Reading between the lines suggests that Norm Coleman’s sights are firmly set on starting a federal-court fight to win his return to the U.S. Senate seat — and that at least one local corporate leader thinks he’s still occupying that seat.
One of the more interesting aspects of the reply brief that Coleman filed at the Minnesota Supreme Court Friday is what it didn’t say. As the Politico observes, the former senator had nothing to say in response to a major point that Democratic rival Al Franken made in his brief: that the high court should direct Gov. Tim Pawlenty to issue an election certificate as soon as the state’s judiciary is done with Coleman’s appeal.
That silence could mean Coleman is ready to bow out if he loses his current appeal (wrong, says a staffer). Or, Coleman could be readying a request for an injunction from the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent Pawlenty from issuing Franken the certificate he would need to take Coleman’s old seat in the Senate.
Meanwhile, one Minnesota corporate leader is talking as if Coleman never left. Here’s 3M CEO George Buckley in USA TodayBusiness Agenda):
Leaders make unpleasant decisions. They often face unpalatable choices. Norm Coleman, our local senator (R-Minn.), asked me if it was right to bail out the automotive companies. I said it’s not about good choices and bad choices, but making choices that are bad or worse. I wish we weren’t rewarding people for what they have done. But leaders had to choose between the unpalatable and the unthinkable. The unpalatable is supporting the banks. The unthinkable is the collapse of the banking system. Leaders aren’t given the choice between dandelions and roses. It might be dandelions and chickweed.
A few observations: First, it’s weird that Buckley — a donor to Coleman’s 2008 campaign — still refers to Coleman as “our senator” more than four months after the Republican’s term ended. And it’s even weirder that USA Today follows Buckley’s lead and IDs Coleman (”R-Minn.”) as if he’s still in office.
Then there’s the question of when the Coleman-Buckley conversation occurred. The topic of bailing out banks and the present-tense reference to a Sen. Coleman suggests it could have been last fall.
But the common-sense assumption, reinforced by the auto-industry bailout topic (and the dandelion metaphor), would be that Coleman’s consultation with Buckley was recent. In which case it’s interesting that the former senator is reaching out to corporate leaders on matters before his once-and-perhaps-future colleagues in the U.S. Senate.
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