...You don't sit until the election is over
With the recount between Al Franken and Norm Coleman for Minnesota's remaining senate seat set to exceed Coleman's term, the Democrats have some funny ideas.
Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota's other Senator -- and, naturally, a Democrat -- seems to think that whomever is ahead in the recount when Coleman's term expires should be seated in the Senate on a probationary basis while the recount is completed and while any further litigation works its way through the courts.
However, that won't happen if John Cornyn, a Republican senator from Texas, as anything to say about it.
"I can assure you that there will be no way people on our side of the aisle will agree to seat any senator provisionally or otherwise unless there is a valid election certificate and all legal issues about who got the most votes is finally decided," Cornyn insisted.
Cornyn is absolutely right to do this.
Not only would seating Franken before an official election result is determined be extremely undemocratic, but there would be little point to it.
Without an official election decision, Franken could not expect to be allowed to vote, or even speak. If anything, Franken would be reduced to sitting among his fellow Democrats and trying to look pretty.
The Democrats couldn't even expect to enjoy their filibuster-proof senate -- something clearly on Klobucher's mind when she suggests that Franken be allowed to sit provisionally.
In essence, there's a very basic principle at stake: in the United States, you win an election then you get to sit in the Senate. Unless you happen to have bought your seat from Rod Blagojevich.