The 2008 Minnesota Senate Recount – Blame Me!
It’s embarrassing to be a Minnesotan these days. The past two months has been a pr nightmare for our state tourism department. Instead of the Land of 10,000 Lakes, you can travel to Lakeville, the infamous city where a crazy old lady called Barack Obama “an Arab.” Better yet, travel cross-country though Minnesota’s 6th District, the only congressional district in the entire county to vote a neo-McCarthyist back into office. A prospective visitor could also purchase the Vandalism Package and visit the residences of politicians that were tagged by anarchists during the election. A splendid time guaranteed for all. Seems we Minnesotans can’t catch a break. We can’t even elect a U.S. Senator without major complications. Accusations and lawsuits are flying back and forth between candidates Norm Coleman and Al Franken, making it obvious that whoever captures the senate seat, neither candidate deserved to get it. Journalists are looking everywhere for someone to blame for this mess. Look no further, true believers, for I have an exclusive scoop not found on Drudge, Huffington or in newsprint. Put those pens to paper, people, for I have a confession – it’s my fault.
I happen to be one of the estimated 437,377 Minnesotans who cast their vote for independent candidate Dean Barkley. Barkley, a former U.S. Senator (albeit for 2 months, replacing the late Paul Wellstone), had little money and no advertising budget but still managed to garner 15 percent of the vote. Like most voters, my decision was based on the issues. Barkley’s stance on the...umm…bailout…uhh…taxes…mmm…economy…uhh health care – actually, I have no idea what Senator Barkley’s positions on these issues are. However, despite being subjected to countless ads by candidates Coleman and Franken, I had no idea what their stances on these issues were either. I knew only one certain fact these two men stood for: attacking each other.
Coleman and Franken spent the last several months accusing each other of anything reprehensible except being a domestic terrorist, which was already being utilized by another campaign. Coleman’s ads accused Franken of being a pornographer, a tax-evader and committing unlawful use of electronic talking fish. Franken’s ads accused Coleman of being a lobbyist lapdog, a CEO comrade and hanging out with President George Bush on the White House swingset. Like I stated earlier, I voted on the issues. These two men ran disgraceful campaigns reminiscent of old-school AWA trash talking. The rants of Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Mad Dog Vachon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura resembled honest rhetoric in comparison. By Election Day, my view of Coleman and Franken resembled the public’s perception of professional wrestling: a complete and total joke. So why did I vote for Senator Barkley? Why did I send the great state of Minnesota into political infamy? I had no choice. It was my duty as an American citizen to not vote for two major party douche bags.
Senator Norm Coleman used to be a Democrat until he thought he could achieve higher office easier as a Republican. The former mayor of St. Paul was instrumental in the construction of the Excel Energy Center, home to the Minnesota Wild and site of the 2008 Republican National Convention. But Coleman was a Democrat then…or was he? Coleman enjoyed palling around with Bush but also championed his ability to reach across the aisle to his former party. He was able to secure federal money to rebuild the collapsed 35W bridge because of his unique ability to raise his hand in the classroom first. It is highly unlikely any Minnesota politician would have been denied this request. Coleman has also taken documented trips overseas payed for by lobbyists. He is also being sued by a Texas businessman who claims he was forced to funnel money to Coleman’s campaign. The only facts I know for certain about Norm are ones I have seen personally. I lived in St. Paul when he was mayor and bumped into him twice. Norm Coleman is guilty of renting movies at Blockbuster Video and likes to browse vinyl records. Although the search for that one cool record you don’t have is an honorable and justifiable cause, it is not enough qualification for the United States Senate.
Although I’ve never met him, I’ve known about Al Franken for years, remembering his portrayal of Stuart Smalley on Saturday Night Live. Smalley was known for looking into the mirror and stating “I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me." Franken must have hated this role with a passion, as he has done everything possible to smash this image. In 2003, Franken stated he was planning on moving back to his home state to run against Coleman. A complete carpetbagger who had not resided in Minnesota for decades, he must certainly have thought Senator Coleman would be vulnerable five years into the future. Who knew Stuart’s mirror was also a crystal ball? When Franken stared into the crystal ball in 2003, he believed his friend Hillary Clinton would become the Democratic Presidential nominee. If Clinton campaigned for him, there would be little chance of defeat. Truth be told, Hillary Clinton did stump for Franken, even going so far as to do a TV ad for him – but she was not the candidate for president. It must be noted the Democratic candidate for president, Barack Obama, never campaigned for Franken.
Unlike Senator Coleman and Mr. Franken, I take full and total responsibilty for the Minnesota Senate race. If you’re looking for someone to blame, look no further. I did it. It was my choice and I’m proud of my decision. I stand by my actions and am willing to suffer the consequences. Go ahead, America, lay the burden upon me. I can take it. Blame me! Blame my wife, Andrea! She voted for Barkley too! Blame my Dad who wanted to vote for Barkley but chose Franken because he hated Coleman! Blame the 15 percent of Minnesotans who were completely repulsed by this campaign! The recount is our fault. If the hundreds of attorneys representing both candidates are reading, I’m ready for you. Bring it on. I’d rather be free than a partisan tool any day.
P.S. If you would like to share the blame and take the world off my shoulders, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org