Looks like this is the week! After fending off a long and mostly pointless legal challenge, Al Franken will be sworn in this week as the junior Senator from Minnesota.
(A quick word for all the right-wing conspiracy theorists out there: you look like fools when you claim that Franken “stole the election.” Minnesota has quite possibly the most populist, transparent, and deliberate election laws of any state in the USA. Florida it ain’t. The process has been out there for all to see.)
The question now is: so what? Will the 60-Senator Democratic “supermajority” (58 plus 2 independents, and I trust Joe Lieberman about as far as I can throw him) be willing and able to get legislation going that the American people demand? For example, 75% of Americans want a public option for health insurance — what is the holdup?! Republicans were able to ram their agenda down our throats with only 50 votes in the Senate, but thanks to the lukewarm leadership of Reid, the Democrats need 60 votes. Now we’ve got them. No more excuses.
For those of us in the progressive base of the Democratic Party, it’s time to do some arm-twisting of on-the-fence legislators. Getting their Party’s elected officials to pay attention and act according to their wishes is something that the far right base of the Republican Party is quite good at. It wouldn’t hurt progressives to flex political muscles in a similar way when it comes to our elected officials, especially Senators.
Toward that end, I believe that will be pleasantly surprised by the effectiveness of Senator Al Franken. He can hold his own against anyone in a debate, and he’s actually a policy wonk. Even though he is the “juniorest” of Senators, I predict that he will take on a leadership role early on.
He’s good enough, he’s smart enough, and doggone it: the people elected him.