Franken-Coleman Update, 04/09/09: When Even Powerline’s Dissing You
As mentioned yesterday, the Coleman portion of Operation Stonewall is so lame that even some conservative voices are calling Norm out on continuing it. One conservative voice that has consistently departed from the GOP herd in criticizing the Coleman legal team’s strategy, if not their goals, has been Powerline blogger Scott Johnson. In this piece for National Review (h/t Polinaut and Polanimal), he sorrowfully tells his fellow cons that not only didn’t Al Franken "steal" the election, but that Norm Coleman’s legal team lost it for Norm right from the get-go:
From the outset of the post-election process, the Coleman campaign was remarkably passive in its approach to the recount. The Coleman team appeared to improvise strategy from day to day and spent time spinning the Franken campaign’s activities. They did not appear to have a handle on what was happening or on what was likely to happen. I found getting information from the Coleman team like pulling teeth. For a while I thought they were withholding information for some reason. By the end of the recount, I concluded that they simply didn’t know what was happening.
Until the conclusion of the recount, Coleman acted a bit like an NFL team sitting on a two-point lead in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. He could have been much more aggressive in protecting his position in the days after November 5. And to vary the analogy, the attorneys who publicly led Coleman’s team through the recount (local lawyers Fritz Knaak and Tony Trimble) appeared like Pop Warner players going up against an NFL team. When Coleman filed the election contest challenging the result of the recount, he brought in a new lawyer — the respected local criminal-defense attorney Joe Friedberg — to represent him in the election-contest trial. This has not proved a winning formula.
Translation: Fritz Knaak and Tony Trimble suck rocks, and no amount of hallway spinning by Bogus Ben Ginsberg, or late-game triage by Joe Friedberg, can compensate for their suckitude. (Friedberg’s the guy for whom I feel the sorriest. He’s a very good trial lawyer stuck with a client who is being told to do things that simply aren’t in his best interests, and a legal team that doesn’t bat an eye at witness tampering such as they did with Ms. Pamela Howell — an incident which I notice Johnson avoids mentioning.)
Meanwhile, in other news: Minnesota governor Smilin’ Tim Pawlenty denies that he’s being pressured by Republicans in Washington to prolong the election contest. Let me just say that I’m a tad skeptical here. In any event, he knows what they would expect of him, even without being told — and he knows they know that he wants to be on the 2012 presidential ticket. But of course they’re not going to say any of this out loud.