Commentary by Daniel T. Zanoza
You might ask how does another Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate impact me. Why should anyone care, except for the people of Minnesota, if Al Franken (D) steals the election from incumbent U.S. Senator Norm Coleman (R). The answer to these questions are very simple. Each time the Democratic Party gets closer to a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives, it matters to all Americans. And partly in thanks to Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R), funny man Al Franken seems like he's about to put the Democrats one vote closer to that magic mark of 60.
The current recount has Franken leading Coleman by just over 40 votes in the Minnesota U.S. Senate recount with both sides debating whether or not a few thousand absentee ballots should be included in the tally. Coleman ended election day leading Franken by nearly 300 votes. But with the help of creative counting, Franken has whittled Coleman's lead away to the point where the former Saturday Night Live cast member now leads.
While all this has been going on, Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty has been sitting on his hands, as the Democratic Secretary of State commits mid-day thievery. Pawlenty--who until now was considered a rising star in the Republican Party--may end up damaging America beyond repair. Instead of crying foul and calling the national media to his state, Pawlenty has promised a fair process regarding the Coleman/Franken recount.
The question is why would Pawlenty let a fellow Republican go down to defeat while doing nothing to preserve the integrity of the political process in Minnesota. Some think, with Coleman's defeat, Pawlenty will become an even bigger fish in the small Minnesota pond which he resides. Others say Pawlenty has allowed Franken's thievery to take place in order to maintain a positive image of Minnesota. In other words, Pawlenty is trying to convince the rest of the country that his state is above the political high-jinks that goes on in other localities, like New Jersey and Illinois.
This would be all well and good if the results of the Senate race only impacted the people of Minnesota. I could care less if these people from the frozen north want to lie in their own mess. But, as previously stated, what happens in Minnesota will have a significant impact on how president-elect Barack Obama governs America for the next four years. For once the press can't be blamed here. Well, they could because it shouldn't take a call from Pawlenty for the media to do its job properly. However, as we all know, the mainstream press isn't going to do the Republican Party any favors and if Coleman goes down to defeat in virtual silence there will be no tears from the Fourth Estate.
That is why Pawlenty should be screaming from the tops of one of the many pine trees in Minnesota, crying foul and calling for a greater spotlight to be cast upon what can only be called a political farce.
At one time, Pawlenty was being considered as John McCain's possible running mate. If he lets Coleman go down to defeat, Pawlenty should forget about a future in national politics and remain that big fish in a small pond.
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