Thursday, April 30, 2009

Norm Coleman Is Obstructing Democracy for Partisan Politics

Original Link:

By Deborah White

Former Sen. Norm Coleman is rapidly becoming the poster child for one of the great ailments of the United States: self-absorbed pursuit of one's "rights," coupled with complete disregard for one's responsibilities.

And as added damage to Republicans, five long months after Minnesota's senatorial election, Coleman is intentionally obstructing democracy for the sake of short-term partisan politics in his continued drive to overturn election results.

Basics about Franken vs. Coleman Senate Race
Here are the basic facts about Minnesota's November 4, 2008 senatorial election:

Nov 18, 2008 - Official vote tally had one-term incumbent Coleman winning over Democrat Al Franken by 215 votes out of 2.4 million cast for the two of them, well under the .5% margin that triggers a mandatory recount, per state law.

Jan 5, 2009 - After a hand recount and resolution of thousands of ballot challenges, the Minnesota Canvassing Board, comprised of four judges, certified that Franken won the election over Coleman by 225 votes.

Jan 6, 2009 - Coleman filed suit in district court, contesting the election results due to ballot counting irregularities of absentee ballots.

April 13, 2009 - A three-judge panel appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court examined the allegations, and allowed many of the absentee ballots in question to be counted, resulting in Democrat Franken gaining 87 more votes over Republican Coleman, for a margin of 312 votes.

The judges dismissed Coleman's suit and ordered Coleman to pay Franken's legal fees. Thus, Al Franken became the victor in the disputed election.

New Coleman Appeals Could Take "Years"
"Republican Norm Coleman said he will appeal Democrat Al Franken's court victory in the U.S. Senate race next week," per today's Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Although Coleman has the legal right to appeal the decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court (which is populated with appointees by the Republican governor), almost no one expects him to prevail over Franken. If Coleman loses that appeal, he likely will petition to have his claim heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, where nobody expects him to prevail.

The point isn't that Coleman reasonably expects, anymore, to be reseated as U.S. senator from Minnesota. The point is to keep Al Franken from being seated. (See Profile of Senator-Elect Al Franken of Minnesota .)

Republican Goal Is to Not Seat an Elected Democrat
Conservative Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) recently crowed, "Every day in the Senate without Al Franken is a great day!" Reports City Pages about Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, "Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, acknowledges that a federal challenge to November's elections could take 'years' to resolve."

Every day that Republicans keep Franken from being seated is one more day that Democrats are short that one crucial vote to pass legislation in support of President Obama's agenda. Eric Boehlert of Media Matters explains:

"Republicans can claim a kind of strategic victory by blocking the Democratic former comedian's path to the Senate, which requires 60 votes to pass controversial items."

Meanwhile, Minnesotans have one less U.S. senator than any other state. They have 50% less influence over Senate matters and business, and they have 50% less D.C. power to resolve problems and issues for citizens.

Minnesota's other U.S. senator, Democrat Amy Klobuchar, fired back at Sen. Cornyn on MSNBC, "... he said that we could go in Minnesota with one senator for years. And I would love to know how Texas would like that."

Minnesotans Voice Anger, Call Coleman a "Loser"
Minnesotans are understandably angered over the prolonged brouhaha, and anxious to get the whole mess resolved.

Sure, former Sen. Coleman has a legal right to continue his challenges ad naseum, no matter how unlikely he is to prevail.

But what about Coleman's responsibilities to the people of Minnesota? What about Coleman's responsibility to support U.S. democracy? What about Coleman's moral responsibility to model fairness and integrity as an American leader?

As a last word, take a glance at a sampling of pithy Minnesotan thought on Norm Coleman's decision to continue to deny a second senator to residents of the North Star State:

From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on April 16, 2009:

From Mpls1989 - "Give it up norm you're a sore loser! You got something Al Gore never got and that was a hand recount of every ballot with the option of challenging them...PLUS you got to appeal that."

From logician88 - "Hey conservatives -- I haven't heard any of those 'sore loser' jokes that you thought were SO funny for years after Bush vs. Gore recently! I thought you guys always accepted the outcome of elections without question? What a bunch of hypocrites you are."

From ssn764 - "He didn't just lose his case in the election contest (the recount being over long ago), his case was dismissed for lack of merit. What the judges were saying was, 'Your case is a big nothing'. How is that not a delaying tactic?"

From fchatter - "Norm lost Minnesota with his support of Bush's War. Had he stood up for what Minnesotan's wanted instead of the warlords in Washington he would still be our Senator. His arrogance was showing then and it is showing now."

From brubu - "Why did Norm first reject these absentee ballots during the recount? Was he against the ballots before he was for the ballots? What job has the RNC offered him if he continues to delay?"

From Holmeystl - "Now it will be up to your governor to either sign the certificate, or to wait for the courts to decide the outcome.

"If Pawlenty is indeed considering a run for the presidency in the future he *must* show that he is a person who can work with both parties. Denying the certificate to the elected senator shows a 'bad side' to a public that wants bi-partisianship."

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