Final reflections on Franken vs. Coleman

It's a relief to close the book on the 2008 elections now that Al Franken will finally be able to take up the Senate seat he won last November.

Talking Points Memo posted their Top 10 moments from the mostly infuriating, sometimes comical Franken-Coleman saga.

We can laugh at Coleman's pretzel logic during the legal proceedings, but unfortunately, his gamesmanship deprived Minnesota of full representation in the Senate for half a year. In all likelihood Franken will be stuck with less-than-stellar committee assignments. Also, the delay did lasting damage to Franken's seniority. Had he been sworn in on time, he would have outranked several fellow Senate Democrats, which could become important one or two terms down the road.

Nevertheless, I have high hopes for Senator Franken and look forward to his work in Washington.

P.S.- I still don't understand why so many Minnesotans voted for Dean Barkley.

P.P.S.- Rush Limbaugh is still a big fat idiot.

Tags: 2008 elections, Al Franken, Congress, MN-Sen, norm coleman, Senate (all tags)



Re: Final reflections on Franken vs. Coleman

I keep making this point, but I have never even seen one shred of evidence that getting sworn in a day late or a month late or whatever has some kind of lasting impact on seniority.

Of course committee assignments have been given out and no one is going to be forced to surrender their assignment to Franken, so he loses in that respect.  But in the long run, if let's say he's on the same committee as Kay Hagan, 10 years from now are they going to be treating her like she has seniority over him?  Will she be getting to ask the questions first, yadda yadda?

Whenever I bring this up, someone always links that wikipedia article with the seniority list, which of course proves nothing.  Anyone can make a list of dates and put it on wikipedia, but I'm talking about whether seniority really makes a difference among members of the same freshman class.

One of these days someone with actual Senate experience will see my question and put me out of my misery, but until then I wallow in my ignorance.

by Steve M 2009-06-30 04:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Final reflections on Franken vs. Coleman

If you click the link, you'll see that there are various tie-breakers to determine seniority among members of the same class. Job held before election to Senate is one, and state size is another. If I understand the system correctly, Hagan would have had seniority over Franken anyway, because NC has a larger population than MN.

Franken would have been senior to Merkley and Begich, however. Also, he would have been sworn-in before Gillibrand and Bennet (and according to that post I linked, swearing-in date trumps everything).

It's very possible that eight or ten years from now one of those Democrats Franken should outrank (but doesn't) could get a subcommittee chairmanship over him.

by desmoinesdem 2009-06-30 05:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Final reflections on Franken vs. Coleman

Yes, seniority among members of the same class will be crucial ten years from now if two or more people are vying for the same committee assignment.  Or is line for a subcommittee chair.  Franklin will always be tail-end Charlie, behind even Kirsten Gillibrand.

Push come to shove, seniority is measured to the day.

by InigoMontoya 2009-06-30 05:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Final reflections on Franken vs. Coleman

Can you document this in any way?  Everyone seems to know it is true, but no one can ever show it.

by Steve M 2009-06-30 05:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Final reflections on Franken vs. Coleman

Mmmph.  Once upon a somewhen, I was a very junior Senate staffer and this was one of the things burned into me.

Not sure where it's written down or if it is where it might be Googlable.  Might want to consult a Congressional Directory.  Now that I think of they even publish that in hardcopy anymore?  I think they do.

by InigoMontoya 2009-06-30 06:36PM | 0 recs
Grassley outranked Specter

though both were elected in 1980, because Grassley had served in the House before moving up to the Senate. Grassley had the right to be the ranking member at judiciary, but he opted to take the ranking position at Finance and let Specter take that role at Judiciary. I definitely remember reading that this was a favor Grassley did for Specter.

by desmoinesdem 2009-06-30 07:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Final reflections on Franken vs. Coleman

I'm thankful it's over but I am still angry.

by Charles Lemos 2009-06-30 05:59PM | 0 recs
Hurray! We reached 60!

Now let's try for 65.  NC, MO, KY, NH, FL, and others are coming.  Of course, we have to hold CT, CO, DE, and other potential trouble spots.  Or am I getting carried away?

by zorro24 2009-06-30 06:24PM | 0 recs
I would be thrilled

with a net gain of 1 or 2 Senate seats in 2010. We have some tough holds.

by desmoinesdem 2009-06-30 07:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Final reflections on Franken vs. Coleman

Actually it sounds like Franken is getting some pretty juicy committee assignments.  The comment on DailyKos missed the fact that other senators were temporarily filling Franken's spots on the Health and Judiciary committees. rm1=5&docID=news-000003157088

by LanceS 2009-07-01 04:38AM | 0 recs


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