Game over, pal

After nearly eight months, Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty has finally acceded to the will of the Minnesota public. He certified the results of the election that will seat Al Franken as the junior senior.

Why the delay? All round grumpy person, Norm Coleman had filed a legal complaint. Turns out he didn’t have a strong legal case, after all. He, and his fellow Republicans, filed thousands of pages of legal documents, cost everyone millions of dollars, and had left many ordinary Minnesotans weary.

The only winners were the Republican legal team, certainly not the Republican party in Minnesota (and elsewhere). It has left them not only with egg on their face, but facing claims of obstructionism and of failing to recognize they lost.

Both claims are increasingly being leveled at Republicans at the national level. They’ve become the party of ‘No’. This is not an effective political strategy, nor is it good governance. An effective minority party needs to not only point out the faults of the administration but also to present a viable alternative. That is, don’t just say things are wrong but explain why they are the wrong way to proceed and what a better approach might look like. Otherwise, it just feels like you’re a sore loser, having taken your bat and ball and gone home.