Friday, January 2, 2009

Burris And Franken COLLIDE

Democrats are threatening not to seat Burris. Constitutional questions persist.

Republicans are threatening to filibuster the vote to seat Franken (when Coleman's ridiculous opposition to his seating finally fails).

These two events are not disparate. Republicans are going to let Franken sit once Democrats allow Burris to sit--on the same rationale (they were picked by the legal process, so let it happen). If Democrats cave, so as to allow Franken to sit, it will feel like a Democratic victory (they get two Democratic senators rather than risking losing both Franken and Burris), but will really be a Republican victory (seating Burris might look like it damages Democratic legitimacy).

This Republican strategy doesn't seem to me like it'll work. It'll basically ask Republicans to go against two instances of Democracy (in one, opposing a special election in favor of an appointment; in the other, trying to invalidate an election as certified by the process). Furthermore, the odds are that at least two Republicans are going to think this strategy is cheap and political (Specter? Snow?), and Democrats will be able to override the filibuster--so they have no reason to cave on Burris. Let's just hope that they know that.

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