Other View: Al Franken should not yet take seat
By The Fargo Forum Al Franken should allow Minnesota election law to run its course before he assumes a seat in the U.S. Senate is his. A campaign to seize the seat before state courts finish their work is unseemly at best, arrogant at worst. The...
By The Fargo Forum
Al Franken should allow Minnesota election law to run its course before he assumes a seat in the U.S. Senate is his. A campaign to seize the seat before state courts finish their work is unseemly at best, arrogant at worst.
The latest curious turn in the Senate race between Democrat Franken and former incumbent Republican Norm Coleman finds Franken scheming with the Senate's Democratic leader, Harry Reid, to circumvent the state's legal election procedures.
An election lawsuit brought by Coleman likely won't be decided until next week. State law says a candidate cannot claim victory until the state's legal remedies are exhausted. The case is before a three-judge panel that will determine if additional ballots will be reviewed. As it stands now, Franken has a 225-vote lead.
Franken, Reid and the Democratic leadership in the U.S. Senate seem to be working hard to derail the legal process in Minnesota. Reid, who has earned the title of stumblebum-in-chief over his handling of the nonseating and then seating of Illinois Sen. Roland Burris, is further tarnishing the Senate majority with what appear to be heavyhanded tactics.
Franken's eager participation in Reid's couplike stunt seems to contradict his campaign's earlier cry that "every vote be counted." That's precisely the aim of Coleman's lawsuit. There are thousands of votes in question, most of them absentee ballots. An outcome that leaves questions about those ballots in the minds of Minnesotans will taint whoever ultimately wins.
Reid - and Franken apparently agrees with him - insists the Senate is the final authority regarding who gets seated. True enough, if the majority wants to misuse that power. But if Franken is anointed senator by his party's leadership rather than the voters of his state, his legitimacy will forever be questioned. It's in Franken's best interests to do it right, do it cleanly, do it according to Minnesota law.
Both camps have been spinning the recount process until Minnesotans are dizzy with disgust. The state has embarrassed itself so much that it's become the butt of jokes by late-night comedians. If the outcome is determined by the politics of the Senate rather than the votes of Minnesotans, the jokes won't be funny at all.
The Forum of Fargo, N.D., is, like The Daily Republic, owned by Forum Communications Co.