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Thursday, February 03, 2005


Coleman (R-MN) to vote against Chertoff for SecHomeDef?

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, February 03, 2005 permalink View blog reactions
The junior senator from Minnesota, Norm Coleman, is angry about teh way that the Twin Cities are being underfunded by teh Administration - and plans to vote against Secretary of Homelamd Defense nominee Michael Chertoff to register his protest.

I think that this is a noble position, because loyalty to constituents should trump party loyalties. If more Senators excercised this kind of judgement on the behalf of their states, then the function of Congress as a Chek and Balance upon the Executive Branch would be all the firmer.

Kudos to Coleman for taking a stand. It doesn't matter what party he is a member of. On this, he is doing the right thing (assuming that the Administration doesn't successfully browbeat him down).

Coleman may vote against Chertoff over funding snag
Updated: 02-03-2005 09:40:02 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senator Norm Coleman says he's not willing to support Homeland Security nominee Michael Chertoff because of security funding cuts to the Twin Cities.

The Minnesota Republican's stance is a rare public breach with the Bush administration.

At issue is a reallocation of national homeland security funds announced late last year. The reallocation leaves Minneapolis and Hennepin County with five-point-seven (m) million dollars in funding -- down from 19-and-a-half (m) million dollars the previous year for the larger Twin Cities area.

The changes were aimed at getting money to places at high risk for terrorist attacks.

Coleman says he's been lobbying Bush administration officials to get them to treat St. Paul and Minneapolis as one entity for funding purposes. But a Homeland Security spokeswoman says it's unlikely that the grants will be adjusted this year.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


I must disagree Aziz. In general I support Congressmen not walking in step with the President, but this situation's details are not reassuring. First, he is doing this because his state is not getting it's "fair share" of pork. If only anti-pork positions won elections, the country would be in a much better place. Second, he's taking out his displeasure about a Homeland Security decision on the incoming Secretary. Mr. Chertoff did not make this decision and is now being punished for it. I can not agree that those reasons are good justification for a "no" vote.


quoting Lincoln:

"The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot, so well do, for themselves--in their separate, and individual capacities."

Homeland Security is I think unquestionably within the purview of government according to this standard - and so I guess I just fail to understand the basis for calling it "pork".

if he was protesting a shortfall of federal research funds for Johns Hopkins (which would arguably be a worthwhile cause) the pork accusation would be a legitimate critique regardless of the fact that money given to Johns Hopkins directly translates into advancing the state of teh art in cancer research and patients' lives. That would be an example of an area where i think there would be reasonable debate.

As for Challenging Chertoff, its precisely because Chertoff will likely be confirmed easily on a partisan split vote that Coleman has room to protest. Were Chertoff's nomination in any danger it is doubtful that Coleman would make his stand there. But he has that lucury.

And really, what other manner of leverage would you have him exert? How else to draw attention to the pressing needs o fhis constituents?

For teh record, I consider Mineapolis to be exquisitely vulnerable to terrorism. Because of the Mall of America. Biggest mall = biggest target. Check out the essay by Clarke in The Atlantic Monthly about the future of the war on terror...


Let's see, Coleman tells the people of MN that he is a 99% improvement over Paul Wellstone (whose seat he took in the senate) soon after taking office.

Al Franken all but declares he's running against him in 08...

...and Coleman makes one stand against a Bush nominee who will sail through on the vote anyhow.

Do you think Coleman is worried about being perceived correctly as Bush's freshman lapdog, or do you think he really is in an outrage over the slashing of the H.S. budget? After all, who could have seen that coming.


Heath, to be onest, i don't care - what is more important than *intent* here is *precedent* - and opposing Bush for a symbolic protest, especially by a member of Bush's own party, is a good thing.

Remember - the Legislative Branch is OURS. The Executive Branch is not the voice of the people. We should applaud any action by the Legislative Branch to excercize its oversight over the Executive because in doing so it strengthen US, the People. This is an extension of Dean's "you have the power" ideology - we shoudl always root for Congress over the other branches because its the one branch we can actually influence directly.

In other words, dont let perfect be the enemy of the good - and dont cut your nose to spite your face :)


Too kind, Aziz.

Coleman's just trying to grab some $$ for his district and won't really vote against Chertoff.


Frankly I don't care either. This is not a precedent--this is politics as usual.


Look, I'm not just off the turnip truck - but what honor is there is never giving an inch?

Honor in politics in not an oxymoron. Honor demands that you respect your opposition. If, for example, your Party's president nominates an AG, and the opposing party votes against him along nearly a party line vote, do you accuse them of obstructionism? I say no. I say you should acknowledge the difference of opinion - and move forward, using that difference as a badge of belief.

The GOP leadership is unlikely to take that tack on the Sunday chat shows - but wouldnt it be amazing if for once we didnt have to be treated to the spectacle of recrimination same-old?

Cant we find something larger than ourselves upon which to hang our disagreements?

It's not being kind or naieve. Its about a respecct for the system, and for balances, and for - at teh risk of being repetitive - honor.


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Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.