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The Senate. Some Want Out and Some Even Want In.

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united-states-capitol_cb065526

been there. done that.

It’s been a busy few weeks in the Senate. Apart from the few Republicans that got beat in the November election, other Senators are leaving of their own accord. Headlined by Barack Obama himself, his Vice President, Joe Biden, his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton are all shipping out. Others like Chuck Hagel had had enough. Mel Martinez isn’t standing for re-election in 2010, and Ted Stevens, would like to have stayed but just failed to be the first convicted felon to get re-elected to the Senate. You got to love Alaska’s taste in uncles. As for John McCain, one could easily get the impression that he’s glad to be back, so he can go gently into the night.

Then there are those who are desperate to get in. Everyone from Caroline Kennedy to Jesse Jackson Junior to Al Franken, still counting votes in Hennepin County, Minnesota. The idea that Jesse Jackson Jr. appears at least to some extent to have been prepared to risk the extreme toxicity of Rod Blagojevich to get his shot strikes me as risky in the extreme. But in all these cases, the candidates seem to me to have been captivated by the majesty and history of the place, but forget that the Senate is basically one big, and frankly boring, compromise. It revels in its sham bipartisanship, and unlikely, awkward alliances. It’s no surprise the place is so ineffective in so many ways. A place where Barack Obama can co-sponsor legislation with the most right wing Senators in the Republican Caucus, Tom Coburn, is a place where cooperation trumps the quality of policy making. Read the rest of this entry »