25 November 2008

Senate Round-up

A big sigh of relief that Mark Begich won his Senate race against indicted Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. Not just because it increases the Democratic majority in the Senate, and not just because Ted Stevens is the ultimate grumpy old man out of touch with just about everything other than his pork barrel proclivities, but because it means that we won't have to worry about a Senator Palin. If Stevens had won the race he probably would have been expelled from the Senate, leaving the seat open to the possibility of a Palin candidacy. Listening to her on the floor of the Senate for the next six years would definitely be a trying expereince.

I really, really wanted Joe Lieberman to pay for his disloyalty. First because he tossed aside the will of Democratic voters in Connecticut when he decided to run as an independent after losing the primary. And second of course for his active role in not only promoting John McCain, but also disparaging Barack Obama. However, time after time Obama has shown that he has superior judgement. He showed it in his campaign, in the debates, and now in his conciliatory attitude toward Lieberman. I know there are a lot of Dems out there who would like to see Unholy Joe punished. But President-elect Obama no doubt has taken the correct route in this matter. Encouraging all of us to be a little more adult, a little less petty, and to steer Washington (hopefully) to a more civil place.

Not sure that this runoff election will favor the Democrat Jim Martin over Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss, but one can hope. In this race I care much less about the seat going Dem (altough that would be great) than I am about seeing Chambliss get his comeuppence. Remember this was the guy who mercilessly attacked Senator Max Cleland to unseat him in 2002. Apparently Chambliss and his Rovian henchmen didn't think that Cleland had left enough of his limbs in Vietnam to make him appropriately patriotic.

Ah, my natal land is in the political headlines again. Despite what the right and many in the center fear, I think that jokester Franken would make an outstanding Senator. More than anything, however, I am glad that he did not waive his right to a recount. Senator Coleman's post-election call for Franken to waive that right to heal the wounds of the negative campaign had all the hallmarks of the Bush tactics in Florida in 2000. I have looked at some of the challenged ballots on Minnesota Public Radio's website and both sides are acting like idiots in terms of some of the ballots they challenge and the reasons for the challenge. But I do think that the officials in Minnesota will conduct a fair recount. Perhaps it is naitvete or just home-state pride, but I trust that the Minnesota recount in 2008 will not be the shambolic mess that Florida was in 2000.

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