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A Time To Count, A Time To Fold

The Minnesota Senate race is still not over, as Sen. Norm Coleman picked up votes from re-examined ballot challenges. Meanwhile, Coleman has gone to the Minnesota Supreme Court to dispute the Democratic Attorney General’s decision to consider a group of rejected absentee ballots that don’t fit one of the statutory reasons for excluding the votes.

No matter who wins this “round” the other side will claim foul and head for the courts. Even after the highest court has the final say, the loser still won’t be satisfied. I don’t know who is going to prevail as I write this. The situation is another Florida 2000 — the margin of error (and certainly the margin to claim error) is larger than the margin of victory. Is there any satisfactory end in sight? I suspect not. On one level one might hope for a run-off and re-vote in the hope that the new margin is greater. But without the Independent candidate in the race and with Barack Obama not on the ballot, such a solution will certainly not be acceptable to Al Franken.

On we trudge, ballot by ballot and court after court. It may be that Illinois has its replacement senator before Minnesota’s race is decided. It might be a good idea for partisans on both sides to recall that Al Gore’s finest political moment was his concession speech. It was long in coming, but necessary for everyone to move on. Let’s hope whoever comes up on the short end this time can muster the political maturity to discourage bitter allusions to “stolen” elections and “illegitimate” winners.

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