July 1, 2009

I've have always said (or at least in the last twenty years have said) that if you want a good laugh watch the politics in Minnesota.  The good citizens there (I'd rather call them the "unenlightened" citizens) have gone from electing a "professional" wrestler to the governor mansion, a second-rate basketball player to the Congress, and now a comedian to the United States Senate.  What do these three persons have in common?  Notoriety.  But in Al Franken's case I'd like to say he is "notorious."

The last contested race in the U.S. Senate has been decided. On Tuesday, the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously ruled that former comedian Al Franken will be the state's new senator. This gives the Democrats 60 seats in the Senate. The Senate can now be called "Filibuster Proof."  This is the first time since the 1977-1979 term!

Who would have imagined? Just a few election cycles ago, Republicans controlled everything: the House, the Senate, and the White House. Now, not only have the Republican numbers been decimated, but with Al Franken in the Senate, the Democrats have a that super majority. This means, as long as they stay together, the Democrats can pass anything and everything they wish.

Now it is true that to enact administration priorities on health care, energy and other issues, Democrats will have to remain as united in support of legislation as Republicans are in opposition, no easy task in an institution where lawmakers weigh regional concerns, ideology and narrow political self-interest as well as party loyalty.

"At 60, every member has a veto," says Eric Ueland, who was chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn. Meaning that any of the 60 senators _ 58 Democrats and two Democratic-leaning independents _ gain added leverage in negotiations with the White House or even their own leadership.

In the current lineup, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can be certain of success only to the extent that he can hold Sen. Bernard Sanders, a Vermont liberal, and Sen. Ben Nelson, a Nebraska conservative, together, along with 58 other strong-minded senators of varying views and priorities.

Pragmatically, there are other complications confronting Senate Democrats, in the form of prolonged illnesses of two Senate veterans. Sen. Robert Byrd, 91, of West Virginia, was released from the hospital recently after treatment for a staph infection, and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts was operated on more than a year ago for brain cancer.

Neither man has been in the Capitol for weeks, and it is not known when, or even whether, they will return. Without them, Democrats can count only 58 votes.

The shocking nature of the legislation we've seen since Barack Obama became president is not the real tragedy here. The real tragedy is that the Republican Party handed control to the Democrats by not doing what the people elected them to do. They ran under a conservative agenda and became big-government Democrats instead. I sometimes argue that I can't tell the difference between the two parties.  But Minnesota voters have, perhaps, given us a glimpse at what the real difference is between the two.  Democrats like to nominate rock stars, sports heroes, comedians and anyone with glitter and glow.  Republicans will nominate politicians who simply will do anything to make a career out of being in Congress.

So now we have a near probable scenario of a former capitalist democratic republic becoming completely transformed into a socialist state with nationalized heath-care, auto-industry, banks, education, transportation and probably nationalized restaurants, department stores and bathrooms!

One can hear Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi dance in the hall of Capital Hill singing "Nothing Can Stop Us Now!"  

Yes, I think the good citizens ("unenlightened" citizens) of Minnesota have picked a famous person to represent them as their next US Senator.  Like the President, he has no experience (executive or otherwise).  He is just popular.  And like the President, is hell-bent on socializing this country beyond the likes of the Soviet Union.

We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.