• This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," January 10, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    PAUL GIGOT, HOST: Coming up next on "The Journal Editorial Report," Senate shenanigans.

    Harry Reid reverses course, says he's behind Illinois appointee Roland Burris.

    But Norm Coleman? Reid says he'll never serve in the Senate again, as some dubious recount rulings in Minnesota tipped the scales in Al Franken's favor.

    Plus, Israel's assault on Hamas. Is it a fight it can win? What Obama's choice to lead the CIA says about his approach to the war on terror?

    "The Journal Editorial Report" begins right now.

    Welcome to "The Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.

    An unsettled Senate reconvened in Washington this week with two seats still up in the air and embroiled in controversy. Just 24 hours after blocking Blagojevich appointee Roland Burris from taking his seat in the chamber, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reversed course, saying there was a path forward for the former Illinois attorney general.

    But not so for Minnesota's incumbent Senator, Norm Coleman, after a dubious recount put Democrat Al Franken ahead by 225 votes. Reid said Coleman will never, ever serve in the Senate again.

    Joining the panel this week, Wall Street Journal editorial features editor, Ron Pollack; opinionjournal.com columnist, John Fund; and Washington columnist, Kim Strassel.

    Rob, first, let's take up Burris. Why did Harry Reid do that very quick switch-a-roo?

    ROB POLLOCK, EDITORIAL FEATURES EDITOR: He was in a politically and illegally untenable position. You have the race card being thrown at him.

    GIGOT: When you say that, what do you mean?

    POLLOCK: Well...

    GIGOT: Bobby Rush, the Chicago congressman, had said it would be racist if Harry Reid did not let Roland Burris, an African-American, serve.

    POLLOCK: Right. Obama was the only black member of the Senate. He's leaving. If they weren't going to let another one in, the race card was being thrown at them. There was the racial issue. There was the legal issue. Look, Blagojevich, for better or worse, is still the governor of Illinois. He appointed this man. How can he not seat him, especially if you want to seat Al Franken, another controversial candidate? It didn't look right.

    GIGOT: The politics didn't look right, unseemly. He was getting a lot of pressure from his Democratic colleagues, too, John.

    JOHN FUND, OPINIONJOURNAL.COM COLUMNIST: The rug was pulled out from under him by Dianne Feinstein, who was the incoming chairman of the Rules Committee, who would have ruled on Burris' appointment.

    GIGOT: John, let's turn to Minnesota. We ran an editorial this week called "Funny Business in Minnesota," about that Minnesota recount. We were highly critical of it and a lot of people in Minnesota did not take kindly to that, including particularly on the political left. Were we unfair to the recount or to the canvassing board?

    FUND: Recounts are traditionally to count the ballots cast on Election Day and see if there were any procedural mistakes. They're not about introducing new ballots and new issues into the race. That's for courts to decide. There are a whole bunch of absentee ballots rejected perhaps illegitimately. Those people have a right to have their day in count.