GOP Bites Off More than Can Chew on Election Suits

Todd has already noted the ridiculous news that the campaign of Republican Jim Tedisco, trailing in the counting of ballots in the special congressional election in New York's 20th district, has decided to go out on a limb and challenge the absentee ballot of former-Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand, whose appointment as Senator created the vacancy the special election was held to fill. But I just wanted to jump in for a moment, looking more broadly than just the NY-20 race, and lay out a few thoughts on what appears to be a growing trend: Republicans trying to achieve in the courtroom what they could not in the ballot box.

This, of course, isn't an entirely new trend -- in fact it's an old one. It's been twenty years since the Republicans used the ethics process to oust a Speaker of the House, Jim Wright, and a decade since Republicans went forward with the ill-conceived and unsupported impeachment of Bill Clinton. Yet this still feels different.

Yes, the Republicans used the federal courts to secure victory in the 2000 Presidential election, counting on the support of a Supreme Court with a 7 to 2 majority of GOP-appointees. Still, this all feels different, the Republican efforts both in the New York special election and the still ongoing(!) litigation surrounding last year's Minnesota Senate election.

Republicans are flailing. They are throwing any legal theory out, no matter how wacky, hoping to see if anything sticks so that they can continue to drag out the process. In Minnesota, Republicans are now apparently hanging their hopes on illegal votes to boost their nearly nonexistent chances of coming out on top. Or as one Democrat closely familiar with the canvass in NY-20 tells me, the latest nonsense regarding the challenge to the absentee ballot of Senator Gillibrand is "entirely characteristic of the slipshod nature of the Republican challenges in this race.  There are hundreds of New Yorkers who cast lawful votes, and who are being forced to deal with the same silliness that she is."

It sure looks like Republicans are going too far in all of this. Contest one election -- even going to great lengths in such an endeavor -- and the voters might see it as legitimate. (Though do note that even the establishment media is beginning to say that "[t]he question increasingly is no longer whether Al Franken will be the next U.S. senator from Minnesota; it's when he'll be the next senator.") But contest two elections, simultaneously, and all of the sudden you look like you care less about democratic results but rather winning. And it's not really clear to me how the Republican Party shakes this label should it fully take root.

Tags: election law, GOP, Republicans (all tags)



Re: GOP Bites Off More than Can Chew on Election

What's fun is to watch the Republicans in Minnesota giving lofty speeches about how we must count every vote and how the American voting system is inherently broken in that it disenfranchises so many people... while on the other side of the Great Lakes another part of the Republican party is trying to disqualify as many votes in NY-20 as it possibly can.

And it's great because you can't really reverse this one-- I mean, the Republicans can't point the finger back and say, well, isn't it just as hypocritical that Franken is trying to stop us from counting extra votes while Democrats in NY-20 are trying to push as many in as you can! ...because Franken was pushing for counting as many votes as possible, at the beginning of his recount, while Ginsberg/Coleman was trying to keep as many as possible out. It was only after Coleman decided he wanted to change the rules in the middle of the game and started pushing to count those votes he was partially responsible for excluding that the Franken camp started trying to limit things to following the rules that had been agreed on.

Maybe if there was any way in which Republicans were saying the same thing in both these election challenges, you could call it an initiative, a movement? But there's no pattern to what the Republicans are calling for, except "Republicans win". And surely it's not just lefties who've noticed this.

by mcc 2009-04-14 03:48PM | 0 recs
I don't think they care about the MSM short-term

They have to keep the base concentrated and engaged.

Therefore, they have declared all out war.

The smart people in the party (yes, they do exist) know they have NO path to win back the independents and the moderates in the short-term.

No matter HOW they try to throw a blanket over it, or try to blame Obama, everyone knows we are in the ditch because Bush-Cheney and the Republican machine in congress drove us there, with the help of a Corporate Hierarchy that sided with them for the last 40 years.

Right now, if I was a Republican party person, my main worry would be, NOT trying to win back the independents.

But, loosing the base to some Ron Paul Libertarian movement.

That is why, as I have been suggesting, IF I was a Republican, I would be watching the 2010 results, and thinking, 2012 is a write-off.

Give em Palin, and she can go down like the Hidenberg. Oh, the humanity.

THEN, maybe I can convince the footsoldiers to go back to their traditional roles, nominate someone like Gen David Petraeus, someone accetable to the moderates, who are going to run screaming from Palin.

It's a long term strategy, and risky, but for the life of me, what else can they do?

I mean, for goodness sakes, a radio shock-jock is the most powerful person in their entire party?

They really have a pretty weak hand at the moment.

by WashStateBlue 2009-04-14 03:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Provisional ballots

The GOP since 1980 was advantaged in the absentee ballots, but when the provisional ballots was added in 2004 and they started losing elections then instead of the dems contesting elections like we saw in 2000, the GOP started contesting provisional ballots. It just goes to show you the role reversal.

by olawakandi 2009-04-14 04:11PM | 0 recs


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