Wednesday, November 19, 2008

60 Seats? Who Cares?


Reactionary crook defeated in Alaska

I have nothing against the Democrats getting 60-- or 70-- votes in the Senate. In fact, every Republican defeated is a step, more or less, in the right direction. Last night when Blue America-endorsed Mark Begich was finally declared the winner in Alaska-- the first Democrat to win a Senate seat in that bizarre former Russian colony since Mike Gravel-- I would have opened a bottle of something for a toast if I was a drinking man. Instead, I thought, "Mark's a good man and all it cost Blue America was six grand; let's hope it was worth it."

The Senate is an intensely conservative body. It was meant to be. They call it the world's most exclusive club. In fact, just a few years ago arch-reactionary Zell Miller (GA), who was appointed to a seat opened up by the death of a Republican, proposed a constitutional amendment repealing the 17th, which gave voters the right to elect senators. Ole Zell believes that was way too progressive and that senators should be chosen by (easily-bribed) state legislatures, not by the unwashed masses (who he referred to as "special interests").

There was never any real chance the Senate was going to discipline Joe Lieberman. In the end only 13 members voted to do it-- far more than the small handful of unabashed reactionaries who actually campaigned for him in Connecticut against the Democratic Party candidate, Ned Lamont. They love Lieberman because he's one of them. Any of them could empathize with his predicament. They all like to think of themselves as independent (at least independent of anyone not giving them direct bribes). What a crappy job Harry Reid has, keeping all these assholes on the same page!

OK, so last night Stevens was defeated bringing the Democratic majority to at least 58. An intense recount procedure looms for Minnesota, where only 206 votes separates Al Franken and rubber stamp incumbent Norm Coleman. And early voting has already begun in the December 2nd Georgia run-off between Jim Martin and Saxby Chambliss.

Political insiders are all excited about all this stuff. Should the grassroots be? I'm not so certain. Sure, I think Norm Coleman and Saxby Chambliss are two of the absolute worst members of the U.S. Senate and each makes the place an even bigger disgrace than it would be without them. And both Franken and Martin seem like decent and conscientious guys. (Even Allen Buckley, the Libertarian candidate who threw the Georgia race into a run-off, thinks Martin is a better choice.) I'm rootin' for him and Franken. But no fund drives at Blue America. We've given enough this year. And what did we get in return? Joe Lieberman smirking on TV. If I lived in Georgia I'm sure I'd go vote for Martin. If the pitiful slobs in the Senate Democratic caucus want him to win... they're stinking rich and basically take as much in bribes from corporate America as the Republicans do-- if not more. This will be expensive but they don't need our money. We'll be saving it for primaries in 2010.

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At 12:19 PM, Blogger Lena said...

Couldn't have said it better. For progressives, 60 is an empty number in light of the Faustian deal made with the Ben Nelsons and Mary Landrieus of the Senate. Nothing worthwhile to progressives will ever be able to kill a filibuster so long as these chumps are in the Senate.

At 12:20 PM, Blogger KELSO'S NUTS said...

Agree. They're better off seeking cloture on important votes by horse-trading with Bunning, Cochran and Shelby than with Lieberman, Landrieu, Nelson, etc.

At 5:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One question - do you SERIOUSLY believe that you will EVER have 60 "genuine progressives" in Senate? EVER!!! (i omit the same question about House)


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