Al Franken, Already an Unpopular Democrat?

January 11th, 2009 9:34 AM

Alexander Burns of Politico (featured Sunday on Yahoo!) sees no chance of Norm Coleman retaining his Senate seat, but he devoted an article to Al Franken’s unique position as a potential top-dollar fundraiser – for conservatives and Republicans. "With only a longshot court appeal standing in the way of Democrat Al Franken’s election to the Senate, Republicans are gritting their teeth and bracing for the arrival of a new senator whose every utterance will sound like nails on a chalkboard to them." Already, he’s a drag on the Democrats:

Polling results this week confirmed Franken's precarious position: more Minnesotans have a negative impression of him than a positive one, by a 45 percent to 37 percent margin. Those would be dismal numbers under any circumstances, but for a newly-elected senator they would be particularly alarming.

Even professors favored by the media establishment aren’t sanguine:

According to Carleton College political scientist Steven Schier, Franken’s record as a "flamboyant and aggressive partisan" would make him ripe for criticism back home. "I think it’s impossible to overstate the hostility Minnesota Republicans feel toward Al Franken," Schier said. "He will be a very useful fundraising tool."

....“I think that he’ll have a constant battle between the desire for – how shall I put it? – comedic satisfaction and a senatorial image,” said Schier. “Can he help himself? Can he prevent himself from trying to be funny in a controversial way?”

Burns added:

Republicans outside Minnesota are equally apoplectic when it comes to Franken. Prominent conservative Rush Limbaugh, who Franken mocked in the title of one of his books, has already jabbed Franken on his radio show, telling listeners in December that Franken "won’t quit [the Senate race] because he doesn’t know how to get a real job…He’s a pathetic figure."

But now Franken looks like the winner, and Republicans cannot count on the "Selected Not Elected" media elite of the Tallahassle in 2000 to lament the manipulations around the result.