31 May 2009

Remember this story?

Four and a half months after inauguration day, Minnesota still doesn't have two working senators. Norm Coleman has decided to single-handedly decide for all Minnesotans that they shall not have full representation in the Senate by pursuing a legally indefensible and morally outrageous battle to prevent the secretary of state from issuing a certificate of election for the Republican governor's signature to seat Al Franken. Whew! That was a mouthful! The people of Minnesota aren't happy.

Why?, you ask. Consider what Franken represents: a filibuster-proof Congress.
Greg Sargent reports that Dirk Van Dongen, who heads up the "Team Coleman" group of lobbyists raising money for Norm, said that the group is having some trouble getting more and more money as the donors max out. Van Dongen insists, of course, that the real purpose of this effort is to get Norm Coleman in the Senate.

Van Dongen, however, said Coleman fundraisers would press on because of the danger of letting Al Franken put Dems within a filibuster-proof 60 Senate votes. “There’s a strategic dimension to this — the importance of keeping the seat in Republican hands,” he said. “There are people who are providing support to Norm who have never met the man for that reason alone.”

The NRSC has just plowed another $750,000 into Coleman’s recount effort, raising questions about whether GOP donors are funding an effort they know is doomed merely to keep the seat empty as long as possible.

Asked about this, Van Dongen said the goal was to put Coleman in the seat, but added: “Is it better empty than in Franken’s hands? Hell, yeah.”
The DNC isn't taking this lying down apparently, which has written a prescient note to the fair governor of Minnesota.
Dear Governor Pawlenty:

It has now been six months since Minnesota voters went to the polls to cast their ballots in a hard fought election for the United States Senate. No one will deny that the race was incredibly close - but after an official recount, an extensive legal process and a clear and definitive ruling by the three judge panel, it is all but indisputable that Democrat Al Franken won and will be the next Senator from Minnesota.

The voters of Minnesota elected Al Franken, and during every step in the legal process that judgment has been confirmed. By continuing to fight this losing battle - despite the fact that two-thirds of Minnesotans believe its time for him to concede - Norm Coleman is putting his own political ambition ahead of the voters choice and Minnesotas right to full representation in the Senate.

Last month, there was another hard fought race in New Yorks 20th Congressional district. But once Republican Jim Tedisco realized the numbers were not going his way, he appropriately conceded. He congratulated his opponent Scott Murphy and moved on. Now that the outcome of the election in Minnesota is abundantly clear: its time for Norm Coleman to follow Jim Tediscos example. I urge you to use your influence to bring this process to an end by asking Norm Coleman to allow his neighbors and yours, their full representation in Congress.

However, if Mr. Coleman refuses to concede and this case is heard and decided by the Minnesota State Supreme Court, I urge you to commit to signing an election certificate for the rightful winner as soon as the Court issues a ruling in this case. To allow this to process to continue into the federal courts for no other reason than to deny for as long as possible the seating of another Democratic Senator would make what has been a bad situation for Minnesotans even worse. I urge you to do everything within your power and influence to bring this process to an end.


Tim Kaine
Chairman Democratic National Committee
As Kleefeld points out in this article, there will be political fallout (as if there isn't going to be already) for continuing to delay the seating of a rightfully elected and certified Senator to the United States Congress. My question is: Why isn't the Democratic party suing the Coleman group for that very thing. They have admitted to be acting for the sole purpose of denying a rightfully elected public servant his seat. There are times when intent is everything. This is one of 'em.

The Wall Street Journal is apparently fanning the flames of passion among the Republican base in its editorial prosletizing (versus, you know, real reporting) of the facts on the election and recount. FiveThirtyEight.com has done a great job of detailing why Coleman's legal boat is full of holes and why this is all not going to go well for Gov. Pawlenty. But first and foremost, they have done a superb analysis (actually a series) of why Coleman is pursuing a legal approach at all (long story short, Coleman doesn't have a bat's chance in hell of winning a second recount--his hopes should be pinned on a do-over).

The trial before the Minnesota Supremes begins tomorrow. For a more in-depth analysis of the Coleman Camp arguments, go here. Oh, and in case you were worried that the MSC had the final word, Coleman has threatened to take this all the way to the SCOTUS. I'm sure the people of Minnesota are thrilled.

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