Our little Minnesota recount died yesterday, strangled in its crib by a State Supreme Court that decided that one guy had actually won the election back in November of 2008, and the other guy couldn't appeal the results anymore.
It was a sad day for Minnesota, and an even sadder day for the media. What will the Star-Tribune write about now? What statistical models will numbers wizard Nate Silver produce? What will late-night comedians mock, now that the Lizard People have finally spoken?
No sooner had the polls closed in early November than it became clear that it would be some time before the people of Minnesota had a second senator. The vote was so very close, with Democrat (or DFL-er, as they say in the Minnesotan version of English) Al Franken just a smidge behind Republican incumbent Norm Coleman. But lo and behold, an automatic recount yielded continual surprises -- such as a certain measure of support for candidates including "Lizard People" and Brett Favre.
Eventually, the recounters concluded that Coleman was in fact the loser of this very close election! And that's when the lawsuits began ... the long, glorious lawsuits.
Why bother going into detail about the lawsuits? The point is this: they were many, and they kept many journalists employed because somebody had to write about all this excitement. Even though it was a boring kind of excitement, it was the most they'd had in Minnesota for some time.
But then things turned nasty. Coleman and Franken showered their recount in dollars and lawyers. The recount grew fat on money and bitter on the cynicism that saw it as nothing more than a fundraising device. It was crippled by the ambitions of its creators.
And now our poor recount is dead forever. The Minnesota Supreme Court killed it; Coleman's concession pronounced it DOA; and Franken's victory speech was a vulgar tap-dance on its little grave.
Farewell, sweet recount! For seven and a half months, you made Minnesota more than nice. You made it interesting, sort of.