Sunday, June 07, 2009

Republicans Have Been Very Successful In Minnesota Senate Contest


Oh, there was never any chance they would be able to re-seat Norm Coleman; he did, after all, lose the election and get fewer votes than Al Franken. But that wasn't really the GOP objective. Half the people who vote for John Cornyn and Mitch McConnell may be part of what Charles Pierce refers to in his new book, Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free, but neither of the two congressmen, malevolent as they are, is stupid. They funded a series of frivolous, pesky lawsuits for Coleman, not to get him into the Senate, only to keep Franken out for as long as they could. And it's worked for nearly half a year.

Since January, when the Coleman strategy of keeping Franken from taking his seat emerged-- and Harry Supermouse Reid's boast that he would be seated by the first of April turned into an April Fool's joke-- Franken hasn't been able to vote on any of the crucial issues in the change agenda that Minnesotans were pumpin' for when they cast their ballots for him and for Obama. Worse yet, the Democratic caucus has been at the mercy of a couple of right-wing Democrats who conspire daily with the GOP to water down every reform Obama attempts. Without Franken joining the family-friendly Senate Democrats, the caucus has been stuck catering to the corporate-friendly shitheads like Max Baucus, Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln and, now, Arlen Specter.

This morning Michael Falcone writes at Politico that the GOP game plan has finally run its course. Law experts all agree that Coleman has no chance of prevailing and that Franken will be ordered seated by the state Supreme Court, which was astounded that Coleman came before them with his spurious assertions and, after almost 8 months, no evidence whatsoever-- none.
“Each of the five justices asked some questions that seemed to home in on the absence of evidence," said [Peter] Knapp, an expert on the Minnesota Supreme Court who has kept a close eye on the case. "And when each of the five are asking those questions, that’s significant.”

...At one point on Monday, Associate Justice Christopher Dietzen, who was appointed to the court last year by Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, complained to Friedberg that he was offering “no concrete evidence” to back up his theories.

Pawlenty has all but declared that he'll be spending the next three and a half years running for the Republican presidential nomination. He's giving up the Minnesota governor's mansion-- likely to a Democrat-- and will concentrate on burnishing his image as someone who can appeal to Pierce's Idiot America, the only path to the GOP nomination now (which is probably also a path to sure defeat in a general election). Pawlenty wants to get the Franken thing out of the way as soon as possible now; he's already announced that if the Supreme Court tells him to sign the election certification that will allow Franken to take his seta, he'll do so. That isn't something that will go over well with the base and Pawlenty is working overtime to make sure the Republican Party opinion leaders-- Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, the Cheney family, Savage, Coulter-- realize he's one of them. In a speech to the College Republican National Committee Friday night, Pawlenty was playing the "socialism" card and characterizing the Obama administration as a “tyranny” responsible for “nationalizing” the mortgage, banking and automobile industries. And then he coughed up the ultimate offering to the GOP Hate-Talkers:
“The only thing growing faster than the federal government’s deficit is Chris Matthews’ man-crush on Barack Obama."

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At 1:26 PM, Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Yo!@ Syntax Nazi here.

You don't "hone" in on something.

"Hone" is what you do to an edge, to sharpen it. We may speak of honing our imagery, or our cutlery. We may not speak of "honing in on" anything.
The proper word in that situation is "homing." As in a himing pigeon, or a homing instinct, especially "homing in on a sound" or some other external phenomenon...

As you were!

At 1:58 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

You're right Woody but it was a direct quote from Professor Peter Knapp. I changed it anyone.

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Minnesota Central said...

Yes, the Senate GOP has enjoyed the past five months … no Franken and no Coleman.
It is unknown how Coleman would have reacted to the Obama agenda as he may have played the Spector-Collins-Snowe card to tweak things to his liking. Too many MN-GOPers, Coleman was a true RINO … and that’s why he lost. Coleman should have learned from the MN-GOP nominating convention when his speech was marked by silence as he discussed climate change, immigration, and ANWR. There was open discussion that "Senator Coleman's performance has been better than the potential performance of Al Franken, it has still been a largely sub-par performance and should be dealt with accordingly in terms of our support.”
And that’s the key to why Coleman lost. Coleman campaigned for the Independent voters and assumed that the GOPers would fall in line. They didn’t. Despite Obama clearly winning Minnesota, 63,209 McCain voters didn’t think that Coleman deserved a second term. Coleman did not lose by a few hundred votes ... the votes were there, he just didn't get them.

Considering the Obama effect and the displeasure by the hardcore conservative GOPers, the Democrats should have had an easy victory. They didn’t because the “party insiders” appreciated Franken’s past fundraising and campaigning efforts and may him their nominee. Franken was a flawed candidate being easy fodder for the GOP with his writings and tax problems, while many Democrats were disappointed in his failure to embrace Universal Health Care and changing positions on Iraq.
IF the Democrats had convinced Congresswoman Betty McCollum or Congressman Tim Walz to be their nominee, it would have been an easy victory.


At 10:23 AM, Blogger Minnesota Central said...

Please expand on your comment that the Minnesota governor's mansion will likely go to a Democrat as that may be an optomistic assessment.

Picking nominees has been the MN-Dems problem which helps explain why no Democrat has been elected Governor since 1986.
This year’s Democrat candidates feature Mark Dayton who decided not to seek a second term in the US Senate in 2006 due to poor poll numbers. Another high profile candidate is Mark Entenza who had to drop out of a 2006 campaign after it was revealed that he investigated a fellow Democrat and gave significant monies to selected candidates which was characterized as influence peddling. On the positive side, if either Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher or Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak decides to enter the contest, the Democrats would have a solid candidate.

Whomever the MN-GOP nominates it will be based on the tried and true successful formula of preaching No New Taxes.
As bad as Pawlenty has performed, a recent poll indicated that he would get 8% of the Democrat votes and 100% of the Republican support. People respond to low taxes.

Another factor that will impact the 2010 elections is that Minnesota will not have a US Senate office on the ballot. Motivation will be a problem. Based on 2008 results, all five Democrats should easily be re-elected to their House seats while the three Republicans will need full MN-GOP support. There is a reason why John Kline and Michele Bachmann keep getting elected … they get their supporters to the polls … this will continue in 2010. In fact, the swath of voters crossing those two Districts will mostly likely determine the next Governor … just as it did in the past three elections.


At 10:25 AM, Blogger Minnesota Central said...

Regarding Pawlenty’s future and signing the election certificate, I offer an interesting connection.

The key question is : will the MN-Supreme Court include in its ruling instructions that the certificate must be signed ?
During oral arguments, the first question that Justice Page asked Franken’s attorney related to jurisdiction and that the Senate could decide who and when to seat the next Minnesota Senator ? The Court had previously rejected Franken’s request that a certificate be issued (after the State Canvassing Board ruling) stating that the Senate can do whatever it wants. It seems to be a balancing act that the Court views its role as only to address the election contest and not tell the Senate what to do.

The interesting question is when the MNSC made their decision on Monday did they even consider the certificate signing question. Based on the questions that were asked it seemed that they question whether Coleman even had a case. It could be that they would just deny his request and let the Election Contest Court ruling stand … which would mean that the “signing” question was not addressed. So right now the five Justices know the decision and we will have to wait weeks while they write the opinion(s). The Justices know the question exists but they might not feel inclined to get involved in other branches of government’s responsibilities. It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall during the justices’ deliberations to see how much, if any, time they took addressing the “signing” question.

In the end, Pawlenty does not have much of a choice but to sign … but he has little to lose by taking his time … but then again he has little to gain either.
As a lame duck Governor, his political career may be over. His options are limited – President or US Senate. Considering the make-up of the Republican Party, a mid-westerner without any military or foreign experience and without a strong theology base does not offer much appeal to the typical Republican activist. Remember that Pawlenty was McCain’s Co-Chair -- yet couldn’t deliver the MN delegation to McCain even though by that time in the primary season McCain was clearly the nominee. A 2012 Presidential campaign would be over after Huckabee wins Iowa again and Romney takes New Hampshire --- actually a 2012 Presidential campaign would largely be a campaign for the VP slot … yet he has little to offer in terms of policy, experience or connections.

The odd thing is that for all the discussion of whether to sign, Pawlenty has publicly stated that Minnesota is being short-changed without two Senators.
As such, currently Minnesotans will remember Pawlenty as the Guardian Angel of NoNewTaxes, but if he does not sign the certificate, he will also be known as the Guardian Angel of the Republican Party. The next Senate race will be in 2012 for Klobuchar’s seat … considering that is a Presidential year and if Pawlenty does have an abbreviated campaign, he will not be the MN-GOP nominee (Congresswoman Bachmann would be the obvious choice considering the redistricting that will happen after the 2010 census.) After that it would be Franken –v- Pawlenty in 2014 ! ! ! Wow, will anyone remember the “signing” controversy ?


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