Say What? Minnesota Senate

January 30, 2007 · 12:05 AM EST

[A new, semi-regular feature on]

Stuart Rothenberg

Okay, I know that I shouldn’t do this, but I’m going to do it anyway. We’re starting a semi-regular feature in which we identify really, really silly comments that we read or hear. I know that I’m not single-handedly going to cause people to stop saying dumb stuff, but I’m at a stage in my life and my career when I feel free to say what I really think. I do want to emphasize that the people who say these things aren’t necessarily unintelligent, illogical or inane. Sometimes smart people say dumb things too. (Yes, I’m sure some of my past musings fit this category, though I hope not too many.)

From a January 23, 2007 Roll Call article reporting that Senator Norm Coleman has hired a campaign manager for his 2008 reelection bid:

“I think it’s clearly a sign that he thinks he’s in trouble,” said Brian Melendez, chairman of the Minnesota Democratic Party. “I don’t know any other Senate campaign organization that is in place with a campaign manager at this point in the campaign,” Melendez continued. “I guess Coleman saw what happened to all the other Bush cronies in ’06 and is desperate and terrified.”

My reaction? Given Minnesota’s political bent, the state’s election results in 2006 and likely Democratic efforts to oust Coleman, the Republican Senator would have to be kidding himself not to think that he’s in trouble. Obviously he’s a top Democratic target, and obviously he’ll have a tough race if Democrats in the state get their act together. In fact, if Coleman didn’t think he was facing a difficult reelection, I’d think that he was delusional, and I’d see that as a bad omen for his political future.

So if Coleman understands that he’s in trouble, he’s being smart and sensible. Melendez’s comment that Coleman’s step of hiring a manager is “desperate and terrified” ranks as absurd. The senator is just doing what anyone with a brain would be doing, preparing for a battle.

“Desperate” almost two years out from Election Day? “Terrified” because Coleman brought on board a staffer? In fact, it is Melendez’s comment that is ridiculous and over the top. I understand that he wants to take a shot at Coleman, and that’s obviously fine. But his comments are silly, and someone should say so.

I just did.