Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Six Senators

From the Senate comes our new President-Elect, and his colleagues are the subject of intense current interest, as the possibility of a filibuster-proof majority hinges on Al Franken beating Norm Coleman in the Minnesota recount, Jim Martin coming from behind to win the run-off election in Georgia against Saxby Chambliss, and two other contests decided today.

The best news is from Alaska, where the AP has just certified that Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich has defeated the convicted Federal felon, Ted Stevens, thus not only gaining a key Dem seat from the longest serving GOP Senator, but blocking Gov. Sarah Palin from appointing herself as Stevens' replacement.

The other settlement today was with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), allowing him to keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee, a potential threat to Obama since it has some oversight over the Executive, and essentially giving him a free pass after campaigning for Obama's rival, John McCain, impugning Obama's patriotism, extolling Sarah Palin, and neglecting to investigate the Cheney/Bush Administration in his committee role.

I have a couple of theories about this one. The first is that this is Obama's way of putting Joe to the test, just as I surmised he has put the nation on a pass/fail test that we fortunately passed November 4th. With flying colors. Obama's way is to give the offending party the opportunity to rise to the occasion, and if they make the affront of blowing it, they'll be cut off without a further word.

The model for this is how Obama handled Rev. Jeremiah Wright. After Obama responded to the oft-repeated excerpt of Wright's "God damn America!" with his breakthrough speech on race in Philadelphia, when three weeks later Wright went to D.C. and injected his megalonarcissism onto the national stage. That was it -- has anyone seen hide or hair of Wright since then.

My second theory is that this solves the mystery of who Obama met with privately at the airport right after visiting George & Laura. It wouldn't have been Clinton -- otherwise she wouldn't have had to make the trip to Chicago. National security doesn't make sense, safer in the Oval Office. And since we haven't heard of Joe making pilgrimage to Chicago or any hint of Obama having spoken with him prior to letting word out the other day that he thought he should retain his Homeland Security chairmanship, it falls into place that Lieberman would have met Obama as furtively as possible, maybe even having requested the audience and a private room at the airport being the provisional answer.

If this is the case, then no matter the public kabuki from Harry Reid or Joe Lieberman in their press appearance today, Obama has to have given assurance to Reid that Lieberman was in his pocket. Considering how strategic Obama always acts, it might even be for an anticipated vote, say what Obama's planning legislatively to end the war.

And in other Senate news, Hillary is agonizing.

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