, the Obama team has been quieter than you’d expect on this.  And then they took the interesting step of having their own lawyer investigate them.  Today, it was announced their lawyer cleared the Obama camp of any wrongdoing.

To be clear, I think their lawyer is probably right.  That said, it never looks good to have someone on the inside investigate you.  The “cynical girl” (Marshall Crenshaw reference!) inside of me always rolls my eyes at those kinds of investigations.   It looks even worse when your inside man or woman clears you of all wrong doing.

Anyway, we’ll see where it all leads.  I’m betting on ultimately nowhere, but hopefully this will remind Obama and his folks that it’s rarely the initial act but rather the mishandling of owning up to it that burns you in the end.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Obama people did speak to the Governor/Prisoner about potential replacements.   After all, it was the man’s Senate seat and he going to be President.  Obama should have had some interest even if only out of curiousity.

Nothing wrong about that.  And even less wrong about just coming out and saying so…

Come On, Illinois Voters! The Hair Was All You Needed To Know!

11 Dec

This is a quick public service announcement to the voters of the great state of Illinois. (Those of you in other states might do well to learn from this too, so keep reading.)

What give, Illinois?  We all know Chicago politics is legendarily corrupt.  After all, isn’t that part of Chi-Town’s charm?

But, Illinois, this is going too far.  Your current governor is about to go to jail for trying to sell Barack Obama’s soon to be empty Senate seat.  Perhaps, he can visit his predecessor who is already behind bars serving time for his misdeeds.  I smell sitcom!

In any case, two governors in a row going from the State House to the Big House.  That’s impressive no matter which way you slice it.

But it didn’t have to be this way.

In the future, Illinois, please remember that if someone’s hair looks like this:

Or like this:

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Or this:

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The hair was a major tip off that something was NOT RIGHT with this guy.

Illinois, you have only yourself to blame.