Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Pity Minnesota

In an era with the worst politicians since the Credit Mobiliere scandal of the 19th century, Minnesota has Norm Coleman. As a freshman, Coleman has shown in record time that he can absorb lessons of dirty politics that took Tom DeLay decades. His latest: producing an accusation against UK independent MP George Galloway claiming he dealt in Iraqi oil. The one weak strand on which this whole sham rests: the Jordanian chairman of a charity founded by Galloway traded some Iraqi oil. Galloway has already won libel actions and survived an audit by the charity board, but Coleman claims to have new documents (perhaps from the same forger The London Telegraph employed). Galloway's answer is devastating in it simplicity: "I do not own any companies." And, indeed, given the realities of trade and banking, how could one trade oil and move the associated cash unless there were a company involved? Pity Minnesota, which may claim the record for the worst Senator since Joseph McCarthy. [Update: PW butts in to remind everyone that this really is the TEXAS Oil-for-Food Scandal, and that the only reason Coleman's talking about it again is that he and his stringpullers think that everyone's forgot about the fact that the first people to be indicted in this scandal are businessmen from George W. Bush's own stomping ground, Houston, TEXAS. They reckoned without me. ;-)]
Lost in the hubbub over Mark Dayton's decision not to run for re-election in 2006 is that Norm Coleman's re-elect numbers are almost as bad.

Norm has an extra two years, and probably the promise of boatloads more money, to turn this around. But as the conservative tide in Minnesota is receding (not only did the Democrats nearly take back the Minnesota House last November, they've cut deals with some House Republicans to -- gasp! -- undo at least some of Tim "David Strom's cabana boy" Pawlenty's tax cuts for the rich), Coleman's asininity isn't helping him any.

(Oh, and did I mention that according to a neighbor of his who I ran into at a Mondale rally in 2002, he has a steady stream of cute blonde visitors at his Twin Cities domicile while his wife-of-record is off in Hollywood?)
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