Thursday, April 30, 2009

Remember When the GOP Called Al Gore a "Sore Loserman" in 2000? Well, Norm Coleman is the Real Thing

Original Link:

by Meg White

After going three months over the period it took to decide who was going to be the new president in 2000, former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) still won't give up the ghost. The most recent panel of judges to whom Coleman has appealed to please, please give him back his Senate job said "no" this week. Now Coleman is promising to appeal to the state and U.S. Supreme Court, should that become necessary.

We've known for weeks that writer Al Franken would be Minnesota's new senator. We've known for approximately that same period of time that Coleman is being a total baby about conceding. But we haven't heard that most obvious electoral joke that spread across newsstands like wildfire in 2000: Sore Loserman.

Come on, people. Norm sounds like Sore. Coleman - Cole + Loser = what? Hello?

To be fair, the analogy is out there, just not to the degree it was in 2000.

Media Matters has already made the connection, noting that Al Gore and Joe Lieberman were called sore losers in the media almost 900 times, while Coleman has only been referred to with those words a handful of times. In a column criticizing the hypocrisy of the media's labeling of the two post-vote campaigns, Eric Boehlert says the media is allowing the Coleman camp to drag this out longer without worrying about the consequences:

As Coleman and his attorneys look over their recount legal options, they in no way have to be concerned about or factor into play the potential "sore loser" meme that could do real damage to his effort. They can play hardball with impunity because they're getting a free pass from the press...

...But imagine if the roles were reversed and Franken, the Democrat and former comedian (the press loves to stress that fact), had pulled a last-minute, let's-change-the-rules stunt while his attorneys plotted out even more long-shot legal appeals. I suspect that not only would the story have been thoroughly chewed over by Beltway scribes, but the media disdain would have been unmistakable and unvarnished.

Just ask Al Gore. In 2000, during the contentious recount process in Florida, the press made it abundantly plain that Gore not only faced an uphill battle winning the recount, but that he ran the risk of being dubbed a sore loser, a risk that had to weigh heavily into his recount strategy. The legal action surrounding Florida lasted just five weeks -- compared with the almost 20 weeks already taken up by the Minnesota wrangling -- but the "sore loser" meme was everywhere.

Journalists do have an important role in reporting post-election antics, but it's not to give out nicknames (that's what pundits such as us do!). So I can't say I'm terribly upset the media isn't calling Norm Coleman a Sore Loserman (even though he is). I'm more upset about all the other stuff they're neglecting to talk about honestly in this electoral mess.

To his credit, Boehlert comes down hard on the Beltway media for not pointing out the ridiculousness of Coleman's request for a revote. But there's other stuff missing, too.

It would be great if we could hear a bigger uproar over what this is really about: the 59th Democratic vote in the Senate. Many Republican senators have been totally upfront about imploring Coleman to stall as long as possible to make vote-getting more difficult for the majority. If the situation were reversed, I bet we'd hear a lot more about Democrats preventing Minnesotans from full representation in clear violation of the Constitution, as well as their blocking the Republican agenda in a time of serious fiscal crisis.

Or, hey: How about talking about the way the Republicans run roughshod over states' rights only when it might net them greater representation in Washington? Instead of reporting on state law and precedent, which clearly indicates that the Minnesota Supreme Court has final say in the matter, the national media is all worked up about Coleman's supposed date with the nation's favorite judicial ennead.

Yeah, I realize it's a lot easier to refer to Democrats as losers, and I'm not looking for an apology for the media's behavior in 2000. What I'm saying here is that, if the media is not going to apply the "whining little baby" image to political also-rans of each stripe equally, the least they could do is report on the facts of the case. And the fact here is that the GOP is openly manipulating Coleman who's clearly manipulating the judiciary.

What a loser.

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