There are plenty of reasons to vote against Norm Coleman for senator. He was chosen by Karl Rove to be one of the Bush administration’s buddies in the Senate. He’s a political windsock, going from being a Democrat when city elections required it to being a Republican thug in the Senate to swinging back toward centrist in time for the big local paper to give him this ringing endorsement:
Coleman didn’t begin his Senate service as an agent of bipartisanship. But that’s the note on which he wound up his six-year term and which he has sounded repeatedly in his reelection campaign.
In fact, Coleman almost wasn’t elected senator at all. In 2002, Paul Wellstone would most likely have been elected to his third term in the Senate, despite just having voted against the popular-at-the-time Iraq war resolution. Norm Coleman was a failed gubernatorial candidate, having lost to a professional wrestler four years prior. If it hadn’t been for a plane accident eleven days before the election and some gross misrepresentations of what happened at Wellstone’s memorial, Coleman would probably have been a failed senatorial candidate as well.
Coleman is, at least professionally, a protect-marriage bigot. Despite his campaigning on a family values platform, his womanizing is well enough known that when Garrison Keillor referred to it in Salon, there was some murmuring about bad taste, but no stronger reaction. Despite having model/actress wife and a mistress, Coleman appears to feel entitled to more. Whenever his name comes up, stories like this and this are told of a grab-handy Norm. Put enough of these stories together, and you end up with a picture of a Coleman who likes to come onto women in no position to say no to him, those who have to choose between him and their jobs.
Coleman’s sense of entitlement isn’t limited to sex. He’s currently in his third corruption inquiry of the year. This one involves a CEO suing over payments he says his company improperly made to be funneled to Coleman. The first was over who pays what for Coleman’s DC apartment. Another was fueled by Coleman’s campaign refusing to answer questions about who buys his expensive suits. Coleman seem to have earned his place on the most corrupt list.
Then we get to the campaign itself. Coleman has run an ad campaign so negative that voters not only said it was disgusting, but were actually motivated to vote for someone else. He has again used lies about people remembering Wellstone for his own political gain. He is again suing a political opponent in the last days of a race over advertising. And in a new low, even for him, he just tried to disaffiliate himself from an appalling piece of negative campaigning (a comic book mailer, ironically about rape jokes) while repeating all its allegations for the press.
In short, Coleman’s political stance is determined by expedience, an expedience that includes both campaign support and personal gifts. He’s made it a practice to run the kind of campaigns that divide a country already steeped in vitriol. And I wouldn’t trust him to represent my interests in Congress any more than I would trust him in the smoky back room of a bar.