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”.