Now this is an excellent television spot for Al Franken. It's a rebuttal against Sen. Norm Coleman's rather tasteless ad, a cheap highlight reel of Franken losing his temper and cursing up a storm. This ad responds swiftly and does a solid job of portraying the challenger in a serious light. Franken's campaign struggled for much of the year, but I think he's really hit his stride in recent weeks. Minnesotans still suffering Jesse Ventura fatigue are understandably cautious on the idea of another "entertainer turned politician," and that has always been Franken's biggest challenge to overcome. Ads like this, and the one where he speaks of his wife and Social Security, will work greatly in his favor.
I listened to Franken's radio show on Air America regularly, and I was always greatly impressed by the man. I already knew of his politics from his satirical books, but his radio show revealed an intelligent, thoughtful side. He is also someone who gets along admirably with lifelong friends who are devout Republicans. That's an angle that was taken in one previous ad, and it should be highlighted more. I think some of his regular guests from "The Al Franken Show" need to come in any pay their respects to the man.
It's weird, really. This Minnesota Senate race is really a surrogate battle. It isn't really about Franken versus Norm Coleman; it's Jesse Ventura versus George Bush. It all comes down to which character the locals hate more. At this point, I'd say Coleman has a slight advantage (he was very popular as the moderate mayor of St. Paul), but Franken can win this if he works his strengths and focuses his attacks on Bush and the failed policies of Republican rule.
The key to Coleman's victory is to highlight his old moderate ways, and portray Franken as, well, another entertainer. Another Jesse Ventura. I don't know how the rest of the nation feels about our former Governor, but his good will was pretty thoroughly burned away by the end of his tenure. Ventura chose to retire after one term for a reason, folks.
This race is going to be very, very close. We'll be up late on November 4, I assure you.