Friday, January 25, 2008

Al Franken: The Best Choice for Democrats

We at 'Small Answers' are very proud to Endorse Al Franken for the United States Senate.

Al's long experience discussing the issues, his deep Minnesota roots, his likable demeanor, his Harvard fellowship and his long-time participation in Minnesota DFL politics all helped to secure this endorsement, but in the final analysis, the only analysis which counts, Mr. Franken is in the strongest position to defeat Mr. Coleman this November.

Mr. Franken's most serious competition for the DFL endorsement is Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer.  Professor Jack is a wonderful candidate and lovely person, and should have been more seriously considered in his 2006 race for the US House.  Unfortunately, in the few cases where a difference on an issue between Mr. Franken and JNP exists, we find that the Franken position is more moderate and mainstream, and we feel JNP is at a disadvantage to Mr. Franken outside the cities as a result.  Add to this Mr. Franken's vastly superior fundraising ability and name recognition, and the choice presented to DFL caucus goers is clear.

There is only candidate positioned to turn out the long-standing DFL base, energize new voters, and compete for disgruntled moderate republicans in November.  Mr. Franken says that he is serious about fighting for Minnesotans.  Minnesotans who are serious about taking back Senator Wellstone's seat from Norm Coleman ought to get behind Franken and head to caucus for him on February 5. 


The Big Roz said...

This endorsement is based in mistaken premises. Mr. Franken is not the most likely to win, and his positions are not closest to the mainstream. Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer should get the endorsement. He is most likely to win and in reality is closest to the mainstream.

Al Franken, as demonstrated by a recent CJ article, has a bristly element to his personallity that could be a serious liability. He could easily grouch out somewhere in the thick of the campaign and his chances will go up in smoke. The Republicans are basing their campaign on this. Polling shows he has disturbingly high negatives.

Al Franken is not in the mainstream on the issues. Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer is. People really want to get out of the Iraq war; Franken will not set any departure date or commit to actually, really leaving. Jack wants out in 9 months. Jack, and the mainstream is concerned about permanent US bases in Iraq, privatized oil contracts and a US force of "support" troops and bases ringing Iraq. Franken is mute on this. I understand the mainstream position is that the US should get the heck out of Iraq, and not just make a pretense of doing so.

Health care: the mainstream position is that we ought to have universal coverage in the most cost effective, health beneficial way possible. That would be single payer, not for profit health care for all. Jack is unambiguously for this. Al likes that idea, but he wants 50 states coming up with 50 different solutions, all without cost controls. He won't get behind single payer until the bill is likely to pass. Does the mainstream want their Senator to wait to get behind what they want until there is no effort involved on his or her behalf?

Global warming: the mainstream is convinced that serious, immediate government, business, and personal action is needed in accordance to the problem to save this planet from the perils of irreversable heating. Al's response is to do "some" things now that move us toward a solution, but to have no larger plan that is connected to the problem. He wants much more nuclear power plants and is willing to shrug and say "we'll figure out in the future what to do with huge amounts of dangerous nuclear waste we'll be creating." I doubt this is mainstream thinking. It certainly isn't responsible.

The responsible positions taken on the issues are Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer's. He is the nicest, most decent person running for office we've seen in Minnesota since Hubert Humphrey. He deserves the endorsement.

Justin C. Adams said...

No offense is intended, but the idea that JNP is the most electable candidate in his statewide race is laughable.

The GOP noise machine and supporters of other DFL candidates have been waiting to pounce on Mr. Franken's first impolite misstep, but by and large, these people have been disappointed. Mr. Franken's high negatives are among individuals who have not had a chance to view his Advertisements or meet him, and especially among supporters of other candidates.

When Mr. Franken is endorsed, his negatives will fall drastically that day as Ciresi and JNP supporters will change their tunes.

The People, and JNP, and Mr. Franken, and you, and my Mom, rest her soul, may all want out of Iraq, but the President of the United States is the only person who can make that happen. Mr. Franken says he won't cut off funding to the troops while they're in the field. JNP would. Neither would bring the troops home.

On Healthcare, I appreciate what you're saying here. I personally advocated Single Payer for Minnesota during my campaign for the State Legislature in 2006. It is my opinion (and according to you, Mr. Franken's) that the Federal Government won't act to provide a socialized system like we should have. State-by-state is much better than nothing, and some would argue better than a national system as there would be competition between the several states.

However, I have seen the 62% support figure for national universal healthcare. The problem with your statement is that when you add the term "Single-Payer" your support falls to the low 40s.

I also think you're mistaken that Mr. Franken wouldn't support single-payer until he thinks it is likely to pass. I think he'll support it as soon as he is elected, but cannot support it while he's running for office. Just my conjecture from reading his books.

I do agree that for environmentalists, Mr. Pallmeyer would be the better choice, though Mr. Franken would be much, much better for the Earth than Senator Coleman is. Environmentalist candidates, however, have a very poor electoral history in this state and generally in runs for the US Senate.

For a while, Environmentalists got a cold shoulder from the DFL for this reason, which led to a period of ascendency for the Green Party here... but the DFL has warmed somewhat now. But the delegates and caucus goers haven't forgotten how weak this issue can be in statewide contests.

ALL of that said, I do agree that Jack Nelson Pallmeyer is basically the best human being who has run for Senate in a while from our state. I had the pleasure of sitting next to him at Camp Wellstone while we were preparing for our respective 2006 races, and I have a great deal of personal and political admiration for Jack.

But in the end, as I say, he cannot win GOP swing voters as a result of his positions. GOPers won't warm up to his positions like they might warm up to Al's personality. While JNP is the kind of candidate who energizes grass-roots organization around them, so is Al, and Al has the advantage in fundraising capability -- an advantage which will be crucial with so many key races for Republicans to spend money on in our state.

We stand by our endorsement here.