Friday, December 15, 2006

Trouble In Paradise? Looks Like Senator Leahy and Senator-elect Sanders' Honeymoon Is Over

I go back and forth about how "great" a U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy is. I sometimes find that Senator Pat's politics are just not my politics. However, there is no doubt that Senator Leahy has worked hard to serve Vermont and our country over the course of his career in the U.S. Senate. And, since Senator Pat's approval ratings are north of 70%, he's in no danger of paying attention to what I think about his politics anyway.

I do not suffer the same ambiguity when it comes to Senator-elect Sanders. I do not like Senator-elect Sanders personally, nor do I think that his politics are any good either. Not for Vermont. Not for this country.

Not that it matters. This question was asked and answered during the 2006 election, and my opinion of Senator-elect Sanders was the minority opinion - the very minority opinion. So we don't need to get into all that all over again.

Though I don't care for Sanders, I do know one or two people who operate in his orbit. I don't think that this is so strange. I like all sorts of people from different walks of life. I've found that sometimes some of them actually like me back, which is always nice.

I was chatting with a Sanders' orbiter the other day when the subject of Senator Leahy came up. According to my friend, Senator Leahy is having a hard time reminding Senator-elect Sanders that seniority matters in the U.S. Senate and that Senator Leahy is the senior Senator from Vermont, not Sanders. There has been quite a bit of friction already, especially among members of the two staffs.

On the one hand this is interesting because USA Today just named Sanders one of the most important Senators in the U.S. Senate as a freshman! And, soon-to-be Chairman Leahy cut some serious deals to help get Sanders to where he is today, which Leahy would be loathe to let either of them forget. They are both media darlings. They both like what they see when they gaze upon their respective mirrors in the morning. The potential for fireworks is high

On the other hand Leahy knows Sanders, has for years. We all have. How can any of this be surprising no matter how silly it gets in the press?

This Sanders' orbiter is not well-placed enough to actually "be in the room" when Vermont's two Senators sit down for a real back and forth. But he is well-placed enough to know that relationship between the two staffs is "not good" and "getting worse". There have been examples of botched joint press releases, local media spotlight hogging and "his staff stole my seat in the lunchroom."

This will be interesting.