Why I Like Al – in 2 Parts

I like Al Franken, I hope he wins.

He’s smart, hard working, he’s been responsible for a great deal of the Democratic Revival of the past 6 years (his books and radio show), and I think he’s just the right person to pierce the hypocrisy of DC with sharp pointy wit. He’s running against the incumbent Republican Senator, Norm Coleman.

It’s a tight race, and I’ve been so dismayed by the tone of Norm Coleman’s ads (not to mention the mailings his campaign’s been sending out – just vile stuff.)

Negative ads aren’t the same as a smear campaign. In ads that are often hard hitting, Franken has called Coleman on many of his positions.

But so much of what’s been said about Franken is just lies and nonsense, and nasty nonsense at that.

[One of my favorite ads of this wacky season was Franken’s rebuttal ad, “Al Franken HATES puppies!” Because that’s how over the top Coleman’s attack ads have seemed.]

Part I
This week a new story has broken – this from the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

The lawsuit filed Monday alleges that a top Coleman donor, businessman Nasser Kazeminy, steered $75,000 from a Houston company that he has a majority interest in to a Minneapolis insurance company that employs Laurie Coleman as an independent contractor.

A second lawsuit was filed Friday by minority shareholders in the Houston marine company. Both lawsuits allege Kazeminy said he wanted to provide financial help to the Colemans through an insurance-consulting arrangement between Deep Marine Technology Inc. and Hays Insurance Co. Kazeminy has not commented on the lawsuits.

Instead of answering – or even addressing – these charges, Coleman insists that the whole thing was cooked up by the Franken campaign as an “11th hour smear campaign” – but offers no proof of any connection between the suit and Franken.

Coleman’s assertion just doesn’t sound right when you read the available facts of the case. I read the suit – it poses allegations about money being funneled to Coleman via his wife’s employer.

I don’t hate Coleman – heck, I don’t even know him. I live in his neighborhood, I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but the tone of his ads have been SO smearingly nasty – now with this extra “Franken’s out to hurt my wife…” kick that they make me sad.

I hope folks will look up the suit and read it, as I did. And listen to Franken’s reply to Coleman’s charge.

Part II
The other day at the Home Depot a saleswoman saw my Elizabeth Edwards pin and buttonholed me about Franken vs. Coleman. It became obvious that we disagreed on the choices offered, but I didn’t really see it as my place to try to convince her that Franken was better – she liked Norm pretty well, I was happy to leave it at that. But she was like a dog with a bone.

What struck me was her ANGER toward Franken, and ultimately her nastiness. Even though earlier in the conversation Gerry and I had mentioned that we moved here from NJ (or perhaps because we said we’d moved here) she called Franken a “carpetbagger” who had no business running for office since he came from “back east”

Franken’s dad moved the family to Albert Lea when he was a kid, Al grew up in St. Louis Park (Minneapolis), he is about as Minnesotan as most folks I’ve met here.

I felt a little taken aback by her tone – it was one of the few times I felt that I had to defend my own choice to move here – her inference being that we really didn’t have a right to vote for Senator since we’re so new to the state.

As soon as we left the Home Depot we went to the election office and Gerry did his early voting (I voted last week)

I sincerely hope Al Franken’s our next senator from MN. If nothing else, it will be amusing to watch Bill O’Reilly’s head explode when he has to say, “Senator Franken…”

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