A classless Coleman emerges already

Before Norm Coleman was elected, many Minnesotans were concerned about whether he is sincere or trustworthy enough to deserve a Senate seat. Because of his background of switching parties, dubious business deals as mayor of St. Paul and a contrived interpretation of his record as mayor, many thought he was out merely for political advancement at the expense of any real personal integrity. Only one day after he won the election, though, he has proven these concerns to be valid with his request that interim Sen. Dean Barkley step down early so he can gain seniority.

Even though the newly elected Republican Senate will not convene for another few months, Coleman has already attempted to circumvent the rules with this request. The problem is Coleman actually believes this is an appropriate arrangement to suggest. Gov. Jesse Ventura appointed Barkley to act as an interim replacement for the late Sen. Paul Wellstone and is supposed to retain the seat until the next session of Congress convenes in January. According to the states’ constitution, Ventura has the sole authority to appoint Barkley to that seat. Coleman, however, does not have the right to request that any senator – whether one serving for two months or for two terms – prematurely vacate the seat so he can gain seniority.

Yesterday, however, Coleman said he will not ask Barkley to step down early, because he was wrong about gaining seniority. If Coleman had any concern for anything other than himself, he would have known such a suggestion was wrong in the first place because it is unethical to manipulate the political system for personal advantage. This request is a classless act that clearly illustrates how Coleman confuses what is good for the state with what is good for Coleman. His predecessor would have known the difference.