Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Al Franken wins Minnesota Senate race, Minnesota loses

Posted by sanityinjection on January 5, 2009

Until now, I have resisted weighing in on the controversial Minnesota Senate race, in which Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and Democrat challenger Al Franken have been locked in a titanic struggle that still has not been decided two months after the election. After all, it is up to Minnesotans who they want to represent them in our nation’s highest legislative body.

However, the protracted recount and the lawsuits which are about to follow have been bad for everybody – except Franken, who has gained the slimmest of leads after the recount and is about to be certified the winner by Minnesota’s election authorities.

I participated in a recount once. Recounts cost the taxpayers money and take up incredible amounts of time of elected officials with other responsibilities. Far from clarifying voting totals, they tend to raise as many new questions as they resolve. There is always plenty of fodder for the loser of any recount to mount legal challenges to the outcome. This of course, drags things on even more and costs more money, further punishing the citizens who are supposedly to be served by the victor.

Up until now, the outgoing Senate, including Coleman, has been serving out the end of its session, so Minnesota has been fully represented. Now, however, Minnesota needs to seat a Senator for the new legislative session. Further legal challenges will only hamper that person’s ability to reporesent the state. For that reason, I think Coleman should concede – just as Richard Nixon conceded in 1960 rather than expose the Kennedy vote-buying apparatus that stole the election.

Of course, this will leave Al Franken as Minnesota’s new Senator, which from my perspective amounts to additional punishment for Minnesota and Washington alike. This is not a reflection of Franken’s liberal views, which put him solidly in the left wing of his party, but rather of his character. Franken is in many ways the archetype of the Ivy League intellectual elitist. A man of obvious intelligence, he wears his contempt for those who do not share his views almost as a badge of honor. As a humorist of some talent and accomplishment, his training is in being outspoken and causing controversy rather than working together to solve problems. He has almost no record of being in a position of responsibility for anything with financial implications, and what record there is is dotted with illegalities and fines for failure to comply with tax and insurance laws. He is an admitted former drug user (and we’re not talking about teenage experimentation, either.) In short, he is almost uniquely un-qualified to be a United States Senator.

Further, his ties to Minnesota do not run deep. He was born in New York, and although raised in Minnesota, his early years were spent almost exclusively in the suburban Minneapolis area. His adult life has been spent almost exclusively in New York City and Los Angeles, having spent maybe all of one year in Minnesota after college before moving back to run for office. He has absolutely no understanding of the issues and problems of the large swathes of rural Minnesota with its farms and fisheries, nor does he care to, such untermenschen being irrelevant in his world view.

Nevertheless, the will of the voters should be respected, so Senator Franken it must be. There is a joke that democracy gives us the leaders we deserve. Forgive me, but I think the good people of Minnesota deserve better.

5 Responses to “Al Franken wins Minnesota Senate race, Minnesota loses”

  1. tubby said

    It’s just too bad the voting process can’t be less prone to technical glitches, marketing, fraudulent calling, and this “stealing” you reference in the 1960 election. It sucks that recounting eats up so many resources, but what other recourse does the candidate have? If you were Al Franken, having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a campaign (possibly millions, I’m not sure), would you throw in the towel if the results came in that close? I didn’t think so.

    As for your critique of Mr. Franken, I’m not 100% sure on what you base your “elitist” charge. Not as much experience is one thing to argue, and I can grant you that. I think you can claim that someone like Obama or even Stephen Colbert or even your trusted Camille Paglia are more elitist than Franken. I don’t think a career as a comedian and then writer / actor on SNL makes you an elitist…it seems like you are arguing that all such types become snooty Hollywood types by default. I fear what you think of Schwartzeneggar!

  2. sanityinjection said

    Tubby – I’ve had more opportunity to listen to Al Franken over the years than most politicians. I’m not sure there’s anyone in the United States of America who has more consistently dripped with contempt for the average American’s lifestyle and views for over 30 years. Franken is a product of the middle class who enjoyed a very prestigious private education and has done his best to completely forget about his bourgeois roots.

    The Schwarzenegger comparison you offer is instructive. Schwarzenegger came from humble roots and has managed to carve out a place for himself among the glitterati by dint of a lifetime of study, hard work, and (let’s be honest) an A-list marriage. Few politicians have as deeply rooted an appreciation of American values as Schwarzenegger, who owes everything to the opportunities America has given him.

    By contrast, Franken’s made a career of sneering at old fashioned American values. While I grant that he loves his country too, he doesn’t trust in the basic common sense of the American people to move our country forward without being told what to do by Harvard graduates. While Schwarzenegger was transforming himself from a buffoon into a respected actor and businessman, Franken was still making fun of the old Schwarzenegger on SNL (remember “Hans and Franz”?) Schwarzenegger’s career has been about building himself up, literally and figuratively; Franken’s has been about tearing others down to what he considers to be an appropriate size.

  3. Sister Benedict said

    Stuart Smalley was dedicated to building up my self-esteem. Why shouldn’t he be one of those law-making guys?

  4. MNchick said

    As a Minnesotan, this election has become a joke. Coleman initially was ahead by about the same amount of votes that now Franken is supposed to have won by after the “recount”.

    The recounting process is laughable. Trying to determine whose votes weren’t fairly counted initially and whose absentee ballots were missed all seems subjective and foolish.

    This state has become mindless and foolish with its so called “progressive” thinking.

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