Friday, January 30, 2009

Democrat filibuster-proof 60 Senate seats slips in and then out of reach...perhaps

The prospect of a golden filibuster-proof 60 seat dominance in the US Senate is, after all, possibly within the grasp of the Democrats....but, then again, possibly not.

If Al Franken survives a court challenge in Minnesota, the Democratic Senate caucus, including two independents, will have 59 seats.

However, there is a little twist.

Following Bill Richardson standing down from his nomination as Commerce Secretary, it seems highly possible that Republican Senator Judd Gregg will be chosen for that role. This would mean him standing down from the Senate and his replacement being chosen by the New Hampshire governor.

The New Hampshire governor, John Lynch, is a Democrat.

Now, it is often the norm that a Governor appoints someone from their own party.

So if Lynch chooses a Democrat for the Senate role, then the Democrats are at 60, if Franken prevails.

There is a twist to the twist, however.

Governor John Lynch is one of the most bipartisan Governors in the US, so it seems likely that he will appoint a Republican to replace a Republican.

So the filibuster-proof majority slips tantalising out of reach again, perhaps. But then again, that is probably best for American democracy.

There is, however (wait for it) a twist to the twist to the twist. Any Republican chosen by Lynch could well be very well disposed to voting fairly often with the Democrats anyway - that's New Hampshire politicians for you.

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