I’ve mulled this post over for a long time because it’s so early in the process, but I’ll say it now: I’m concerned that Al Franken’s run for Norm Coleman’s Senate seat isn’t going to go well. In fact, I’m not even sure he can beat Mike Ciresi for the DFL nomination.
Look, I love Franken. I think he’s funny, I like most of his politics, and I admire him deciding to run. But here’s the thing: I just don’t think Minnesotans are going to vote for him, because he doesn’t seem sincere. I think he’s sincere about the issues, I just don’t think he’s sincere about Minnesota. And frankly, I think the guy just can’t be normal enough for long enough to pick up the votes he’ll need to pick up to beat Coleman.
I don’t have a ton of basis for this feeling other than this: A two part interview he gave to Talking Points Memo. I’m not going to psychoanalyze it too much, I’ll just say that I don’t think he’s going to make enough Minnesotans vote for him. Why? Mainly because he’s like a political version of Robin Williams. He’s manic, he’s flippant, and worst of all, he obviously craves attention, the one thing reserved Minnesotans tend to disdain more than anything else. Plus, there’s stuff like this. Granted, I don’t put a lot of stock in the hearsay of GOP workout queens, but still, I can’t say I have a hard time seeing Franken pulling these antics, because above all else, he is a performer. And a performer who’s lost his main venue, leaving this campaign his only outlet for attention. (If you read the above City Pages link, go ahead and read this follow up about the OUTRAGE from liberals that City Pages would write about something so insignificant. Personally, I think it’s fair game for copy.)
Keep in mind, I’m someone who badly wants to vote for Franken. Watch the TPM clip for yourself. Sure, Al would probably carry the Twin Cities with ease, as would any Dem candidate. And he’s raking in money, but most of that is from outside the state, which is also true of Coleman, but Coleman’s won elections in this state before–for both parties! But how’s Al going to fare out in the sticks, whose votes he needs to win? I just don’t see it. He’s just not a Minnesotan, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that he hasn’t lived here much in the last 30 years. It has to do with the fact that his manic, look-at-me personality will likely turn too many people off here. That would be true even if he’d never left the state.
I hope I’m wrong, but make no mistake: Norm Coleman’s going to be tough to beat. The RNC is going to throw mega money behind this election, and Coleman’s political savvy should not be underestimated. Coleman’s reinvented himself so many times already, and mysteriously he has never paid for it politically.
Maybe people like that. Rather than elect someone who has “positions” and “ideas”, people like the thought of having someone who will change in a heartbeat to support whatever the public (or Presidential) whim happens to be at that particular time.
And, for what it’s worth if Franken can’t win the primary, I’ve heard from friends in the legal community that Mike Ciresi is an overbearing bully that isn’t much liked in the legal community…not a good sign for a potential Dem Senate candidate.
I’ve just got a bad feeling we might see a few more years of Norm. But he may end up a Democrat again before it’s all said and done.