There are a number of intense and spirited U.S. Senate races across the nation, that if played right, the outcomes will allow the Democratic Party to gain a 60-seat filibuster proof majority. We need to have Washington work again without partisan harshness, or procedural games, in order to fix our nation. The races in places like Minnesota and North Carolina are very important to meet that goal.
Republican Norm Coleman who filled the seat of the much loved, and respected Paul Wellstone, who died in office, is facing a tough race. As such, it is a real delightful one for us to watch. Though his Democratic competitor Al Franken has not been as artful and politically astute as many hoped at certain times this summer, he has proved to be a great campaigner when most of the voters are truly paying attention. That being right now in the final weeks of the fall campaign.
The recent dust-up this past week over the question as to who buys Senator Coleman’s suits seems like it could have been handled with a quick response. (But then I thought asking Sarah Palin what newspapers she read required only a quick reply too.) The allegations, as raised in a Harpers online article, claimed that Nasser Kazeminy, a mover and shaker with deep pockets within the Minnesota GOP, might have bought the clothes on the Senator’s back. Why it proved so difficult to answer was just plain mystifying. As I did a You Tube search tonight on Senator Coleman I found this nugget that just seems so hard to explain, politically speaking.
Senator Coleman later stated that he and his wife do his clothes shopping, but there seems to be yet more inquires to come on this matter, and others associated with it. His attempt at this late date to pull all his negative ads….except those that he ‘can’t’ control….is a sign that his internal polls are showing the train is off the tracks and heading down the side of the hill. Coleman’s attempts now to have talks with ordinary voters in small towns and places around Minnesota might be too little, too late. As if all this is not enough to make one smile comes word that Senator Lieberman is going to try and help him get re-elected. (LOL) I suspect Coleman’s campaign winds up in one of the many Minnesota lakes on Election Night.
The great unknown is the amount of support that the third party candidate, Dean Barkley the spoiler, will play in the outcome. It would be tragic if Barkley denied Franken the win, or the Democratic Party a 60-seat majority.
In North Carolina one of the truly surprising tales this season that has come to light is the lack of awareness that Elizabeth Dole has shown over the years to her constituents. She and her husband Bob Dole are among the best political minds in the GOP for understanding the mechanics of politics. Or so we thought. But when it was reported that she was almost never back in North Carolina, and was seriously out of touch with the needs of her state, her race soon became a disaster for the GOP. There is almost no one who thinks she can retake the lead in this race.
The fact that over the years she has not demonstrated any issue she feels grounded enough with to take the lead on has been the biggest surprise to me. She was invisible, and I thought her style would be more energized and robust when given the power of a Senator. She is not one who seeks interviews to advance her issues, and as such is seen as a placeholder and not a leader. Not what one wishes from a first-term Senator.
Her Democratic opponent Kay Hagen was taken for granted by Dole, and then treated harshly in a vicious and mean-spirited series of campaign ads that have only injured Dole in the eyes of the electorate.
Readers here can see the outlines of at least one solid prediction coming down the road for release on Sunday, November 2, 2008.