Reality, What a (Problematic) Concept

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Now that even most of the Republicans without a cash interest in seeing him stay in the race are telling Norm Coleman it’s time to pack it in, we’re seeing the first round of rationalization and ass-covering over what went wrong. And the winning argument seems to be that Coleman didn’t spin hard enough.

As one GOP operative told The Hill, “They allowed the legal proceedings to define the media environment.”

In many ways, that statement might serve as a fitting coda for the Bush Era: insufficient bamboozlement allowed reality to hold the day.

But, as Eric Kleefeld points out, this rationale for Coleman’s loss manages to be fatuous and superficial even on the customarily fatuous and superficial terms of political discussion. I’m not so naive as to believe that working the refs, i.e., framing the media environment, cannot play a big role in deciding political outcomes — even ones notionally decided by legal processes. But for the first month or so after the November election hardly anyone gave Franken any hope of winning. And all the all-knowing editorial commentary was pushing for him to get out. But Coleman’s boffo media environment started to buckle as the recount started to show that he’d probably lost. Admittedly, a hard set of facts for a well manicured media environment, such as Coleman’s, to overcome.

For all my affection for Al and my respect for the smarts and hard work of his legal team, Franken’s only genius in this whole post-election saga was too get a few hundred more votes than Coleman.

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