Thursday, February 05, 2009

Franken tells another bad joke

Minnesota comedian and candidate for senate Al Franken is requesting the court allow him to be given a temporary certification as senator while the courts consider a challenge to the election results by Senator Norm Coleman. Coleman and Franken competed in last November’s election, only to have results so close that a recount was needed. Coleman had won the initial vote tally but Franken appears to have won the recount. However, the courts are examining the recount results and, per Minnesota law, no certification has taken place.

Now Franken is arguing that he should be given the senate seat temporarily because Minnesota needs two representatives in the senate to vote on the stimulus package and other important questions.

The argument is, of course, absurd. Without a clear understanding of the preferences of Minnesotans, it is impossible to pick one person or the other to cast votes in the senate. Franken’s argument is “someone’s gotta do it” but there is no case that it should be specifically him. One could easily argue that the temporary senator should be the incumbent, or even a third party (Jesse Ventura?) until the court case is resolved if Franken’s arguments had any merit.

It’s likely, but not certain, that Franken will prevail. One could even argue that the recount going awry was Norm Coleman’s fault. It does not appear to be the result of Franken’s campaign trying to steal the election.

However, until the voters’ intentions can be discerned through the careful examination by the Minnesota courts of the recount Minnesota should be content with one senator. If they cannot live with one senator, then the only person under Minnesota law that could fill the vacancy by appointment is Governor Tim Pawlenty.