washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Senator Franken

When Al Franken takes his seat in the U.S. Senate on Monday, it could mark a pivot point for the Democratic Party, as well as the nation. Senator Franken will give the Democrats a significant edge in filibuster politics, the 60th vote that could make possible enactment of real health care reform and other needed legislation. Indications are Franken will be a staunch progressive Senator in the mold of Paul Wellstone, who he strongly supported, and a reliable advocate of needed social reforms.
Credit Franken, not only with running a good campaign that unhorsed an incumbent and rising GOP star, but also playing a chill hand in the 7 plus months after the election. Franken avoided getting suckered into name-calling battles with Coleman, kept a high tone and handled the media with impressive skill. His image as a sober and serious U.S. Senator improved steadily during the recount and post election conflicts, as Coleman’s image deteriorated into one of a quarrelsome obstructionist. Franken’s 5-zip win from the Minnesota Supreme Court sealed the deal. Coleman, rumored to be interested in running for Governor, would have destroyed his political future if he persisted after a unanimous state Supreme Court decision against him. Hopefully, he has already been damaged by his obstructionist antics.
Franken could be an important Senator, if he rises to the challenge presented by Wellstone’s example and becomes an energetic champion of the progressive agenda. He certainly showed he had the mettle for battling the right-wing in his conflicts with Bill O’Reilly and Fox news. Franken smartly restrained his SNL-honed snark and wit during the campaign and aftermath, but he should be able to let fly a well-targeted zinger once in a while to enliven Senate debates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.