As I am sure you are aware, there are still three Senate elections that have yet to be resolved. The Democrats need all three of them to get to the magic sixty. On November 4 I would have considered that very unlikely indeed. But now I’m not so sure.
The big one, from my perspective, is the Franken-Coleman race in Minnesota. Not only is Coleman the emptiest of Republican empty suits, but Franken is an impressive fellow just on his merits. The twittering, halfwit, gossip-mongering, know-nothing, cable-news pundit set have largely dismissed Franken as just a comedian. This should be regarded as professional jealousy, since the pundits feel threatened by anyone who is serious about policy and who knows more about the issues than they do.
At the moment Franken trails by 206 votes. So tiny a margin triggers an automatic hand recount, which will begin next week and is likely to go until Mid-December. As in Florida eight years ago the issue comes down to ballots on which the voter’s intention was clear, but which were unreadable by the optical scanning machines. As Nate Silver reports here and here, there are currently 34,000 ballots that were rejcted by the machines, and they come heavily from districts in which Franken had a lead. Consequently, it is entirely possible, perhaps even likely, that he will prevail in the recount.
Anticipating this possibility, the Republicans and their media lackeys are already doing everything they can to challenge the integrity of Minnesota’s Democratic Secretary of State. Of course, he will be instantly transformed into a model of probity and honesty if Coleman emerges victorious. The Republicans want to be sure that if Franken wins his victory is called into as much question as possible. They do this because, in addition to their other failings, Republicans have no class.
Meanwhile, the Alaska race is now leaning heavily toward Democratic challenger Mark Begich over convicted felon and Republican incumbent Ted Stevens. Stevens held the lead on election night, but those totals ignored some 80,000 early and absentee ballots that had not been counted. Begich now has an 800 vote lead, and most of what remains comes from Democrat friendly areas. It’s looking good for him.
That just leaves the big race in Georgia, which will see a run-off between Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss and his Democratic challenger Jim Martin. It is possible you have been thinking, perhaps even hoping, that with the Presidential election over John McCain would go back to the fellow you could respect even if you didn’t like his politics. Surely that lying, flip-flopping, mean-spirited, ungracious, borderline unstable freak we saw on the campaign trail was just an aberration.
Well, get over it. Six years ago McCain had this to say about the ads used by Chambliss against his triple amputee war veteran opponent Max Cleland:
I’d never seen anything like that ad. Putting pictures of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden next to the picture of a man who left three limbs on the battlefield — it’s worse than disgraceful. It’s reprehensible.
Now McCain is actively campaigning for the man who used those ads. Remember that creepy moment in the first debate when McCain suddenly started gushing about his profound love for war veterans and about how they know he’ll take care of them? Surprise! He was full of it.
I don’t know if Martin can win. Georgia went for McCain by five points. But it would be pretty sweet if the odious Chambliss can be defeated.