Lake Clue-Be-Gone

Garrison Keillor has a piece in Salon (the premium pay-only section, so no direct link) that
attempts to skewer Norm Coleman
. Quoth Keillor:

He was 9 points down to Wellstone when the senator’s plane went down. But the tide was swinging toward the president in those last 10 days. And Norm rode the tide. Mondale took a little while to get a campaign going. And Norm finessed Wellstone’s death beautifully. The Democrats stood up in raw grief and yelled and shook their fists and offended people. Norm played his violin. He sorrowed well in public, he was expertly nuanced. The mostly negative campaign he ran against Wellstone was forgotten immediately. He backpedalled in the one debate, cruised home a victor. It was a dreadful low moment for the Minnesota voters. To choose Coleman over Walter Mondale is one of those dumb low-rent mistakes, like going to a great steakhouse and ordering the tuna sandwich. But I don’t envy someone who’s sold his soul. He’s condemned to a life of small arrangements. There will be no passion, no joy, no heroism, for him. He is a hollow man. The next six years are not going to be kind to Norm.

Let me clear about something: I’ve met Norm Coleman. I’ve had the chance to talk to him extensively before his election to the Senate. I can personally vouch that Keillor is, quite frankly, full of shit.

Senator Coleman is a man of integrity, passion, joy, and heroism. He was willing to stand against his own party to get his goals done, and he later realized that the Democratic Party had abandoned St. Paul. He personally turned the city of St. Paul from a slum to a vibrant city with attractions for the whole family. To say that Senator Coleman has no passion is to ignore all the things he did to get where he did both as Mayor of St. Paul and now as Minnesota’s newest Senator.

This is the major problem I have with Democrats, and the reason why Democrats lost this election. It’s because they have the attitude that they are the anointed guardians of the poor and downtrodden, and anyone who disagrees with them is evil, anti-democratic, or joyless. It’s an attitude of petulance, it’s ignorant, and it’s getting exactly the treatment it deserves.

8 thoughts on “Lake Clue-Be-Gone

  1. On Norm Coleman and St. Paul:

    1) I grew up in St. Paul, and have neven left the Twin Cities area. In my nearly fifty years, St. Paul has never been a slum and has always been a vibrant city with many family attractions.

    2) The citizens of St. Paul voted for Walter Mondale over Norm Coleman by a two-to-one margin. Coleman lost in all 104 voting precincts in St. Paul. These are the same folks that lived with Norm as their mayor for eight years.


  2. Tom,

    Perhaps I was a bit harsh in calling St. Paul a slum, although under the leadership of Senator Coleman it has not only increased it’s bond rating, but gained the RiverCentre, the Science Museum, and the XCel Energy Center. All of those gains were made possible by Mayor Coleman’s leadership. Certainly St. Paul is a much more vibrant city than it was just a few years ago.

  3. It is absurd to imagine that corporate entertainment centers–a hockey rink, a kids’ museum–transform a city into a vibrant, fun place. There merely make the city into the exact duplicate of many other places in the US; true vibrancy is much harder to get at, and has something to do with diversity.

  4. I grew up in St. Paul. As a high school student, I helped canvas for a fresh faced, young go-getter DEMOCRAT Norm Coleman. That was 15 years ago.
    Norm Coleman is a traitor. He lists Bob Dylan as a favorite artist. I’m sure Bob Dylan would be insulted.
    Wow, Norm Coleman made a bunch of deals with major “Evil Empires” to create a few “attractions.” I liked the Science Museum where it was. The Civic Center was a decent venue, I don’t see why it needed to be tore down and rebuilt as the Xcel Center.
    Creating a bunch of minimum wage serving jobs does NO GOOD for St. Paul. Taking hard earned tax dollars from the masses to build stadiums that normal folks can’t really afford the ticket prices anyways.
    I’ve always loved Minnesota, but now I’m looking into moving to Wisconsin. At least they have a democratic governor.

  5. Those downtown facilities are only one part of St. Paul’s recent improvements. Some of the more historic neighborhoods that had once been high-crime areas are now once again vibrant. It’s more than just the XCel Center or the Science Museum, it’s also little places like Moscow On The Hill (the best Russian restaurant in America), Cosetta’s (with the best Caesar salads ever made), or Fabulous Ferns (one of my absolute favorite bars).

    The point remains that Norm Coleman helped bring more than just the Minnesota Wild to St. Paul. He helped reduce crime, increased the city’s bond rating to the highest it had ever been, and made it a better place to live. Granted, I’m not a native of St. Paul, but I wouldn’t spend so much time there, and put so much money into the local economy had those changes not been made.

  6. Please explain to me which high crime areas have been magically turned into capitalist havens by Norm’s hands?
    Please explain how minimum wage restaraunt jobs help the local inhabitants? (BTW, Cosetta’s has been raided multiple times by the INS for hiring illegal aliens because they can retain that workforce VERY cheaply and raise profits.)
    Seems to me, low wage serving jobs (waitresses earn LESS than the minimum hourly wage) help no one but the restaraunt owner. They get cheap labor, keep their workers part-time to avoid paying ANY sort of benefits or insurance. They help keep the poor workforce poor and ensure a steady supply of cheap labor.
    Please explain how Norm Coleman had anything to do with bringing restaraunts to St. Paul? Cosetta’s, for one, has been in St. Paul since, I believe, the early 1900’s.
    What do restaraunts have to do with politics anyways? Any recent health study will tell you Americans as a whole are fatter than ever? And there is definately a link to obesity and eating out. But I digress.

  7. I used to live on Seventh Place and can testify that downtown St. Paul is much more “liveable” now than when I lived there. Whatever Coleman had or didn’t have to do with that, I’d have voted for him again if he were running for Mayor and I still lived in St. Paul. He ordered the streets hot-patched in February, which fact alone should have won him a pension for life and the title of Duke of the Public Ways (as anyone who’s ever driven in Minnesota would agree).
    That being said, I didn’t vote for him for Senator. I simply didn’t see how he could represent the people of this state given how beholden he is to the national party and its leaders. Perhaps he will prove me wrong.
    But neither that nor his well-known party switch — the DFL ran ads of his address to a state convention supporting then-President Clinton, adding the insult of a comical musical soundtrack behind them — doesn’t make the guy a “hollow man.” Personally, I’d reserve that ephithet for someone who openly mocks his home state and its culture week after endless week, shamelessly markets the worst kind of nostalgia for a time that never was, then tops it with the bright brass-studded gall of publicly begging for money from his listeners but refuses to disclose his own income, one whose own home life is every bit as “interesting” as those of anyone he’s ever slandered in Salon.

  8. Restaurants are only one part of the story. Getting St. Paul a AAA bond rating is extremely important for improving capital flow into the city, which brings good jobs. It’s not just waiters and waitresses who are coming in to the city, but also high tech jobs, service jobs, and others. (And personally, I use restaurants as a measuring stick for a city – if you have a thriving restaurant population it’s almost always a good measure of the overall health of the city.)

    I think the reason Sen. Coleman didn’t carry St. Paul is what the ex-STP downtowner gave as his reason – St. Paul is a stronghold of the DFL, and always has been. Even Tim Pawlenty who won by a rather large margin, only won a single St. Paul precinct.

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