No There There

I’m not one of the people who’s especially exercised about Franken’s record as a comedian or writer.  It was his career.  He was certainly successful at it; at times he was quite good (although he certainly faded into being a “satirist” over time).  And, as is the fashion among comedians these days, he certainly worked blue at times, saying and doing and writing some things that wouldn’t be advisable for a future politician (although to be fair he was able to count on a complicit media to keep all of that on the down-low up until the past five years or so).

It’s getting to the point where a potential politician has to sense by about age 12 that they want to be an elected official – and then start living their lives entirely with an aim toward avoiding future opposition research.  Which will leave us with a raft of politicians even more worthless than most of what we have in office today.

(Of course, while I don’t much care about Franken’s Playboy article or SNL skits, I think his tax problems are very legitimate issues, and his complicity in the looting of the Gloria Wise center is a genuine red flag).

Against this, and Republican incumbent Norm Coleman, the DFL has really only two points:

  1. “We really really really really really hate Norm Coleman”
  2. “You should vote for  Franken because he’s audaciously hopeful and he’s not Norm Coleman and you really really totally should, because you just should, and Paul Wellstone would want you to if he were alive but for whatever reason not seeking a fourth term”

More seriously?  His career as a comic, entertainer, “satirist” and failed pundit are all fair game, because it’s the only record he has.  I went over Alec Baldwin’s spate of logorrhea in support of Franken last week; in and among the ad-homina and the platitudes, there was not one single reason based in policy or experience that Baldwin could give…

…because there are none.

Norm Coleman has a fourteen year record in elected office – six in the Senate, eight as mayor of Saint Paul.  There’s plenty of things to take your shots at, no matter what side you’re on; Coleman’s votes on ANWR, the surge, and other bills drew conservative ire; the fact that he’s an apostate DFLer (he was in the party into the first part of his second term as Mayor, and even placed Paul Wellstone into nomination at the DFL convention 12 years ago), which is one of those things the DFL never, ever forgives.  For better or worse, his record’s out there; you can judge Norm, yea or nay, according to whatever criteria you choose – if little things like “records” and “experience” mean anything to you.

So here are a couple of questions for you Franken supporters:

  1. If we’re supposed to leave his comedy, “satire” and freelance writing careers out of how we gauge Franken for office, what can we use to try to figure if Franken is someone we want in office?
  2. Please give  me  some affirmative reasons – one, two, three, whatever -why anyone should vote for Franken.  Caveat; these reasons need to relate to Franken; “he’s not Coleman”, or “he’s not in bed with the Administration”, or “”Halliburton Cheney Wide Stance Bush Brought Down The Towers Duke Cunningham” don’t cut it.  In other words, leave out the reasons not to vote for Coleman (because those would apply to Ciresi or Nelson-Pallmeyer or Jerry Janezich for that matter, any of the people you DFLers could have, but didn’t, nominate); they have to be reasons to vote for Franken.

Can y’all do it?

16 thoughts on “No There There

  1. Well, he is, according to Baldwin, “searingly brilliant”, so you know that WHEN he does come up with a policy, it will be “brilliant”. Just you wait.

  2. I asked the same question a few days back and got nothin’

    other than he’s read lots of books and is very passionate (I think that is a eumphemism for loudmouthed)

  3. He has a sense of humor, and that will come in handy in the oldest comedy club in America. (The US Senate)

  4. Dont’ know about “sense of humour” part – Franken lost it about 10 years ago. But he does do the USO bit. Maybe he actually supports the troops.

  5. Mitch, you should know better.

    Informed, savvy, scary smart progressives just know in their hearts that Al is smarter than Norm, better than Norm and darn it, people just like him better than Norm.

    Al empowers the working children…or something.

  6. Clearly he’s good enough, smart enough and gosh darn it, people like him! Except Betty McCollum, for some reason.

  7. Great points. I get a bit tried of the blah blah off the poltical points. Should talk with Al about what to do about crime in the inner cities. His anwsers are very null and void. Norm has a record on the issue.

  8. Stoo,

    One need not have a political record to run or be elected; indeed, Abraham Lincoln had relatively little political experience when he was elected president.

    But by what measure do we judge candidates? What could the public be reasonably expected to know?

    I mean, I could run for Senate! And I could get Hugh Hewitt and Laura Ingraham to assure y’all that I’m the best guy for the job! But what do you have to verify that? A bunch of really good software designs, about 10,000 blog posts and some list-server traffic, and 200-odd radio shows is really my whole public profile. I can complain “but those don’t show the real me, surely enough – but what else is there for you to go by?

  9. Well, I would argue that your blog and radio show are serious political discussion, and would view them as record. If you were to tell me that it was all an act, and you don’t believe what you’ve written, I would take that into consideration. I certainly wouldn’t hold tongue in cheek and humorous posts and statements against you.

  10. Well, he is, according to Baldwin, “searingly brilliant”
    That only means that Baldwin agrees with Franken on every issue.

  11. Stooj,

    Exactly my point. The stuff I’ve written and spoken about – rather than voted on – is pretty much the only measurement you have.

  12. Baldwin also said Franken is “one of the best progressive minds of his generation”, which should either cripple the influence of Baldwin’s opinion, or sets that bar pretty low.

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