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‘Not crazy; not Norm Coleman; not Al Franken’

Are you heartily sick of the Norm Coleman vs. Al Franken cliffhanger? Can you handle one more perspective on it?

New York Times op-ed columnist Gail Collins has a good one.

"Right now, the incumbent Republican, Norm Coleman, is about 200 votes ahead of the Democratic challenger, the former comedian Al Franken," Collins writes. "In a race where 2.9 million votes were case, Coleman is leading 41.99 percent to 41.98 percent.

"You may note that there are a lot of percents missing. They went to Dean Barkley, an underfunded Independence Party candidate who did rather well by running on a platform that boiled down to: 1) Not crazy 2) Not Norm Coleman 3) Not Al Franken."

Collins quotes University of Minnesota political science professor Larry Jacobs: "We had a campaign in which both candidates came out with equally low favorable ratings," Jacobs said. "They were not well-liked."

Collins notes Franken’s comedy-writing history, and adds: "As time passed, many voters in Minnesota decided that there are worse things than a history of making offensive jokes, one of them being a history of supporting George W. Bush. Coleman’s lead began shrinking. Both parties started pouring money into Minnesota. Both candidates cannily invested in negative ads, which were extremely effective in getting people to vote for Dean Barkley."

The piece ends with Jacobs inviting folks to come and watch the "entirely transparent process" of a statewide recount.

"Come along and bring a bucket of popcorn and watch," he says.

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