Franken 2006
April 27, 2005 10:31 PM   Subscribe

Al Franken, senate contender for Minnesota in 2006? He's got name recognition out the wazoo, a national radio program, and is returning to his blue state home to try and take Norm Coleman's republican seat in the US Senate. Is there any way he can lose? Are Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh next for making senate bids?
posted by mathowie (62 comments total)
 
Unlike Stern and Limbaugh, Franken has a good sense of humor. I'd vote for him.
posted by blendor at 10:34 PM on April 27, 2005


Franken = teh unfunny.
posted by mrblondemang at 10:36 PM on April 27, 2005


I suppose that the best politician is one that can stop and say, "... What the fuck is going on?!" and mean it.
posted by Plinko at 10:38 PM on April 27, 2005


I would vote for him too,

I voted for Ventura so Franken would be a *rational* choice by comparison. And, he wouldn't screw shit up as bad as Ventura- definitely a positive.

Plus, think of the debates!! Coleman is the smarmiest fucker ever. Franken would pound him.
posted by kuatto at 10:52 PM on April 27, 2005


He really took Paul Wellstone's death pretty hard. I'm not surprised he wants the job. More power to him.
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:53 PM on April 27, 2005


Is there any way he can lose?

Yeah - pretty much the same way a Humphrey or a Mondale or a Wetterling can lose, mathowie. The political demographic has changed in Minnesota and the assumption of an assured liberal victory based on name recognition and the democratic base that once was has led plenty of would-be politicians astray in my home state. Coleman is a savvy, hard-fighting campaigner and if Franken isn't ready to make a truly serious bid with all his political ducks in a row Norm will slaughter him in a way that won't even be funny. What a lot of liberals (of which I am one, incidentally) seem to be really stumbling on is that the sort of satirical, intellectual, superior liberal attitude that Franken exemplifies plays great with people who would vote for the Democrat under any circumstances but for the massive mushy middle who really need to be mobilized it is at best ineffective and at worst offensive. And don't even start with that youth vote crap, you saw how that one worked out in the last race. The question is, what are Frankens real credentials?
posted by nanojath at 10:59 PM on April 27, 2005


It'd be nice if, for once, politicians got elected on the basis of their plans rather than their popularity.
posted by nightchrome at 11:23 PM on April 27, 2005


nanojath: honestly... i don't think uber-rich businessmen and lawyers have any more right to be running the government than entertainers. Those are the credentials you're talking about, right?

nightcrome: it'd be nice for media to give more time than a 10-second sound bite rehashed nightly during the course of the horse race to outline health care, foreign policy, and social security plans.
posted by trinarian at 11:47 PM on April 27, 2005


I think Franken would make a decent Senator. I don't see Coleman as particularly savvy. It would be a hard campaign, but if done right I think Coleman would have trouble... just have to talk family values and he is in trouble.
posted by edgeways at 11:50 PM on April 27, 2005


Well, I'd vote for him, despite air america radio, but then I'm from NY, not MN.
posted by shmegegge at 12:05 AM on April 28, 2005


You think you have troubles in the States. Try living in Canada where we have a minority federal govt. making deals with whichever political party is able to keep them in power. Right now it is with the NDP (which is left wing). Tomorrow it might be with the Bloc Quebecois (Seperatists). Things are tough in the Great White North.
posted by Kilovolt at 12:11 AM on April 28, 2005


I guess I'm in the minority among voters (big shocker), but I'd vote for Franken because in my experience, he tends to be right. Apparently that alienates a lot of the voting population. Go figure.
posted by kafziel at 12:12 AM on April 28, 2005


It'd be nice if, for once, politicians got elected on the basis of their plans rather than their popularity.

Isn't being elected based on popularity by definition?
posted by freebird at 12:18 AM on April 28, 2005


This would definitely be a tight race, mostly due to both parties pushing rather hard in the area. However, there's a number of other high profile races in '06 that also need the resources of each side's political machine.

There's already serious campaigns to oust Santorum and DeLay, which would be a blow to the less moderately inclined. As well, there's a lot of Republican seats at risk in governor's mansions, something too often overlooked.

Franken can raise money pretty easy on his own, he's pretty well recognized. Not sure how much of a chance he has, but maybe he's betting on his candidacy distracting the Republicans in a tight year.

Personally, I hope he gets in, because I don't want to see a filibuster-proof senate with the current judiciary situation. He's got a bit of a temper though, and it's left-wing shill versus right-wing shill.

Still, the Senate could use a little shaking up. If Ventura and Schwarzenegger can get elected, why not Franken?

On preview- Kilovolt, that's not too bad of a situation. If Bloc dropped their seperatist angle, they'd almost be palatable. For a political party.
posted by Saydur at 12:22 AM on April 28, 2005


trinarian - as far as I'm concerned a demented clown with tertiary syphillis would be a better choice than Norm Coleman. I never voted for the guy.

But the question I was addressing is realistic chances and in a run for national office, for a seat the GOP will be willing to put heavy juice into maintaining, with personal support from GW Bush. Franken should not come in against a strong incumbent unless he has something more to bring to the table than cred as an entertainer. Maybe he does. Do you have something substantive to add to this discussion or just more fight the power BS. Cause you can see how well that shit has been working for the democrats lately.
posted by nanojath at 3:22 AM on April 28, 2005


Okay, that's not constructive and I apologize. And I don't think Franken has no chance. But I think the attitude mathowie exhibited in the FPP, that he would be some kind of shoe-in, is false and very dangerous. If Franken does not come on with a very substantive campaign he will lose. I'll vote for whoever the DFL puts up but I'd like that vote to have a chance of counting
posted by nanojath at 3:38 AM on April 28, 2005


freebird:

no.

see, being elected means people voted. it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with why, how, or by what criteria they voted. popularity vs. merit is an issue of criteria, not process.

for instance: everyone hates Giuliani, but if he'd tried hard enough he could have been elected mayor-for-life.

Of course, that's a popularity vs. weird mayoral voodoo issue.
posted by shmegegge at 3:44 AM on April 28, 2005


FYI- the article, and the speculation, is about Franken running in 2008, against Norm Coleman. Franken is definitely not running in 2006- he announced this live on his show weeks ago.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:57 AM on April 28, 2005


Schwarzenegger and Ventura were seen as renegade outsiders...Franken is old-left...hard to see how he could position himself as a breath of fresh air the way the other two managed to do (whether you think they are/were or are/were not.)
posted by 1016 at 4:09 AM on April 28, 2005


That said, I agree with the others suggesting this race is about if Al is a "shoo-in" or not- that's nuts. Coleman was hand-selected by Bush and Cheney to run for the seat, following years' worth of prior politics and a sense of "ownership" of the nomination after the Ventura race.

Franken's a great guy and I love his show, but it still seems like the entire concept of running against Coleman is "revenge" for the sub-human antics he and the GOP pulled regarding the Wellstone memorial service (I don't blame him, though- that was one of the few times I wanted to believe more strongly in religion just to convince myself there was a hell that several people would be going to. I can imagine that Franken is even angrier)

I simply find it hard to believe that with all the stuff going on with Wellstone Action, there isn't an actual, deep-rooted Minnesota candidate who can reclaim Wellstone's seat by means of a solid connection with the state and a proven record of successful politics.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:14 AM on April 28, 2005


Could this finally be the beginning of an Al Franken decade?
posted by psmealey at 4:45 AM on April 28, 2005


Ugh. I hope not, psmealey.

"Stuart Saves His Family" is the absolute worst movie ever made -- everyone involved in that film should be permanently banned from public life.
posted by ph00dz at 4:54 AM on April 28, 2005


thank God psmealy made me laugh, since I was just about to start beating my head on the floor otherwise. I gotta take a break from ye olde internette.
posted by nanojath at 4:55 AM on April 28, 2005


While I think it would be great to see people with Franken's enthusiasm and zeal run for office, I have to think that Franken himself will have a tougher time of it than anyone thinks.
I have to think the right will target him heavily just on principal. He's been such an outspoken über-critic that I doubt they could disguise their glee at the chance to publicly drag him through the mud machine. I guarantee you Franken will be the topic of a new Fox News "Scandal" every 20 minutes or so. They will be like kids in a candy store. Hell, O'Reilly alone would be peeing his pants in joy.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:00 AM on April 28, 2005


'Stuart Saves His Family' is about the only movie based on a SNL sketch made worth watching. Now, if they had made the Sprockets movie...
posted by bunnytricks at 5:22 AM on April 28, 2005


choosing to travel only by car, train and stagecoach would be a very smart first move by Candidate Franken
posted by matteo at 5:32 AM on April 28, 2005


Nanojath, certainly Franken wouldn't be a shoo-in, but it's not clear that "personal support from GW Bush" will be a good thing by the time of the election. If Dubya's popularity continues to plummet, candidates may be saying "thanks, but no thanks" to his offers to help.
posted by Axaxaxas Mlö at 5:32 AM on April 28, 2005


Minnesota Senate 2006 is an open seat; Dayton (DFL) is not running for re-election. The presumptive R candidate is current 6th District representative Mark Kennedy, the "anointed" candidate of the Rs. The DFL will probably actually have an endorsement contest between at least Amy Klobuchar and Patty Wetterling, which could actually work in the DFL's favor (looks more open, less elitist--the local Rs are getting the appearance of doing whatever D.C. headquarters tells them).

Minnesota Senate 2008 is Coleman (R) running for re-election. Coleman used to be a DFLer back in the day and the mayor of St. Paul (friends of mine used to call him "Mayor Quimby" for his faux-Kennedy hair and accent), changed to R to run for governor, basically, and lost to Ventura. Coleman won his Senate seat in 2002 after Wellstone's untimely crash, not by a huge margin (and did not carry a single precinct in St. Paul, which never forgave him for switching parties). Odd thing about Coleman is that he may have managed to avoid being connected with Bush *too* closely like other local Rs have--so a collapse in Bush's popularity might not necessarily lead to a collapse in Coleman's. In short, a DFLer will have to run against Coleman as Coleman...probably. Coleman is more vulnerable as an opportunist than as an ideologue.
posted by gimonca at 6:18 AM on April 28, 2005


C'mon, Democrats. Less smarm, more charm.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:55 AM on April 28, 2005


Seriously, gimonica? For the first year and a half or so of his term he was Bush's lapdog. He voted every way that Rove wanted. I remember there being some issue (a gun bill of some sort?) where Coleman had in the past personally made statements against it, but now was in favor of it.

He seems as slimy as slimy gets, to me. Then again, so does Tim "No New Taxes, Just Higher Fees" Pawelenty. And that fucker'll probably get re-elected.
posted by graventy at 7:00 AM on April 28, 2005


OT, but when did "teh libural" replace "progressive" in political nomenclature?
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 7:02 AM on April 28, 2005


Dayton (DFL) is not running for re-election. The presumptive R candidate is current 6th District representative Mark Kennedy, the "anointed" candidate of the Rs.

And thank fucking god for that... Before Dayton announced he wouldn't run, I was really, really dreading the prospect of the inarticulate stammerfest that a Dayton-Kennedy battle would be.

As for Franken v. Coleman, my first reaction to this has been that it'd be pretty tight; but when I think about some, it looks like barring some change of circumstances, Franken would have a real shot. Norm Coleman is uniquely unsuited to play the "he's an East Coast liberal" gambit on Franken, being a glib New Yorker himself. Actually, I think Coleman's recent Kofi-Annan-bashing spree may have been partly an attempt to ingratiate himself with outstate UN-haters. Hmm.
posted by COBRA! at 7:04 AM on April 28, 2005


1016 writes " Schwarzenegger and Ventura were seen as renegade outsiders...Franken is old-left...hard to see how he could position himself as a breath of fresh air the way the other two managed to do (whether you think they are/were or are/were not.)"

Actually, I find Franken to be a big breath of fresh air because he doesn't talk like a politician. When people lie he says they lie, when he disagrees with people, he does so vigorously. I'm not sure if he could win or not. I just don't feel like I can predict that anymore because (all elitist liberalism aside) I really don't understand what a significant portion of the electorate are voting about, but it would be interesting to see what his candidacy was like and if he was able to maintain his attitude in the face of a campaign.
posted by OmieWise at 7:05 AM on April 28, 2005


I JUST finished reading Franken's extremely funny book "Why Not me?" last night about his running for, winning the 2000 election & eventual impeachment, and will highly recommend it
posted by growabrain at 7:24 AM on April 28, 2005


Rush Limbaugh likes his money, and, well, he is too thin skinned and lacks the backbone for actually BEING a politician.

*Thinks back to the Internet Nimrods incident"
posted by rough ashlar at 7:32 AM on April 28, 2005


Isn't being elected based on popularity by definition?

No. These days, not voting for the winner is FAR more popular.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:34 AM on April 28, 2005


Being Bush's lapdog is one thing...appearing to be is another. Coleman has kept kind of a low profile, which isn't that unusual for a first-term senator...frankly, he hasn't been in the news that much. Plus, Coleman would probably find a way to twist out of Bush's grip if Bush became a liability. He's switched allegiances before, I don't think he'd hesitate to do so again.

Absolutely no disagreement with you on Pawlenty. He's been an unmitigated disaster for the state. He's an example of someone who needs to be exposed as an über-ideologue in the campaign, and mowed down at the polls.
posted by gimonca at 7:40 AM on April 28, 2005


And you just know that somewhere....Ventura is sitting by the phone in his Fortress of Solitude....braiding his beard...tights and cape all pressed and laid out....just waiting for that call. Help us, Jesse! Save us!
posted by gimonca at 7:45 AM on April 28, 2005


it still seems like the entire concept of running against Coleman is "revenge" for the sub-human antics he and the GOP pulled regarding the Wellstone memorial service

Really? You and me must have watched different services on TV. I didn't realize it was the GOP who bussed in Union backers across the state and then broke out the beach ball like it was a Jimmy Buffet concert. And that must have just been to Republicans who looked a lot like Clinton and Mondale who were shown on camera high-fiving.

My girlfriend's parents, who live in Stillwater and are big time MPR/PHC listening, Bush-hating, Leftists (dinner conversation is 'interesting') where so disgusted by that "memorial" that they told me they pulled the lever for Coleman.


Minnesota Senate 2008 is Coleman (R) running for re-election. Coleman used to be a DFLer back in the day and the mayor of St. Paul ... changed to R to run for governor, basically, and lost to Ventura.

(and did not carry a single precinct in St. Paul, which never forgave him for switching parties)


I don't know where you get your information, but you are incorrect. For people that "never forgave him" they sure had no problem re-electing him as Mayor of their fine city. Coleman was Mayor of St. Paul from 1994 until 2002. In 1996, before he stood for re-election, he switched from DLF to Republican. So not only did he not switch when he ran for governor, it would be patently false to say that the people of St. Paul "never forgave him."
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:14 AM on April 28, 2005


where so disgusted by that "memorial" that they told me they pulled the lever for Coleman.

comedy gold
posted by matteo at 9:19 AM on April 28, 2005


I bet Mondale didn't think it was comedy gold when he got his ass handed to him....
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:29 AM on April 28, 2005


I remember visiting Minneapolis/St. Paul when Coleman was running. I was driving with my husband and his parents along some major residential thoroughfare. As the homes got larger, the signs for Coleman came out. I remember my father-in-law exclaiming, “Tell me politics isn’t about class.” I thought most of these homes were in St. Paul, too.

I know there are those in the city who think of Coleman as an unprincipled opportunist who is married to an odd duck. Remember the hubbub over her boudoir photos that were released just before the RNC last year?

There was a very thoughtful piece on Franken’s chances for political office last year in the New York Times Magazine. Funnily enough, when the piece ran, I just heard him speak at an event for my company.

FWIW, while he was very entertaining, he did leer a bit at the pretty girls, among other things, which made me wonder if there wouldn’t be some dirt to be dug up if he does run.

As far as I know, Air America hasn’t been that successful. Doesn’t that reflect on how well he might resonate with those in the middle?
posted by Sully6 at 9:37 AM on April 28, 2005


FWIW, while he was very entertaining, he did leer a bit at the pretty girls, among other things, which made me wonder if there wouldn’t be some dirt to be dug up if he does run.

Yeah, but once again, Coleman's flanks aren't exactly covered there. When Coleman was Mayor, a friend of mine that works in downtown St. Paul would have such frequent Coleman-hitting-on-women sightings at the St. Paul Grill that they stopped even being gossip-worthy. And there are more or less constant rumors that his marriage has some weird goings-on (I don't really give much credence to the rumors, but they're there).
posted by COBRA! at 9:50 AM on April 28, 2005


Are Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh next for making senate bids?

Limbaugh could never run for office because -- peculiarly for a media personality -- he cannot endure scrutiny. He's unable and unwilling to appear in public with any other person who isn't 100% in agreement with him -- he's never prepared for tough questions and when he's confronted with a fact he acts like he's been sucker-punched. He's a cowardly blowhard who needs a clear field merely to function at all.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:55 AM on April 28, 2005


He's good enough, he's smart enough...
posted by fungible at 9:57 AM on April 28, 2005



Franken = teh unfunny.
posted by mrblondemang at 10:36 PM PST on April 27


Anyone who uses the internet's oldest, lamest catchphrase like "teh unfunny" has no business judging anyone else's comedy.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:07 AM on April 28, 2005


Then again, so does Tim "No New Taxes, Just Higher Fees" Pawelenty. And that fucker'll probably get re-elected.

The CW says that Mike Hatch plans to run against Pawlentyin '06. Of course he's failed to get the DFL endorsement twice before. On the other hand, he's been giving Hatch a hard time, most recently concerning Pawlenty's casino/racino plans.

As for Franken, it will be an interesting race, but I don't think that he'll pull it off. Minnesota political demographics have changed quite a bit in the last couple of decades.
posted by pinkkitty at 10:11 AM on April 28, 2005


Back to elections and popularity (Rough Ashlar/Shmegge):

But isn't the fundamental ideal of an election that the winner be the person the most people want to be the winner?

You're objecting that "the system is flawed so this isn't true", which I never argued with. My argument is that saying "elections should be based upon 'plans not popularity'" is a direct contradiction of the concept of an election.

I worry because I still think democracy is a pretty neat idea, and some of us on the grumpy left seem to be sliding into deriding it.
posted by freebird at 10:33 AM on April 28, 2005


OT: I believe the Walter Mondale is the only U.S. Politician to have lost a state wide vote in every state in the Union. (He lost every state save for MN in 1984, and lost MN in 2002)
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:47 AM on April 28, 2005


but I'd vote for Franken because in my experience, he tends to be right. Apparently that alienates a lot of the voting population. Go figure.

I know this might be hard for you to accept, but maybe a lot of the voting population simply disagrees with you that he tends to be right. Much more logical, huh?

Anyone who uses the internet's oldest, lamest catchphrase like "teh unfunny" has no business judging anyone else's comedy.

Oldest? You're new to the internet, huh?
posted by justgary at 10:51 AM on April 28, 2005


Let's see:

Coleman - east coast liberal growing up - moves to Minnesota, opportunistically becomes a republican and is elected to the Senate.

Franken - Minnesota liberal growing up - moves to the east coast, maintains his core values and wants to run for office after moving back to Minnesota.

It will be an interesting race.

I wonder if Lori Coleman will come back from Hollywood a few weeks before the election (like she did last time) to show that Norm stands for family values.
posted by mygoditsbob at 10:58 AM on April 28, 2005


OT: I believe the Walter Mondale [sic] is the only U.S. Politician to have lost a state wide vote in every state in the Union.

I doubt it. Because of third-parties and independents, more than 50% of candidates lose their races. What about Ralph Nader? Ross Perot? Countless other also-ran candidates from our nation's history?
posted by stopgap at 12:15 PM on April 28, 2005


Coleman is a big hypocrite and sellout.

http://archive.salon.com/politics/feature/2002/11/07/minnesota/index_np.html

(day pass required)
posted by 4midori at 12:33 PM on April 28, 2005


I bet Mondale didn't think it was comedy gold when he got his ass handed to him....

no, the fun part is the way certain people vote -- these alleged yellow-dog Democrats of your in-laws voting for a known right-winger just to spite those evil unions.
comedy gold, indeed.
posted by matteo at 12:58 PM on April 28, 2005


I'm glad you know my in-laws...


If you could read, which seems beyond you... you would notice I never used the word "Democrats." They consider themselves "independents." And it had nothing to do with "evil unions," but more to do with a political party, DFL, who would exploit a man's memorial in such a crass and blatant way.

But, hey... you know them better than I do....
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:15 PM on April 28, 2005


In 2002, Coleman did not carry a single precinct in St. Paul.

Executive summary: out of 104 precincts, Coleman never got more than 47% of the vote in any one precinct. In 37 of those, he got less than 30% of the vote.
posted by gimonca at 2:37 PM on April 28, 2005


freebird:

I'm sorry, but a popularity contest isn't the same as an election. If you vote on issues, then you vote for the guy who irks you because he'll do a good job, in your opinion, despite the fact that he irks you. It's possible to be a good public servant and be disliked. Ideally, elections are designed to be based on public service. Your definition of popularity is altogether too loose.
posted by shmegegge at 7:23 PM on April 28, 2005


gimonca, Coleman may not have carried a single precinct in St. Paul in 2002, but your other assertions are still untrue.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:16 PM on April 28, 2005


I suppose that the best politician is one that can stop and say, "... What the fuck is going on?!" and mean it.

That would score points with me.

"I was wrong" would score even more points.
posted by dreamsign at 9:37 PM on April 28, 2005


Shmegegge - I think you're conflating "popularity" with "likability", whereas in the sense I meant - the most widely preferred or chosen - they are orthogonal. I see your point though - "popular" is often used in the "liked" sense, so it's a bad word to use here, since as you point out, in that sense it doesn't apply.
posted by freebird at 12:09 AM on April 29, 2005


well, at the least I think "likability" was how nightchrome meant it. But hey! I'm not nightchrome. You make good sense, though, if you you're just using popularity in the same sense as "popular vote."
posted by shmegegge at 4:47 AM on April 29, 2005


Getting beaten 3 to 1 in the city you used to be mayor of is hardly forgiveness. The man's name is mud.
posted by gimonca at 5:44 AM on April 29, 2005


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