So Much For The Drama

In "Jesse, Check your Inbox", I suggested that today's Congressional ratification could be rife with political drama. Specifically, that Representative John Conyers' announcement that he would officially protest put Senator John Kerry in the awkward position of being able to force Congressional debate over his defeat.

Well, The New York Times reports that Kerry has no intention of participating in any such protest.

"While I am deeply concerned about the issues being highlighted by my colleagues in Congress and citizens across the country and support their efforts to highlight the need to ensure voting rights," Mr. Kerry said in a statement, "I will not be joining their protest of the Ohio electors."

Senator Kerry, who is traveling in the Middle East, does not plan to be in Washington on Thursday for the formal tally of the Electoral College results, the official constitutional ending to the 2004 presidential race.

Federal law requires both a member of the House and the Senate to object for a formal challenge to be considered. The 2000 race between President Bush and former Vice President Al Gore produced objections in the House, but none in the Senate. On Wednesday, an aide to Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, said Mrs. Boxer was contemplating raising an objection.
To be honest, I think John Kerry would have had nothing to lose and everything to gain by standing up and announcing a formal objection. The election won't be overturned - Republicans control both houses of Congress. His supporters would certainly take some satisfaction in his gesture, whereas right now they're savaging him on Democratic message boards for being a "sellout".

The only downside I could see for Kerry would be the possibility of portraying the Democratic party in a bad light. But, pragmatically, so what? Is there any Democratic supporter who's going to quit the party if John Kerry stands up today and complains that he thinks he got the shaft? Not likely.

Greyhawk points out that Kerry's trip to the Middle East is a convenient excuse not to be in town for this awkward moment.