Norm Coleman

After the GOP was trounced by Latino voters on Election Day—a nightmare scenario that sophisticated observers had seen coming for a long time—I called former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman, the Chairman of the Board of the center-right American Action Network and its related organization, the Hispanic Leadership Network.

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At almost precisely the minute that Michele Bachmann was declaring her presidential candidacy in Iowa at the end of June, I was interviewing Tim Pawlenty in a borrowed conference room in a midtown Manhattan financial firm. For much of our interview, the long-faced, dark-haired-flecked-with-gray, 50-year-old Pawlenty sat tall in his chair, rarely fidgeting, his hand gestures confined to occasionally pointing for emphasis. Though he maintained steady eye contact, many of his answers were campaign boilerplate, and his mind sometimes seemed miles away.

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Norm Coleman. John Edwards. Ursula Plassnik. What do all these people have in common? That's right. Each one became a Harvard fellow after failing to win a high-profile political campaign. And while this year's crop—which includes Senator Coleman and Terry McAuliffe—is perhaps not the most dignified, Cambridge remains a prime spot for office-seekers to rehabilitate. Click through this slideshow to see some of Harvard’s most prominent spurned politician-turned-fellows. Click here to view the slideshow.

Spare the Rod

I FULLY REALIZE that few complaints are more tiresome than “your party’s scandal is worse than my party’s scandal.” But indulge me for a moment. I can’t think of a good reason why Rod Blagojevich has become the most hated man in America while Norm Coleman still walks the streets with his head held high. What, you say—Norm Coleman? Yes, Norm Coleman! Let me explain. The soon-to- be-former senator’s scandal is pretty simple.

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Gorgeous he was not. He stood a few inches over five feet tall. In place of his usual Savile Row suit, he wore a light blazer and dark slacks, and his shirt flared open at the collar. His hair was thinning, his tan fading. But, when he ascended the podium, the audience cheered. It was Saturday night at the First Congregational Church in downtown Washington, and George Galloway—the most celebrated visiting orator in the United States—was about to address the antiwar crowd. Galloway’s day job is representing an East London neighborhood in British Parliament for the respect Party.

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