Norm Coleman - I think it's time for him to give up this fight.
Peripherally, the discussion about Norm Coleman's political viability in the aftermath of this tedious spectacle strikes me as a bit ironic. Having expressed almost no focused objection to his strategy, thereby dampening reader antipathy toward Coleman, the two papers seem prepared now to swivel around and devote resources to sussing out/"covering" (i.e. "deeply reporting") how much this has hurt him.
At the very least, it seems one of our self-declared "news leaders," if they haven't scalded themselves in the always hot and divisive waters of "train service to St. Cloud" and "provocative reports" from the Public Strategies Group, might want to try something daring, risky, and--heaven forbid--pertinent. By that, I mean suggesting to former Sen. Coleman and the RNC that they have effectively won their case in that they have successfully deprived the people of Minnesota and the Democratic Senate a vote for four critical months.
That's pretty good return on investment for all the PACs, etc., that have been funding this sham. The same crowd would happily spend $12 million a year every year to cancel out a reliably liberal vote. So, having achieved "mission (pretty much) accomplished," someone claiming to practice journalism for the greater public good should then summon the courage to tell Coleman that having won, the time is now right to concede.
Give it up, former Sen. Coleman. You're like one of those Japanese soldiers hiding in the caves in the 1970s; like one of those doctors who keeps shocking the dead patient 30 minutes after he flat-lines; like a pathetic, creepy stalker.
You had a count, then a recount. Hundreds of Minnesotans participated. Each ballot was painstakingly and publicly examined.
A bipartisan state canvassing board supervised the whole process and declared that Franken has won. It's over.
The history of this election will always be in dispute--elections this close inevitably are--but the longer it goes on, the more it will cost the state at a time when money is in short supply. It also keeps Minnesotans from mending the partisan divisions of a bitter and acrimonious election season. And it distracts from the important business of staying afloat during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Go now with grace. It's not the end. As former Gov. Arne Carlson told you: "There is no disgrace in losing."
But Franken won. So honor the vote. Honor a binding right of democracies. Honor it even if your opponent still appears more focused on Manhattan than Minnehaha.
This election will not end until one person steps down. You can be sure the vote leader won't. And it is now clear that, short of machinations by judges, Franken will emerge as the vote leader.
So again, with all due respect, we ask you to step aside. You admirably served Minnesota, but now is the time to end your service with dignity.
Exit with honor.