The Democratic Senate Majority Leader Gets it Wrong Yet Again...
By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2009, 6:37pm PT  

Can still-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid do anything right? It wasn't enough that he blew two years of his mandate, since the Democrats took over Congress in 2006, with his usual pathetic dithering. It's not enough that following the 2008 election he rallied his fellow Democrats in the Senate to announce they'd not allow the seating of anybody chosen by beleaguered IL Governor Rod Blagojevich to fill the seat of Barack Obama, only to fold pathetically (and correctly) to allow the seating of Gov. Blagojevich's choice of Roland Burris to fill the seat of Barack Obama.

Now, in his second prominent act as Majority Leader since the election, as AP reports tonight, he's considering going ahead with the seating of MN's Al Franken, despite the fact that Franken's opponent, former Sen. Norm Coleman, is allowed, by state law, to challenge the results of the election --- which found that he lost by 225 votes --- in a court of law before the election is certified by the state's SoS and Governor.

Can Harry Reid do nothing right? According to AP tonight...

WASHINGTON - It's no joke: Senate Democrats are moving toward letting comedian Al Franken join the chamber while Republican Norm Coleman's election lawsuit is pending.

"We're going to try to seat Al Franken," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters on Wednesday, a few hours before he posed with Franken for photos just off the Senate floor. "There's not a question in anyone's mind, an assertion by anyone, that there's been any fraud or wrongdoing in this election."

Look, I'd be as happy as the majority of the country to see Franken seated as the next Senator from MN. But, a) the law is pretty damned clear, thankfully, on this matter in MN (unlike most other states, as we opined at length some weeks ago) and b) as we also opined, it's a good thing that all election contests are settled before a Congress member is granted a virtually irreversable seating, by whichever partisan majority controls the chamber in question.

I've seen nothing in Coleman's election contest to convince me that he'll find the votes needed to overturn the results already certified by the state canvassing board. In fact, the bulk of his seemingly desperate lawsuit consists of complaints that re-litigate --- or even "re-re-litigate", to paraphrase a Franken attorney --- decisions and findings already carefully and transparently determined by bi-partisan state authorities previously.

(Via "WineRev" at dKos who offers a trip through the latest weeds on this for those interested.) Even the whacked out, wingnut propagandists at Powerline , who once led the disingenuous, substanceless, predictable and embarrassing "Franken is stealing the election!" conspiracy theories, are admitting that much of Coleman's case is now hypocritical, "frankly ludicrous" and of "Three Stooges quality". When a Republican has lost the suckers at Powerline, you know they're really lost.

And yet, Coleman deserves his day in court to make his case, if he can come up with one. Similarly, Franken deserves his day in court, where he has filed to dismiss Coleman's suit, as well as filed for dispensation from the state to be seated "provisionally" in the U.S. Senate. If the courts allow the latter, then great, let Reid move ahead, seat Franken, and take whatever political heat for it that may come his way. If the court dismisses Coleman's case --- and, I trust the court understands the necessity of full representation for the state, as soon as practicable, and will not allow Coleman to endlessly litigate a fruitless cause --- then Franken will soon enough be seated without a cloud hanging over his office for the next six years.

But for Reid to, once again, go out on a limb, for exactly the wrong cause, reminds us just how ill-served Democrats continue to be with Senator Reid in charge of the majority. Hopefully Obama's considerable political capital and popular mandate can make up for it before Dems in D.C. wise up and find some fresh leadership that actually knows how --- and on what --- to lead.

We'll wait to see whether that comes before he loses seats in the 2010 election, or after.

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