This is a dream comment for conservatives who believe Nancy Pelosi (the name, not the actual woman or the policies) is toxic and want a convenient handle to persuade the inattentive, personality-based voters. The NRCC, source of 50% of Dakota War College's material, has surely already spliced Senator Franken's statement into an ad with unflattering photos of Al, SHS, and the Speaker, all caught in awkward, unflattering poses, looming toward the camera to the tune of ominous, crescending cello notes.
I will agree that Senator Franken's comment could give some Blue-Dog-triangulation-minded kids in the warroom heartburn. An important Dem strategy this year is to block the GOP strategy of nationalizing the race and keep voters focused on state/local issues. For the GOP Speaker Pelosi is generally unpopular among folks for whom she is a convenient abstraction of outsiderhood rather than the actual flesh-and-blood representative on the ballot. It's a lot easier to say "Herseth = Pelosi!" than it is to explain to voters why SHS's votes on specific policies are worse for South Dakota than the votes her challenger would cast.
The proper response for Herseth Sandlin: embrace Franken's endorsement. Look again at what he said: if you have a choice between the policies of Speaker Pelosi and those of Minority Leader Boehner, which should you pick? Well, consider everything Boehner and his obstructionist House Republicans have opposed in just the last couple years (this is a popular list making the rounds online; you'll find various flavors of the text on various sites):
- Senator Franken’s Anti-Rape Amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill
- Benefits to homeless veterans and homeless veterans with children.
- Ending health insurers' pre-existing condition exclusions
- Health care for 9/11 First Responders
- Tax incentives to companies hiring new employees
- Giving community banks access to billions of dollars to loan to small businesses
- Financial reform
- Stimulus Bill (a.k.a. the reason we aren't in a Depression)
- Requiring identification of all donors to political campaigns
- Extension of unemployment benefits
- Fair Pay Act of 2009- Also called the Lily Ledbetter bill.
Stephanie, don't let the Republican shouters spook you on the Franken comment. Blow their minds: bring Al back. Bring Senator Franken to Rapid City, Pierre, Aberdeen... and Madison! I bet Senator Franken will do an outstanding job of explaining that, yes, the policies of the Democratic Party really are good for South Dakota, and that, yes, we really are better off with a Congresswoman who votes more often with Speaker Pelosi than with Congressman Boehner.
Update 15:55 CDT: As Dr. Blanchard notes below, Senator Franken's South Dakota visit is getting national press—heck, if Al can get South Dakota attention, bring him back for more!
MinnPost observes that Franken was only stating the obvious... and that Republicans might not want to push this strategy too far, given the abysmal poll numbers of their own Congressional leadership.
Stephanie, seriously, change the game: bring Franken for more visits! Tell the people of South Dakota that, on most issues, Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic Party as a whole really do support better policies for South Dakota. Why run against both parties? Run against the Republicans; run with the Dems!