“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it people like me,” that’s what Al Franken can say — just like his Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley — now that he has finally been declared once and for all to be the new junior U.S. Senator from Minnesota.
And while he claimed in acceptance today of his new position that he does not consider himself the 60th vote (for a Democratic majority), but the second vote for Minnesota, Democratic liberal pundits I am hearing now on MSNBC as I blog this say there’s no reason now for President Obama to not push through everything and cut out the compromise, and go for things such as the public option for health care.
Franken has been in a fight with former Sen. and Republican Norm Coleman since last November’s election for the disputed seat. But the Minnesota state Supreme Court finally declared Franken the winner today, by 312 votes.
While I don’t know much about Franken, other than I liked him better on Saturday Night Live than on his former radio show on Air America, he is liberal. So here is a gigantic victory for Democratic liberals who want Obama to keep campaign promises and not be afraid to be liberal. They’re not in a mood for compromise and they often ask: what did Bush do when he had the edge? Not much compromise there – he was the “decider”, even though he once remarked tongue in cheek (or maybe not) “it would be a lot easier if I was a dictator”.
Franken told his home-staters though that he would represent the interests of Minnesota first and compromise where necessary. But with 60 votes I’m wondering how often he’ll find it necessary. Of course not all Democrats necessarily are going to vote the same all the time. But 60 votes will remove the cover some middle of the road to conservative Democrats might otherwise take.
Just read a story that reminds me that Franken’s additional vote in a way is more like a 58-vote majority (not enough to cut off debate) than 60 because Senators Kennedy and Byrd have medical problems and cannot always be there to vote.