Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 205

This week, even as I become more convinced than ever that Bush's Republican Recession may be slipping into a Depression, I also see signs of optimism. I see parts of the stimulus package that are helping fellow scientists buy new equipment, which helps the companies and workers that make that equipment, the people who deliver that equipment, and the medical research that depends on that equipment, thus helping America in three ways. I see that even as irresponsible banks like Bank of America and Citibank are crashing at below $10 a share (as low as $2 a share!!!), responsible banks like TD Bank are still at $30 a Share. That is still half their value of a year or so ago, but still ten times the value of Bank of America. The difference? Bank of America and Citigroup participated in predatory lending and sacrificed customer service for petty fees, while places like TD Bank avoided the worst predatory lending and maintained a solid sense of customer service. The difference is reflected in the market. Simple capitalism. After years of Republican Crony Capitalism, the bad companies beg for money while at rock bottom stock prices, while the good companies maintain their value. Keep this in mind when you choose your banks, your credit cards and your investments.

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MN-Sen: Where Things Stand

The legal teams have made their closing arguments and the trial has concluded as the three-judge panel will now deliberate for, likely, a period of weeks to determine who won the 2008 U.S. Senate race in Minnesota.  Via Minnesota Public Radio, you can listen online to the closing arguments of both the Franken legal team and the Coleman legal team.  When will a decision be handed down?  Talking Points Memo asked a Minnesota election law expert:

Hamline University professor David Schultz tells TPM that he now expects the court to probably rule at some point in the first week of April, with a declaration that Al Franken is the winner.

After the three-judge panel, what will happen next?  There are a couple of possibilities as to how things might (or might not) proceed.  In my analysis, I operate under two assumptions:

A) Norm Coleman is a loser and Washington Republicans know it.  Wait, huh?  If the D.C. Republican establishment know that Coleman is a loser, why do they bother supporting him?  Ultimately, for Republican leadership, an empty seat is as good as a Coleman win.  Why?  The Senate GOP's only weapon is the filibuster.  Whether there are 99 seated Senators or 100 seated Senators, Democrats need 60 votes for cloture.  Therefore, a prolonged legal battle keeping the seat empty is as good as a Coleman win.

(Much more below the fold.)

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Coleman / Franken Update:

Norm Coleman has had several vote quests struck down by the Minnesota Second District Court, and Al Franken told a conference of Democratic Senators today that he can see a "light at the end of the tunnel." I hope that means Al will be awarded certification on his seat by the Minnesota Court very soon. The Democrats need his vote to fight off the filibuster strength of the Republicans in the Senate.

In order to get a real sense of what's happening, I spent time reading .pdf files at the Minnesota Second District Court web site this afternoon, and, going back a couple of weeks, it's clear that Norm Coleman is  following every failed approach with a newer one... what he is doing is stalling and, I expect, it is stalling at the instruction of the Republican National Committee.

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MN-Sen: Top Democrats Align Against Norm Coleman

Harry Reid has been weighing in on the endless Minnesota Senate battle lately, especially now that Norm Coleman's endgame is clear: to undermine the results of the November 4th election and call for a do over. Great to see Reid, usually one to err on the side of collegiality, landing some blows, as it were, against the former Senator from Minnesota.

Last week, Senator Reid gave Coleman some unsolicited advice, which amounted to a strong recommendation that he concede:

"Norm Coleman should have a five-minute conversation with [Nevada Sen.] John Ensign," Reid said.

Reid explained that, in his 1998 Senate race, Ensign decided to concede defeat to Reid rather than pursue a recount.

"John Ensign wound up as a real hero in Nevada," Reid said.

In the wake of ratcheted up "do over" rhetoric from Team Coleman, today, via TPM, Reid's office weighs in once again, repeating his assertion that Coleman's desire to "set aside" the results of the free and fair election last November should be a non-starter:

Harry Reid's office is now indicating its displeasure and opposition to Norm Coleman's new attempt to potentially throw out the whole election result in Minnesota.

Said Reid spokesman Jim Manley, in an e-mail to TPM: "Just because Mr. Coleman is not happy with the results of the election/recount doesn't mean he gets to schedule another one."

This comes on the heels of some refreshingly tough language from Tim Kaine expressing a similar sentiment:

"The people of Minnesota have spoken. It's time for Norm Coleman to accept the voters' decision, do what is best for his state and country and stop standing in the way of a Senator being seated. The stakes for our country are too high right now to suggest that the results of a democratic election, exhaustive recount, and legal proceedings be thrown out just because Norm Coleman doesn't like the results."

Glad to see a concerted effort by Democrats at the highest level to pushback against Coleman's "do-over" messaging. It's about time. At a time when mushy bi-partisan fetishism is king, it's refreshing to see these two take on what is a decidedly partisan battle: delivering another seat to add to the Democratic majority. Of course, it's much more than mere numbers, Senator Franken will mean another vote for President Obama's agenda and, specifically, as Bill Samuel of the AFL-CIO said today, likely the 60th vote on The Employee Free Choice Act.

As for Kaine, considering he made a career out of spewing weak red state Dem "can't we all get along" rhetoric, I was dubious how he would step into a partisan cheerleader role as head of the DNC. Turns out he's taking to it quite well.

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MN-Sen: Coleman Camp Wants Election Results "Set Aside"

Last week, Coleman himself suggested on a radio show that a do-over was the only fair resolution to the Minnesota Senate race. Yesterday, after more than a month of doing their darnedest to undermine the integrity of the election, Team Coleman mostly rested their case and officially expressed their desire for the November 4th results to be thrown out.

From The Star Tribune:

And on Monday, Coleman lawyer Jim Langdon wrote the three-judge panel to suggest the problems are so serious they may not be able to declare a winner.

"Some courts have held that when the number of illegal votes exceeds the margin between the candidates -- and it cannot be determined for which candidate those illegal votes were cast -- the most appropriate remedy is to set aside the election," Langdon wrote in a letter to the court.

You can read the letter HERE.

This request comes as Team Franken was set to begin their arguments in the case, arguments that themselves are likely to play into Coleman's claim that too many votes were mis-cast or mishandled. Noah Kunin has more on what to expect from Franken's case.

Franken's presentation of his counter claims starts Tuesday March 3rd at 9:00am CST.  Marc Elias, Franken Election Contest attorney, indicated that Franken's case would rely heavily on testimony from actually voters, even surpassing the number of voters in total called by Coleman in a single day.  Elias also said they would be filing a motion for dismissing large sections of Coleman's Election Contest claims.

You can watch live coverage of the trial at The Uptake.

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