Tag Archive: Al Franken

For Progressives There Is a Path to Escape the Curse

Republicans: “Their bumper sticker . . . it’s one word: ‘No.’ . . . Our bumper sticker has – it’s just way too many words. And it says, ‘Continued on next bumper ­sticker.’ “ – Senator Al Franken

Governor Christie can enunciate his position on ARC in a few words, “We can’t afford the cost overruns,” but progressives list many reasons why ARC is essential. He can dismiss women’s healthcare clinics with five words, “We don’t have the money,” whereas, progressives offer five reasons to the contrary. No doubts nor nuances in his mind, Christie just executes a quick visceral punch – a sound bite – that captures support. Senate President Sweeney can also get right to the point as when he said regarding the millionaire’s tax, “Seniors and the disabled are worth fighting for.”

In a recent study in the Journal of Politics researchers from Harvard and UC San Diego hypothesized, “Indivuduals with a genetic predisposition toward seeking out new experiences will tend to be more liberal, but only if they are embedded in a social context that provides them with multiple points of view.” After genetically testing and studying 2,574 people, the researchers determined that it is the interaction of two factors – a dopamine gene variant and the environmental condition of having many friends in adolescence – that is associated with being more liberal. Learning about the genetic aspect is interesting. But it is the co-factor of “multiple points of view” which can often be our curse.

In the current election cycle Tea Party activists reduce the federal healthcare legislation to “socialism.” Obama struggles too hard to emphasize its many advantages, and liberals with multiple points of view mull over its many aspects and bemoan it did not go far enough. In addition to tough economic times, it is our own flailing, complaints and inaction that are leading us toward disappointing midterm results and into next year’s legislative elections.  

The liberal in me may want to talk about poverty in NJ and its many causes and solutions, but the realist in me says I have to connect viscerally, not complain, organize others, speak succinctly, and go for the jugular. A friend of mine who years ago used to sell encyclopedias door-to-door loved the idea of his product’s ability to provide people with a vast array of information. However, he was paid on a commission basis, so he quickly learned that information and ideas would only succeed if he could sell them.  

Quote of the Day: Paul Krugman-Al Franken-Rush Holt Edition

Paul Krugman’s got it right again, with a post mocking David Broder, taking him to task on the subject of Al Franken, whom Broder calls “the loud-mouthed former comedian”.

That doesn’t sit well with Krugman, who points out “Al Franken’s dirty secret is that … he’s a big policy wonk.”

I used to go on Franken’s radio show, all ready to be jocular – and what he wanted to talk about was the arithmetic of Social Security, or the structure of Medicare Part D.

In fact, the only elected official I know who’s wonkier than Al Franken is Rush Holt, my congressman – and he used to be the assistant director of Princeton’s plasma physics lab. (The campaign’s bumper stickers read, “My Congressman IS a rocket scientist.”)

So what will Franken do to the level of Senate discourse? He’ll raise it.

Krugman’s slam-dunk right about Franken. As huntsu mentioned to me this morning, you have to understand politics be able to satirize it. Franken always did that well.

During the 2005 Governor’s race, my boyfriend and I helped put together an event at the Stress Factory Comedy Club for Corzine. A kind of fusion event – part fundraiser, part message. We had Franken on stage riffing on the piped-in live audio of the last Corzine/Doug Forrester debate. Corzine creamed Forrester; in the club we heard it punctuated by Franken’s rat-a-tat-tat off-the-cuff reactions. He was pretty specific, and it was a lot of fun listending to him stick pointy knives into Forrester.

It was worth waiting 20 years for the Al Franken Decade. Particularly since Franken will hold his friend Paul Wellstone’s seat in the Senate.

The name of Krugman’s New York Times blog  – The Conscience of a Liberal – is, of course, also the title of his well known book. But before then, it was the name of Paul Wellstone’s autobiography.

I like the symmetry of that.  

Arlen Specter’s Impact on Al Franken

{First, a cheap plug for my blog Senate Guru.}

NormDollar.com Before Arlen Specter’s Party switch announcement yesterday, the Senate’s Democratic caucus stood at 58 members.  Senator-elect Al Franken represented Democrats’ 59th vote toward cloture, still short of reliably ending Republican filibusters.  But now, with Specter joining the Democratic caucus, Senator-elect Franken represents the big 6-0, which is why Republicans will redouble their efforts to delay Senator-elect Franken’s seating – and why we in the netroots must redouble our efforts to send obstructionist Republicans a message and also provide them with adequate disincentive from delaying Senator-elect Franken’s seating any further.

Since the “One Dollar a Day to Make Norm Coleman Go Away” effort started just a couple weeks ago, about $40,000 has been raised to remind the Republicans funding Norm Coleman’s endless appeals that, for every single day that they delay the implementation of the will of Minnesota voters, progressive voters will raise money to use against these Republicans on Election Day 2010.

Your support will strengthen that message!

Norm Coleman and his fellow Republicans recently scored a success in further delaying Senator-elect Franken’s seating, as the trial schedule adopted by the state Supreme Court for Coleman’s appeal is such that oral arguments before the Court won’t begin until June 1st, over a month from now.  Further, although Minnesota election policy dictates that Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty must prepare and sign Senator-elect Franken’s election certificate once the state Supreme Court hands down its decision, Pawlenty has hemmed and hawed as to whether he would follow state election policy accordingly.

With a D next to Arlen Specter’s name, Republicans will go full force to block Senator-elect Franken’s seating.  Please join us in eliminating Republicans’ incentive to delay Senator-elect Franken’s seating any further by taking part in the “One Dollar a Day to Make Norm Coleman Go Away” effort.  Above at right is video of the segment on MSNBC’s Hardball highlighting the effort.


MN-Sen: Make Norm Coleman Go Away for Just One Dollar a Day

{First, a cheap plug for my blog Senate Guru.}

Even in New Jersey, I’m sure you’ve heard plenty about what’s going on with the still-unsettled Senate race in Minnesota.

While Republican Norm Coleman prolongs his endless and pointless appeals, cementing his admission into the Sore Losers Hall of Fame, progressive organizations Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee have introduced a new effort: NormDollar.com, “A Dollar a Day to Make Norm Go Away.”  Very simply put, commit to contributing just one dollar per day for every day that sore loser Norm Coleman refuses to concede.


This is exactly the correct approach to take in order to provide Republican leadership in Washington with adequate disincentive from continuing to fund Coleman’s endless appeals.  The GOP bigwigs funding Coleman’s appeals see value in putting their money toward keeping progressive Senator-elect Al Franken from being seated.  This grassroots-powered effort will make them think twice by generating many thousands of dollars for progressive candidates for every single day that they fund the Coleman circus.

If you feel so inclined, you can certainly chip in a bit of change directly to the Franken Recount Fund, as well.

Quote of the Day

Bob Menendez, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, released the following statement:

The people of Minnesota have many reasons to be proud tonight, not the least of which is knowing they have one of the best election systems in the entire country. A thorough election contest upheld the result of a meticulous recount. Al Franken won the election, Al Franken won the recount, Al Franken won the contest, and now Al Franken should be allowed to get to work for the people of Minnesota.

My emphasis.

Menendez and Schumer call on Coleman to concede

From Talking Points Memo:

Minnesota has just finished counting the 351 previously-rejected ballots approved by the three-judge panel as having been legally cast and rejected in error. The numbers: Al Franken 198, Norm Coleman 111, Other 42.

This means that Al Franken’s lead has increased from the 225 he had going into today, up to 312 votes out of roughly 2.9 million. We still need to wait for the judges to rule on the remaining issues, but the vote-counting during the election contest-proper is done.

That news prompted these statements calling for Norm Coleman to put an end to his challenge:

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee during the 2008 cycle, released the following statement:

“When you contest the results of an election, and you lose ground, you ought to know time is up. The people have spoken, and now that the courts have spoken, Norm Coleman ought to let the process of seating a Senator go forward.”

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, current chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released the following statement:

“Today everyone saw proof of what we have known for a long time: once all the properly cast votes were counted, Al Franken won the election. The people of Minnesota deserve their second Senator and it is time to stop holding the seat hostage to pursue an ideological agenda. We have always said Norm Coleman deserved his day in court – he got two months. It is now time to move on, and let Senator-elect Al Franken get to work for the people of Minnesota.”

But the Coleman campaign still isn’t ready to accept reality:

Coleman’s lawyer, Ben Ginsberg, told the newspaper he will appeal the case to the Minnesota Supreme Court. One of the grounds for the appeal will be unequal treatment of the ballots, Ginsberg said.

It’s been pretty clear all along that the Republicans would do whatever they could to block the seating of Al Franken as the Senator from Minnesota. At this point, the Republicans seem content with trying to continue having one less vote for the Democrats in the Senate.  By all indications, there will be a Senator Franken. The question is when.