Norm badgeIt was a banner year for assholes. It would take one gigantic cocksucker to claw his or her way over the likes of Hank Paulson, the Palins, Liddy Dole, Ted Stevens, Rod Blagojevich, "Hot Karl" Rove, Joe the Plumber, both Clintons, and more political strategists, campaign managers, and pundits than we can count. Is there any person out there who feels able to answer the call, to remove the Excalibur Dildo from the stone and become its master?

The chair recognizes the Senator from Minnesota.

Norm Coleman spent 2008 with his hands wrapped around Dignity's throat, eventually forcing its head underwater until the bubbles stopped rising. For a man who once lost a gubernatorial race to the pro wrestler who carried the minigun in Predator, it is practically inconceivable that he could go downhill from there. Like a 16th Century explorer, Coleman decided that the only way to find out if an elected official's career could get any worse was to provision some wooden ships, crew them with a few hundred stout men, and set sail for the edge of the map.

Coleman, widely recognized to be one of the most humorless puds on the planet (and one who looks strangely like the offspring of John Kerry and a yardstick), decided that the way to compete with comedian and former SNL writer Al Franken was to out-funny him with cute campaign ads. Rather than striking a serious tone to make Franken look like an amateurish joke candidate, Coleman managed to make himself look like the amateur. In a thousand years scientists may understand how a United States Senator managed to look rinky-dink in a race against a smug comedian, but for the moment we remain baffled.

Among his many ads attempting to be funny, the pièce de résistance of Coleman's idiocy was one entitled "Why Not?" The ad features three actors playing dipshit slobs in bowling shirts (you know, the condescending caricature of how six-figure DC political consultants see "average voters") discussing Franken's many failings in a ridiculously affected and overdone "Superfans" accent. That's how we dress and how we talk! The commercial ends with the alpha-Grabowski suggesting that they run for Senate themselves…why not? They're just as qualified as Franken!!! It's not the most offensive ad you'll ever see, but it sets a new mark for inanity which may not soon be equalled.

Coleman's campaign is perfectly represented in his ads, a mixture of mouth-frothing attacks and attempts at humor which appear to have been conceived, approved, and executed by a council of stroke patients. One commercial break might feature "Angry Al", painting Franken as an unstable, profane lunatic while the next break would bring the cloying Leave it to Beaver comedy of "Got It," which may be the first ad to close with an image of the candidate hunching over a garbage can. In a remarkable synthesis of the two styles, Coleman sunk to new depths in "Excuses", in which an 8 year-old girl clutching a teddy bear hurls insults at Franken before closing with a "My dog ate it" joke. A sampling of Coleman's advertisements leave open the very serious question of whether or not he has ever met another human being.

Running the kind of campaign that makes Americans hate politics so goddamn much, one that simultaneously insults their intelligence and bombards them with vile rhetoric, is nothing new. It's certainly not enough to win a nondescript political figure the CotY. However, what Coleman did after Election Day elevated him from mere ass clown to the rarefied air of the legitimate cocksucker.

Let's say you play a basketball game and at the end of four quarters the score is tied. Do we play overtime or does one team simply demand that the other concede defeat? If you're Norm Coleman, and perhaps only if you're Norm Coleman, the latter is the correct choice. Faced with an almost incomprehensibly close outcome on Election Eve, Coleman simply declared victory even though Minnesota law mandates an automatic recount in the unlikely event of a race this close. He indignantly demanded that his opponent waive "his right" to a recount to – get this – to save the taxpayers the cost of re-counting the ballots. Those fiscal conservatives! Note well that it isn't the candidate's "right" that produces recounts; it's the voters' right and the state's right and responsibility to make sure that we figure out who actually won the goddamn election. Semantics, of course.

Once the recount got underway Coleman really reached into his bag of Asshole, instantly transforming from a nondescript, robotic putz into the incarnation of Nixonian paranoia coupled with right-wing Talk Radio fury. When Franken gained votes in the recount Coleman's leeches helpfully noted that it was producing "improbable shifts that are overwhelmingly accruing to the benefit of Al Franken." The Secretary of State is a Democrat, proving indisputably and for all time that the process is overwhelmingly slanted to Franken's benefit. Campaign lawyer and professional jagoff Fritz Knaak knoted that the integrity of the process had been "breached" and that "the supercharged environment we're in leads us to suspect everything." Nixon would be proud. Knaak and Coleman concocted one baseless charge after another, including the infamous "ballots in the car" story that led Bill O'Reilly to confidently claim "the fix is in" long after Knaak, Coleman, and Gov. Pawlenty admitted that it was not true.

Like all people who go too far in politics, Coleman's party eventually turned on him. Gov. Pawlenty took to the talk shows defending the integrity of the recount and rebuking Coleman for "throwing gasoline on the fire" of the Talk Radio histrionics. One of Minnesota's most prominent right-leaning newspapers editorialized:

It's hard to believe we're writing this, but it's clear that Franken – known for his over-the-top humor and partisan antics – is the one acting with class in this serious situation. Voters, indeed, deserve to know the outcome of a recount. It's not up to those who may or may not be the winner.

With Franken in the lead Coleman did exactly as we would expect by taking his fight to court. While the merits of his legal argument are outside of my jurisdiction, the fact remains that the courts' rulings in Coleman's favor have not put him back in the lead. He will continue to drag the race out into 2009, making it likely that Congress will be sworn in before the outcome is known in Minnesota.

What a year, Norm. What? There's MORE? Yeah, apparently this fucker is as corrupt as a cheap hard drive.

CREW named him one of the most corrupt men in Congress after it was revealed that he lived rent-free in Washington on the tab of a Republican consultant who has been paid almost $2 million from Coleman's PAC and, in a completely unrelated hiring decision, who hired Coleman's wife as a "consultant" to the tune of $101,000. Not salacious enough for you? Well, now the FBI is on Coleman like glue over allegations and hard evidence that an Iranian millionaire (I'm not making this up) from Bloomington, MN named Nasser Kazeminy used an offshore oil drilling company called Deep Marine Technology to funnel $75,000 to Coleman through Hays Insurance, a company whose employees consist of…Coleman's wife (who, I shit you not, invented and markets something called the "Blo & Go"). The Deep Marine CEO and shareholders blew the whistle, telling the FBI that no insurance or services were rendered by Hays. Coincidentally, and much to the delight of the wealthy investor behind a drilling company called Deep Marine Technology, Coleman introduced a bill in the Senate on June 12 calling for more offshore drilling in US waters.

Norm Coleman, holy shit. You are one enormous cocksucker. You managed to excel at being lame, condescending, dirty, hysterical, paranoid, and crooked all in the span of a few months. Most people (Blagojevich for example) can only handle one at a time. And Norm, if you think that I am about to make a joke based on the phrase "handle more than one at a time" in an essay about how much wang you suck, well, unlike your campaign ads I tend to work a bit harder than that for comedy. Congratulations, 2008 CotY Norm Coleman. May your trip home from Washington and, eventually, into Federal prison be a smooth one.


  • Excellent picks all around. Seeing Coleman squeak out a lead on election night was the second-most dispiriting result of the evening (the first being Prop 8, wherein California voters expanded rights to chickens and took them away from gay people), and watching Franken pull ahead in the recount has brought me great pleasure (if the CA courts overturn 8 on constitutional grounds, that'd be the icing on the cake).

    Maybe it's a sign of the times, but I noticed all 3 CotY contenders were the recipients of Karmic justice, ending the year in far worse shape than they started it, publically humiliated with all their aspirations in ruins. Coleman is on his way out of office, beaten by a funnyman, and likely to be wearing an institutional orange jumpsuit for 3-5 years. Clinton bungled his wife's presidential campaign, soured huge swathes of the Democratic party against him, and ended up with a Democratic president who owes him nothing. Kristol foisted his disasterous protege on the GOP, will likely lose his NYT gig, and is mostly known as Jon Stewart's punching bag. Quite a change from a few years ago, where the Cheneys and O'Reillys would respond to criticism with a smirk or a shrug, and then cash their paychecks and invade another country.

  • It's the sign of an inspired choice* that nary a one of us called Coleman as the winner, yet few (none?) of us can argue with the result. One of the few benefits of living in a battleground state was that all the local news coverage was dominated by the here-and-now; I was thus shielded from the Minnesota race, and after reading this piece, boy am I glad I was.

    *Either that, or Ed just didn't want to make good on the promise of a prize.

  • I was blissfully ignorant of what a jerk Norm Coleman was, prior to this.
    Mind you, I wasn't so offended by those ads. Sure, they represented how out of touch NC was. I'd hate to try to compete with a professional comedy writer, if I felt humor was the key. And it's a fine line, sometimes, between the context necessary for humor, and the context necessary for criticism.

    To be honest, the most damning things are:
    1) It's Bush's cock he's sucking
    2) He asked his political opponent to both subvert the political process, and to compromise his own interest, with the thought that it would save money. (And really, if he believed that, he could have withdrawn on the same principles.)

    (Even still, my dither gets more frothy for stuff that's more local to me. I still say Jesus' name was invoked more frequently before bad stuff. I'm not criticizing the Superstar, unless people purporting to promote him are actually right. If so, he was one heck of a sarcastic guy, what with his ironic advocacy for love, brotherhood, compassion, and charity.)

  • A well deserved CotY IMHO. I am sad that Coleman won't be in congress next year though, it always makes for a good week when a sitting Republican Senator/Congressman gets indicted.

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