Coleman's record can't be defended
It's telling that in a recent op-ed piece about the race for the U.S. Senate (Forum, Oct. 21), Minnesota Republican Chairman Ron Carey devotes just one small paragraph to defending Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn. But it's understandable because Colema...
It's telling that in a recent op-ed piece about the race for the U.S. Senate (Forum, Oct. 21), Minnesota Republican Chairman Ron Carey devotes just one small paragraph to defending Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn. But it's understandable because Coleman's long record of blindly supporting President George W. Bush and corporate special interests over the common-sense interests of Minnesotans is hard to defend.
So let's actually look at Coleman's record - for starters, on what Carey calls "standing up for our veterans." On 10 separate occasions since he's been in the Senate, Coleman has had the chance to improve health care for veterans by simply closing corporate tax loopholes and cutting, limiting or deferring various tax breaks for the richest individuals in our country. Sometimes these breaks benefited people already earning more than $1 million a year.
It makes sense that corporations and the luckiest among us should make a few extra sacrifices for those who have served us in uniform, right? Well, apparently not to Coleman. Instead, Coleman has voted against every one of those measures to improve veterans' health care. Ten different times, Coleman has put protecting tax breaks for corporate special interests and the wealthy ahead of funding veterans' hospitals, military retirees' health care and veterans' mental-health care, among other common-sense solutions for honoring the men and women who have served our country.
What's more, when faced with a proposal that would simply ensure that all veterans have access to the health care and prescription drugs they need, Coleman didn't just oppose it - he kept it from even coming to a vote. No matter that it was supported by groups including the American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. No matter that nonpartisan research showed that it would permit another
3 million veterans to get health care and prescription drugs from the VA.
Minnesotans deserve to know the truth about Coleman's record on "standing up for our veterans." And these votes weren't bipartisan, either: Every single time that Coleman voted to protect corporate interests instead of our veterans' health and well being, he voted with nearly every other Republican, and against nearly every other Democrat. So much for "bipartisan accomplishment."
Sadly, Coleman's long record of putting President Bush and corporate interests ahead of Minnesotans doesn't end there. He voted with Bush for the Central American Free Trade Agreement that hurts Minnesota farmers. He has voted with the pharmaceutical industry to keep Medicare from negotiating lower prescription-drug prices. And most damaging of all, he has voted over and over again to support Bush's failed strategy in the Iraq war. Nine times this year alone, Coleman has had the chance to vote to change course - and marching in lock step with Bush, nine times he has voted "no."
No amount of spin or distraction can change Coleman's record. No wonder Carey spends so little time defending it - if I were Carey, I'd want to change the subject, too.
Melendez is chairman
of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.
Coleman's record can't be defended By Brian Melendez 20071028