Republicans misfire in Franken fight

As a former professional Democrat and a DC-based specialist in public affairs, I think the Republicans are mishandling the fight over the Minnesota Senate...

As a former professional Democrat and a DC-based specialist in public affairs, I think the Republicans are mishandling the fight over the Minnesota Senate seat won by Democrat Al Franken. Instead of opposing his victory at all costs, they should embrace the chaos that having just 60 seats (thanks to Arlen Specter’s defection) will visit on President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Sixty seats (instead of say 62 or 63), is a recipe for disaster. There may be some limited legislation that passes after getting that last vote to proceed (assuming the unpredictable Spector goes along), but more likely it will empower every Dem in the Senate to hold their vote for ransom for any, and every, parochial issue on their plate. Want my vote for that deputy assistant secretary for whatever? I want more funding for xyz in return. Need my vote for that legislation? Give me my meritless amendment, and you have it.

I was a House staffer in the 1980s when we had a 50-vote margin, and the Dems couldn’t agree on anything. That’s why we’re Dems! Why would it be any different now? By relenting on Franken, and handing the Dems that pyrrhic 60th vote, Republicans can morph every D into that decisive last vote, and make them own the political fallout. Then they can watch the fireworks, accuse the Democrats of not delivering, and wash their hands of the chaos all at the same time.

-Don Goldberg, partner, Qorvis

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