The headline reads "Norm Coleman reaches out to Franken on absentee ballots." The reality is that Coleman's legal team sent a letter to Al Franken, and the press, that asks him not to fight their attempt to have all of the rejected absentee ballots re-re-inspected. Which is, of course, in direct opposition to the position they took prior to the election contest being filed.
This headline would have been appropriate if, back in November, Coleman had decided to go along with counting wrongly rejected absentee ballots. But the Coleman team didn't do that did they? No, they refused to even consider the possibility of counting such ballots. It's understandable why the Coleman position has changed so dramatically, they don't have a choice. They need to find votes somewhere.
But for the Star Tribune to cast this effort as reaching out is nothing more than misinformation.
On January 21st they ran an article under the headline "Franken ratchets up legal fight." The article was about that day's hearing over Franken's motion to dismiss. The filing of a motion to dismiss is a default procedural move and is certainly not a case of "ratcheting" anything up. Coleman filing the election contest in the first place was a "ratcheting" up, a motion to dismiss is like checking on the big blind with 7, deuce off. The vast majority of the time nothing will come of it, but it doesn't cost you anything and hey, every once in awhile you can flop a boat. If the poker reference didn't make sense the point is that a motion to dismiss is trivial. It's a standard move.
This is all part of a larger PR push by the Coleman campaign and sympathetic media outlets like the Strib and the Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal and Fox News. Since the reality of a recount became clear the day after the election they've been building this story up, slowly at first, then as things started to go Franken's way the shrillness and lies came faster and from more directions.
With Norm Coleman seemingly resigned to his fate, having taken a job with a lobbying firm of all things, the question becomes how far does this get pushed? Will they appeal it all the way to the US Supreme Court, assuming it doesn't go their way? The more that Norm Coleman becomes detached from the process, the more it seems like the motivation for the effort is not his but that of the GOP leadership.
They are more relevant while the Democrats are short that one vote which will be critical for the issue they plan on making the biggest stand against, the Employee Free Choice Act. They fear Franken getting seated because there is at least one moderate Republican, Arlen Specter, who seems likely to support the bill. Specter plus Franken plus all the other Dems equals sixty votes for cloture. Another theory is that they are trying to build Franken up as a lightning rod for GOP electoral angst. Either way it now seems unlikely they will give up until they've exhausted all of their legal options.
The trial phase of the election contest begins tomorrow as the never ending Senate race enters yet another stage.