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January 06, 2009

Comments

Still, DR did add: "If Burris was already a member of the club, you would see a completely different dynamic." And I tend to agree.

I'm with Gary, it's a Republican talking point. And have we ever seen DR before? How likely is it we'll see DR again, do you think?

Reid announced his opposition to Blagojevich's appointment long before anyone knew who it would be, and all this about the boys' club and how the guy's a racist is garbage.

Whoever Blagojevich appointed would be in exactly this position. Do you have any suggestions for what possible appointees you think would have qualified as members of the boys' club and caused Reid to immediately back down from his earlier statements?

Gary Farber says: law professors vary in their opinions. True, but do you know of one law professor who argues that Burris shouldn't be seated? I buy the argument that the Senate needs to wait until the inevitable ruling by a court that SoS needs to certify, but there is an ethical responsibility for lawyers not to bring suits for the sole purpose of delay, and it seems that everything going on is to delay a lawful result from occurring.

KCinDC's theatrics theory is the only one that makes sense to explain why Reid is even doing this. I'm glad I understand now. I kind of like jdkbrown's proposal to seat Burris, then expel him, then reseat him if reappointed. Good way to head off Republican complaints.

As to EK and the desires of Illinois citizens: you're the folks who elected Blago twice! Of course, go ahead and impeach him, but in the meantime (and during impeachment and afterwards) you have to follow the laws of your state - so elect honest governors, and make better laws! Nothing that's going on now is subject to popular referendum unless I'm mistaken about the laws of Illinois.

And America elected Bush! Twice! So your opinions on what he does doesn't matter, sorry. Do better next time.

Here are a few people--at least some of whom are law professors--who argue that the Senate is well within its legal rights to refuse Burris:

Akhil Reed Amar and Josh Chafetz:
http://slate.com/id/2207754/pagenum/all

Lyle Denniston:
http://www.scotusblog.com/wp/analysis-must-senate-seat-burris/

Jack Balkin:
http://balkin.blogspot.com/2008/12/can-senate-refuse-to-seat-ronald-burris.html

List and links lifted from Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com

EK,

That is why I offered myself. A regular citizen, not tied to either party, to represent the citizens of Illinois. No taint, no ties to the politics.

But, given my disappointment in not being chosen, Blago has the right to appoint someone, and there appears to be no untoward "deal" for the appointment, so it should go forward.

And I don't think we have enough money in the budget to run a special election right now, unless we sell off the tollways at fire sale prices.

EK, that wasn't my point. The Burris issue is now a legal issue - it's not about what Illinois citizens (or United States citizens, for that matter) want. I imagine it's frustrating for Illinois citizens to have crooks for governors, just as it's frustrating for me to have a criminal President, but that doesn't mean the President can't issue executive orders. Because as unpopular as he is, and however many war crimes he's committed, he's still President.

So I'm just saying - yeah, people might hate Blago just as they hate Bush, but they're stuck, aren't they? For the moment?

Sapient,

I voted against Blago, twice; Bush, once (the first time we decided to take a last minute cruise and weren't able to get absentee ballots).

We should follow the law; as for the impeachment, so far the grounds are wide but thin. However, unlike the US Constitution, Illinois' only requires cause, not an actual crime (although the latter doesn't seem to be sufficient for the current Congress).

@EK:

I sympathize with your frustration, but the Bush jibe reinforces Sapient's point: Bush needed to be impeached. Blago needs to be impeached. Put your anger and pressure where it belongs: on the legislators who haven't had the political courage to do what needed to be done.

The Illinois legislators' failure has a lot in common with the House Democratic leadership's failure: they're complicit in a good many of the crimes and corruptions involved.

@Fraud Guy: The U.S. constitution does not require a crime, either. "High crimes and misdemeanors" is a term of art that is not the same thing as violations of the U.S. criminal code.

Apropos of nothing.

There actually is a crime which requires punishment prior to conviction (at least in Illinois, and in several other states).

Aggravated sexual assault (child molestation).

Once charged or indicted, until charges are dismissed or the accused is acquitted at trial, they are restricted in their actions for life. I am not sure if such a indictment would prohibit a governor from executing his office, but not being able to be in schools, most public parks, and the like would be a definite crimp in his schedule.

If the standard being used is that a majority of the senate can refuse to seat someone because an election was not free of corruption, the democrats had better hope that the republicans never gain a majority in the senate again, because that would be the end of democrats ever being allowed into the senate.

Be careful what you ask for. Although it is fun to see how quickly the "nation of laws" attitude turns to "whatever we can get away with". I was hoping it would take a bit longer.

The solution of course, has already been mentioned, admit that he has been elected to the senate, hand him a lollipop and a "I was a member of the us senate but all i got was this lousy t-shirt" souvenir, expel him, and move on.

Nell,

At least high crimes and misdemeanors imputes some degree of wrongdoing. For "cause" sounds like being an at will employee, able to be let go for being late twice in a year, not living in the governor's mansion, or just because the legislature can get enough votes to kick you out.

Oh trust me, there's plenty of anger and frustration directed at the IL legislature, for all the good it does us. But do recall that I copped to mostly just whining there. And also: Jesse White (our well-liked Sec of State) has refused to certify anything that comes from this governor. I don't believe this is a political move - though heck if I know what truly lurks in the hearts of men. He has repeatedly said that he can't in good conscience give legal certification to anything that comes from this Governor. Jesse White is, in that respect, the only person who seems to be making sense. A crazy person is issuing orders. Don't listen to the crazy person just because we haven't quite locked down the buckles on the straitjacket yet.

But anyway, I'm being interrupted and will have to catch up with you all at a later date, from my regular lurkdom. Just couldn't quite stand reading yet more parsings of legal facts and interpretations of the best political moves that contain no mention of that whole "voice of the people" thing that's supposed to at least get lip service.

" However, unlike the US Constitution, Illinois' only requires cause, not an actual crime"

The U.S. Constitution most certainly does not require an "actual crime."

"The President, Vice President, and all other civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors."

"High Crimes and Misdemeanors" has never been particularly defined. In essence, it's whatever Congress says it is.

Do those of you suggesting that Burris should be admitted and then expelled actually believe that 2/3 of the senators would vote to expel him? What would be the reason, given that by admitting him they've said that the appointment was okay?

jdkbrown, thanks for the links to the professorial articles. (I'd seen the Slate article, but had forgotten it.) I found the comments at Balkanization quite enjoyable. Although I understand the argument that the Senate can legitimately refuse to seat Burris, I find it tenuous. I also agree with the commenters there who suggest that the Senate in exercising a Constitutional power would establish a very worrisome precedent if their actions were upheld.

This case is incredibly interesting to consider. Although maybe attention is being diverted from the grave issues that face the country, it really provides comic relief in a way - one of those cases that seems to have been made for law school discussions. I don't see how any resolution that comes of it does any harm, especially given KCinDC's theory that Senate Democrats are insulating themselves from the unjustified political hay that Republicans will try to make of the corruption issue. If the evidence is what it seems, Blago is a disgrace for sure, but he'll be taken down in due course. And, though clownish, Burris seems harmless enough.

"What would be the reason, given that by admitting him they've said that the appointment was okay?"

Why would that be an admission? They admit him because they're legally forced to (though I actually think that's still an open question), and they expel him because there is a cloud of illegitimacy over his appointment. The Sentate's power to expel its members--unlike it's power to refuse their seating--is absolutely discretionary.

Is it just me, or does anyone have this song running thru their head?

Actually, it's not clear that the expulsion power is discretionary. "Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member." Expulsion may be construed to relate to punishment for disorderly behavior.

Still, a subsequent impeachment of Blago for acts occurring before the appointment of Burris might lend credence to a nullification of the appointment (by the state).

Do those of you suggesting that Burris should be admitted and then expelled actually believe that 2/3 of the senators would vote to expel him?

Yep. And if they don't there isn't reason enough to deny him a seat. When the republicans control again, what do you think the standard should be for deciding which elections or appointments were or weren't corrupt enough to warrant refusing to seat someone? The word of the majority leader? 50 votes? Do you think they would ever seat ANY democrat from illinois if corrupt elections are a reason not to?

What would be the reason, given that by admitting him they've said that the appointment was okay?

The appointment was arguably legal, not okay. The reason would be that the appointment was not okay, if a reason was given. Or they could just say, "You are ugly and your mother dresses you funny".

It's all a terrible idea for a zillion reasons, but it's all irrelevent. So is the act that the Secretary of State has refused to perform the ministerial act of certifying that the governor of the state has, in fact, appointed Burris. I love Jesse White, but he's clearly wrong about his, and so is Harry Reid. Those powers are very limited ones. As Burris says, he is, now, the junior Senator from the State of Illinois. It is not a close case.

The Democrats will survive. Blago will be impeached and convicted by the State Senate and removed from office. Lisa Madigan or another prominent Democrat will beat Burris in a primary if he stupidly insists on running, and will probably beat out any Republican running.

KCinDC: Reid announced his opposition to Blagojevich's appointment long before anyone knew who it would be, and all this about the boys' club and how the guy's a racist is garbage.

Yes, but

On Dec. 3, before Blago was charged, Reid allegedly called him and made it clear he did not want Jesse Jackson, Jr., Danny Davis or Emil Jones – but Tammy Duckworth or Lisa Madigan would be OK.

If true I’m open to the possibility that it (black men, no – white women, OK) was pure coincidence, but it kind of smells bad. Call it a Republican talking point if you like, but Reid (allegedly) served it up. But as he was OK with white women he can’t be accused of wanting to maintain the Old Boys Club…

As for Burris – while I don’t think much of him (Cruz issue), the states get to choose their Senators under their rules and Reid has (should have) nothing to say about it.

“Cold Cash” Jefferson won the D primary and the runoff while under indictment. Had he won the election, would Pelosi have declined to seat him? I doubt it.

I don’t want to see Franken in the Senate either, and I think there were plenty of inconsistent decisions in the recount that mostly broke his way – but in the end if he wins under MN’s rules then he is legitimate and I’d howl if Republican’s opposed seating him based on questions of legitimacy.

Maybe for once I can say I’m for state’s rights without someone claiming it’s code for racism…

"But as he was OK with white women"

I'm unaware that most people think Thai people are "white."

"'Cold Cash' Jefferson won the D primary and the runoff while under indictment. Had he won the election, would Pelosi have declined to seat him? I doubt it."

Well, wait, either Congress discriminates against black folk, or it doesn't. Which charge are you making?

I’m unaware that most people think Thai people are "white."

Well, I didn’t say Caucasian, but you are right: sloppy of me to use “white” as shorthand for “light-skinned”. I stand corrected.

Well, wait, either Congress discriminates against black folk, or it doesn't. Which charge are you making?

Two different topics – sorry that was not clear. The first was “Republican talking points” on racism which I think Reid may have opened himself up to. Even us reformed Republicans enjoy the delicious irony of Democrats twisting themselves into knots over issues of racism in this election cycle after their decades of identity politics. Recall that it was Democrats making the charges of racism concerning Burris. Yet somehow it becomes a Republican talking point…

The only “charge” is one of inconsistency. Reid feels he can block a Senator sent up by a state due solely to a question of legitimacy related to charges (as yet not even an indictment [yes I think he is guilty as hell]) against the Governor who appointed him. OTOH, no action was taken to evict a Congressman actually indicted, and I believe he would have been seated had he been re-elected.

Recall that it was Democrats making the charges of racism concerning Burris. Yet somehow it becomes a Republican talking point…

Specifically:

The racism charges started with Blago (D) and Burris (D). Bobby Rush (D): “Don’t hang or lynch Burris…” But it’s a Republican talking point. Republican’s don’t even have to get involved with this. They can stand on the sidelines munching popcorn and throw Reid an anchor if he looks like he is drowning. But let’s imagine for a minute that Mitch McConnell calls up a Republican Governor and tells him/her “That (black) man, that (black) man, and that (black) man are unacceptable appointments, but these two (light-skinned) women would be OK.”

Democrats would never ever imagine that racism could have played a part…

And of course it’s still all identity politics. Democrats set the expectation that a woman would fill Clinton’s seat, and that an AA would fill Obama’s seat.

Qualifications and re-electability take a back seat to identity politics. I don’t seem to recall any Democrats setting the expectation that some old white dude would fill Biden’s seat…

OCSteve: "the states get to choose their Senators under their rules and Reid has (should have) nothing to say about it."

It's hilarious that OCSteve thinks that party leaders don't weigh in on who they prefer as being more electable or not electable! And the charge of racism is ridiculous. I think Burris should be seated, but this spectacle is entirely about political maneuvering, and Reid's preference for who gets into the Senate has to do with retaining a strong Democratic majority. He has every right to state his preferences as to who is most electable.

"The racism charges started with Blago (D) and Burris (D)."

Yes, Steve, it started with the current Democratic governor whose entire plan was to toss a stick of dynamite, and get it to be a Republican talking point, and so it has. Neither Blagojevich nor Burris are acting in the interests of the Democratic Party, after all. What's hard to understand about this?

"Qualifications and re-electability take a back seat to identity politics."

You can't simultaneously maintain this while charging that it's a case of "[t]hat (black) man, that (black) man, and that (black) man are unacceptable appointments, but these two (light-skinned) women would be OK.”

Please pick a charge; you can't have two contradictory ones. In fact, the rejection of Burris is indeed to a large degree about re-electability, though that's not enough to get him rejected in normal circumstances, since normally it couldn't rise to something the Senate would do anything about, other than having Democratic Senators sighing.

"OTOH, no action was taken to evict a Congressman actually indicted, and I believe he would have been seated had he been re-elected.

Of course, Reid has nothing to do with Jefferson, a former House member. And if he did, the racism charge seems to fall apart. OCSteve seems to be gathering whatever Republican talking points exist and throwing them all out there.

"I don’t seem to recall any Democrats setting the expectation that some old white dude would fill Biden’s seat…"

Naturally, "white dudes" across the country are deeply concerned about the severe shortage of their kind in the Senate. Why, the parallels are uncanny!

Sebastian: If there is something unusual in the MN law I suppose it could change my mind

There is, and it probably will. Here is an explanation from a Minnesotan who is very eager to see Al Franken sworn in as Senator, trying to educate impatient Dems castigating Harry Reid over the announcement that he would not be sworn in yesterday, despite the canvassing board's certification of his 225-vote lead:

There is a seven day period when a Contest can be filed, and if one is not, then the certificate can be issued, after 7 days.

If a Contest is filed, the trial of facts before a special court, appointed by the Chief Justice -- three district court judges, sitting in Ramsey County, must begin within 15 days. Rulings of the evidentiary part of the process can be appealed to the SC, as would be their final special court decision. At a minimum this could take about a month. The hearings before the district court panel are more or less like a bench trial in a Civil Court.

The burden of proof will be with Coleman. Moreover, should he lose, he will be required to pay all court costs and Franken's legal costs. I believe the court can ask for bond up front in this type of contest -- this is no longer a taxpayer cost, thus there is a very real incentive to make your case and get on with it.

That's the official system, the rules are all in our statutes. But I suspect there will soon be considerable pressure on Coleman should he not win major issues in the initial district court hearing, to pack it in. The Legislature comes in tomorrow faced with a major budget problem, both houses of the Legislature are DFL, and Pawlenty, the Republican Governor has many other fish to fry with them besides Coleman. And while I suspect the RNC and the Republican Senators will send some funds to finance Coleman's Contest, the costs will go higher every day that it continues, and that may not be the best use of Republican resources. Coleman may have a hard time sustaining support -- but at the same time some pressure needs to be brought for Senator Franken to finally make his appearance in DC. No one wants to short change the process -- but at the same time, no one wants them to dilly around with it.

I feel the same way about the Franken and Burris cases: The process is not one that I like, nor the outcome -- Burris should be seated if the Secretary of State signs his certification, because his appointment is legal (the Illinois legislature having failed to act to impeach the governor or to require a special election); Franken can unfortunately not be certified, and thus not seated, until former Sen. Coleman drops his futile legal efforts to deny Franken the seat he won.

The balkin post just reinforces my opinion that the Constitutional method he proposes never ever gets results he doesn't like. Somehow the Constitution always agrees with him. The only time it ever seems to win is when there are actual dates (like the amount of time between election and swearing in).

This is a pretty good case for thinking about the rule of law. Sure, we CAN stretch the laws out of whack by pretending that certain words don't mean what they say, or that a Secretary of State certification is meant to be a veto point. We CAN do that. We can get the RESULT we want. But we can't do it without doing violence to the actual normal function of the laws. But when you do that, you reinforce the notion that procedural safeguards are just things to be gamed, not things which exist for the purpose of allowing the system to orderly work things out.

The procedural system isn't even broken. We are just choosing not to implement it. The Illinois legislature can choose to impeach the governor. It could have chosen to have a special election to fill the seat.

There is a *substantive* failure of the legislature to do its job. Trying to correct that by twisting normal procedures isn't good. Correct it by holding the legislature accountable for not doing its job.

Honestly, what is the worst that could happen here? The Senate admits a member with some taint of corruption. It certainly isn't the first time. If it turns out he bribed the governor, expel him. Otherwise, vote him out later. This really honestly isn't worth twisting the rule of law over. This is worth using the legal procedures we have over, sure. But it isn't worth pretending that Secretaries of State are a valid veto point for example.

Nell, that isn't really the kind of detail I would need to change my mind. I'm looking for some sort of statute that makes it clear that you can't move forward at all with the apparent winner while the whole thing is being sorted out. That may exist, but I haven't seen it.

KC and GF: This is my first time checking in today after signing off last night at work at 10, and I'm soon going to take a day-off, rain-induced nap. I just want to say, for now, at least, I prefer to give DR the benefit of the doubt and not accuse him of spouting off Republican talking points.

It's possible he has been a lurker (like EK, who gave us some Illinois perspective and frustration on this whole thing; welcome EK); it's possible he is a drive-by commentator; it's possible he just found us by happenstance (as I did back in the spring); it's possible, yes, that he is a GOP talking-pointer. But until we get a better sense of DR, or any other newcomer, for that matter, I will simply take him at his word.

What's more, I do not doubt that the Republicans are enjoying the whole Blago/Burris/Reid mess. But to accuse them of much more than that, at this point, seems like Democratic paranoia.

Sure, they'll attempt to make political gain with this wherever they can -- just as the Dems would if the shoe were on the other foot. But I think it's important to remember that this time bomb was made by Blago, Burris pulled the trigger, and Reid didn't know how to stop it.

Or maybe not: Reid and Durbin were playing kissy-face with Burris today in a sudden and strange about-face. So maybe Reid is a GOP sympathizer? Or maybe he figures it's time to get on with the business that faces the 111th Congress and seat Burris, as soon as all of the i's have been dotted and t's have been crossed on his paperwork?

Burris himself gave Reid a fine "out" when he said today that ol' Harry was simply trying to protect the integrity of the Senate before allowing him to walk through the chamber's doors.

Sounds like he's already got his Senatorial diplomacy down pat.

OK- way behind and it isn’t really smart to comment at this late point, but:

Sapient: Uhmm. OK.

Gary: Please pick a charge; you can't have two contradictory ones.

Hmm. I tried twice. Maybe again tomorrow… ASAICT I was pretty clear. I will review again tomorrow though, I am tired now. I don’t see a problem now but it is entirely possible I will when I review this tomorrow… Can you spell it out for me? (No snark, I am asking for your help as I don’t know where I went wrong here. I thought I had strong arguments.) Silly me… ;)

Sapient: OCSteve seems to be gathering whatever Republican talking points exist and throwing them all out there.

Yup. That’s me. I’m still getting McCain “points” that I will cash in some day. Still trying to pick out my prize though. I really wanted the Red Rider Sled…

"Can you spell it out for me?"

I think this thread has largely played out, but since you ask: You can't logically simultaneously claim that Democrats are trying to keep African-American politicans out of the Senate and that "Democrats set the expectation that a woman would fill Clinton’s seat, and that an AA would fill Obama’s seat...."

Either Democrats are trying to keep African-Americans out, or they're mindlessly trying to find one to include: which is it?

For what it's worth, I think the idea that Reid and company are trying to keep Illinois, the state that sent Carol Mosely-Braun, and Barack Obama, to the Senate, and has elected other African-American politicians -- such as Burris! -- to state office, from sending another African-American to the Senate to be very silly. What Reid and company are interested in is finding someone who can win in 2010, and that's not Burris. The reason that they don't want Burris is because he greatly hurts the chances of getting a Democratic Senator properly elected in 2010.

" I’m still getting McCain 'points' that I will cash in some day."

For what it's worth, I don't think anything like that, of course, but I do think you're still plenty susceptible to finding Republican talking points plausible. You're entitled to, of course, but I don't think it's a particularly unfair claim.

"For what it's worth, I think the idea that Reid and company are trying to keep Illinois, the state that sent Carol Mosely-Braun, and Barack Obama, to the Senate, and has elected other African-American politicians -- such as Burris! -- to state office, from sending another African-American to the Senate to be very silly."

First, what Reid is or isn't doing is entirely separate from what Illinois is or isn't doing. And as Gary notes, Illinois has elected Obama and Ms. Mosley-Braun to the Senate.

Second, I did not mean to imply in my earlier comments that Reid -- in his fumbling of the Burris affair, and ruling out allowing anyone Blago appointed to take a Senate seat strikes me as a misplay -- had any racial motives in keeping Burris out.

My only point was that Burris having the door closed on him, standing out in the rain, could send a "negative perception" (the term I used yesterday) considering the Senate -- long looked at as one of America's Old Boys Clubs -- swore in 98 members yesterday, none of whom are black.

Anyhow, as I noted earlier, Reid made nice with Burris today and appears to have had a change of heart about allowing him in the Senate.

Wish I could stay on, but the wife is getting jealous of the Kitty and wants some attention upstairs.

Besides, as OCSteve (I think) noted, this thread -- and a good one it was -- has probably played itself out.

P.S. Signing onto my Comcast homepage a moment ago, I saw the headline: "Obama Fights to Keep Blackberry." I know there are security concerns -- and perhaps someone will write a post on this -- but my initial impression of this is let the man have his precious Blackberry, maybe some blueberry pie to go with it.

"For what it's worth, I think the idea that Reid and company are trying to keep Illinois, the state that sent Carol Mosely-Braun, and Barack Obama, to the Senate, and has elected other African-American politicians -- such as Burris! -- to state office, from sending another African-American to the Senate to be very silly."

First, what Reid is or isn't doing is entirely separate from what Illinois is or isn't doing. And as Gary notes, Illinois has elected Obama and Ms. Mosley-Braun to the Senate.

Second, I did not mean to imply in my earlier comments that Reid -- in his fumbling of the Burris affair, and ruling out allowing anyone Blago appointed to take a Senate seat strikes me as a misplay -- had any racial motives in keeping Burris out.

My only point was that Burris having the door closed on him, standing out in the rain, could send a "negative perception" (the term I used yesterday) considering the Senate -- long looked at as one of America's Old Boys Clubs -- swore in 98 members yesterday, none of whom are black.

Anyhow, as I noted earlier, Reid made nice with Burris today and appears to have had a change of heart about allowing him in the Senate.

Wish I could stay on, but the wife is getting jealous of the Kitty and wants some attention upstairs.

Besides, as OCSteve (I think) noted, this thread -- and a good one it was -- has probably played itself out.

P.S. Signing onto my Comcast homepage a moment ago, I saw the headline: "Obama Fights to Keep Blackberry." I know there are security concerns -- and perhaps someone will write a post on this -- but my initial impression of this is let the man have his precious Blackberry, maybe some blueberry pie to go with it.

Gary: You can't logically simultaneously claim that Democrats are trying to keep African-American politicans out of the Senate and that "Democrats set the expectation that a woman would fill Clinton’s seat, and that an AA would fill Obama’s seat...."

Hmm. I’ll try to clarify one more time…

-I reject the charges in this thread that the racism swirling around the Burris appointment are Republican talking points. The racism stuff originated with, and was strictly limited to (as far as I have seen) Democrats.

-Reid opened himself up to charges of racism with that (alleged) phone call. Certainly if a Republican had done the same thing there would be plenty of charges of racism here.

-Even though the Senate and the House get to make their own rules, it is inconsistent for the Senate to attempt to reject Burris (tainted by the dude who appointed him) while the House never did much of anything concerning Jefferson (actually indicted).

-States get to choose who they send to Congress. I support that whether it is Burris, Franken, Jefferson, Sony Bono, or Charles Manson.

I don't see why OCSteve's ideas are contradictory in this case. It is certainly possible that Reid in the Senate could be acting in a racist fashion while Pelosi in the House might operate with different motivations. They are, in fact, different people. Politcal parties in the US often have sub-factions. It wouldn't be shocking if one Democratic leader played more to one sub-faction and another Democratic leader played more to another sub-faction. Normally the sub-factions try to get along, but that doesn't always happen. (See for example religious conservatives and economic conservatives).

I think there is an easier explanation however: Reid is politically tone deaf in a lot of ways and has become to power. He is confusing what he sees as right with what he actually is empowered to do.

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