Editorial: Sen. K’s star is rising

Published 9:50 am Monday, June 7, 2010

As one Minnesotan with presidential aspirations still struggles to gain traction, another from a rival political party shows signs of rising.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, whose name was floated for the Supreme Court opening that was recently given to Elena Kagan, is now seen as capable of attaining an even higher prize, according to a new book, “The Upper House.” Washington journalist Terence Samuel, who profiled Klobuchar for the book, is so impressed with her that he said, “I think she’s got her eye on higher things, and I don’t think it’s going to be ridiculous to hear her mentioned as a presidential hopeful the next time that’s a possibility, meaning in 2016.”

If Klobuchar has eyes for the presidency, she is keeping it completely under wraps, and her name recognition outside of Minnesota is still lower than that of Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who presently rates in the lower tier of perceived Republican 2012 presidential hopefuls according to the latest preferential polls. Yet Klobuchar’s hard-working, under-the-radar persona explains, in part, why many Senate watchers are intrigued by the possibilities she inspires.

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She’s not a strict idealogue, she doesn’t look for political axes to grind. She often works on consumer-related issues and issues not typically in the headlines — issues that more camera-friendly senators might not be attracted to. Last week, for instance, she introduced bipartisan legislation with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, to provide patients with safe ways to dispose of unused controlled substances.

Highly regarded by her colleagues as pleasant with a folksy sense of humor, Klobuchar takes a no-nonsense, focused and tough approach to issues. The former Hennepin County prosecutor was an intriguing possibility for the Supreme Court based in part by her relative youth and service on the Senate Judiciary Committee. But when asked if she would serve, she batted the idea down quickly. “No, I love my job,” she told the Huffington Post.

At this point in her public career, Klobuchar — who was elected to the Senate in 2006 — is still putting in the grinding day-to-day work, beyond the bright glare that shines on the real congressional “superstars” — allowing her to build a positive reputation among fellow Democrats and with colleagues on the other side, as well. The fact that she either dismisses or downplays bigger personal plans can only endear her more to Americans who are fed up with careerists, preeners and partisans.

We don’t really know if Klobuchar sees herself as president someday, but if she’s paying any attention to her growing list of admirers, it’s safe to say that to keep her star ascending she should continue to take the approach she’s taking now.

— The Free Press of Mankato, June 1