Throwing In The Towel (UPDATED)

Former Senator Norm Coleman has found himself a new job:

Last session’s senior senator from Minnesota Norm Coleman, still battling Al Franken to be seated in the Senate, has taken a paid job as a consultant to the Republican Jewish Coalition, which harshly attacked Obama last fall, its executive director, Matt Brooks, said.

Coleman will join the group as a “consultant and strategic advisor,” and will also travel the country fundraising on the group’s behalf, Brooks said.

“It’s an opportunity for him to, now that he’s got some down time on his hands, to really help us while this case is being adjudicated,” Brooks said. “He hasn’t given up at all” on retaking the Minnesota seat.

That’s not the behavior of a candidate who won his last election; it’s the behavior of a candidate who packed up his office and is moving on.

Coleman knows he lost, that much is obvious.  The question is, how long will it take him to officially give up the ghost? Now that he has endeared himself to the Republican establishment by keeping Al Franken out of the Senate–landing himself a nice right-wing welfare job in the process–how long will he keep the charade up? When will he finally let the people of Minnesota enjoy their right to full representation in the Senate?

I can’t imagine the people of Minnesota are too happy that their former Senator won’t let their duly-elected representative take office. And I can’t imagine the people of Minnesota will be very forgiving to the Republican Party in the future after this gambit is all said and done.

UPDATE: More from Nate Silver:

But what is Coleman’s angle here? Increasingly, I think this is being driven by John Cornyn and the [NRSC], and that they’ve given up on beating Franken but merely want to bloody him, casting doubt over the legitimacy of his election in order to make him a focal point for Republican angst. If this were a generic Democrat instead of Franken, in other words, I think the Republicans might already have given up. But because Franken has the potential to be a polarizing figure, there is more incentive for them to fan the flames a little bit; the recount merely provides the pretense for them to do so.