THE DANGERS OF STUNT CASTING
Let's see -- how many aspects of the GOP stereotype of Democrats does this Norm Coleman attack ad on Al Franken manage to squeeze into thirty seconds?
Hypocrisy. Coarsening of the culture. Seemingly dangerous character flaws. And elitism -- definitely elitism. (The ad doesn't charge Franken with being a rootless cosmopolitan, but this one does.)
Script of the ad above:
Bowler: The guys and I have been talking. We've read all this stuff about Al Franken: Not paying taxes. Going without insurance for his employees. Foul-mouthed attacks on anyone he disagrees with. Tasteless, sexist jokes. Writing all that juicy porn. And we've decided were running for U.S. Senate. Why not? We're just as qualified as Al Franken, and were better bowlers.
In what ought to be a big Democratic year, a couple of polls have Franken trailing Coleman by double digits, even though Obama seems to have a huge lead over McCain in Minnesota.
Remind me again: Why was it a good idea to run Franken?
I gather that, earlier this year, he polled better than other Democrats who wanted the nomination. That means nothing -- I've seen unknowns here in New York knock off big names (Schumer over D'Amato, Pataki over Cuomo), and believe me, the head-to-head polls nine or ten months before the election were not predictive. Name recognition in the winter means nothing. You need political skill, money, and a unified party to beat a vulnerable incumbent -- all those things are how you build name recognition.
Rule #1: The Democratic Party should never run big-name entertainers. Republicans can do that anytime they want, because Republican Party membership pre-acquits you on the charge of being an elitist or a degrader of the culture. Democrats don't have that luxury. Democrats have the opposite problem: All Democrats are treated as if they're culture-degrading Hollywood elitists, even when they're from Podunk. Why compound the problem by running an actual celebrity?
Yeah, Franken has specific problems -- mismanagement of his taxes as an entertainer, authorship of a sexually explicit Playboy article that's being called porn. But just seeking office as a celeb and a Democrat is hard enough. Decades of GOP propaganda have persuaded a lot of Americans that Democrats look down on the little guy. How do you disprove that when the main line on your resume is a job people associate with wealth and ego?
UPDATE: Well, there is this: Rasmussen's latest poll showing Coleman and Franken neck and neck, contradicting the SurveyUSA and Quinnipiac polls, which show Coleman up by double digits.