Based on this article by the AP’s Brian Bakst, it sounds like Marc Elias is tring to persuade Harry Reid into setting aside the Minnesota vote for the US Senate currently held by Norm Coleman. The Senate has the right to ignore the will of the people. I’ve said elsewhere, though, that taking that approach would be a major disaster for Senate Democrats. Here’s what Mr. Bakst is reporting:

Marc Elias, the legal chief for Franken, said the campaign won’t appeal the board’s ruling. But for the first time since the recount began a week ago, he publicly mentioned the possibility of the campaign asking the U.S. Senate to weigh in.

“Whether it is at the county level, before the Canvassing Board, before the courts or before the United States Senate, we don’t know yet. But we remain confident these votes will be counted,” Elias said.

The board’s action drew a response from the Senate’s top Democrat, Majority Leader Harry Reid. In a written statement, he called the decision a “cause for great concern.”

“As the process moves forward, Minnesota authorities must ensure that no voter is disenfranchised,” Reid said. “A citizen’s right to have his or her vote counted is fundamental in our democracy.”

Mr. Elias is grandstanding, proving that he’s more adept at PR than he is with the law. I wrote here that Minnesota election law deals with who has authority to issue rulings on rejected ballots. Justice G. Barry Anderson gave a compelling presentation on Minnesota election law. During that presentation, he said that there wasn’t a precedent for recount canvassing boards having that authority. Coleman Campaign Chairman Cullen Sheehan issued this statement:

“This is a stunning admission by the Franken campaign that they are willing to take this process away from Minnesotans if they fail to win the recount. It is even more stunning that the Democratic Senate leader would inject himself into the Minnesota election process. This says that Franken is fully prepared and armed to take this matter to the United States Senate and that the Senate will be receptive, even if Franken fails to succeed in winning the recount. This is a troubling new development. We call upon Al Franken to personally disavow his attorney’s comments, and to commit to Minnesotans that he will not allow this election to be overturned by the leadership of the Democratic Senate. Al Franken owes it to the people of this state to reject any and all efforts to stop a Minnesota Senator from being sworn in on January 6th if Norm Coleman continues to be shown to have won this election after the recount.”

There’s no justification for Franken ignoring the will of We The People of Minnesota. This is proof that this election was purely about Franken’s personal ambition, not about the will of the Minnesotans who voted for Sen. Coleman.

I’d further suggest that the Democrats’ mantra of counting every vote is pure PR. It has nothing to do with reality. It should be amended to this:

Count every vote…except if the voters pick the Republican.

I’m not surprised with Harry Reid’s or Al Franken’s behavior. It’s predictable. Didn’t Harry Reid ignore the will of the people when he refused to schedule debate for drilling on the OCS? At the time, 75+ percent of the American people wanted drilling. Harry Reid ignored them. It sounds like he’s prepared to ignore the votes of almost 1.5 million Minnesotans who voted for Norm Coleman.

Should Harry Reid’s Senate Democrats vote to seat Al Franken without him winning a more votes than Norm Coleman, there will be electoral hell to pay in 2010 and 2012.

If George Mitchell were still Majority Leader, I could picture him floating this trial balloon, then dropping it the minute the American people expressed their outrage. It’s too easy to picture Harry Reid, who is one of the most inept leaders in American history, seeing the outrage, then ignoring it just so he could thump his chest a little.

Let’s remember that he’s the guy that bragged that they’d killed the Patriot Act. Sen. Reid isn’t the brightest bullb in the Senate’s chandelier. That’s why I can’t rule out his making a boneheaded decision on this.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

14 Responses to “Is Franken Influencing Harry Reid?”

  • Chuckwe says:

    What a mess! This AGABR (“Attempted Great American Ballot Robbery”) just gets weirder and weirder.

    What else would one expect from “Weird Al Franken” though?

    Thanks again Gary. Your updates to this saga are most welcomed.

    From an “undisclosed and secure” location via wifi. :)

  • walter hanson says:

    Hey lets not forget the Senate class of 2014. There are seven freshman Democrat senators who will be up for reelection.

    I even got the winning commercial for the next three cycles.

    Stealing is wrong! Senator (insert name) helped Harry Reid steal the election of the state of Minnesota. Thiefs don’t deserve to remain in office!

    Senator (insert name) no matter how it’s spun is a thief!

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  • TitanTrader says:

    “there will be electoral hell to pay in 2010 and 2012”.

    Like anybody would care except a few Conservatives.

    Democrat’s have destroyed the economy through Fran and Fred, hammered consumers with high gas and food prices-no drilling and ethanol- and they still swept each branch in the past election.

    They are about to ram through Amnesty and Universal Health care and then it’s over, you’ll never dislodge these fools.

    Harry stealing this election will be the least of his coming transgressions.

  • Mr. D says:

    This is getting surreal. Still, I think that the D’s will eventually have to back down. Franken is not going to have enough votes to win the recount.

    What might be the key to the endgame is what happens in Georgia. If Saxby Chambliss wins his seat, then the dream of 60 goes bye-bye and the effort to prop up Franken loses a lot of its rationale.

    And to Walter’s point, not only is the Class of 2014 going to be vulnerable, the D’s will also have a lot of people up in 2012, too. If the Senate tries to jam Franken down our throats, Amy Klobuchar will necessarily be complicit in the effort. And if that happens, Amy K. will be in the crosshairs.

  • eric z says:

    This is the first time in many posts that the Google Alert set for “Norm Coleman” has linked to you. Knowing the posting is continuing, I can check, but I think when a topic swamps the Google algorithm it is news. Anyway, this post was in the batch, this time.

    Hey, Gary, remember that Rules in a knife fight scene in Butch Cassidy?

    It applies.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Eric, This year, people talked about the enthusiasm gap & how it sunk the GOP. If Reid & Franken do this, that enthusiasm gap will shift dramatically.

    If they do this, the GOP faithful will swiftly turn into battalion after battalion of fire-breathing dragons.

    This year, the GOP brought knives to the gunfight. If Reid & Franken pull this stunt, we’ll bring RPGs, machine guns & hand grenades to that same gunfight. I won’t rule out us bringing a bunch of tanks, too.

  • J. Ewing says:

    I don’t know. If the prospect of declaring defeat in Iraq, putting 2 or three more liberal Supreme Court justices and countless lower federal judges on the bench, destroying the US health care system, the economy, the energy markets and our borders didn’t frighten enough people, then I don’t think stealing one little election is going to sway them, either. Especially when so many conservatives refused to vote for Coleman in the first place!

  • Gary Gross says:

    Jerry, I disagree. Messing with people’s votes is something that’s extremely personal. It’s on an entirely different plain than those other things.

  • eric z says:

    Hello, Gary, I hope it was a good holiday. UPI has a related feed:

    It is interesting, “We the People” and all, history is of founding first a “confederation” which was too loosely bound so that the people came together again, via representatives, and formed a “republic” which was a “representative democracy.”

    You know all that, but glide and slide over it.

    Representation means the people do not have referenda day after day. They elect representatives, and it is the two houses of the legislative branch that were envisioned as key.

    Representatives call the shots.

    If the one body, the Senate, those representing the nation’s people there, decide something – especially about their make-up – who they seat, what’s wrong with that, under the Constitution as it was first written, as it now exists, as it is supposed to apply?

    If you way to deny the preeminence of the Constitution, that’s your freedom, but don’t take any oath to uphold it if you don’t like the fact that the Senate holds the hammer, this time.

    Quit carping. It’s how the founding fathers [and mothers] wanted things. Accept it.

  • Gary Gross says:

    I’m not saying seating Franken if he loses is unconstitutional. You’re right, too, that we don’t govern by what’s the most popular position.

    The only time when votes are supposed to matter is when there’s an election. That’s when ignoring the will of the people is tantamount to tyranny.

    Frankly, I don’t think that even Harry Reid is stupid enough to seat Franken if Coleman wins this recount. Doing so would get Republicans so pissed off that they’d change the complexion of the midterm elections.

    Pundits rightly said that there was an enthusiasm gap between the GOP & Deemocrats. If Reid essentially told Minnesotans that he didn’t give a rip about their votes, I’d guarantee that the RNC would whip voters into a frenzy over it, which would tip alot of races into the GOP column.

  • eric z says:

    Gary – On your earlier comment about the GOP not being energized, was that cause or effect of the very low approval ratings for the tail end of Bush-Cheney? Or effect of McCain being the candidate?

    I know you liked Fred Thompson but not Huckabee. Do you think, aside from that, either Thompson or Huckabee – or Ron Paul – might have been able to present a stronger stretch run candidacy? McCain did not exactly run the table. Are you a Gingrich supporter, figuring baggage and all he still could energize GOP people? He got attention on the Drill Now gambit. Any tea leaf reading that way? Palin?

  • eric z says:

    On the most recent comment, Gary, in the Gore – Bush 2000 cycle, Gore drew a larger popular vote, nationwide. If nose count alone matters, … clearly it does not.

    Some states split electoral votes, most give all to the predominant candidate with no third party spoiler this last round (unlike Wallace, Perot, Nader, etc.).

    Not that I put any credence in the “Nader hurt Gore” position. Gore hurt Gore – going from strong to too weak on election day – on his own without Nader being responsible and with the selection of Lieberman being no help.

    Here’s one, if the Dems had gone with Hillary, would it be President-Elect McCain? Speculation that way probably is not worth the effort. But if the Dems want a more universal woman candidate I see Cantwell, of Washington, as the most powerful choice – without divisive ties, etc.

    In 2012, it will be Obama seeking a second term, who from the GOP?

    Against Klobuchar, who’s to run? Mark Kennedy again?

    Any early handicapping intent?

  • Gary Gross says:

    Eric, I attribute it to McCain being the candidate. He spent 3 years taunting the Christian Right, which comprises a third of the GOP. That’s a fatal flaw in his strategy. Whether you agree with their politics, it’s political suicide to upset that big a bloc of voters.

    I love Newt Gingrich from the standpoint of his being an ideas man. He’s one of the smartest men in American politics. I don’t think he could win a presidential election but I would’ve been thrilled to see him chairing the RNC.

  • walter hanson says:


    Keep in mind I think Al Gore only won the popular vote in the year 2000 because the media created the impression that Gore was winning the election at 7 p.m. central time. Voting in California died at basically 5 p.m. their time and the Gore margin of victory was much bigger than polls had shown. Bush just matching the preelection poll in California would’ve won the the national vote that year.

    Not to mention there was that last second bombshell dropped about the DWI arrest.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

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