Saturday, February 9, 2013

Al Franken: Not Good Enough

Al Franken was a smash-hit on Saturday Night Live.

The comedy-writer turned comedian turned out comedic gold as "Stuart Smalley", the sweater-wearing, perennially-smiling, Twelve Step advocate with his own limited cable TV show. "Stuart Smalley's" bleached hair, his breached mouth, and his wimpy, dimply face all made us cringe and crack up at the same time. His most common refrain, before during and after every "broadcast" is a refrain which refrains a man from disdaining himself:

"I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!"

Unfortunately, Franken's caricatured Midwestern, folksy charm did not translate to liberal talk radio. Air America was Franken's brainchild, an alternative to the widespread conservative talk-show spectrum which still rules the airwaves. After a short period of time, the radio network went off the air. Already, Franken was getting used to not getting the positive affirmation which his "self-help" alter-ego so easily dispensed to ethereal viewers.

Having failed at broadcasting, Franken moved back to Minnesota in 2008 to run for the US Senate seat against Norm Coleman. Another New Yorker, Coleman the incumbent had replaced liberal Paul Wellstone in 2002, whose untimely death in a plane crash forced former US Senator, Vice President, and failed Presidential candidate Walter Mondale to resurrect his defeated political career for the Senate seat in 2002. Coleman won.

The Republicans would have ended up being the crucial forty-first vote to stop the Obama juggernaut in 2009 and beyond, if he had won against Franken. Perhaps Coleman will return to office in 2014, running against the current incumbent Franken, an opponent who should never have entered elected office in the first place. Until then, voters in Minnesota should review the former SNL alum's past six years, which still hover under the cloud of dubious election.

Taking a longer look at Franken's record, Minnesotans should be crying instead of laughing. Franken's final victory over Norm Coleman by less than one thousand votes gave Franken the Senate seat and the sixty-vote Democratic supermajority in the US Senate. Today, this country is suffering under Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, and wasted trillion-dollar deficits in part because of Franken, the crucial "cloture-clatching" vote in Washington D.C.'s upper chamber.

US Senator Al Franken has proven where he stands on the issues, yet he should not stand once again to represent the Great Lakes State.

He is not good enough: He never had any substantial legislative experience when he ran for office. He barely won the seat (already mentioned).

He is not smart enough: For a man who gets into petty tiffs on the floor of the US Senate, one would assume that Minnesota voters would expect something more from their junior senator.

And doggone it, fewer voters should like him. Granted, Slate Magazine records that Franken is positioned to win in 2014. Yet how does he justify the terrible leadership of President Obama, which has decimated the private sector with more laws, more regulations, and an unstable tax code laded down with Obamacare, which is already taxing Americans will diminishing access and increasing the costs of health care?

One constituent commented on a YouTube post:

I resent Franken being called the Senator from Minnesota! He's not from Minnesota, he does not represent us from Minnesota, and he cheated to get elected!!! He is an idiot moron, put in place by Obama, and his minions! 
Franken's latest mission has been to undo Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruling which permitted corporations to spend unlimited funding on political campaigns. Frankly, Franken's frank displeasure with the ruling obviates the facts. After nearly two billion dollars spent in the 2012 election, the country remains more sorely divided than ever. President Obama won by a lesser margin than in 2008, but Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who took in more money than Barack Obama, lost the election.

Looking backward to 2010 in California, wealthy businesswomen Meg Whitman and Carla Fiorina ran for statewide offices with their hefty war chests, yet they lost to their less-wealthy Democratic opponents by ten points. One year before that, New Jersey's Chris Christie coasted into the governor's mansion by four points in two-to-one Democratic state against an incumbent -- who outspent Christie and even counted in his endorsements frequent personal visits by President Barack Obama.

Not money, but the right candidate with the right mission wins elections. If anything, Citizens United has proven that money cannot by elections. So why is Franken wasting his and taxpayers' time trying to create a constitutional amendment striking down Citizens United?

Franken's time in the Saturday Night Live limelight was a brilliant period in his career. As for his term in office, he would be better off writing off the whole six years as an aberration, much like his failed books, short-lived television shows, and one-man radio stint.

Forget Franken for US Senate. He's not good enough. He's not smart enough, and if someone doesn't get him to a Twelve Step recovery program soon, the rest of the country will be drunk and passed out on the red ink of debt, deficits, and demented political dysfunction. Reason enough not to like him.

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