Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Democrats need to stop Clowning Around

Many Republicans and Democrats are resigned to the fact the the Democratic challenger to Norm Coleman is Al Frankenfreak. As it stands right now, Norm Colman could disclose that he is a descendant of Adolf Hitler and still beat Frankfurter. It turns out Al may face a challenge of his own: his candidacy may be in jeopardy.

Not the Al Franken Decade

There's still a chance that comedian and author Al Franken could face 11th-hour opposition in the Sept. 9th Democratic Senate primary in Minnesota. Mike Ciresi, a prominent trial lawyer who dropped out of the Democratic race earlier this year, is keeping his options open in case more negative stories surface about Mr. Franken.

It's true that Mr. Franken won the endorsement of the state's Democratic Party and held a victory rally attended by other prominent Democrats. Yet dark clouds are forming. Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum of St. Paul refused to attend the rally, saying she will not endorse Mr. Franken's candidacy because of comments he made as a comedian making light of rape and demeaning women. One infamous article Mr. Franken wrote for Playboy included graphic descriptions of sex with robots. Ms. McCollum and other Democrats are now quietly questioning whether their celebrity candidate can beat GOP incumbent Norm Coleman in the fall.

Mr. Franken is also burdened by the news that he recently had to pay $70,000 in back taxes and penalties in 17 states where he had made appearances but not filed the proper paperwork to pay taxes.

"Democrats in Minnesota are just pulling their hair out,'' says Larry Jacobs, a political science professor at the University of Minnesota.

National Democrats claim not to be worried. Senator Chuck Schumer, head of the Democratic Senate campaign committee, tells reporters the party's game plan is simple: "You look at all the things Al Franken said as a comedian... and then you say simply that Norm Coleman supports the war and supports President Bush 90-plus percent of the time. Franken wins by ten points."

It's thinking like that that will ensure Norm Coleman will easily win his bid to continue to represent Minnesota in the Senate. The Democrats have worn that one thin. Talking about what you are against, with no new ideas of your own, long the Democratic strategy, has worn thin. Besides, right now it's the economy, stupid!

Some of Mr. Coleman's positions may indeed be unpopular in Minnesota, but more and more Democrats are coming to the conclusion that running a clown against him isn't the smartest political move.

We'll see about that. We've had some pretty embarrassing clown candidates around here in the last twenty years.

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