January 7, 2009
Coldcocked Coleman vs. Hammerin' Hal
Paul Mirengoff at Power Line has a great post up about the failings of Sen. Norm Coleman's (R-MN, 64%) post-election campaign: While failed comedian Al Franken fought vigorously to find every, last vote that could possibly end up being counted for him, Coleman's campaign sat back "a bit like an NFL team sitting on a two-point lead in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter and playing zone defense."
(I don't actually understand what that means. To me, football comprises 22 men suffering from gigantism battling each other for a peculiar, little pointy object. But I surmise from Paul's analogy that such a strategy in such a situation would be politically lame and fraught with danger.)
One overlooked aspect of the process is the different approaches the two campaigns took once the recount began. From the outset of the recount process, the Coleman campaign has been remarkably passive in its approach. They have improvised strategy from day to day and spent too much time "spinning" the Franken campaign's activities, while expecting their lawyers to protect them. They have not appeared to me to have a handle on what was happening or on what was likely to happen.
Franken's campaign recognized immediately the opportunity to "find" more votes with the "improperly rejected" absentee ballots. The Coleman campaign may have erred at the outset when it failed to initiate its own efforts or craft a countervailing strategy.
The Coleman campaign appears to have bet they could create a legal firewall that would prevent the "improperly rejected" absentee ballots from getting counted. In any event, the Coleman campaign appears to have been caught flatfooted when the Minnesota Supreme Court decided these ballots should be included in the recount subject to agreement of the parties (and also subject to the possibility of sanctions for withholding agreement in bad faith).
Actually, I bring this up to make two points, the first purely mathematical, the second purely political. Paul notes the only source of votes left for Coleman:
The Coleman campaign has nevertheless identified 654 "improperly rejected" absentee ballots from Republican counties that were excluded from the recount (and that may be included in the election contest).
This is in addition to the 130 Franken votes that were evidently counted twice. Let's assume, as is likely, that these 130 double-counts are reversed; that reduces Franken's 225-vote majority to only 95 votes.
- How strongly must Coleman win among those 654 "improperly rejected" absentee ballots in order to overcome that remaining deficit and win the election in the end?
The answer depends upon how many of those ballots are finally counted. If it's all of them, then Coleman must win them by a 58% to 42% margin. But if only, say, two-thirds of them end up being accepted by the courts, so that the pool shrinks from 654 to 436, it will be much harder. In this scenario, Coleman would have to win that ballot pool by a somewhat larger 61-39 margin.
So Coleman must generally win those ballots by about 60-40 to have a shot at prevailing. As these mostly come from Republican-Coleman districts, that's not impossible or even improbable... but we'll see.
Now to the more interesting political point:
- Democrat opposition to Coleman has skyrocketed, and they appear prepared to prevent him being seated even if he wins the election, court or no court. At the same time, the Democrats have softened their opposition to the seating of Roland Burris, nominated by embattled and soon-to-be-impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojovich's to take Barack H. Obama's seat in the U.S. Senate; swearing Burris in as a senator now appears inevitable, and the Democrats don't even seem to be very upset about it.
First, the Burris story:
Senate officials in both parties, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly for Senate members, said there is a growing expectation on Capitol Hill that the saga will end with Burris being seated....
Burris met for 45 minutes Wednesday morning with [Senate Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid, D-Caesar's Palace, 85%, and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, 95%]. Only days ago, both senators were arguing that Burris' nomination was so tainted that he should not be seated and would be blocked.
"Only days ago..." But think how many momentous events related to this appointment have happened in the past two or three days! For one thing, the Democrats suddenly discovered that Roland Burris is black, like Barack Obama -- and that after President-elect Obama left for Washington D.C. to be sworn at, there wouldn't be any other black senator.
Surely that's enough to cause anybody to change his mind about Burris; any political objection they had to a man nominated to a Senate seat by a governor indicted for trying to sell that Senate seat has been quashed by the abrupt realization of Burris' race, and any qualm they had about his ability to effectively legislate has been soothed by the "D" after his name.
But we see a far less conciliatory Reid in the Politico piece:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered the toughest language he has ever used in arguing that Norm Coleman’s career in the Senate is finished.
“Norm Coleman will never ever serve [again] in the Senate,” Reid told Politico’s Manu Raju. “He lost the election. He can stall things, but he'll never serve in the Senate.”
Taking the Majority Leader at his word, I must conclude that Reid is saying that even if the court ultimately declares Coleman the winner, Reid and his Democrats will overturn the court decision by refusing to seat Coleman. This would give Democrats one more seat in the Senate, and near immunity to a filibuster, if they can hold ranks and gain but a single GOP turncoat for cloture.
They still must contend with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT, 70%-D), of course, as well as several other nominally "conservative" Democrats elected in recent years... e.g., Jim Webb (D-VA, 85%) and his incoming fellow Virginia Sen. Mark Warner (as yet unrated); but Democrats have a much stronger history than Republicans of drowning their own ideals and principles in the ocean of "party discipline."
These two political about-faces open a brand, new phase of Democrat resistance to and aggression against the GOP, indicating that the Democratic Party plans to continue its warfare against the opposition unabated from the level they hit during the 2004 election and after, when the pandemic of Bush Derangement Syndrome swept through the Left like ebola. BDS has clearly mutated and metastisized into RDS; any and every Republican is now hated by the Democrats with the fervor previously reserved for Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, and of course the idiot-savant "mastermind" of the "criminal Bush regime," Bush himself.
This is not only bad news for the country -- no respite from the Left's politics of perpetual personal destruction -- but for the incoming President Obama as well... who had clearly signalled that he planned to govern as much more a centrist than his campaign rhetoric implied. Evidently, the congressional Democrats intend a far more serious challenge to Obama from the Left than their previous acquiescence to Obama's charge to the center implied.
Given that Obama is a political tabula rasa who will probably move, like Bill Clinton, in whatever direction offers the least resistance, I think it now likely that Obama's previous moves notwithstanding, the radicalized Democrats in Congress will push him into a far more strident, shrill, and deeply partisan presidency than he intended.
Obama clearly thought to "Deleno-ize" himself -- fireside chats and liberal fascism with a smiley face. This might have allowed him to set up, for the 2010 midterm elections, the "1934 scenario," in which the Democrats, instead of losing seats (as the norm), picked up nine seats in both the Senate and the House, dropping the Republicans to 26% in the former and below 24% in the latter. But if Obama is pushed far left by the congressional Democrats, this may very well set up the "1994 scenario" of the Gingrich revolution instead.
This would be very good for the Republican Party, of course -- but woe to the country in the interim! Expect a very tense, anxious, crisis-ridden, and "interesting" (in the sense of that fictional "Chinese proverb") next two years.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 7, 2009, at the time of 4:05 PM
TrackBack URL for this hissing: http://biglizards.net/mt3.36/earendiltrack.cgi/3412
The following hissed in response by: snochasr
It seems to me that you have only seen the tip of the iceberg of the chicanery and outright fraud giving a terrible comedian a seat in clown college, aka the US Senate. There are the 130 votes mysteriously "found" in the trunk of a car a week after the election, and the hundreds of ballots with clear Coleman votes on them rejected as "not clear," while hundreds of eerily similar marks on Franken ballots were clear as rain. And then there are the votes suddenly "found" in highly Democrat precincts, every single one of which was for Franken. Professor Lott has calculated the probability on this occurring naturally at something like the probability that the Founding Fathers all voted for Franken (although they may have, and several times, considering the one-eyed Secretary of State).
None of that negates your point that Coleman does not understand the way the game of "no-rules football" is played, and firmly believes that Democrats are just nice guys with a different viewpoint. They aren't. They're not only willing to lie, cheat and steal to gain power, but they're actually proud of it.
The following hissed in response by: hunter
Coleman was much too nice. I pleaded with his campaign and the RNC by e-mail to do something about this. It is almost as if he is taking the dive.
Franken is a good Senator like Al Bundy is a god dad.
The following hissed in response by: brutepcm
And the moral of this story is: He who plays by the rules- loses.
Welcome to the 21st Century
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