Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman is a scummy asshole and also, usually, a surprisingly good politician. (You'd kinda have to be to be a New Yorker with a sham marriage to a wannabe Hollywood actress and still win in Minnesota.) He's the "which way is the wind blowing" style of campaigner, and now he's suspending his campaign to... no, sorry, he's "suspending all negative campaign ads" as of today. It's a great little stunt, actually. Coleman's running against Al Franken. Franken basically didn't have a chance in hell of winning, until a) Obama began surging and b) the economy went into a tailspin. Suddenly, Obama is occasionally polling in the double digits in Minnesota (a double-digit Obama victory may be the only way for Franken to get into office), and, even worse, Franken is sometimes outpolling Coleman (Franken is up 9 points in the most recent Star Tribune poll, which is an outlier, but Coleman's lead seems to be shrinking everywhere else). The campaign's been vicious and negative by any standard, but especially for Minnesota, where campaigns have always seemed a little more polite. All this was before a video of Coleman's spokesman disastrously not defending Coleman's gifts from wealthy businessmen swept across the internet. Finally, MSNBC points this statistic out:

A Minnesota Public Radio News/University of Minnesota poll showed: Who Is Running More Negative TV Ads? N. Coleman 48% A. Franken 21 No difference 23

Coleman got Franken's negatives down as far as he could, and now his favorables are falling too. So! Stunt time! Honestly, McCain could've used something more like this back when the race was way closer. Instead he went the opposite direction ("canceling the campaign" never had a chance in part because it was transparent lie and was reported at such), and now he's stuck in deep dark attack mode. Will it work for Norm? It'll probably help. All bets are off if Obama wins big in Minnesota (where he's polling a bit behind the rest of the upper midwest), but in a narrow election Coleman gets enough Obama converts to win it. Which means, sadly, that Americans waiting for the first SNL veteran to hold elected office will have to rest their hopes on a Piscopo Governorship.