Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Does John Cornyn Like Lighting Money on Fire?

Because I can't find any other reason why he hasn't thrown Norm Coleman overboard. Coleman is going to lose. Despite years of aggressive court-packing by conservatives, tempered only modestly during the Clinton era, the law is the law and an election is an election; conservatives aren't going to undo an election count just because the results don't suit their tastes (note the distinction between Bush v. Gore wherin GOP allies on the Court stopped a count that might have changed the outcome). This isn't middle school kickball; you don't get endless do-overs or partial credit for coming very very close. Appeals are only going to postpone the inevitable.

But fifty-nine Democratic Senators are not much more dangerous than fifty-eight Democratic Senators. Arlen Specter has been effectively neutered by the primary process, flip-flopping on EFCA, probably the only bill where he would have been the deciding vote. Democrats have their hands full already between Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh, and the surprisingly skittish Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln. Any bill that passes will almost certainly have the votes of at least two Republican Senators, meaning that Franken is in some sense superfluous. So why waste the money, except perhaps because Cornyn wants Democrats to have an easier time getting to a veto-proof majority?

5 comments:

Neil Sinhababu said...

How much money does it cost? Might it actually be worth the $ to hold us at 58?

Rousseau said...

Almost certainly Neil. I mean the US Senate is an enormously inefficient institution that really can only do so many things in a session. The longer Franken isn't seated there, the longer Rahm Emmanuel stews about how hard it is to pass the President's agenda.

Neil Sinhababu said...

Yeah, that's what I was thinking. I mean, they put a lot of money into defending that seat, and I bet they'd be willing to pay a lot to just paralyze a Democratic seat.

drip said...

I agree with you Neil, and what's more, if another seat opens up, the 60 vote cloture requirement would drop to 59. At that point, I expect that they'd drop these appeals pretty darn quick.

Dennis said...

The other thing that should be pointed out is that despite lawyers being crazy expensive, lawyers are cheap. Coleman's legal team may cost as much as ten million dollars by the time this is over, which is chump change relative to even a tiny difference Franken could make in legislation if seated. In almost every scenario where expensive lawyers are required, expensive lawyers are a tiny chunk of the value at stake.