The Franken Facts

Al Franken is about to be elevated to the U.S. Senate as a result of funny business.

Twenty-five precincts in Minnesota have recorded more votes cast than there were voters on Election Day. Ramsey County alone has 177 more ballots than people who voted. The vast majority of these over-votes have gone to Franken.

Kennedy’s Ever-Expanding Laundry List of Political Faux Pas

Perhaps I lost the holiday spirit too soon, but let's just admit it — Caroline Kennedy is blowing it.

A new national poll shows the country split down the middle on whether Kennedy should be appointed by the governor of New York to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate. Literally the angel of the Kennedy clan, all Camelot and no courtrooms. Influential endorser of popular President-elect Barack Obama. Still the public is split — and it's no surprise.

Kennedy has insisted she is not campaigning for an appointment, but went public to say she wanted it, hired a staff and went on a tour of upstate New York. There she tried dodging the press, eventually relenting to take questions and say pretty much nothing. After avoiding interviews and getting criticized for it, she sat down with The New York Times and some other outlets last weekend to declare, "I wouldn't be here if I didn't think I would be the best."

Hey, Caroline — You’re Not Entitled

Caroline Kennedy thinks that she is entitled to be appointed — or, more appropriately, coronated — as the next junior senator from New York.

She shouldn’t be. Think about it.

Her qualifications? Her name is Kennedy and she can raise a lot of fat-cat money for herself and for New York Democrats who support her.

Is there a more cynical message in the Age of Obama?

2010 Candidate Recruitment is Under Way

With 2008 (almost) behind us, a lot of eyes are already focused on the 2010 midterm elections — Will Republicans bounce back? Will the elections be a referendum on Obama? — and all the other speculation that comes with them.

While it is certainly too early for most of this speculation — and much, much too early for any poll numbers on potential match-ups, i.e., races that may never happen, to be taken seriously — there is one area where 2010 positioning is alive and well: candidate recruitment.


Caroline Kennedy for Senate

It could be said that the war on Iraq was brought on by the tenacious will and determination of one man, George W. Bush, and the lack of it by many others.

Yet several have distinguished themselves as noble and fearless individuals in this season of the expedient — like Sen. Robert Byrd (D), the Gray Champion from West Virginia, who, recalling the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, opposed the invasion from the start. Another was Susan Eisenhower, who crossed party lines and abandoned her family tradition — one of the most respected in American history — to support Barack Obama.

Caroline Kennedy for President in 2016

It is funny, unsurprising and (as usual) irritating to watch Hillary Clinton supporters demean and ridicule Caroline Kennedy. I predict Sen. Clinton will soon have kind words for Caroline, since she is in the "Cabinet of rivals" of Obama and would not want to be seen supporting unfair attacks on Caroline because Caroline supported the man who named Hillary as secretary of State. But let’s be honest, these attacks are not about the Senate. If Caroline is elected and performs well, as I predict she will, Caroline Kennedy would be a very credible candidate for president in 2016, as Hillary was in 2008.

No Divine Right to Senate Seat

It’s true, we have no royal family. But I’m convinced most Americans want one. How else to explain the infatuation with Caroline Kennedy?

When the daughter of John F. Kennedy announced that she would seek Hillary Clinton’s New York Senate seat, the general public and the media acted as if it were hers by divine right.

Why? She’s a good person, a loving mother, a legendary fundraiser for New York schools, and she’d probably do a decent job as senator. But she’s no more qualified for the job than a whole host of other New Yorkers. In fact, she’s a lot less qualified.

Georgia Won't Likely See Obama in Senate Runoff

In Georgia, 2008 is a lot like 1992.

Back then, a young Democratic nominee promising hope and change was the top of the ticket and Southern states had become competitive for the first presidential cycle in years. This caused problems for Republicans down-ballot, with more voters coming to the polls and voting Democrat than expected. And as the Democrats retook the White House, the Senate race in Georgia was forced into a runoff between incumbent Democratic Sen. Wyche Fowler and Republican challenger Paul Coverdell.

Let’s Push for 60 Democratic Senators!

Harry Reid is in the catbird seat. Alaska has fallen, the push for Minnesota gathers steam, and Democrats should make an all-out effort for Georgia.

The Democrats already have the 60 votes to prevent filibusters in the next Congress, in practice, but let’s go for the gold. Applause to Al Franken for coming to Washington to work the system and keep the pressure on. Let’s go for 60 Democratic senators now and 64 in 2010.

Make no mistake, in governing I support the most bipartisanship, but in electing senators it’s time to push hard, keep the pressure on, move aggressively and go for the whole thing. These filibusters have done great damage to America and our economy and destroyed the capacity of the Senate to act. It is time to destroy the filibuster tactic by electing every Democrat. Bipartisanship should be pursued from maximum strength.

Frenzied GOP Ought to Take Lesson from Obama

The GOP freak-out is well under way, with leading voices in the party falling into the two predictable camps: the stick-with-it conservatives and the embrace-the-center crowd.

The first group is being coined "traditionalists" today by David Brooks in his column in The New York Times, and the more tolerant group of moderates are being termed "reformers." One crowd wants Sarah Palin to lead the charge, while the other hopes she never graces the Lower 48 again. You can guess who is who.