Friday, February 1, 2008

Minnesota Needs Al Franken

Franken is in the style of Paul Wellstone
by Charlie Leck

The pain and grieving was deep when Senator Paul Wellstone and his wife, Sheila, died in that awful plane crash. Wellstone would have been reelected and would have gone on to serve Minnesota with great distinction and compassion. Minnesota has missed him. Norm Coleman has served our state poorly during his tenure in Washington. It is important to make this the final year of Coleman’s reign. As George W. Bush’s buddy, he’s gotta go!

Who in his place? The party is very fortunate right now. The announced candidates for the DFL endorsement are exceptional people. Any one of them would serve Minnesota well; nevertheless, I’ve decided to get on Al Franken’s side and I’ll caucus for him on Tuesday night. In addition, I went to his web site and made a financial contribution today. Here’s why!

First, let me say that I’m impressed with Mike Ceresi’s candidacy. I’m not going to slit my wrists if he wins. He’s very good – bright, articulate, logical, organized and progressive. So, why Al Franken instead.

I wrote to a friend and gave him all the reasons that I’ll outline below. He wrote back and added the most important reason of all, so I really need to start with that.

“He’s someone willing to speak out without regard to political pressure. Franken will follow in the path of other great Minnesota Senators like Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale and Paul Wellstone who were willing to challenge conventional wisdom when it meant doing the right thing.”
Responding to my blog about how the caucus works in Minnesota, Jim Miller, from Hawaii, commented that I ought to support Ceresi.

“My advice would be to go with Mike, although I have nothing against Al Franken. When I ran for the legislature 25 years ago his mom supported me, and I've always enjoyed his books and radio work. Ciresi brings decades of success in law and business. As one of the nation's most successful lawyers, he has fought many of the same interests that need to be beaten back again.

'Mike may not be as flashy as Al, but If I needed someone representing me it wouldn't be a tough choice.

"Sorry to hear about the weather back there. Our kids are suffering in White Bear Lake and St. Paul. It's 75 and sunny here.

"Jim Miller (formerly of Hopkins, now a resident of Honolulu, but still interested in Minnesota politics.)”
I appreciate the advice, Jim, but I’ve thought this through and I think Al Franken is the man for Minnesota.

You know, I’ll start off weakly, but maybe it will make sense to some of you: How ‘bout no more lawyers in Congress? Ceresi is a great trial attorney – one of the very best. I just get tired of all the men and women in legislative bodies coming out of law studies. We need a different perspective. Listen, Franken is bright (Harvard) and he’s articulate (he had great ratings on his national radio show). Franken knows how to probe and get to the meat of an issue (he was spectacular as an interviewer and he had great guests and he asked the right, bright questions).

Franken is also successful – maybe not in the huge financial sense that Ceresi is (tobacco settlements), but he’s done okay. He had a long and successful career on Saturday Night Live and he’s authored several excellent books – a couple of which have been major best-sellers.

Franken is compassionate and patriotic. He has a passionate love for his country. He wants it to fulfill its dream. He wants it to return to its constitution. He loves people and cares deeply that some of us are left out of the system. He cares that some people can’t get health care insurance coverage. He cares that Minnesota is no longer top dog in education in America. He cares that the middle class has been kicked in the butt.

You know what? I’ve struggled with the loss of Paul Wellstone. Oh, my goodness, has it been six years already? Wellstone was an original. Progressives could not have been prouder of anyone than they were of Paul Wellstone. Al Franken is cut from the same cloth.

Minnesota needs Al Franken. Get aboard! Caucus for Franken on Tuesday night. Caucus for Paul Wellstone! Caucus for Minnesota!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your insight on the Frankin/Ciresi debate. Ciresi is catching my eye more even tho I thought I was a Frankin supporter... as you say either candidate will do well, since I am yet undecided any information and conviction is helpful.