Minnesota's progressive newspaper endorses ... Norm Coleman?

Over the years, conservatives have had many complaints about the editorial direction of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  They have offered hyperbole and misdirection in their obvious bias against Republicans, and often have contradicted previous editorial positions just to score a cheap shot or two at the GOP.  Most of the bloggers in the NARN have tangled with the Strib’s editors and columnists at one time or another, especially Power Line and Jim Boyd, who left the Strib when ownership changed.

Set against this history, most of us expected the Strib to endorse Al Franken in an orgy of recrimination against the outgoing Bush administration.  Michael Brodkorb discovered a surprise instead:

I visited numerous gas stations this morning trying to locate an early edition of the Sunday Star Tribune newspaper.  On my third try, I found the newspaper and read the unbelievable news: U.S. Senator Norm Coleman was endorsed by the Star Tribune.  From the endorsement:

“Independent judgment, excercised on behalf of the special interest of the country and state, is what we hope to see from our U.S. Senators.  With that hope in mind, this newspaper recommend the reelection of Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman.” Source: Star Tribune, October 26, 2008

Michael additionally reports that the Strib casts doubt on Franken’s ability to be a “constructive force” for consensus and compromise.  That’s certainly an understatement, but coming from the Strib’s editorial board, it’s a rare bit of common sense and sanity.  When even the Strib’s editors see Franken as a divisive presence, the lesson for readers should be obvious.

How badly does this hurt Franken?  He’s been trying to paint Coleman as a lackey of George Bush and an extremist, which has always been a ridiculous position, one that even a DFL-friendly outfit like the Star Tribune can’t quite swallow it.  Note, too, that the Strib could just as easily have endorsed independent candidate Dean Barkley or refrained from any endorsement at all.  Instead, by backing Coleman, they may have put the final nail in Franken’s coffin.

The endorsement has not yet appeared on the Strib’s website, but I will link to it tomorrow when it does.