ABOUT THAT FRANKEN TALKING POINT…. The U.S. Senate race in Minnesota two years ago was one of the closest statewide contests in American history, with Al Franken (D) edging past Norm Coleman (R) by 312 vote out of more than 2.9 million cast.
Republicans would still like the public to believe that Franken did not earn that victory, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. In fact, the Republican National Committee recently launched NoMoreFrankens.com, which not only said Franken relied on “liberal shadow organizations” and “illegal votes of convicted felons” to win, but also alleged that Democrats are poised to use similar imaginary tactics this year. Naturally, the RNC’s gambit is a fundraising scheme — pony up a check, and Republican lawyers will make sure there are “no more Frankens.”
It’s no doubt difficult to come up short in a nail-biter, but this continues to be pretty silly. Three separate courts considered the Franken-Coleman dispute, and all three were unanimous — more voters backed Franken. Of the 12 judges who heard arguments, half were appointed by Republican governors.
As for the fraud allegations, no less an authority an Norm Coleman’s own lawyer conceded that there was no fraud in the election or recount.
Journalist Jay Weiner, who covered the Franken-Coleman case as closely as anyone, published an item the other day that helped set the record straight. Of particular interest were the allegations of a far-right outfit called Minnesota Majority, which insisted that thousands of Minnesota felons cast ballots in the 2008 election.
Not so, said the county prosecutors who examined the Minnesota Majority’s lists. So far, in the state’s largest counties, which include Minneapolis and St. Paul, a total of about 80 felons who are still on probation and who are barred from voting in Minnesota, have been charged. Not all have been convicted. Across the state, there are handfuls more, it seems, not hundreds.
Franken won by 312 votes. There’s no indication there were anywhere near that many who may have registered or voted illegally. Plus, what makes the Republicans think felons only vote for Democrats? In the first such case revealed about the 2008 election, the illegal voter admitted to casting his vote for Coleman.
There’s obviously no way to know yet whether we’ll see any statewide recounts this year, but if you hear anyone from the “No More Frankens” crowd piping up, remember, these guys are spinning a nonsensical tale.