Sunday, November 02, 2008

Senator Al Franken?

SNL alum in close race

As the 2008 US Election winds to a close, most eyes are on the tightening race for President (although Barack Obama continues to hold a modest lead over McCain in most polls).

One of the sometimes-overlooked races in this election is that being contested between Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat comedian Al Franken.

Franken, well known for his Air America radio network and the intensely partisan nature of both his commentary and his comedy, holds a 4% leader over Coleman, 42% to 38%.

Independent candidate Dean Barkley accounts for the remainder of decided voters, and very well could play kingmaker in this race.

Franken's fame could wind up giving him an edge. Having previously elected former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura, residents of Minnesota certainly aren't adverse to electing celebrities to political office.

Franken would likely make a competent addition to the Democratic caucus, but his ultimate usefulness to the Democratic party will likely depend on who wins the Presidency. Franken's rhetoric gears him primarily toward opposition politics. With Barack Obama in the White House, Franken could find himself severely handcuffed.

Even if John McCain -- who previously was every Democrat's favourite Republican, even if he's been relentlessly demonized in the course of this increasingly fiction-wrought campaign -- wins the presidency, Franken's acerbic rhetorical style could prove to be a distinct liability.

That being said, Franken could make the American legislative process a good deal more interesting -- to say the least.

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