Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 15, 2009

IT'S ABOUT MORE THAN VOTE COUNTING.... The Senate Democratic caucus has 58 members. It should be 59, but what Minnesota's Norm Coleman lacks in votes he makes up for in lawyers.

The status quo, which could last quite a while longer, is a 99-member Senate, harder-to-break filibusters, and Minnesotans with less of a voice and fewer constituent services.

The Republican establishment is content to leave it this way indefinitely.

Having just seen what President Barack Obama can do with 58 Democrats in the Senate, Republicans are more determined than ever to keep him from getting a 59th. Especially if the 59th is Al Franken.

Franken, the former comedian, leads Republican Norm Coleman by 225 votes in a "Groundhog Day" of an election that dawned more than three months ago and shows no signs of ending soon.

Which is exactly how Senate Republicans want it. The National Republican Senatorial Committee held a ritzy fundraiser for Coleman in Washington this week, helping him raise the money he needs to keep his legal challenges alive through a trial and then a lengthy legal process if he loses.

How long should Coleman hold out? "However long it takes," says Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who chairs the NRSC. [...]

Republicans insist that they're simply helping a colleague fight to make sure that all the votes are counted.

Riiiiiight. Senate Republicans want to drag out the Minnesota fight for as long as humanly possible because of their deeply held commitment to vote counting. Of course they are.

There's no reason to doubt their love of democratic principles, is there?

Steve Benen 8:50 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (32)

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Next up: Laying on their backs, kicking their feet and screaming "Noooo! I don't wanna!"

Until then, if they want to waste their cash on expensive gatherings (great way to show you're one of the people, dudes) and that turkey's attorneys, more power to them.

Posted by: The Answer WAS Orange on February 15, 2009 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

There is no end to the down right meanness to the modern day Republicans. Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt must be rolling over in their graves!

Posted by: captain dan on February 15, 2009 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

There's a three-word solution to this: 51 Votes Wins. Reid needs to stop requiring filibuster-proof majorities.

Posted by: gradysu on February 15, 2009 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

If I was a Minnesota resident, I would be apoplectic with rage at Norm Coleman--all the people of his state are suffering, lacking proper representation (luckily there wasn't, you know, any big bill to vote on recently) all because he can't face losing.

This system seems to be a joke, and Coleman is a weasel. In 2000 Gore could've kept appealing, but he did what he thought was best for the country and ended it. Coleman lacks any shred of dignity.

Posted by: rob! on February 15, 2009 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

Recall also the day after the election, Coleman said Franken should concede so as to save the people of Minnesota the expense of a recount.

Posted by: Will Divide on February 15, 2009 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

Coleman's scorched-earth tactics are appalling, and if there were any justice, they would destroy the GOP in Minnesota for another couple of election cycles to come.

Posted by: Chris S. on February 15, 2009 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

gradysu, Reid had no choice on the stimulus bill. The need for 60 wasn't because of a filibuster, it was because of Senate spending rules.

Posted by: rmp on February 15, 2009 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

The St. Paul paper's opinion page is calling for a "redo" in today's paper, citing experts who call the election a statistical tie. Talk about a delaying tactic. I don't think there is anything in state law that provides for holding the election over, but I'm sure Coleman and lots of Republicans would go for it, though.

And, believe me, there are lots of Minnesotans angry at Republicans for delaying Franken's taking his seat. Lots. It's made worse by the fact that Gov. Pawlenty is basically running for president in 2012 and won't do anything to speed things up.

Posted by: Frank Fuller on February 15, 2009 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

The Senate Dems, especially Harry Reid, have done themselves no favor by attempting to be bipartisan with the Repugs. Think about it, when the Repugs had all the power their response to bipartisan was to tell the Dems over and over, "If you don't like it go fuck yourselves". Now that they are out of power have they changed, hell no and their response remains, go fuck yourselves.

Posted by: Chris on February 15, 2009 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry to spoil the Coleman bash-fest, but does it not take two to tango? As I recall, Coleman was winning the race before a strange series of decisions by liberal courts that all favored the liberal candidate.

Just wondering.

Posted by: justwondering on February 15, 2009 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

strange series of decisions

yes, like counting votes correctly. a very strange thing for an elections board to want to do.

Posted by: rob! on February 15, 2009 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

The Senate is the ultimate judge of its members. The Dems could seat Franken in their next business day if they chose. Gutless.

Posted by: JMG on February 15, 2009 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Please please, anyone that can afford it. lets all send a donation to Franken.

Posted by: JS on February 15, 2009 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

justwondering - Could you be more specific on one of those strange decisions?

JMG - After saying that the key to accepting or not accepting Burris was specifically the state certification, Reid is not in much position to argue that Franken should be seated.

Posted by: Danp on February 15, 2009 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Coleman, and his party, are convinced that delay and obstruction work to their advantage. Sooner or later, Minnesota will decide that enough is enough and provisionally seat Franken. When that happens, Coleman will cease the contest because there was never a chance he would win once the votes were properly counted. Hopefully, the interim problems being one vote short on the Democratic side will make Reid revive the Republican tactics when they were a majority of 50 plus the Vice President. Time to use the muscles we voters gave him.

Posted by: Eric on February 15, 2009 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Keep bringing up 2000 over and over again ...

Posted by: Neil B ♪ ♫ on February 15, 2009 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

justwondering - Yes, it certainly was a strange decision to follow the law that mandated a recount in elections this close. And contrary to your weird characterization, every court and board that oversaw this process were balanced in party composition.

I'm just wondering if you have any facts to back up your strange opinions.

Posted by: Ralph Kramden on February 15, 2009 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Coleman, and his party, are convinced that delay and obstruction work to their advantage. Sooner or later, Minnesota will decide that enough is enough and provisionally seat Franken.

Could someone with a deeper knowledge than mine of this case estimate when that will be, please? Because my limited reading on the subject has indicated that peculiarities of Minnesota law may allow Coleman to keep this tied up in the courts for years. Can that be correct?

Posted by: shortstop on February 15, 2009 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

"Sorry to spoil the Coleman bash-fest, but does it not take two to tango? As I recall, Coleman was winning the race before a strange series of decisions by liberal courts that all favored the liberal candidate."

I see that the fucking moron delegation has checked in.

The Minnesota recount has been conducted with an AMAZING amount of care, consideration, and fairness. Coleman is losing because the people of Minnesota voted him out. Many of the votes occurred in absentee ballots, and the court has forced these to be counted.

When you count all the votes, Democrats win. Repukeliscum turds like to restrict the counting of votes, and often simply declare the election over before the votes have been fully counted.

Democrats learned one thing from Florida, 2000: Do not ask for selective recounts. Ask for the entire state to be recounted. If that had happened, Bush would have lost, by probably 20,000 votes.

We will continue to see that in MN, as more votes are counted (and there appear to be 4400 to be counted), Franken will EXPAND his lead. He will win by 550 votes or so. That's because, when you count all the votes, Democrats win.

Posted by: POed Lib on February 15, 2009 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

"Recall also the day after the election, Coleman said Franken should concede..."

Yes, I recall that very well. And they say Franken is the comedian in the race!

"...experts who call the election a statistical tie."

I wonder how the experts distinguish between a statistical tie and a statistical almost-tie -- because even a one-vote difference is still enough. (Practically, if not politically.)

Posted by: Grumpy on February 15, 2009 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

There is no such thing as a "statistical tie" in an election. Elections involve populations, not samples. The population is those who vote. If you claim that there is a "statistical tie", you are simply trying to make a political point.

I'm a statistician, if that matters.

Posted by: POed Lib on February 15, 2009 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

There is no such thing as a "statistical tie" in an election. Elections involve populations, not samples. The population is those who vote. If you claim that there is a "statistical tie", you are simply trying to make a political point . . .
I'm a statistician, if that matters.

A good point, but to be fair, if we just counted the votes (which is what the Minnesota officials have done) Coleman would lose, so he can't use that argument. "Statistical tie" is a great talking point because it sounds scientific, you can quote alleged neutral sources while repeating it constantly, and most people don't understand statistician jargon well enough to instantly recognize that the argument is irrelevant nonsense.

Posted by: Midland on February 15, 2009 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

If I recall correctly, G. W. Bush "won" Florida by around 250 votes. I don't recall Republicans saying that it was a "statistical tie".

At that was for the White House - not just 1 of 100 Senators

Posted by: Mark-NC on February 15, 2009 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Bill O'Reilly stands ready to emulate Governor Wallace at the University of Alabama. Ah, but, BillO, that too will pass.

Posted by: berttheclock on February 15, 2009 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

POed Lib, why are you passing judgment on a Minnesota issue when you keep stridently insisting in thread below, it isn't right for out-of-staters to pass judgment on Blago/Burris? Your points are good aside from that "issue", maybe that's the point you should see ...

Posted by: Neil B ☺ on February 15, 2009 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

My comments involve counting all the votes. In Florida, that involved the national election. In MN, that involves a local senate race, which I agree that I have less interest in - I did pay $250 for my ability to make some comment.

But, the comment about "when you count all the vote, Democrats win" is not a comment about a specific state, but rather a general comment about all states.

Thanks for your interest.

Posted by: POed Lib on February 15, 2009 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

And in my second comment above, I was responding as a expert in my field of expertise, statistics.

Posted by: POed Lib on February 15, 2009 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

"I did pay $250 for my ability to make some comment."
Just curious, what is that all about?

Posted by: Neil B ‼ on February 15, 2009 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Merely that I have contributed in my small way to the Franken campaign, that's all. Of course, by my own standards, that's not relevant. I just thought that I would throw it in.

Posted by: POed Lib on February 15, 2009 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

"...Riiiiiight. Senate Republicans want to drag out the Minnesota fight for as long as humanly possible because of their deeply held commitment to vote counting. Of course they are..."

Long way since Florida's recount huh?

Posted by: joey on February 15, 2009 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

What's to stop the Republicans from contesting every election they don't win? Regardless of margin, take it to court! Throw lawyers at it!

Posted by: ymr049c on February 15, 2009 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

I was orginally from Mn., born, raised, grew up there. Believe me, the PUKIE Brownshirt invasion we experienced (driven by DeLay, the bugcatcher) drove me to ex-patriate, and since then, I have never looked back at the horror that Mn. has become. Pawtry (out of stater), Coleman, too. Yep, the PUKIES got their Temple of Greed (Sports? statium) on the backs of the collapse of the I35 BRIDGE!!!, used by thousands of slaves each day. Until the 'Permanent Repuke Majority',(GAG) Mn. was/still is a DEM state!

Posted by: merrymelodies on February 16, 2009 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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