We’ll concur here with Peter Callaghan of the Tacoma News Tribune in hauling out the dictionary and declaring that talk – like that of Democratic Seattle Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles – that the new management of the Washington Senate amounted to a coup, is excessive.
It i certainly unusual, at least in the Northwest, for two members of one party (Democrats) to break away and join with the opposing (Republican) caucus to form a new operating majority, after the general election apparently had left the Democrats in charge.
But they did it according to the rules – the majority rules. Which they changed, as well, on Monday, opening a tasty assortment of changes that could wind up benefiting either side.
If the “coup” talk among some Democrats was a little much, so too was the talk among some Republicans that theirs was a “bipartisan” coalition. Not really. When the two Democrats who shifted over were a former Republican legislator (Rodney Tom) and a near-Republican breakaway of long standing (Tim Sheldon), that’s hardly the case. When a Democrat came up with the label for their governing caucus as BINO – Bipartisan in Name Only – that sounded like a joke destined to stick, because there was truth in it.
But the governing caucus is legit.
This majority does however has the look of a highly flammable coalition. The demands of a single member could throw it into question, which is why one-vote majorities always have a hard time keeping effective control. If the caucus is closely cohesive and not given to firey displays of personality, it can work. But it only takes one to create a serious issue, and there are some distinct personalities in this caucus.
They’re running a high-wire act. All the Senate Democrats have to do is sit back and watch … and comment.Share on Facebook