Saturday, February 28, 2009

Emanuel...and a Still Missing Franken

An interview with Rahm Emanuel in the most recent New Yorker reiterates the importance of Al Franken being in his senate seat. Of course, we all know this. We all know that Al should take his rightful place. Although only three Republican votes are needed to pass legislation, it could be even less. If Senator Kennedy's health was better and he was there - and he is missed by everyone - it would be two. With Franken it would be only one. That is incredible power in a time where it is really needed and huge issues are being looked at, voted on, and passed.

Since the Republicans just seem to be into playing games at this point, the passing part is hard enough as it is. As stated in the New Yorker:
The stimulus bill was essentially held hostage to the whims of Collins, Snowe, and Specter, but if Al Franken, the apparent winner of the disputed Minnesota Senate race, had been seated in Washington, and if Ted Kennedy, who is battling brain cancer, had been regularly available to vote, the White House would have needed only one Republican to pass the measure. “No disrespect to Paul Krugman,” Emanuel went on, “but has he figured out how to seat the Minnesota senator?” (Franken’s victory is the subject of an ongoing court challenge by his opponent, Norm Coleman, which the national Republican Party has been happy to help finance.)
It is said of Emanuel that "in the same conversation, he can be wonkish and thoughtful, blunt and profane." His "outsized personality," however, is exactly what is needed in a time of turmoil and issues beyond what any other president has faced. President Obama needs a strong Chief of Staff and he has one in Emanuel. Others in the position have rubbed people the wrong way for some of the same reasons. But Emanuel's directness, strength, and incredible organization are just what is in order for the job.

As for the empty senate seat, Franken's skills - and vote - are also what is in order for the job. It is no surprise that the Republican Party is footing the bill for Norm's games. It seems to be in line with everything else they are doing these days. But, enough already. President Obama, and the American people, need all the strength and intelligence we can get right now - and Minnesota itself needs another voice to be heard.

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