Friday, October 03, 2008

Al Franken: Taking Back Paul Wellstone's Seat

Norm Coleman is a Big Fat Idiot

I’m glad to get this chance to write a bit on the Al Franken-Norm Coleman senatorial race going on here in Minnesota, primarily because I feel bad I haven’t done more personally to help Franken’s campaign after he helped mine (and a bunch of other DFL candidates’ campaigns) so much back in 2006. And because I’d like to see Franken win for so many obvious reasons, including the bit of accountability it would signal for Norm Coleman’s disingenuous, sycophantic backing of Bush and the radical Republican Right Wing’s destructive agenda over the last 6 years.

Nothing’s changed my mind since this early (Feb 2007) endorsement I wrote about Al Franken and his being “The Real Deal” shortly after he announced. The only thing that hasn’t held up in the months since is my end of the bargain—my failure to volunteer as much as I promised although this last week I have been helping put up campaign signs.)

Anyway the polls show the race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken has become a close one with commentators observing that
not only is it a brutal fight already, with each candidate wounded by tough criticism and a torrent of attack ads from each side on the air, but also noting that if Franken cannot pull off a victory then Democrats have very little chance of getting to the magical, filibuster-proof 60 seats they hope for.
The negative ad war is probably a natural consequence of so much at stake. Coleman’s nauseating ads lack substance and are essentially nothing more than attacks on Franken’s style when he was a comedy/satire writer. Franken’s ads, on the other hand, are “negative” only in the sense that they attempt to hold Coleman to account for his terrible public record as an elected official. Naturally, Coleman is running as far away from his record as he possibly can, as fast as he possibly can. Franken’s most recent ad, for example, is about Coleman’s utter failure as the uniquely powerful chair of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to hold even one single hearing on fraud, corruption and profiteering in the course of the Iraq War. Even Pollyanna herself would be hard pressed to make lemonade from that lemon. Not for nothing has Norm Coleman not once in any of his TV ads used the word “Republican” to describe himself.

Franken’s talking fish ad uses Minnesota lake humor to highlight Coleman’s publicly documented close ties to Ted Stevens and the special interests of Alaskan oil executives. It might seem humorous but no truer words were ever spoken than the fish’s final ones: “Something smells fishy and it ain’t just me.” Another of the many areas that smells of undue influence buying can be seen in Norm Coleman’s current ranking as the second highest Senate recipient this year of self-described “pro-Israel” type PAC funds: Mitch McConnell (R-KY) $98,0002; Norm Coleman (R-MN) $90,000.

To get an idea of the kind of TV swill Coleman spends his money on, check this out.

Unsurprisingly, given where his money comes from, Coleman quickly announced he’d be voting for Bush’s Bail Out of Wall Street. Holding our collective noses at such special interest corruption is especially hard for Minnesotans given the fact that Coleman sits in what was once Paul Wellstone’s seat, the senator noted for his big conscience whose only goal was to represent the “little fellas” instead of the Rockefellers.

Maybe the ad people need right now is a reenactment of the telephone calls that Dick “Darth Vader” Cheney made into Minnesota back in 2001 orchestrating Norm Coleman’s selection as their boy to run against Paul Wellstone. Just to remind folks that what Wellstone’s spokesperson proclaimed back then, remains true: “the people of Minnesota deserve a senator who takes orders from them and not 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue”.

20 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Vigilante said...

Thank you, Coleen, for bringing us up to date on my sentimentally favorite Senatorial candidate. I miss Al on Air America, greatly. But I sure would prefer him sitting in the Senate than behind a mic!

10/03/2008 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger Coleen Rowley said...

Make sure you click this link to Norm’s real bright white teeth. I could have signaled that Norm’s phony smile—totally phony and actually corruptly paid for (because it looks like it was free dental work in exchange for Norm’s photo promoting the dentist)—goes to the heart of the problem with this consummate politician. He’s so smooth and slick and good looking on the surface but it’s all phony. Al Franken, if he wanted to stoop low, could have taken the ugly (pre-dental work) photo of Norm and used it on ads to disparage him. (That’s what Norm’s ads are mostly doing—just using ugly photos of Franken.) But Franken campaign is taking higher, more issue-driven road.

10/03/2008 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger Veterans for Peace said...

Sen. Coleman's vote to prohibit the importation of drugs remains another hidden black mark on Coleman's allegiance to the Republican agenda and lobby interests.

I remember arguing at length with Coleman's office aide about how harmful his opposition to prescription drug importation was to our state's citizens. She insisted that it for for our protection not once acknowledging that Canadians, Australian, British, et al have no problem ingesting their drugs. Why should we?

Somehow Colenan's allegiance to the
drug industry was greater that his concern for Minnesota residents because he would oppose importation and also drug competitive bidding. That faithfulness tied him to Tom DeLay's lasting legacy.
Has the Al Franken campaign noted Coleman's actions against the interests of Minnesotans on the drug importation issue? If not, great. If so, I would hope our fellow citizens would be reminded of that sellout of our senator to the pharmaceutical industry.

10/03/2008 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Stella said...

Such a great post, Colleen. You're absolutely right that Al Franken in the Senate would make up for his loss on Air America. It's inspiring to know he's taking the high road.

Thank you for the update and the news about Franken's campaign.

10/03/2008 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Between phone calls in the office today, I typed this out from Michael Moore's newly published Mike’s Election Guide:

Poor Norm Coleman. He’s the only person to benefit from the death of one of the most liberal members of the U.S. Senate. When Sen. Paul Wellstone’s plane went down while he was campaigning only weeks before the 2002 election, Coleman and the right wing pundits mocked Wellstone’s funeral and, remarkably, rode that mean spiritedness all the way to victory. Coleman is a Bush flunky through and through, voting with W 90% of the time and staunchly supporting the Iraq war.

Presented now with a chance to redeem themselves – and to prove once again that Minnesotans have a great sense of humor (this is the state that elected a professional wrestler as governor in the ‘90s) – the voters of Minnesota can elect Al Franken as their new senator come November. Not many Senate candidates can list Saturday Night Live on their resumes, but Franken brings a lot more than satirical skills to the political table. He’s a policy wonk, he does his homework, and his agenda includes climate-change legislation, universal healthcare, and withdrawing troops from Iraq. He’s also a wrestler. A real one. In high school in Hopkins, Minnesota, he was on his varsity wrestling team, and 35 years later, he still had the moves to put a heckler at a Dean rally in a wrestling hold. Imagine Franken in the Senate. It’s just too cool, isn’t it? Each day can begin with the Pledge, a prayer, and a bit of stand-up from Al. If any Republicans get out of line, Al can put them in a half-nelson. Will the state that gave us Bob Dylan, the Coen Brothers and Garrison Keillor please send Al Franken to the Senate? I think it’s finally time for the Al Franken Decade.

10/03/2008 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger GetaLife-ReadUrNews said...

U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken has moved into his first solid lead over incumbent Republican Norm Coleman, according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll.

The survey, conducted Tuesday through Thursday by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among 1,084 likely Minnesota voters, shows Franken leading Coleman 43 to 34 percent. Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley is supported by 18 percent of respondents.

Franken’s lead is outside the poll’s margin of sampling error, plus or minus 3.7 points.

10/04/2008 06:30:00 AM  
Blogger Utah Savage said...

Go Coleen! Great post. I was, sadly, interested in the dental work. I needs me some dental work. Lucky Norm--virtually free dental work.

I always loved Al Franken as a comic. I miss him in that role, but I'm happy for you Minnesotans.

10/04/2008 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Well said, Utah!

I have often documented my pre-Bush apolitical frame of mind by stating that before his crash in October '02, I never knew who Paul Wellstone was. It's true. I was asking myself about when it was, after having been radicalized by Busheney, that I became aware of who Norm Coleman is? It came to me when I read this in Coleen's post:

Coleman’s utter failure as the uniquely powerful chair of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to hold even one single hearing on fraud, corruption and profiteering in the course of the Iraq War.

But he sure did hold hearings about what went on - allegedly - before the invasion of Iraq. To make a long story short, in 2005, Coleman accused British Socialist MP George Galloway of having conducted oil business ("Oil for Food") with Saddam Hussein. Galloway was so outraged that he threw down, bought a transatlantic ticket and flew to Washington demanding to be heard before Coleman's committee. Here's how the last part of that testimony went. Norman Coleman promptly adjourned the hearing.

I can think of few members of the warparty in Congress I would rather see unscrewed from his Senate seat than this thug, Coleman.

10/04/2008 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Stella said...

GetaLife-ReadUrNews... AWESOME! Great news.

10/04/2008 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

Franken, a real comedian, in the senate? Now that's just not fair to all those second rate ones that have taken refuge in Congress since they can't find a real job.

10/04/2008 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger Coleen Rowley said...

I approve of all the comments, especially the link to George Galloway’s!

Especially right now. We are ALL CONFUSED at the moment in Minnesota as there are widely differing polls that have just come out. Click: Recent Polls: What’s To Be Believed? They differ by way more than the normal margin of error—by almost 20%! So it almost seems like we got some deliberate skewing—big time skewing going on. The Survey USA poll showing McCain and Coleman winning has to be off, but my guess is the Star Tribune one might be inaccurate too. (If I had to guess, I think both races: McCain-Obama and Coleman-Franken are too close to call.)

Unfortunately our local (Hubbard-owned) KSTP Sunday morning political show just used their own polls to uniquely frame Al Franken as losing and Minnesota as turning from blue to “purple”. The supposed “Democrat” commentator they invited on played stupid and didn’t contradict her KSTP host and their crazy polls. (That reminded me of how Alan Colmes always kept quiet when “debating” Sean Hannity.)

I wish we had somebody like Galloway here in the U.S.! That kind of unmuddled, straight telling-it-the-way-it-is!

10/05/2008 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Coleen Rowley said...

Another comment! I just found out the reason why the Democrat side of that KSTP Sunday morning political show didn't have a chance to contradict her KSTP host's reliance on their KSTP poll skewing Coleman with a big lead was BECAUSE KSTP TAPED THE SHOW BEFORE THE OTHER STAR TRIBUNE POLL CAME OUT!

Also check this out: last night was the first of five debates in the way-too-close-to-call Minnesota Senate race:

10/06/2008 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger DB Cooper said...

Coleen, this 3rd party candidate, Dean Barkely, who is he drawing more votes from? Coleman or Franken?

10/06/2008 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Coleen Rowley said...

To respond to DB, the politicos seem to be all over the map (see Smart Politics - Why Isn’t Dean Barkley Derailing Al Franken's ... and Smart Politics - Dean Barkley Hits 19 Percent in New Minnesota ... )

It seems to me that altho’ the common wisdom is that an independent candidate draws more from the Democratic side, Barkley seems to be drawing votes almost equally away from both Coleman and Franken. All of the polling, including the two disparate ones—KSTP’s Survey USA and the Star Tribune’s—came out virtually the same for Barkley (18 or 19%) so the one thing that does seem pretty accurate is his current percentage.

10/06/2008 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Indicted Plagiarist said...

Norm is ripe, low-hanging fruit. Sen. Coleman Won't Answer Questions About "Friend With A Plane"

Nasser Kazeminy, a big donor to the G.O.P. and to Coleman. In 2005, the senator and his daughter jetted down to the Bahamas on a private plane owned by Kazeminy, a trip valued at $3,960. In 2004, he and his wife flew to Paris on Kazeminy's plane, a $2,870 value.

Norm won't answer questions about it. Mr. K has also bought Norm his wardrobe.

10/06/2008 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger Petrosexual said...

Franken's Lefties are too aggressive. No taste. Low road.

10/07/2008 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

I fell asleep to a Coleman-Franken-Barkely debate last night on C-SPAN. I thought Coleman exudes slickness and sleaziness more than most politicians. Barkely's responses were well thought-out. (Obviously, he's a major factor in this election.) Al seemed marginally less informed on specific legislation, but was great when he let his personality come out. I'm extremely hopeful that Al can squeak this one to victory.

10/09/2008 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

BTW, Coleen, I noticed the additional You-Tube you added to your original post. Very revealing of Coleman's sleaziness.

10/09/2008 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Ed Eubanks said...

This is an ad I'd like to see:

Paul Wellstone, we miss you!

This is what we lost: (Footage of auto workers walking into the Chrysler plant)

This is what we got: (Footage of closed plants, workers standing outside of locked gates)

This is what we lost: (Footage of young men and women walking around the University of Minnesota campus)

This is what we got: (Footage of coffins returning from war or Iraqi dead littering the streets of Baghdad)

This is what we lost: (Footage of admiring voters surrounding Wellstone)

This is what we got: (Footage of angry mobs fighting cops in the streets of Saint Paul)

This is what we lost: (Footage of Wellstone shaking hands)

This is what we got: (A montage of clips. Collapsing bridges. George Bush celebrating 2004 relection(ya have to put HIM in there), foreclosure signs on houses, anguished stockbrokers, shot of gas pumps with high prices, Katrina victims sitting on roofs.)

This is what we lost:: A picture of Wellstone

This is what we’ve got: to lose: A photograph of Colemn

(A large banner of Al Franklin back-dropped by an image of the state of Minnesota and an American flag. In the foreground, large lettering reading: Vote Al Franken.)

10/12/2008 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Beautiful, Ed! Absolutely beautiful. Email me some time?

10/12/2008 09:38:00 AM  

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