Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Get over yourself

Now that Al Franken can finally be seated, the Democrats number 58, plus Sanders and Lieberman, independents who caucus with them, giving them the "magical" 60. As many have pointed out, though, it is not as if this means everything progressive folks want is going to now breeze through the Senate. There are plenty of Senators who are going to be a pain in the ass -- I'm looking at you, Nelson -- and depending on the issue, it will be a different coalition of Senators who will be a pain in the ass in the name of "centrism" (i.e. pissing everyone off). Cap and trade, for example, will probably have no problem getting Collins and Snowe from Maine on-board, as least relative to, say, Landrieu. But anyway, a lot of this has been said.

Of course, you cannot vote for a bill if you aren't there, so Ted Kennedy needs to get over himself and his legacy and just frickin' retire. If he were to drop dead tomorrow, it could take months before a replacement arrives, and that is just one more vote that Reid needs to scrounge up, one more Senator who gets to extract his or her pound of flesh from a piece of legislation before it gets through. Kennedy already pissed me off when he suggested, upon his diagnosis, that he really wants his wife to have his Senate seat, as if we live in 17th century Europe and the masses should just accept this decree. Massachusetts has plenty of able-bodied, progressive people in it with legislative experience who would be more than adequate to fill the role (Capuano, perhaps?). So instead of setting ourselves up for the inevitable period when Massachusetts is only represented by a single Senator (you think Kerry is unsufferable now, wait until he's the senior Senator from Massachusetts), Kennedy should take one for the team, announce he's leaving the Senate, and allow the Commonwealth to find a replacement while he continues to serve.

But of course that won't happen, because Kennedy is much more interested in what's best for Kennedy than what's best for Massachusetts.

P.S. The same could probably be said for Robert Byrd, who's 91 and in and out of the hospital, but there's a 100% chance that Kennedy's replacement would be a reliable Democrat, but I have no idea what West Virginia would send.