Meeting Norm Coleman–A Mensch Among Men

I had the pleasure yesterday of meeting Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman.

Senator Coleman is locked in a tight recount battle for his senate seat. He is fighting for his political life, and I am praying for him.

I have met Senator Coleman before, and will most likely see him again next month in Florida. Yet this event in Los Angeles was blocks from my home, and it was a truly special event. This is because Norm Coleman is a truly special man.

I have taken great pride in his career, since he is a Jewish Republican. Yet while I agree with him on issues, my affection for him goes beyond politics. It is personal.

One issue that Senator Coleman has taken an interest in is the issue of Guatemalan adoptions. My close friend and his wife were in the process of adopting a baby from Guatemala in 2007. Despite following all the proper procedures, the adoption became bogged down in bureaucracy. On the day after Thanksgiving, Senator Coleman flew to Guatemala, and worked with the Guatemalan government to help the process flow more smoothly for families that were already far along in the process. In February of 2008, on Valentines Day of all days, my friends got the official word that the loveliest boy on the planet would forever be their son.

“The boy,” as we affectionately call him, was in my home watching the Super Bowl. He knows how to raise his hands after a touchdown. While I am trying to make him a Raiders fan, if Senator Coleman requests it, the Vikings will get positive mentions in his toddler ears.

When I look in the boy’s eyes, I see the great work that Senator Coleman did to make my friends’ dream become a reality. Last night I looked into Senator Coleman’s eyes, and could not thank him enough. When I told him how much his work on the issue was appreciated, he responded in a way that was warmer than I could have possibly expected. Before getting to that, below are some of his remarks from the event itself.

“I have been in public service for 32 years, and these are challenging times. They might be the most challenging times I have seen in my three decades of public service. Times are challenging regarding Israel, and regarding the economy.”

“We cannot live through a Jimmy Carter time again.”

“The Republican Jewish Coalition brings out the best in us. The commitment to Tzedakah (charity) and Mitzvahs (good deeds) are important values. They are the values of our caring for our fellow man. Our commitment to entrepreneurship is important. People can take away our land. They can take away our property. They cannot take away what is in our head and our heart. What is between our ears and inside our heart cannot be taken away.”

“Times have been tough. 2008 was a tough election. Yet tough times like these is when we define friendship. A friend is someone who walks in when everyone else is walking out. Thank you all for being here.”

“My heart is with those that support Israel, and support economic growth.”

“The other day I was talking with Bernie Marcus, who founded Home Depot. He told me that he does not think he could start Home Depot today.”

Senator Coleman then shifted to the Minnesota recount battle that is underway.

“For those who need to know where we are, they are still counting.”


“I have been counting and recounting my blessings.”

(more laughter)

“One tactical error that we made was that we believed that the recount would only be about votes that were cast on election night. The other side was very quick to attempt to add ballots that were not counted on that day. We should have been quicker.”

“Democrats put more rejected ballots in that came from Democratic counties.”

“You really shouldn’t have more votes than actual voters.”

“The Democrats wanted to stop as soon as they got ahead. It would be like in the Super Bowl if the St. Louis Cardinals…excuse me, I am dating myself, the Arizona Cardinals…The Cardinals went up 23-20 when Larry Fitzgerald, a good Minnesotan by the way, scored that touchdown. Yet they were not allowed to just end the game at that point.”

“This will not be like Washington State between Rossi and Gregoire. The Democrats get ahead and want to stop. I am not going to stop. This will continue. All the votes will be counted, and counted properly.”

“One ballot issue is the rule that ballots have to be witnessed. In Harvard County, which is Republican, 181 ballots were rejected for not having a witness. Harvard County contains only 4,000 people. Yet in Democratic leaning Minneapolis County next door, out of 28,000 people, zero ballots were rejected due to witness issues. Our attorneys brought up the point that if the 181 people rejected in Harvard County had been in the next county over, their votes would have been counted.”

Senator Coleman then offered more political analysis.

“Iowa Senator Tom Harkin stated that ‘Al Franken helps us pass the card check bill.’ My seat stops that.”

“In baseball, there is a game every day. Football is once a week at a specific time. The Masters Tournament and Wimbledon are annual, at specific times. Yet foreign policy is a tug of war. It is 24/7.”

Senator Coleman then offered opinions on the Middle East and other foreign policy issues.

“Israel should bring me in as an adviser on close elections.”

“In the United States, we build coalitions, and then have elections. In Israel, they have elections, and then build coalitions.”

“There should be concern if President Obama talks with Iran. What is the starting point? They will begin with demanding that we get out of Afghanistan, get out of Iraq, and stop supporting Israel. Where can we go from there with that as a beginning?”

“Bernard Lewis said that ‘Strength in the Middle East is how people judge you.’ Jimmy Carter does not understand strength.”

“For some people, a handshake is a deal. With others, if you offer a hand, they will slap it away. Hugo Chavez is a thug. If we act nice to him, that does not mean he will be nice to us. John Bolton points out that talking does not work if the other side does not have the same mindset.”

“People should read what (the late) Tom Lantos had to say about Durban I before considering Durban II.”

“Negotiating with despots and terrorists gives them credence.”

“I met Mahmood Abbas. He told me that Hamas are extremists. Jimmy Carter met with leaders of Hamas while Hamas is throwing Fatah people out of windows.”

“Your support for the RJC helps the Senate stay strong on Israel.”

“God’s miracles stop when we stop doing our part. Israel is a miracle. America is a miracle.”

“We must stand strong for Israel and stand strong for America. These are tough times, but better times will come. By standing strong during the tough times, we will then be able to celebrate the good times.”

Senator Coleman then took questions. The first question dealt with the Israeli election, which the Senator spoke about.

“We don’t control Israel. Israel is a sovereign state. We think we know people, but things change over time. Benjamin Netanyahu may be different from what we remember. Our focus should be on keeping Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Otherwise, it does not matter who is in charge.”

Somebody else asked about the bailout of 2008 and the 2009 stimulus law. Senator Coleman gave a thoughtful answer.

“We are uncharted waters. Nobody has the answers. I voted for the bailout. I took plenty of heat from conservatives in Minnesota for voting for it. I would have voted against the stimulus. People took advantage of the current climate to enact a transformation that will burden our kids. Two-thirds of the spending will have zero impact until 2011. The question is whether we get through this, or become like Japan in the 1990s. I believe we will come back, but not quickly. Real estate will come back, but not the way it was between 2001 and 2005. I voted for the bailout because I believed that we needed to do something. There are no geniuses on this. Not Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson, or Alan Greenspan. Nobody knows.”

Senator Coleman, unlike many Republicans, has a spine. He does not cower when asked to defend President George W. Bush, as one questioner asked him if he could and would.

“President Bush called me the Friday before he left office. He said that we were part of a very special group that has been through recounts. He said that he ‘felt my pain.'”


“President Bush has a legacy. When Joe Biden had Iraq divided into three parts, President Bush stayed strong. Others said that Al Sadr would win. In the recent Iraqi elections, the secularists defeated the religious parties. Iraq without Saddam Hussein has made the world safer.”

“President Bush also has a legacy with regards to helping fight diseases including AIDS in Africa. I went with Senators Bill Frist, a licensed heart surgeon, and Mitch McConnell and Mike Dewine to Africa in 2003. The actions that were taken these past few years have resulted in millions of lived being saved.”

Senator Coleman concluded his formal remarks with what he said near the beginning of the event.

“A friend is one who walks in when everyone else is walking out. Thank you for your friendship.”

After a standing ovation, I had the opportunity to ask Senator Coleman a question about the recount. I wanted to know if the Minnesota Supreme Court was fair and honest, or if it was a kangaroo Court. Since the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Bush vs. Gore was established precedent, was the Minnesota Supreme Court going to adhere to it, or act like the Florida or Massachusetts Supreme Courts.

I was pleased with his answer, and I hope he is right.

He informed me that he felt that the Minnesota Supreme Court was honest and fair. He pointed out that two of the justices were on the canvassing board supervising the recount, and that they honorably recused themselves. A couple of the justices out of the five are strict constructionists. He felt that the process has been and will be fair. When I cited the activism of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Senator Coleman assured me that this was not the case in Minnesota. He would know better than me. Again, I pray he is right.

Yet the real highlight of the evening is what gave me the most insight into the character of the Senator. Before his remarks, when I first spoke to him, I informed him that my best friend had adopted a Guatemalan baby. I told him the very condensed version of events.

Senator Coleman then surprised me by asking me for my friend’s phone number. I gave him the number, and he promised me that after his remarks, he would call my friend. After he was done speaking, I was on the other side of the room. I heard a voice call out, “Eric.” I turned around, and Senator Coleman said to me, “I am calling him now.”

When my friend picked up the phone, the Senator asked for him by name, and then said, “Hi, this is Norm Coleman.”

I am very grateful that my friend knew that this was not a prank. I would have been mortified had he hung up on the Senator. They spoke for a few minutes, and I deliberately wandered just out of earshot so I would not hear the conversation. I wanted it to be private, even from me.

That phone call encapsulates the kind of man that Senator Coleman is. My friend lives in Los Angeles. He has never even been to Minnesota. His wife is not even a republican. Yet politics is not about elections. It is about policy. It is about making the world a better place. It is about taking joy in helping others.

I am forever grateful to Norm Coleman. After all he has done, the least I can do is help him in his legal recount battle.

So whether one is Jewish, Republican, both, or neither but just supportive of what is decent and right in this world, please help Norm Coleman.

He stands strong for what is right. Well, he himself is right. He  is a Mensch. Let us all stand strong for a true friend of America and Israel. Let us stand strong for a fine man. Let us stand strong for a true Mensch.

Thank you Senator Coleman. I am proud to stand besides you. So do the people I know best, who are also the best people I know.


11 Responses to “Meeting Norm Coleman–A Mensch Among Men”

  1. Dav Lev says:

    I am a registered Democrat, who voted for Bush both times and
    John McCain/Sarah Palin. I am proud of my votes.

    As far as I’m concerned, Norm Coleman represents my views, even though
    I’m writing from California.

    He is, a real person in my eyes and I hope he wins the election.
    The Republicans understand the precarious situation we in the West
    find ourselves.

    Nancy Pelosi is quick to blame eight years of Republican adminstration
    for all our faults. I blame everyone., from the business smart investors
    who packaged mortgages, to the Fed Chairmen who fostered low
    and sometimes varying interest rates thus allowing buyers of those
    too expensive mortgages, to investment bankers with whiz kids who
    saw a profit from fees, to credit swaps, to Arab bankers, to the ease at
    which the Chinese took paper in exchange for trillions in loans.

    I blame both the Democrats and Republicans for allowing a war to continue for six years, approving it’s financing, even though there were
    doubts about our winning after the initial “Mission accomplished”. I blame Obama now for even considering sending 40,000 troops to Afghanistan. Hasn’t he learned anything from 2,000 of wars in that part of the world, and the Russian debacle? Doesn’t he see that Pakistan is the real enemy, of the US, with 100 nukes. and a population more and more angry at US.

    I blame every American who buys a foreign car…rather than a GM, Ford
    or Chrysler.

    I blame Americans with 10 credit cards each and pay only the minium
    amount each month.

    I blame our Congress for not passing a viable immigration bill..and
    continuing to allow millions to enter our country illegally each year.
    I blame Nancy Pelosi and her gaggle of leftist comrades for passing
    a stimulus bill that is not a stimulus bill at all, but one giant pork chop.

    I blame California (my State) and New York and other States for joyfully participating in this move towards socialism. I blame California for prop 13. I blame NY for a 48 billion dollar shortfall…and not approving taxing
    travelers into the Big Apple to pay for some of it’s bills. I blame NY for
    having an archaic method of taxing municipalities. It costs a lot of money
    to run a subway system you know. Someone has to pay for it.

    I blame the NYStock exchange for not shutting down shop…allowing
    for the reduction in stock holders equity of over 10 trillion dollars (hows your 401k doing?)

    I cannot understand why anyone thinks we are getting something beneficial out of this package which may ultimately total in the trillions? Nothing is free, get it. Someone will have to pay it the interest.
    I mean how many times can you prepare the same bridge, or pave the
    same road? I thought school repairs and upgrades were the perview of
    the States individually?

    I ask, why the concern over fuel costs, now that a barrel of gasoline
    is less than 35.00? Let’s just open up the shale fields and Alaska and
    our offshore drilling…use clean coal, and demand more fuel efficient
    cars (paid for by the US taxpayer, so what?).

    Sure, there will be a 400 dollar and 1,000 dollar rebates to workers.. wow. That’s this year, what about the next 30 years?

    But I guess if only the rich, those earning over 250,000 have to pay for
    it, who cares? Some people think they, the rich, should pay social security if earning over 110,000 year. In California, there are calls for a higher
    surtax on people earning over that amount.

    Sooner or later, the law of diminishing returns will set it..and these people
    will simply bug out of the system and say to themselves..why work so hard, why invest at such risks? Why?

    Mr. Coleman is right about Iran. But I say, let’s talk. Let’s engage. Let’s hear what they have to say difrerent. I know Howard Berman, legislator
    received approval from Washington D. C. to meet with their speaker of
    the parliament and negotiator (nukes). He was turned down by Iran.

    Doesn’t that tell US anything?

  2. Support him? Don’t you mean ‘keep paying his lawyers to drag this thing on forever’? He’s lost. It’s over. Franken has won. There’s no scandals, No more votes to count. It’s done. It’s over. Fait accompli. All Coleman’s doing now is dragging this on as long as possible to make life as difficult as possible for the Senate to pass bills. It’s time Coleman stand up and be the mensch you say he is and end this thing. There’s simply no way whatsoever that he’s going to win. He should have stayed a Democrat.


  3. Micky 2 says:

    Franken needs to be stopped at all costs.

  4. At all costs? What, do you want him shot dead, Micky? And what do you think will happen WHEN Franken is seated? Expect the Earth to stop spinning? It’s not going to make that much of a difference. Face it, Micky, the GOP and the Cons FAILED, the country is a complete and total wreck after years of rule by your heros, and the people have turned against them. It’s time for another way forward, rather than the same ol’ conservative way backwards.


  5. Laree says:

    Specter Snowe and Collins can’t be counted on Coleman is necessary for any checks and balances left in the Senate.

    Al Franken is a joke, I believe he even prefers to be called a jokster Senator Elect. Arrogant Much? Lets just count the ballots in Democrat districts and stop counting ballots in Republican districts. Minnesota should re do the Senate election since it was so close. But of course the Democrats won’t allow that the people who voted for Franken turned out to vote for Obama and while they were their they voted for Franken I doubt many of them would make an extra trip to the polls just for him. Which means this Senate contest is always going to be suspect.

  6. Micky 2 says:

    Dream on Jersey.
    I’m not in the mood to make you look ridiculous again.

    Tho cons did not fail, all they did was lose an election.
    Since our recovery from 911 everything was fine until those idiots in congress showed up.

    “Complete and total wreck”

    Right, whatever you say, even though I can pull up about 20 times when you’ve said that and I proved you wrong, you keep saying it like some out of control form of mental masturbation.
    Too bad that BDS chip in your forehead prevents you from absorbing real fact.

    No, I dont want Franken dead, dont be an a$$.
    He must be stopped from taking office, not living.
    Although I do consider him a waste of skin.

    “And what do you think will happen WHEN Franken is seated? ”

    Much like Obama he’ll be a one term trick once everyone sees what a huge mistake they made.
    Obamas rating are dropping, and so it begins.

  7. Micky, I know conservatives are a little on the heartless side, and empathy is not their cup of tea, but millions of people are jobless, unemployed, underemployed, making less money than they did a decade ago, are in over the head in debt, cannot afford education or medical care, are losing their homes, and on and on and on. Where have you been? Oh yeah… Hawaii. Well, here in Not An Island Paradise life hasn’t been too good lately. In fact, if it weren’t foir the same social programs you cons endless try to destroy, there’d be breadlines and riots in the streets right now. But noooooo!!! Micky’s okay, so everyone must be okay! We had growth!!! A few people got really, really, really rich and skewed the GDP averages and you cons think the economy is great! The fundamentals were great!

    You were WRONG and I doubt any of you will ever be man enough to admit it.


  8. Micky 2 says:

    “A few people got really, really, really rich and skewed the GDP averages and you cons think the economy is great! The fundamentals were great!”

    I work at two foodbanks and sponsor three alcoholics buddy.
    I know whats going on, if you think I’m floating my own boat I can shut you up with timestamped accounts of me doing more to help than probably most liberals.
    In addition, we are the second or third most expensive city in America to live in.
    I doubt you would want to be or could handle being in my shoes right now.
    With my back, I could qualify for 100% disability, I dont take it !
    You know why ?
    Because I’m nothing like you.
    What your ignorant butt will never understand is that I do it on my own accord with no one telling me I have to or yanking my own money out of my hands, which is what most of you lazy farts seem to think is justified out of some sense of entitlement.
    You know, if you cant afford your house, you sell it instead of asking everyone else to chip in on it.
    Its not a right to be a homeowner.

    All these things you say that are wrong with the country.
    I dare you to make a decent case as to how Obamas massive “Peter paying Paul” scheme will work or will solve these problems.
    If these programs you rant and rave about are so freaking great then why arent they working , HUH ? They’ve been in place long enough, right ?

    Your man is going down, hes had a very unimpressive start, most dont agree with this plan, hes a proven liar.
    Do us all a favor, write the shmo and ask him to put up on his website a question.

    “How many of you want to pay someone elses mortgage”

    “what would you like me to do with the 13 bucks a week your giving me”?
    And if this “CRISIS” is on the verge of “CATASTROPHY” then why do most of these programs not take effect for the next two to three years, or even after the next election ?

    Dont be an a$$, us cons are far from heartless, we want everyone, the people, to have their money, not the fed, or your ilk.

    A real man makes his own way, and not on the backs of others.
    You support the highest level of irresponsibilty this country has ever seen.

    I doubt that since you dont actually own your own business, or house, or have children, that you reserve enough credibility to climb on your sanctimonious pulpit and say I dont get it without sounding like a complete fool.

  9. selias7 says:

    Truly a great man.

  10. Micky, you shouldn’t flatter yourself. It’s low brow. I’ve lived in some of the most expensive places on the planet. I’m just smart enough to have gotten away from them. Spending all your effort to make money just to afford to survive is, in a word, stupid. It’s a waste of the one and only life you have to live. I too could probably get disability. I’m walking around with a torn abdonimal patch and multiple fractures in my neck. I too do not get anything for it. I don;t even have insurane to take care of it either way. In fact, if it weren’t for the cons, we would all have insurance and there wouldn’t be any excuse for having so many people on comp and such. You guys created that mess too.

    As for affording homes – the 75bil bailout has nothing to do with that. It’s about people being under water – that is, through no fault of their own, the value of their home has sunk so much, it becomes in interest to walk away from the home because the equity they have in it is less than the difference between the mortgage and the current or foreseeable enough sale value. If these people, quite understandably, walk away from their homes, it will further the vicious cycle of home value depreciation, making more people want to walk out of their mortgages and on and on and so forth, until the housing market is in ruins. THAT’s what this bailout is intended to mitigate – NOT the situations of people who simply can’t afford their homes. Do you guys understand that? Are you just lying about it? Is this all too complicated for you guys? If the GOP government had REGULATED the industry properly, all of this could have been avoided. So again as usual, this is all you con’s fault.

    You should all be hanging your heads in shame right now. But no, you just get more arrogant and insulting. I guess that’s your way of dealing with the destruction you cons have wrought on this nation.


  11. Micky 2 says:

    “Micky, you shouldn’t flatter yourself. It’s low brow. ”

    I clearly remember saying I wasnt floating my boat.
    And who the hell are you to speak when you say that the most charitable and generous part of the American population is “a little on the heartless side, and empathy is not their cup of tea,” ?
    Faithfull conservatives are the most generous and largest donaters to charity in the country, I’ve proven this to you before, but since when did the freaking truth ever matter right ?

    What I said was not to brag, I’m not like you, my exposure to these things is what keeps me humble, because its the ego that killed me once before. I said it only to prove to you that 2 days out of the week for 4 hours each day, I have recently seen the change in calibre of clientle take place at the foodbanks and pantries from mostly vagrants and the homeless to housewives and people with jobs !!!
    I get it Jersey !!!
    I see the mothers come in with their kids, humiliated, sometimes in tears of shame and gratitude at having to take the hand out !!!
    The detox facilities and AA meetings I’m invited to as guest speaker and do my 12 stepping are fuller.
    The tension in our society is on bro !
    I get it, I see its effects directly and not just on the news.

    So do me a favor and reckognize that its you floating your own stinking boat by even assuming that you have a freaking clue as to what the hell it is you’re talking about !!

    “if it weren’t for the cons, we would all have insurance and there wouldn’t be any excuse for having so many people on comp and such. You guys created that mess too.”

    Well, I would say something about your ability to make choices but it would probably get taken down.
    It should be no ones fault that you cant organize your life.
    Its not a right to have medical insurance, its not the feds or my responsibility to supply you with bandaids.
    I have medical, its off my wifes employment, I pay her my share because it draws a lot from her gross, my pain management said I could qualify for 100% disability, I said no thanks.

    You created your own mess.

    Most of those people shouldnt have been given the loans to those properties in the first place.
    You can thank Dodd, Frank, Carter, Clinton, Pelosi, and Reid for that mess.
    I’ve shown transcripts and documentation backing my position before that the left was mostly resposible for this mess.
    You again only have ” I say so ”
    Sorry buddy, that doesnt cut it in the real world.
    So, all that dribble you took the time to type, was wasted time.

    Ha, we should be hanging our head in shame ?
    You schmucks couldnt just let the people control their own money and let the system in place work this out. All you did was set us up to get mugged by the likes of irresposible people and the same F&*&^$g fools who got us here in the first place.

    O.K., So weve got 4 Governors out of 50, maybe a few others who for one reason or another dont want this money. Have you heard ? Jindal, Perry,and a couple others I cant remember at this second.
    What do you think the odds are that the other 46 will pi$$ this money away doing nothing for the economy ?
    Wanna bet ?
    Tell you what, if you think this is gonna work so well why you drop some money in the market ?
    Put your money where your mouth is.
    Do you see anyone doing that ? NOT !!! Damn market went to its lowest low since 911 after Obama wiped his rear with that bill.
    And so it begins, we will now start to see how once this money gets in all these so called well meaning hands it will dispersed, chipped away at, diverted for ulterior purposes until the fed realizes they made the same mistake they did with the first half of the TARP where it never reached its intended purpose.
    They knew this, it was no accident, thats why were already hearing about the second stimulus (phase 2)being on the drawing board.
    Really, think about it.
    The only liberals that are objecting to the stimulus are the ones objecting to its present form who say its not enough.

    And the pilaging feeding frenzy begins…

    On the front page of the AOL news. this morning.
    Check it out, the media and the people who caused this whole problem from the beggining are already giving instruction how to scam some stimulus for yourself.

    I turned on my puter this morning and heres what I saw on the front page of the AOL news.

    “Your 12,000.00 stimulus check” The US Govt. is giving away billions, go get your share.

    I clicked on that embeded link and it took me here.

    Figures, go read the story, Mary is a victim of an ARM that jumped a few months back, now were all paying her mortgage.

    “My husband’s income has not been able to keep us afloat as our 3 year adjustable rate mortgage recently expired in August of 08 and our new monthly payments have increased by 30%. Our credit card bills have been suffocating us financially, and if it wasn’t for this financial aid from the US Government, we might have foreclosed on our home.”

    “In 30 days I was able to get a $12,000 check from the US Govt which I never have to pay back. All I had to do was fill out 1 form online for a Grant Kit”


    Un F’ing believable !!!! Who does this broad think pays for that ???????
    Thats what was on the front page of the AOL news when I turned on my computer this morining !
    A nationwide advertisement on how to steal from people who are having just as hard a time as any !
    You can bet your a$$ that a ton of people called in to complain because not more than about 1/2 an hour and they took down Marys testimonial and put up her husbands instead that said nothing about them being so stupid as to to take a mortgage with an adjustable rate.

    Whats even worse is that its a paid advertisement that takes a portion and charges a fee on your payment from the fed.
    Cool HUH ???
    Created some jobs I guess, HUH ?

    Thats what you morons have put in place !

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