Under Massachusetts law, it'll probably take 10 days for the election of Scott Brown to be certified and for Brown to be sworn in as a Senator. Nothing nefarious -- that's just how orderly transfers of power work in a democratic system. Consequently, Paul Kirk will continue to serve as Senator up until the point that Brown is properly sworn in.
Barney Frank, God love him, doesn't think Kirk counts:
"I know some of my Democratic colleagues had been thinking about ways to, in effect, get around the results by working in various parliamentary ways, looking at the rules, trying to get a health care bill passed that would have been the same bill that would have passed if [MA AG] Martha Coakley [D] had won, and I think that's a mistake," Frank said. "I will not support an effort to push through a House-Senate compromise bill despite an election. I'm disappointed in how it came out, but I think electoral results have to be respected."
Jim Webb agrees, except ever so more so:
"In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process," Mr. Webb said. “It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated."
I watched a Daily Show episode this week in which Jon Stewart said something along these lines: "Oh. So apparently what is going to kill Obama's agenda is having only 59 allies in the Senate, which is more than the number that George Bush ever had, back when he did pretty much whatever the [bleeped] he wanted."
But as dumb as the new normal is, where Senate Republicans filibuster every bill every time regardless of content, what is even more stupid is that even leading Senators find it so easy to cut and run.
If Tom Delay had ever commanded a filibuster-proof Republican majority, which was about to end in two weeks, would he have said, "Aw shucks fellas, I guess we'd better put all legislation on hold in order to be fair to the Democrats"? Fuck, NO. What Tom Delay would have done was rush to cram as much legislation as possible into the next two weeks, in order to take maximum advantage of the existing time window.
Look, Democrats. Do I like it that the Senate is now this cutthroat, where both parties need to use every possible political trick in order to gain the upper hand? No. But it is what it is -- if you don't use every opportunity to get what you want, then you get steamrolled by Republicans, who have no such scruples.