Norm Coleman Weasel Meter
The Norm Coleman Weasel Meter's goal is to let Minnesotans know where Norm stands on the issues now that it seems likely that he plans on running for the Minnesota Governor's seat in 2010. A number of people have told me about rumors that he will be joining the race. Norm will be performing intricate and complicated political gymnastics to run away from his loyal support of George Bush and all the calamities of the previous administration.
I'll translate Norm-speakTM into standard American English. I'll track every vote, everything Norm says and everything his surrogates do. When circumstances dictate, I may turn on the Weasel Meter Alert SystemTM to alert you to Norm's lies, dissembling and obfuscations.
Norm Coleman is the Vietnam anti-war activist turned Iraq war cheerleader. The Democratic mayor of St. Paul who created few jobs for his city compared to the rest of the state. Norm saw the 1994 Newt Gingrich Contract-On-America sweep the Democrats out of power in Washington, DC and decided to switch teams. He ran for governor as a Republican and lost to a professional wrestler yet claimed that his issues won the day. He was trailing Sen. Paul Wellstone in the polls as the 2002 MN-SEN campaign ground toward election day when Wellstone died in a plane crash. He weaseled into office defeating former VP and former Sen. Walter Mondale who was enlisted at the last minute.
- "I will be a 99% improvement over Paul Wellstone," Norm Coleman declared upon winning.
Norm Coleman was a cheerleader for the invasion of Iraq and has a 100% voting record for President Bush's War. In addition, Norm provided no real oversight of the Iraq War. As Chair of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations he had the unique ability to investigate anything. Instead, he overlooked the incompetence and corruption of the Bush Administration's policies in Iraq. Whether it was torture, lack of armor for our troops, pallets of lost dollars or no-bid contracts, Norm was not interested in investigating.
Norm has been a part of the Republican destruction of our economy. During war-time, Norm has consistently voted for tax breaks for the wealthiest 1% of Americans while at the same time borrowing billions from the Chinese to pay for two wars. Norm supported a bankruptcy bill written by the credit card companies. Norm has written legislation to help bail out the banking industry from the subprime mortgage crisis on the backs of homeowners facing foreclosure. The Republicans have taken record-surpluses and in 8 years turned them into record deficits.
Norm voted for Medicare Part D and voted to deny Medicare the ability to negotiate drug prices. We all know that our seniors have suffered. Norm has opposed any real healthcare reform and this is not surprising. He is bankrolled by the health insurance industry, HMOs and the pharmaceutical companies -- he has done their bidding on healthcare reform.
On environmental issues and global climate change, Norm has been a steadfast friend of Big Coal, the Nuclear Power lobby and the polluters. Norm has a 26.8% rating from the League of Conservation Voters. Norm thinks clean coal and nuclear power should be our first two choices to combat global climate change. After repeatedly opposing increasing fuel efficiency standards, Norm has had an election year epiphany -- he voted for a higher fuel efficiency bill twice in 2007. Finally, he has no vision for building a green economy.
Norm talks about character and integrity a lot. Yet he has flip-flopped on 14 major issues and will have to run away from his record to win the MN-GOV race in 2010. Norm lies repeatedly about his own record and will say nearly anything if he thinks it will help him win.
Norm talks about incessantly about "bringing people together to get things done." Yet, he has been a polarizing and partisan politician, sticking to the Republican Party line and only doing what's best to advance Republican Party goals until he got scared in late 2006 about winning reelection (It's amazing what a Democratic landslide will do to a guy...).
Getting things done? You can count on Norm when it doesn't matter. Norm was the type of Senator you can count on for customer service, disaster relief (unless you live in New Orleans), and on non-controversial, smaller issues. After the 2006 election, Norm began moderating his conservative positions out of fear. For example, when Norm saw that healthcare was an important issue to Minnesotans, instead of working across the aisle, instead of bringing people together in the Senate to work for real healthcare reform, he held forums. He held these forums in small towns during the day so as to avoid ugly scenes where Minnesotans unhappy with his positions might show up.
Finally, Norm stood by as the Bush Administration invaded American's privacy through warrantless wiretapping, removed American's citizens right to habeas corpus (the right to challenge why you're being held), tortured prisoners of war and has co-authored a bill entitled the The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism and Prevention Act of 2007 (S.1959). The real name of the bill should be the Thought Crime bill. It is a vaguely worded proposal that would create a 21st century McCarthyism. Thankfully, the bill never got a hearing.
Click on an issue bar to find in-depth analysis of Norm's positions, votes and lies concerning the particular issue.
Most Important Things You Need To Know About Norm Coleman
(Updated on 1/4/2009)
In October 2008, less than one month out from election day and Norm was embroiled in a controversy. It all started at Harper's Magazine. This latest controversy to distract Norm's campaign from their unrelenting attacks upon his opponent Al Franken involved a rich Republican donor, Neiman Marcus and gifts of clothing. Nasser Kazeminy apparently paid for Norm's shopping trips at Needless Markups. At this point, we didn't know how much Norm actually spent. We still don't although anonymous sources have indicated it was over $100,000.
Here's Norm's reaction at the time:
The Pioneer Press had a rough transcript:
Orrick then asked for a simple yes or no answer on the suit question.
"That's the answer, period. You can read it in the answer," he said.
The next day after this first broke, Cullen Sheehan (Norm's Campaign Manager) tried to hold a press conference on privatizing Social Security. Sheehan's answer became the zen moment of Norm's 2008 campaign:
Transcript here. The coverage of this went viral. Every blog and news outlet carried this story.
Norm had a small apartment scandal that hit the big time!
Here's the salient points.
- Norm downsized from an $1700/mth multi-room apartment to a $600/mth basement apartment.
- The house is owned by Jeff Larson, Republican activist and fundraiser.
- Larson owns FLS Connect which Norm's campaign and PAC have paid over $1.5 million.
- Norm employs Larson's wife though she's paid under her maiden name
- Similar apartments in the area rent from $1100 to $1500/mth.
- Norm and Larson claim that its a cramped apartment with no kitchen.
- When the house was on the market in 2007, the apartment was listed as "a huge English basement with a media center, office space, gorgeous custom marble and oak bar plus an airy guest bedroom and bath…Simply Divine!”
- Norm didn't pay two months rent this year and only did so when the reporter for the National Journal, Edward Pound, asked about it. Another month's rent was paid with a table and chairs. Yet this furniture is in his apartment.
- Larson claims that he is homesteading the property, yet admitted in the Nat'l Journal article that he rents the whole house out.
- Norm can only accept gifts from friends (Norm claims Larson is a long-time friend) of under $250.
CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) filed a ethics complaint against Norm.
Here are the posts at mnblue on this topic:
- Ethics Complaint Filed Against Coleman
- Is Norm's Pal Jeff a Tax Cheat?
- Norm's sweetheart apartment deal a violation of Senate ethics?
- What does Norm Coleman do when Laurie visits from CA?
- Norm Coleman's Landlord
Here's Norm's answer to a simple question asked him at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul about what he thought about the previous 8 years under George Bush:
(see the whole video here)
As Norm runs for Governor in the 2010 election, keep in mind that he'll say anything to win the seat. The first debate of the 2008 MN-SEN campaignbetween Al Franken and Norm Coleman took place in Redwood Falls, MN at the annual Farm Fest exemplifies Norm's propensity to lie.
Here are the lies he told:
- Nancy Pelosi is responsible for high gas prices.
- Norm tried to position himself as an environmentalist.
- Norm tried to claim that he has been for maintaining and improving our transportation infrastructure.
- Norm tried to claim he's for energy independence when he's supported Bush's energy policy.
- Norm insinuated that he has supported renewable energy.
- Norm repeated the Drill Here, Drill Now lie. More drilling won't lower gas prices.
- Norm lies about Al's position on the gas tax. Al is not for a gas tax increase.
- Norm claims that nuclear power is alternative energy.
Read the entirety of what Al Franken and Norm had to say here.
Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) is about as independent as a newborn babe. He takes money from the multinational corporations and does their bidding. From Big Oil to Big Polluters to War Profiteers to Big Pharma to indicted, corrupt politicians and their buddies. Of course, who did Norm represent in the US Senate? Who would he represent as Governor of MN?
It certainly isn't our interests. He's a reliable vote for Big oil, against tougher pollution standards and always votes for the hand-outs to his corporate donors. We know that Norm isn't particularly interested in rooting out Republican corruption as he has investigated only a few millions worth of the billions lost to corruption in Iraq.
Does Norm really have any ethical morals guiding his campaign other than the ends justify the means?
Norm's donors in the oil industry keep American addicted to oil -- there has been no movement toward dealing with peak oil under the Bush Administration. The polluters who contribute to Norm have made sure that their biggest advocate outside of the Senate and the White House is the head of the EPA. Our soldiers are eletrocuted and poisoned by the war profiteers who generously donate to Norm's campaign. 50 million Americans have no health care and the cost of prescription drugs increase faster than inflation thanks to the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies. Big Pharma have given Norm more money than any MN politician in history.