January 29, 2010

"Why Is Senator Kirk Still Voting on Legislation?"

The answer seems to be: because the GOP isn't saying anything about it. I assume it has a reason. That is, I assume it is competent. Is that wrong?

(Via Instapundit.)

33 comments:

D.M. said...

Why isn't "Brown" raising holy hell!

TRO said...

Why isn't Brown seated already? These votes are probably illegal, but what do the Dems care.

Roman said...

It is too bad that competence cannot be assumed of government.

lucid said...

Given that the vote on Benrnanke wasn't even close, perhaps because nothing much is happening in voting right now, so iti is not worth pressing the issue?

But given Brown's popularity, you would think it would be another chance to reveal the dems as the hyper-partisans that they are.

Der Hahn said...

Odd but not that unusual since Brown's election had the desired effect of stopping HCR in it's tracks. I would attribute the GOP not making a fuss over Kirk to them wanting to keep the process of seating him moving. Rubbing the Dem's noses in the election results might inspire them to drag their feet.

It's mostly tradition that Kirk step down, and there are several steps (certification of the election by the MA authorities and acceptance by the Senate) that need to take place before Brown can be officially seated. Article I Section 5 makes the House and Senate the final authority on election results for their members, so the Democrats have the authority to hold up Brown's seating. Doing so might not be the wisest move for them but the GOP likely doesn't want to give them a reason to play tit-for-tat.

Big Mike said...

That is, I assume it is competent. Is that wrong?

Are you talking about this group of Republican senators. You mean the ones that couldn't find their butt with both hands if you told them to bend at the waist and reach straight back? Are we talking about those people?

apodoca said...

Brown is more interested in being on late nite TV. He should've been seated already, but he doesn't seem to care. Plus, he's told the GOP that maybe I'll vote with you, maybe I'll vote with the Dems. So, most likely they're thinking that Kirk's votes are Brown's Dems vote.

Brown has already sent up enough red flags since he won the election; he's shaping up as a tin ear.

Thomas said...

I think the reason is, the GOP knows that these things must pass, and it doesn't want to be involved in passing them.

Fen said...

The GOP doesn't care, they're just along for the ride, the perks, etc.

Screw them.

Fen said...

It's mostly tradition that Kirk step down

No, its the law.

Bryan C said...

I wondered about this too. Is there any reasoning or precedent that allows a senator who's term has expired to continue to vote on stuff? If so, why?

In my dream world, where the GOP leadership is not a bunch of blundering twits, they're intending to challenge Kirk's invalid votes after the fact and then somehow use them as a "poison pill" to later attack the bills that he helped pass.

But, alas, in the real world it's probably one or more of these reasons:

1. The GOP leadership thinks it's being all clever and has made some sort of idiotic deal with the majority leadership. Which will, of course, be nullified or ignored as soon as convenient.

2. They don't really care about Brown, since he's not "real" GOP material, and are afraid of looking like big ol' meanies after all the recent "bipartisanship" talk.

3. The leadership is paralyzed by infighting/busy high-fiving each other/taking a vacation, and consequently have no strategy whatsoever. And the junior guys who might actually care are too scared or confused to say anything. This last one's my guess.

sane_voter said...

The vote to raise the debt ceiling was a party line split, 60 Dem yeas vs 40 GOP nos. I believe the GOP leadership weren't ready to have a political showdown to shut down the government by killing this bill. Without Brown's vote the GOP can keep their hands clean and all vote against it, and be able to hang this around the Dems neck when the election discussions of the deficit and debt are debated closer to the elections later this year.

wv: resseso. Spanish for recession

EDH said...

What Thomas and sane_voter said.

MadisonMan said...

Why fight a small battle when you're winning the war? I suppose that's what they might be thinking.

Problem is, losing a small battle can have a cascading effect.

campy said...

Who are the rebubs going to complain to? The senate itself has the final word on the matter according to the Constitution.

The dems could declare Brown's win fraudulent and seat Coakley today with a simple majority vote if they wanted to.

They'd get away with it, too. If the furor lasted more than a couple of days The Won could bomb an aspirin factory somewhere and that would be the end of it.

Firehand said...

A: the Evil Party leadership, and too many members, doesn't care about law or justice or right, just power.

B: the Stupid Party leadership- and too many members- don't have the balls to raise the hell they should. And the members going along just don't want to rock their relationship with the 'colleagues' who are screwing them over.

Scott M said...

That is, I assume it is competent. Is that wrong?

In a word, yes. The current political winds are certainly blowing in the GOP's favor, but very little of that has anything to do with proactive actions taken by the party or it's leaders.

Both parties have forced me to be extremely cynical of both parties.

former law student said...

Maybe the GOP feels guilty for delaying Al Franken's swearing-in for eight months.

Derek Kite said...

It was the debt ceiling legislation that passed yesterday on a straight 60-40 split.

If Brown had been seated, it would have complicated the image since they really wanted it to pass but wanted someone else to take responsibility for it.

Derek

former law student said...

Reading the comments, I think it's plausible the GOP fears Brown is a loose cannon, and doesn't want his leanings on these latest votes to be recorded.

Quasimodo said...

I doubt that Brown wants to vote on those things ... because he'd likely vote the same way as Kirk and that would spoil his street cred with conservatives

Quasimodo said...

Former Law Student beat me to it

former law student said...

Quasi -- all I did was agree with previous commenters.

Jim said...

Part of allowing the deal between Reid and McConnell to move up the health care boondoogle Christmas Eve a few hours was Reid's commitment to hold a separate vote on raising the debt limit rather than simply wrapping into "must-pass" legislation.

McConnell wanted to put individual senators on the record as either supporting or opposing increasing the debt limit while Reid wanted his people to avoid a vote which could hurt his members in the fall.

So, in exchange for a few hours of early vacation time, Reid caved and McConnell got what he wanted.

Nobody in the Republican leadership wanted any of their folks on record supporting increasing the debt limit, so they haven't pushed seating Brown. You can rest assured, however, that if there were any votes of significance coming up that the howls of protest would quickly ensue.

For all the complaints of incompetence in the Republican Senate leadership by conservatives, McConnell has actually done an amazing job in keeping Snowe and Collins from falling into the trap of voting with the Democrats on this craptacular bill. It was this discipline which forced the outrageous buyoffs of Landrieu and Nelsen which raised objections to the bill to epic levels with the general public.

There are plenty of reasons to fault the Republican leadership in many other areas, but give credit where credit is due: McConnell has OWNED Reid both on procedural and party discipline grounds during the entire health care process. Forcing the debt limit vote to be another party line affair was great politics - forcing the issue of seating Brown first would have been a mistake.

Scott M said...

@Jim

There are plenty of reasons to fault the Republican leadership in many other areas, but give credit where credit is due: McConnell has OWNED Reid both on procedural and party discipline grounds during the entire health care process. Forcing the debt limit vote to be another party line affair was great politics - forcing the issue of seating Brown first would have been a mistake.

From a purely tactical, objective-as-I-can-be point of view, I'd say that sums it up pretty handily.

OldGrouchy Doug Wright said...

The 17th Amendment doesn't clarify when Brown takes over. However, I've seen MA. law quoted such that when Kirk's "qualified" replacement was elected, Kirk's term was over. Kirk's replacement was elected on Jan/19th, whether Brown won or whether Coakley won, both were "qualified" under the Constitution, which seems to be the only qualification mentioned in MA. law. So, the GOP should have raised a ruckus and thrown Kirk out the door right away.

MA. law rules its process and the Dems sunk themselves once again.

traditionalguy said...

Maybe Kirk's job is counted towards the jobs saved by the democrat leadership in Congress. Is his pay check stopped?

Fen said...

There are plenty of reasons to fault the Republican leadership in many other areas, but give credit where credit is due: McConnell has OWNED Reid both on procedural and party discipline grounds during the entire health care process. Forcing the debt limit vote to be another party line affair was great politics - forcing the issue of seating Brown first would have been a mistake.

Okay, good point.

Just don't say that too loudly. The MSM is dying to scapegoat any Republican that steps forward to lead.

MadisonMan said...

Well, fen, do Republicans want to lead or not?

Everyone bitches about Obama for leading, and that's okay. You ask for it when you run for the Presidency. (Still can't get Beth's furniture-moving metaphor out of my head). Who is leading the Republicans? Should they for some reason not be subject to criticism?

traditionalguy said...

The Democrats embodied by Obama, Dodd, Reid, Pelossi, and Frank have so angered the voters in 2010 that the only rational strategy for the GOP is to hide and watch until then.It will not be pretty. The sympathy factor could be aroused for the Dems if the GOP goes around bosating that it has already gained real power.

Fen said...

MM: Well, fen, do Republicans want to lead or not?

Everyone bitches about Obama for leading, and that's okay. You ask for it when you run for the Presidency. (Still can't get Beth's furniture-moving metaphor out of my head). Who is leading the Republicans? Should they for some reason not be subject to criticism?



HUGE difference between the MSM Demonization of Palin and the MSM Softball Critcism of Obama. You know that.

MadisonMan said...

Why are you talking about Palin? Republican Senators and Congressmen in DC: should they be leading or not?

Fen said...

I'm talking about Palin because any conservative leader who steps forward will be demonized the way Palin was.

Brown only made it through because you guys didn't recognize he was a threat in time to slime him.

Oh I forgot - you're above all that. Until its time for your obilgatory "both sides do it". How convenient for you.