Buh-Bye, Norm, The Rats Are Jumping
After seeing the culmination of a months-long trial result in Norm Coleman being further behind, the more intellectually honest conservatives are jumping off the ship. Ramesh Ponnuru says "I think it's time for him to give up this fight." A Minnesota paper that endorsed Coleman wants him to give up. And Powerliner Scoot Johnson, in a bold rush of reality-based thinking, actually sets the wingnut faction straight on the "Franken stole the election" nonsense.
The erosion of Senator Coleman’s approximately 215-vote lead over Franken after the election canvass, and the emergence of Al Franken with a 225-vote lead over Coleman on January 5 after the recount, have given rise to the implication that Franken stole the election. The January 5 Wall Street Journal editorial “Funny business in Minnesota” is representative of this strain of commentary, which implies that Coleman has been a victim of Democratic shenanigans.
For a while, I thought so, too. If I had observed the events through the media outside Minnesota, I would still think so. As a Minnesotan with a closer view, with friends lodged in every corner of the post-election proceedings, I have a different perspective on the chain of events that has brought Coleman to his imminent loss to Franken [...]
The Board of Canvassers that was convened to preside over the recount and rule on challenged ballots conducted itself honorably under difficult circumstances. In addition to board chairman Mark Ritchie, the Man from ACORN who is Minnesota’s secretary of state, four judges served on the board: Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson, Associate Justice Barry Anderson, and Ramsey County District Court Judges Ed Cleary and Kathleen Gearin.
I have known Chief Justice Magnuson professionally for more than 25 years. Justice Anderson was my law-school classmate and is my friend. In my view, they are two of the best judges serving in the Minnesota courts. Although the board’s rulings on challenged ballots favored Franken during the recount, there was no noticeable partisan division among the board. Accordingly, the imputation of misconduct to the board such as is implicit in the Journal editorial is misplaced. Whatever inconsistencies the board committed in ruling on challenged ballots and other issues does not appear to have resulted from partisan mischief. In any event, the board’s ruling on challenged ballots put Franken up by only 49 votes.
He's still Scott Johnson from Powerline, so he can't resist a few shots, but he basically admits that Franken's team did a better job in the post-election phase of things, and they didn't steal the election. Which is the most I can hope for out of someone like him.
Of course, to assess Norm Coleman's legal team on the basis of wanting to win the election is I think misplaced. For several months their entire focus has been to delay the final conclusion. While Johnson claims Coleman's lawyers just bungled the case, in truth they simply drew it out, once defeat was made inevitable by virtue of all the wrongly rejected absentee ballots. Since then, they have executed their legal strategy perfectly, evidenced by the fact that Al Franken remains a Senator-elect and not a United States Senator. But the wavering in the conservative community might actually bring this to a somewhat swifter conclusion.