by Pa Rock
The 111th Congress was sworn in today with some very notable vacancies and near vacancies in the Senate. The highest drama has centered around Barack Obama's old Senate seat. As we all know by now, vacant Senate seats from Illinois are filled by the governor until the next general election when the people will choose the replacement. The President-elect had the good manners to resign several weeks ago, which gave the governor plenty of time to name a replacement. But Governor Rob Blagojevich, an egomaniac who apparently was looking to sell or trade the seat for something of value, gummed up the works when the Feds overheard him wheeling and dealing over the appointment on a tapped telephone line.
An honorable person, caught with his pants that far down, would have probably resigned, but not the current governor of Illinois. He proclaimed his innocence and vowed to fight the charges. Blagojevich also chose to turn the affair into even more of a circus by going ahead and naming a successor to Obama despite the urging of most of the political world to leave it alone. Then, to help paint stubborn Senate Democrats into a corner, he chose a black man as the replacement. Refusing to seat a black nominee could be interpreted by some as racism. First the governor offered the job to black Illinois Congressman Danny Davis, but Davis declined to accept a tainted nomination. The governor then found a black candidate with an ego the size of his own, Roland Burris, who didn't care how tainted the nomination was - he wanted it! And so it goes...
But while the Burris nomination has been on the front burner, three other Senate seats are also in limbo.
Yesterday Democrat Al Franken was officially certified as the winner of the Minnesota Senate seat - by a paper-thin margin of 225 votes. His crybaby opponent, former Senator Norm Coleman, is headed to court and may keep the seat vacant for weeks or even months while he pulls every possible rabbit out of his huckster's hat. In the hopes of providing some assistance in the resolution of this sticky matter, here is my advice to Coleman: Give it up, Norm. First of all, you're an ass. And secondly, this is Paul Wellstone's seat and you should have never been allowed to sully it in the first place.
Now we come to Hillary's Senate seat from New York. She was sworn in again today, perhaps fearful that she might be turned down for Secretary of State at the last minute. But by hanging on until the last possible day, she is denying her replacement valuable seniority. And, of course, somebody needs to kick New York's governor in the butt and get him to name the replacement.
But the strangest political maneuvering of all, at least to me, involves the Senate seat belonging to Vice-President-elect Joe Biden from Delaware. Biden was also sworn in for another term today, although he is scheduled to become Vice-President in two weeks. It has been rumored that he was keeping the seat warm for his son, Beau Biden, who is currently serving in Iraq, but Beau has apparently said that he isn't going to accept it. So what gives, Joe? You, like Hillary, are costing your replacement seniority. It's time to move on, buddy.
If the Obama administration hopes to hit the ground running, all four of those Democratic Senate seats need to be filled. Somebody needs to be kicking some senatorial butt and taking names!