Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Backfiring Tactics

Seem Coleman's attorney is a bit worried:
U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman’s attorney, Fritz Knaak, said he foresees the U.S. Senate making the ultimate decision on the winner in the race between Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken. Citing actions and potential actions by the Franken campaign, Knaak said, “We’re being set up for a Senate decision in the U.S. Senate. That’s my perception.”
Now, his partisan finger pointing is noted, but independent observers, and those without blinders, know it has been MikeDEceit and the Coleman Camp that has been casting aspersion on the election and recount before it even began.
For Coleman, the narrative is that his campaign won fair and square on election day but has now watched in horror (mock or real is anybody's guess) as a re-canvassing of the vote has narrowed his lead over Franken to just 206 votes. Coleman and his team have repeatedly sought to raise questions about the impartiality of Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie -- one of the five members of the canvassing board and a Democrat -- as well as Franken's tactics in the aftermath of Nov. 4.
They have brought doubt into the process by ignoring the rule of law and repeated claims of victory, where, in fact, no winner has yet to be declared.

Their complaints of Franken's 'tactics' of course, is their refusal to allow all legal ballots to be counted.
From the Franken perspective, the candidate and the campaign are simply seeking to ensure that everyone who cast a ballot -- for either candidate -- has his/her vote counted.

"It is clear that the Coleman campaign's strategy, executed with the help of its surrogates and allies, is to undermine the process and disenfranchise just enough voters that they can win," Franken deputy campaign manager Eric Schultz wrote in a memo sent to reporters late last week. "Minnesota law, unfortunately, doesn't allow them to do that. And, for our part, we're going to see to it that those laws are applied to protect Minnesotans' right to choose their Senator."
See, their disregard for the rule of law rivals their disrespect for democracy. Sad, really, for a sitting US Senator. Our independent observer echoes my frustration, albeit a bit more gently than I.
What does all of this sturm und drang add up to? That depends.

On the one hand, the rules governing a manual statewide recount are very clear. The five person board is set to meet tomorrow to certify the vote and, if expected, the Coleman margin is under .5 percent of all the votes cast, a recount will begin on Wednesday. (For more on the who, what, when, where and why on the recount, make sure to check out the Strib's handy-dandy recount guide.)

On the other, veterans of the 2000 Florida recount between George W. Bush and Al Gore know that the law can -- and will be -- interpreted in a flood of legal maneuvers that are already underway in Minnesota.
But, again, this is no Florida. The repeated attempts to undermine the process by the Coleman camp is what is creating doubt. And if there is enough doubt, regardless of who comes out on top, this could very possibly be thrown into the Senate. The Coleman Campaign seems to have ignored that detail, for if they knew that, they would be promoting this process as the most airtight and rock solid process possible to not in anyway cast doubt on their candidates potential victory. But they jumped the gun, and have turned their back on the very process they need to claim re-election. Kind of like cutting off your nose, to spite your face.


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