Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Our long national nightmare is finally over. Minnesota once again has two United States senators.

When the polls closed last November, the initial vote total showed incumbent senator William Coleman as the winner by a razor thin margin. That total shrank to a less than a thousand once the absentee ballots were counted. Recounts and court challenges ensued, and as each was resolved, Coleman's edge kept shrinking. The most recent count, completed a few months ago, finally had Democrat challenger Al Franken (yes, the comedian) taking the lead by just over 200 votes.

The matter finally ended up before the Minnesota supreme court, and yesterday the judges handed down their ruling: No more recounts or arguing over disputed ballots. That made Franken the winner. He is expected to be sworn in next week once the senate returns from recess.... Though quite frankly I'm having a hard time picturing all those old guys playing on the monkey bars outside the Capital.

Anyway, the ruling technically gives the Democrats 60 seats out of 100 in the senate chamber. That margin is considered magical in that it is supposed to be "filibuster proof," which means Republicans can't block legislation through parliamentary procedures. That also assumes that all Democrats would vote together as a solid unified block.

The reality, however, is not so clear cut. The senate's oldest member, 91 year old Robert Byrd of West Virginia has been absent for several weeks. Edward Kennedy, who has been battling a brain tumor, has also been out for an extended period of time. Both men are Democrats, and it remains unclear if they'll be coming back inside once recess is over.

0 thoughtful ramblings: