Former Sen. Norm Coleman is telling people he will be running a soon-to-be-created think tank that will focus on the proper role of government, from a right-of-center perspective. (Just as an instant political analysis, this would seem to be yet another indication that Coleman is not seriously planning to run for governor. I indicated many weeks back that that he was unlikely to run.)
The new think tank, or advocacy group, will be called “America’s Action Network.” Wealthy Texas Republicans are assembling the group. Fred Malek, an associate of the first President Bush, recruited Coleman to become president of the group. (Malek was the campaign manager of Bush’s unsuccessful 1992 campaign for reelection.)
The new gig comes to light in an email that former Sen. Dave Durenberger sends out to keep his friends and admirers up to date. The email stated the new gig as an established fact. I haven’t been able to confirm with Coleman (who no longer has a press aide to help with such matters), but I reached Durenberger a few minutes ago and he confirmed that he got the news from Coleman himself, as in: “Norm told me that this is what he is going to be doing.”
Here’s the full paragraph from the Durenberger email:
“Texas money is also funding a start-up non-profit called America’s Action Network, which is designed to give definition to a principled ‘role of government’ approach to the Republican Party’s future. In the process, its founders hope to leave some of the ‘other issues’ like those which firmed ‘the base’ in the social values arena behind. New president of the right-of-center group will be former Minnesota Republican Senator Norm Coleman. This will place two Minnesota Republicans in the national political spotlight as Governor Tim Pawlenty seeks to similarly define the next national GOP for what he calls ‘Sam’s Club” Americans.’
If I read that right, it seems to be saying that if the fundamental principle of American-style conservatism and of the Republican Party is a limited role for the government, you shouldn’t be making constant exceptions to that principle in the area of social issues, like wanting the government to ban abortions or gay marriage. Such a focus would certainly make the Republican philosophy more coherent, but it’s hard to imagine the Repubs winning manny elections with the social conservative portion of its base.