Political Gymnastics

backflip2Senator Norm Coleman, in possession of a narrow electoral lead the day after Election Day, November 6, 2008:

“I would step back (from challenging election results). I just think the need for the healing process is so important.”

Former Senator Norm Coleman’s attorney, facing a narrow deficit after a recount, January 5, 2008:

“I have no reason at this time … to believe we aren’t going to be contesting this thing if we’re down at the end of the day.”

– Loveland

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8 thoughts on “Political Gymnastics

  1. Dr K says:

    This is a non-issue. Given the way Ritchie has bumbled through this process, it was wise of Norm to wait until now to announce his legal challenge.

    The entire election recount and all the misplaced, lost, unsigned ballots makes Minnesota look like the Dukes of Hazard if not Nicaragua.

  2. Joe Loveland says:

    I’d actually give the Canvassing Board an “A” for the work it did. Their composition was bipartisan, and their decisions were transparent, reasonable and unanimous.

    However, I’d give the spineless state Supreme Court an “F”, for needlessly injecting chaos into the recount, by giving the politicos veto power over absentee ballot rejections. Incredibly, they let the campaign hacks unilaterally disenfranchise illegally rejected absentee voters. Indefensible.

    But again, Ritchie and the Pawlenty-appointees on the Canvassing Board did excellent work. I think you have to separate the two.

    Look, if you put anything under an electron microscope, you will see germs. We just effectively put our electoral system under an electron microscope, but I bet the number of germs we are seeing is less than what you would see with many states.

    When the margin is a few hundred out of 2.9 million, it’s a statistical tie. These folks had a really tough job.

  3. I’m too lazy to look up the quotes, but I bet you could find the flip-flop from the Franken people who said “Count every vote and every vote counts” when they wanted more absentee ballots counted and now, when the Coleman folks want six hundred some more votes counted, the Frankenfiles are saying, “Um, how ’bout them Vikings, huh?” A pox on both their houses.

    Joe, might the Supremes have been hoping to make a contested election or a lawsuit unnecessary by designing a system where the campaigns had to agree on which votes were improperly rejected? i’m not sure it was a good move, but it might be defensible. I’m also amazed that the campaigns did agree, county by county — never thought it would happen.

    I also agree, Joe, about the germ thing. In any election anywhere there will be screwups. They just don’t come to light unless there’s a pattern of suppression or a recount. It’s like corrections in the newspaper — I had only a couple corrections printed from stories I wrote over 10 years as a reporter — but that doesn’t mean I only made a couple of mistakes. I made lots of them — the people affected just didn’t call in, or nobody noticed when I got stuff wrong that didn’t affect them.

  4. jloveland says:

    You’re right about Franken being in the gymnastics competition.

    I’m not letting up on the Supremes. When Party A and Party B disagree on how the law applies and they take it to court, it’s irresponsible for the court to let A and B interpret the law themselves, either through veto or through consensus.

    What if the U.S. Supremes, circa 1954, had said, “Hey Oliver Brown. Hey, Topeka Board of Education. Your disagreement is giving us a big headache. So talk amongst yourself. If you can agree on what you think the Constitution has to say about this, interpret away. If you can’t agree, nothing changes.”

    If that’s how it is going to go, why have courts? Why have laws?

  5. KF says:

    Looking at this from afar, the process in MN seemed to be a meticulous recount done in an open, transparent and honest manner – and one that took the necessary time to get it right.

    Makes one wonder what might have been if this had been the process in 2000 in FL…

  6. Dr K says:

    This is not unlike Florida’s process … inconsistent and nonsensical standards applied randomly across various counties.

    The court challenge will be most interesting.

  7. Joe Loveland says:

    If I were Franken, I’d hire Nate Silver from fivethirtyeight.com to rebut Coleman’s judicial challenge, because he did a terrific job rebutting the Wall Street Journal’s editorial hit job. If you’re trying to sort out the details, this does a better job than the local mainstream media, who in turn have done a much better job than the national media. Well worth a read…http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/01/did-wall-street-jorunal-fire-their-fact.html

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