Outgoing (not soon enough and maybe not so soon either) Governor Tim Pawlenty met with vote leader Mark Dayton (D) on Tuesday, having met with vote trailer Tom Emmer (R) on Monday. You could say that was a classless move (and certain Democrats in MN did) or just shrug it off, like Dayton did. Like Franken before him (and Klobuchar) Mark is playing the "statesman" card (Emmer did a bit of this the day before, toning down his remarks from the where the MN GOP chair Tony Sutton (the Hutt) took the rhetoric.
But both sides have "operatives" and lawyers who are taking a much tougher line. And THAT is making things a lot noisier in the Recount maneuvering below the fold.
CROSS-POSTED at www.mnprogressiveproject.com
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, a slowly dying newspaper, endorsed 3rd party candidate Tom Horner for governor. Horner finished 3rd with 12% to show the influence and value of newspaper endorsements in the 21st century.
Well the Star Trib is still stamping their feet about this and have decided to "get back at those mean voters. No Tommy Horner? They picked Mark Dayton? We'll show THEM!"
Yesterday's Recount story put a full color picture of Tom Emmer(R) on the front page above the fold (looks so good in all the boxes across the metro) and a picture of vote leader Mark Dayton (D) less than half that size below the fold. Emmer's NOSE is larger than Dayton's head and shoulders. Apparently the Strib is studying for finals in "Fair and Balanced Photography 312".
One thing they have done right has been to hire Rachel Stassen-Berger away from the cross-town Pioneer Press in St. Paul. (Political junkies will want to know: yes, Harold Stassen was her grandfather.) RSB was and is a shining exception to a lot of MSM vapid blandness because she actually does journalism, writes well and is worth reading. Her front page story reports that while Dayton (and to some degree Emmer) have been taking a statesman-like, rather noble approach there are others who are being a LOT nastier.
Most significantly RSB reports:
Some Republicans say the investment to put their man over the top would be worthwhile even as they privately concede it could be tough for Emmer to close the nearly 9,000-vote gap. Others say that prolonging the recount fight long enough to keep Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty in office an extra few weeks with a newly GOP-led Legislature would be a welcome bonus.
"I don't think there's any downside to keeping this recount going on as long as possible," said a high-level Republican operative who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "If we keep the process going, there are opportunities for us in the upcoming legislative session."
RIGHT! Sounds like the Dark Scenario is becoming the MN GOP default position: stall the Recount, let the new GOP-controlled MN lege get sworn in early January, GOP Governor Pawlenty stays on as governor (under Article V of the MN Constitution), and a raft of stuff from the Republican Wish List gets passed and signed for weeks or even months.
And just WHO is this "high-level Republican operative"? Well its likely NOT Sutton the Hutt or his #2 Deputy Broadkorb...both of them tend to like the sound of their own voices too much. But 1 guy Emmer has added to his team seem to fit: Michael Toner. His Wikipedia entry includes these feathers in his resume:
.... Chief Counsel of the Republican National Committeein 2001.... general counsel of the Bush-Cheney Transition Team.... general counsel of the Bush-Cheney 2000 presidential campaign in Austin, Texas.....Deputy Counsel at the RNC from 1997 to 1999.
The Arena adds some more recent work:
.....outside counsel to the McCain-Palin presidential campaign. During 2007- 2008, Mr. Toner was General Counsel to Senator Fred Thompson's presidential campaign.
Anyone who was part of the Coup of 2000 and the Bush-Cheney Regime Installation team would have no trouble making the above anonymous statement.
FIGHTING BACK AGAINST THE DARK SCENARIO
Fortunately the Democrats are NOT taking this lying down. Dayton Recount manager Ken Martin fired back:
If Tom Emmer chooses to proceed with the manual recount, we expect that it will go smoothly and fully confirm the canvass results.
However, the storm cloud of the horizon is the recent indication that Republicans intend to try to keep Mark Dayton from being sworn in on January 3....(Quotes the Star Tribune above from the Republican operative....)
"If that is the Republicans' goal, it is a strategy designed to hijack the will of Minnesota voters. Such an outrageous power grab would be completely un-Minnesotan. We expect that it would blow up in the Republicans' faces.
"The people spoke on November 2, and we know what they said. They said that Mark Dayton will become governor on January 3."
(Hat tip to the Big E at mnprogressiveproject.com)
Wednesday things heated up a bit more from the progressive side of the street.
Jason Hoppen and David Orrick of the Pioneer Press report (yes really! They are reporting!) these gems:
The DFL offensive was three-pronged, with candidate Mark Dayton's recount team sending out a statement and his two top lawyers making appearances in Minneapolis and St. Paul to argue that such a move would be a "hijacking of government."
Whatever voters said last Tuesday, said Dayton attorney David Lillehaug, "even (Emmer) would concede that they did not say they wanted Gov. Pawlenty to remain in office after the election."
Earlier in the day, Dayton lawyer Charlie Nauen also questioned whether Emmer had a path to victory, and in the evening Dayton's recount team said drawing out the inevitable would "blow up in the Republicans' faces."
Asked if there might be a legal way to install Dayton by Jan. 3 regardless of whether a lawsuit were filed, Nauen replied: "We're looking into those issues. The constitution makes it clear the governor-elect is seated Jan. 3."
Hijacking the Government! I mean, well, yeah, thats what the Dark Scenario is all about but still...to actually NAME IT? Call them out on it?? Democrats??
Yikes! Democrats arguing back! Carping the Diem (well, in Minnesota it would be more like Walleye-ing the Diem, but that just doesn't ring the same way)! Producing a SOUND-BITE! "Hijacking government! Hijack! Hijack!" Chant-able! Accurate!
And the impact?
MN GOP Chair Tony Sutton the Hutt, owner of a chain of Mexican restaurants.....folded like a wet taco.
GOP chairman Tony Sutton said Wednesday that his party has no intention of taking up a lost cause, saying it would pursue only a "credible" court challenge if needed.
"This is just posturing. ... They're trying to bully us, to intimidate us," Sutton said. "We're not doing this just to kick the ball past the first of the year."
Sounds like a climb down to me. No "we won't get rolled again" or any of that, just a whine about posturing (something Sutton the Hutt knows well, and so knows when he's been out-postured.)
NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS DEPARTMENT
How are things going in the preliminary Canvass? Boring. No drama. Precise. You know...they way it SHOULD be!
Around the state county election officials are looking over ballots and totals and sampling precincts to see how things are going. Well if they can sample precincts we can sample counties. Yesterday we noted Hennepin County (Minneapolis; and 1/5 of the entire statewide vote) took a first look at 470,000 votes...and moved 6 to the Emmer side. "See, the process is working as it should and there are no big changes."
Ramsey County (St. Paul) has also weighed in. The first cut:
In Ramsey County, the state's second most-populous county, both men gained a few votes as the county's canvassing board unanimously approved the results. Dayton finished with 105,498 votes, a gain of four from election night. Emmer wound up with 61,412 votes, a gain of three since election night.
--from Star Tribune
Plus 4 Dayton...plus 3 Emmer! "See, the Democrats Acorn operation is stealing the election with voter fraud..."
Go due west from Minneapolis three full counties to Kandiyohi County, with the seat at Willmar. Emmer carried the county 8041 to 6751 (or 46%-39% Republican) across 17 precincts. Election officials did a bunch of checking the other day and test counted two full precincts to compare the hand recount with the machine counted totals from election day. Result? An EXACT match between machine and hand count. Totally precise...and boringly UNchanged, something that definitely does NOT help Emmer overtake Dayton.
The Willmar West Central Tribune has all the details (and coupons for an oil change at Larsson's French Fries and Chainsaw Tuning):
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Ah the memories! The Cast! David Lillehaug. Charles Nauen. Tony Trimble. No great quotes yet from David or Charles, and Tony is only warming up with his "we are the train" crack the morning after the election.
But it worth putting on the record: a new hit from an familiar voice. Fans of the 2008 Recount will recall the Berlin-esque Fritz Knaak, a Republican attorney for Norm Coleman. While never confirmed, Fritz is thought to be THE source of the (in)famous line from that Recount that the Democrats have "ballots riding around in trunks." The Stenography 101 class who was there wearing a class joke set of tags that said "Press/Media", wrote it down and said it (with a Very Serious Look) into their microphones while looking Very Seriously into the cameras. Governor Pawlenty repeated at his next news conference With a Concerned Look. At that, the Mighty Reich-ving Wurlitzer (try saying that 3 times fast!) took over to trumpet the line from here to every undisclosed bunker location in the land. (It was never true to begin with, but hey....this is The Wurlitzer we're talkin' about!)
Well like everyone else the MN GOP was caught off guard by the big switcheroo in MN on election night: the lege going Republican while the Governor's seat edged Democratic. Before they could get the Party Line talking points passed out to everyone, Fritz Knaak was part of a post-election analysis panel on MN Public Radio the morning after. He noted the margin of Dayton's lead, the prospect of a Recount and said:
"Nine thousand is a mighty steep hill to climb, and I think the Emmer folks know it," said Fritz Knaak, one of the attorneys representing Norm Coleman's campaign in the 2008 Senate recount.
After this outburst of sanity and recognition of reality, the darkness fell. Party Chairman Sutton the Hutt ("won't get rolled again", "Smells fishy") imposed his will on everyone and Knaak has not been heard from since.
Everyone is acting like this (from the Pioneer Press)
Meanwhile Wednesday, Emmer's recount team continued to refer to "voting irregularities throughout Minnesota" but refused to explain how any such problems might affect the vote totals.
New to the allegations Wednesday was a statement by Republican party attorney Matt Haapoja, who said, "We have reports of up to 200 machines jamming. Typically, there's not more than a dozen or so on Election Day."
The secretary of state's office said that would be news to them.
"We have not heard from any county that they had any unusual number of machine issues on Election Day," spokesman John Aiken said.
Well I hope that helps warm up your hot chocolate. If you need something to read with that cocoa or you need to hear the WineRev in person, well here ya go: www.carleeman.com.
I hope that will hold you as you get ready to visit a cemetery or drop in on one of the older guys or a vintage WAC or WAVE on this Veteran's Day. A salute to all of them....from yust southeast of Lake Wobegon.