Sunday, December 21, 2008

Senator Al Franken?

Comedian predicts narrow victory in the Senate election that doesn't end

Anyone expecting -- or led to expect -- the Al Franken/Norm Coleman Senatorial election in Minnesota to come to a swift conclusion upon the start of the recount was apparently in for quite the wake-up call.

The recount has proven to be a long and exhaustive process, with the Coleman campaign engaging in some highly dubious challenges. At one point arguing, for example, that any ballots featuring a vote for John McCain be counted as a vote for Coleman -- an obviously disingenuous take on the meaning of "voter intent".

With this recount starting to look as if it will never end, Franken, the Democrat candidate -- has recently announced that he expects to win that race by between 35 and 50 votes.

Franken himself would make a fine addition to the US Senate. But those clamouring for him to take a seat in that body need to be well aware of all the implications.

First off, Franken's talents have clearly been well-suited to the role of poliitical opposition. Even if he's often proven to be little more than a left-wing counterpart of Ann Coulter -- so it's unsurprising that one should note his level of disdain for Coulter -- one think that Franken has done successfully is keep a wide variety of right-wing commentators on their toes.

As a Democratic Senator, one can expect Franken to be little more than a loud mouthpiece for the Democrats and their sitting President.

Secondly, a Franken victory would give the Democrats their 60-seat filibuster-proof Senate. While those friendly or sympathetic toward the Democrats may view this with satisfaction, one has to consider the effect such a thing could have on the democratic process in the United States.

As the National Post's Terence Corcoran has noted, some Democrats seem to be looking to the current economic crisis in order to implement their own agenda in an environment reminiscent of Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine.

As we've previously seen, times of economic crisis are not the times for revolutionary shifts in economic policies or practices.

If Franken's election serves to enact such policy changes, it may not be quite the boon that Democrats imagine it to be.

Only time -- and the remainder of the recount -- will tell if the Franken campaign's prediction of victory will come true.

If it should, the rest of the story -- what Franken does when he actually reaches the Senate -- will be entirely up to Franken himself.

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