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Franken-Coleman Update, 01/17/09: Resisting the Mud

Nate Silver is the latest person to discuss the Coleman camp’s strategy of attempting to muddy the waters (and to prolong processes that normally are done rather quickly).  He guesses that Norm’s trying to make things look so icky that everybody just throws up their hands and says "Screw it — let’s have a do-over" as happened in New Hampshire back in the 1970s.

However, as TPM’s Eric Kleefeld points out, those consarned critters on the three-judge panel overseeing Norm’s contest aren’t having any of Norm’s mud.  He’d wanted a lengthy, multi-phase trial, whereas Franken wanted a shorter, simpler one – and Franken’s side won the day: 

The key point is that that the judges appear to be going with a single-phase trial, beginning on January 26, two weeks before Coleman wanted to begin the first of his several mini-trials. The schedule also corresponds closely with the Franken team’s other dates for when arguments are to be filed, witnesses and evidence are to be listed, and other such procedural guidelines.

Coleman’s proposed schedule has been almost entirely scrapped, with the only major remnant being a January 21 hearing on Franken’s motion to dismiss the case — perhaps the only example in which the Coleman camp picked the earliest feasible date.

And as if Norm’s troubles weren’t bad enough, TPM commenter Sara points this out:

Don’t forget that ten days into this, Feb 5th, the MN Supreme Court has scheduled argument on Al Franken’s petition for the court to immediately order the Governor and Sec. of State to issue a provisional election certificate. By that time at least half the trial should be over — it will be interesting to see whether the court looks down the hall and observes whether Coleman’s case is just delay, and rules accordingly. It is an interesting pressure point on Coleman.

No kidding.  I don’t think even Nasser Kazeminy’s celebrity lawyer, Joe Friedberg, can save Norm from this.

In the meantime, Norm may want to rethink his "let’s have a do-over" strategy.  Daily Kos polling from last week shows that Al Franken would win the three-way contest if it were held again.

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