There was some pretty serious (and completely ridiculous) chatter this weekend after the Star Tribune endorsed Sen. Norm Coleman for reelection. Was it strategic? Do they even like Coleman? Do they hate Al Franken? What's the deal?
MN Blue says the decision is part of their election-wide method of business:
Part of the Star Tribune's strategy for reelecting Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) over Democrat Al Franken has been to keep this race issue-free. The pages of the Strib have never discussed Norm's record in any substantial way. Neither have they informed their readers of what Al's positions on the issues are.
When Norm attacks Al or there is bad news about Al, it is front page news. Of course, Norm's scandals have gotten short shrift except when they front-page their defense of Norm. Any good news for Al's campaign, inside pages of the Metro. So the Strib's strategy to help elect Norm took the obvious step of endorsing him.
Hot Air thinks this is the final nail in Franken's coffin:
Michael additionally reports that the Strib casts doubt on Franken's ability to be a "constructive force" for consensus and compromise. That's certainly an understatement, but coming from the Strib's editorial board, it's a rare bit of common sense and sanity. When even the Strib's editors see Franken as a divisive presence, the lesson for readers should be obvious.
How badly does this hurt Franken? He's been trying to paint Coleman as a lackey of George Bush and an extremist, which has always been a ridiculous position, one that even a DFL-friendly outfit like the Star Tribune can't quite swallow it. Note, too, that the Strib could just as easily have endorsed independent candidate Dean Barkley or refrained from any endorsement at all. Instead, by backing Coleman, they may have put the final nail in Franken's coffin.
MNPublius isn't surprised:
MNpublius joked about this last week: The editorial board of Avista Capital Partners' local paper, the Star Tribune, has gone so far right that we knew there was virtually zero chance of Al Franken being endorsed by it regardless of how qualified. We covered their editorial positions earlier, but there's more background to back it up the non-surprise.
Media Matters has a pretty harsh discussion of the turning tide at the Star Tribune. They are giving Coleman a break this election season, Media Matters says.
We weren't very surprised either, but we were hoping to see a Barkley endorsement instead. That would've mixed up this already jumbled mess even more and given us more to talk about.