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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Al Franken Is a Genius

Team Stephanie, pay attention!

My admiration for Senator Al Franken is on record. Dan Richardt's disdain for the junior Senator from Minnesota is predictable.

But the red half of Red Blue & Purple gets Franken wrong in his predictable post on Franken's pow wow praise of Pelosi and South Dakota's lone Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. Richardt calls Franken an "idiot" for aligning the Democratic Congresswoman with the Democratic Speaker of the House instead of the Republican House Minority Leader.

In an amazing departure from form, Mr. Richardt actually provides a hyperlink to support his Republican regurgitations: "According to Rasmussen, Pelosi has a 35% approval rating," he bleats.

So nice of Dan to provide a hyperlink... that disproves his own thesis. The same May 2010 Rasmussen poll that pegs Pelosi's nationwide approval at 35% finds Minority Leader John Boehner's approval at 23%. Republican owned and operated Rasmussen buries this finding under the methodology statement, the paragraph that usually signals, "Juicy stuff done, nothing more to see here, move along!" But it's there. Pelosi is more popular than Senate leaders Reid and McConnell, too.

Saying Pelosi is the most popular of Congressional leaders is kind of like saying she's the least squishy turd in the dog yard, but hey, numbers are numbers. Franken's statement set up a choice: do you want someone who would vote with Pelosi or with Boehner? That's a false dilemma—I want someone who votes like Dennis Kucinich! But posed with Franken's choice, a candidate would be silly to align herself with the guy with 23% approval instead of the gal with 35% approval.

So let's make a deal, Republicans. You guys roll in John Boehner to campaign for Kristi Noem. We'll roll in Nancy Pelosi herself to make the case for Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. Looking at the numbers, not to mention good Democratic policies versus Republican obstructionism, I'll bet we'd win.

Senator Franken's statement Saturday was not a blunder or a gaffe. Franken stated the obvious—Dems tend to vote with Dems. Franken also stated something bolder: you don't have to let the Republicans control the narrative. You can point to the facts, the numbers, and the votes and stand up for Dems, even in South Dakota.


  1. you talk about Pelosi's NATIONAL approval rating at 35-percent, but what is her approval rating in SOUTH DAKOTA? I would think that would probably be even lower.

    Fact is, SHS has to sell herself not only to Democrats, but to a larger number of Republicans and Independents, whose votes she needs in order to go back to D.C.

    Having someone align her with a career politician that is not very popular with your constituency is probably not the brightest idea.

  2. Hey, I'm just giving your the numbers other people cite... and the numbers that actually exist. If you have reliable poll numbers on Boehner's popularity in SD, bring 'em on! (KJAM poll coming up?)

    But until then, by your logic, it looks as if one could do the same damage to Noem by aligning her to career politician Boehner, a man who is even less popular with the general public, according to the available data.

  3. I hate that term "demonize" because it has become so damnably trite, but it does name the process that the Republicans are depending on. In a time of tremendous crises, it's the only thing they have offered to combat the recession, deal with those inherited wars, solve the problems with the Great Oil Spew. They demonize Nancy Pelosi and then try to associate SHS with her. It is truly the stuff of playground bullying.

    The attempts to malign Al Franken were embarrassing tantrums. Some took a carefully phrased, sound English sentence in which he stated that the state needs someone who supports Nancy Pelosi and the programs she represents and not the negative petulance of John Boehner and reduced it to "a vote for SHS is vote for Pelosi." The absurdity of the logic aside, the attempts to demonize Pelosi show the paucity of integrity and intellect that is driving the GOP in this state. It does not take Al Franken to point out that SHS, despite some differences with Pelosi and Franken, is a Democrat.

    Perhaps the dumbest ploy was to post a video of Al Franken drawing a map of the U.S. and accompanying it with banner. He resurrects an old joke that I have heard on the northern plains ever since I was a resident, He uses it to explain why Minnesota is so far advanced in the use of wind power by saying the state is so windy because South Dakota blows and Wisconsin--at this point he turns to the audience which finishes the sentence with a resounding "sucks." Only the cretins among us would try to make "Soutn Dakota blows" into a denigration of the state. (Remember the constant banter between Governors Janklow and Perpich?)

    If there is one thing that tarnishes the image of South Dakota in reality, it is some of its bloggers. Nobody has to demonize them. They do it perfectly well for themselves.

  4. That's exactly the problem with the conservative blog-gasm over Franken's comment, David: it's total baseless ad hominem, without a shred of logic.


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