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Now Seat Al Franken, Already

By Jo-Ann Armao

Update, 4:50 p.m.: "The Supreme Court has made its decision and I will abide by the results." With those words, former Sen. Norm Coleman (R) conceded to Al Franken, thus ending Minnesota's marathon battle for the U.S. Senate. Coleman did the right thing -- but one still wonders if he shouldn't have done it earlier, when it became clear his was a losing position all around.

Original Post:

There’s this wonderful scene in an old West Wing episode in which a losing presidential contender wrestles over whether to accept an offer from the man who just bested him to become secretary of state. A trusted aide asks him how he wants to enter the history books: as a statesman or as someone who just couldn’t give up?

Former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman (R) should be asking himself the same question. The Minnesota Supreme Court declared this afternoon that Democrat Al Franken is the winner of that state’s long-drawn out battle over who will represent it in the U.S. Senate. The court -- in a unanimous decision -- ruled that the former comedian Franken received the highest number of votes legally cast, with 314 votes more than Coleman. The court’s long-anticipated ruling affirmed the conclusions of an earlier and painstakingly careful recount that followed the Nov. 4 general election, in which more than 2.9 million votes were cast.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) indicated he would certify Franken the winner if the state’s highest court ruled in the Democrat’s favor. Here’s hoping Pawlenty makes good on his word. What’s unclear is what Coleman plans to do. He still has the legal option of continuing his battle in federal court.

If he does so, it will become clear that his motives lie less in the interests of those Minnesota constituents he once served than in furthering the desires of those in the national GOP who want to deny Democrats their 60th -- and all-important filibuster-breaking -- vote in the Senate. There's no question that the race was a close one and Coleman was well within his rights to ask for another look. But, seriously, how many times does Coleman think the same votes should be challenged? It’s probably long past the time when he can bow out as a gracious loser. But to continue a fight would give new definition to the word spoil sport.

It has been 239 days since election day. Since then, Congress passed an historic economic stimulus plan, the Senate is about to tackle a massive energy bill and confirm a new Supreme Court justice, and both chambers are soon to embark on an overhaul of the nation’s health care. It’s time that Minnesotans have the representation they are due and for Franken to fill the seat he won.

By Jo-Ann Armao  | June 30, 2009; 3:45 PM ET
Categories:  Armao  | Tags:  Jo-Ann Armao  
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Amen to this article. As I just posted RE the companion piece on "Capitol Briefing":

Hey, Coleman! And Minnesota Republicans! Enough already. (Or how about "dayenu"? Inasmuch as both candidates should get the translation....)

The court - YOUR state's highest court - has ruled. It's time to let Franken take his rightful place in the Senate. (And if the count had gone the other way, I'd be saying the same to your opponents.)

You and your fellow Minnesotans deserve your full representative complement of Senators. And the rest of the country deserves the benefit of Minnesota's able representation as well.

So you lost. Sorry. Someone had to lose. Far better that your opponent fills the Senate seat than NO ONE. And Franken's a decent guy, with a lot on the ball and his heart in the right place.

Time to move forward.

Posted by: nan_lynn | June 30, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

To quote Gerald Ford, "Our long national nightmare is over."

Posted by: drazen1 | June 30, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

there is nothing about coleman that is gracious,[loser]yes but gracious loser no.i find it hard to believ that coleman or bachman got elected in the first place.but we have people in my district that only vote R or D no matter what.

Posted by: donaldtucker | June 30, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

...and not a minute too soon! Sure you've got serious business ahead in representing MN in the US Senate. But for those of us who don't live in Minnesota ... Al, AL!! We've waited SO long for some appropriate quips about the imbecility disguised as the Grand Old Party.

Welcome to Washington: DC makes Times Square at 2 AM look like a Bible Convention


Posted by: drjillshackford1 | June 30, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Who in their right mind would think that this drug addled moron would have any position of power?

This puts to rest - for perpetuity - the question of "experience."

You clowns have elected the biggest clown in the tent. I wouldn't care, you deserve what you get, but this puke will be voting on things that affect me.

The world is laughing it's as* off. Yeah baby, bring on the change.

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | June 30, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Minnesota -- the gift that keeps on giving. First they give "us" Jesse Ventura, now Al Franken. As someone recently said, now we know for sure that there's at least one comedian in the Senate! Just another situation to reduce one's confidence in the work of the government!

Posted by: baltic | June 30, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

VirginiaConservative, the best things about this is that there is (1) now a super majority in the house; (2) your guy got beat by a HARVARD graduate and comedian (I guess they didn't like the under-educated, lazy, morally bankrupt and mentally broke Republisleaze in Washington either); (3) O'Reilly and Hannity promised to leave if Franken; I doubt they (like other Retardlicans) have the integrity to follow through; (4) It's driving you and the rest of the Retardlican party nuts.

Posted by: camera_eye_11 | June 30, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to the Senate, Mr. Franken. Your absence has been truly missed.

Posted by: lolyla | June 30, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

It seems incomprehensible that Minnesota could allow the thugs to steal the election from Norm Coleman. No doubt the work of ACORN. National "healthcare" will be a disaster, as will cap and trade, and all the other democratic policies that lead us down a path of destruction.
I'm glad I'm older so I probably won't see the final blow to the end of the USA, but it must be close.

Posted by: rknapp0205 | June 30, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

How many votes were found or counted twice after the election? How many people in Duluth voted twice? How many dead people voted? What is most alarming is that the Post did not do ANY investigative indepth reporting - and the result is that a State was alllowed to invalidly send a person to the US Senate. Sad.

Posted by: jgdonahue | June 30, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

It's hilarious reading the comments on this story by Republicans! 'The MN Supreme Court "invalidly" sent the loser of the election to the U.S. Senate, just to destroy America.' Um, yeah...that makes sense.

We're all used to run of the mill Dittohead denial by now, but somewhere in the last year or so it's really crossed the line into pathological hysteria.

Posted by: War4Sale | July 1, 2009 2:11 AM | Report abuse

I remember when 1 year after Nixon was reelected (having lost only Massachusetts), there were many cars with the bumper sticker "Don't blame me. I'm from Massachusetts". So good for MN for getting rid of someone like Coleman.

As for the complaints by the Republicans: Why aren't you ashamed that you could not even beat Franken? Don't you realize what that says about the state of the Republican 'party'?

Posted by: AMviennaVA | July 1, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I have seen Al Franken's commentary on TV and read excerpts of his books. This guy is not an open minded individual. He is opinionated, close minded, and angry.

I would not want him representing me.

Posted by: primegrop | July 1, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

How many votes were found or counted twice after the election? How many people in Duluth voted twice? How many dead people voted? What is most alarming is that the Post did not do ANY investigative indepth reporting - and the result is that a State was alllowed to invalidly send a person to the US Senate. Sad.

Posted by: jgdonahue
Always wondered why the RW Neocon Nuts were so angry with Acorn.

Their Republican Operatives at Acorn could not get their invalid applications processed.

Fei Hu

Posted by: Fei_Hu | July 1, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm unable to escape the notion that too much has been made by the media of Palin's charisma and appeal. Many, many, women her age are just as attractive and articulate, or more so. Examined more closely, her life is fairly ordinary. Yes, she was elected a governor and chosen as a v-p running mate? But those things can also be looked at differently, and as being void of great significance. The competition? the circumstances? the whole Alaska environs--these aspects to her have been what has seemed to be unique about her political career, not her possession of genuine star power. When she fully realized she was in over her head, she got out.

Posted by: jleemoore | July 6, 2009 5:40 AM | Report abuse

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