Political reporter Adam Nagourney went to Minnesota to explain just what the hell is going on there to New York Times readers. It is a mess.

Norm Coleman, the former Senator, just lost his reelection bid by 300 votes, and right now he is spending most of his time going to every single court in Minnesota, one by one, trying to find a judge or panel of judges who will be like,"Oh, Norm, you clearly want to keep being a Senator so much, we'll just let you be one, again." Every week he loses another court challenge and then he appeals. Next week—next fucking week!—Norm will appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Look at his sad life:

He has learned to ignore the big "Franken" signs on his neighbors' yards that taunt him when he walks out his door, a daily reminder of his five-month battle with Al Franken over the Senate seat Mr. Coleman, a Republican, won in 2002 and neither quite retained nor lost in November. Mr. Coleman said he begins each day with ritual Jewish morning prayer to help him though these trying times.

Small-town Minnesota newspapers that endorsed Coleman over his coke-snorting big-city celebrity rival are now running editorials begging him to give up the fight before he embarrasses the humble little state further. And Norm is just sitting at home, in St. Paul, every day, praying non-stop, making up lies to reporters about having dinner with his wife, who lives in California.

But he will fight on, until Republican governor Tim Pawlenty finally gives in to political pressures and certifies Franken, killing Tim's chances with the national Republican party (he wanted to be McCain's running mate!) but maybe rescuing his career in Minnesota.

Or maybe he'll do it the other way around, and blow off the wishes of Minnesota voters to aid his trip to the big time. In his second piece today, Nagourney sits down with Governor Pawlenty to indulge the amiable prick in his delusions of national prominence. Maybe he will run for President, sure, why not. It is the same old spiel about how what the Republicans need is not new positions or policies, but the same destructive positions and policies delivered by someone friendly and amiable, like him, or Mike Huckabee (preferably him).

Meanwhile for true local cover you should probably go to what remains of the local press:

Iron Range Democrat Jim Oberstar, the dean of the Minnesota congressional delegation, also weighed in Tuesday. "The process has been full and fair, but it has now run longer than the [Elmer] Andersen-[Karl] Rolvaag recount of 1962-63, which Rolvaag won by 92 votes," said Oberstar, who has largely stayed out of the recount fight. "Norm Coleman owes it to the people of Minnesota to take a decency page out of Elmer Andersen's record of public service and end this travail, while people still have a positive impression of him — or risk leaving a sore loser legacy."

So there you have it. Not since Elmer Andersen and Karl Rolvaag settled their own little election contest by seeing which one could pull the biggest walleye out of Lake Mille Lacs has the North Star State seen such a tawdry spectacle. Now here's Leo Kottke and the Hopeful Gospel Quartet to play us out.