It is almost unbelievable that Al Franken, a washed-up former comedian and reformed (I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt) coke-head with serious anger management issues, was elected to the Senate in 2008 from Minnesota, a state he hadn’t lived in for several decades. (“Elected” despite the fact that he almost certainly received fewer legal votes than Norm Coleman.) It is even more unbelievable that Franken stands an excellent chance of being re-elected next year, only because there is no strong Republican candidate on the horizon.
Still, Franken isn’t taking any chances, given his mediocre approval ratings and the expected Democratic wipeout due to Obamacare. Like Democrats everywhere, he is anxious to change the subject.
So he launched his re-election bid on MoveOn.org, a far-left web site. Franken sent out an email today to his supporters, announcing that he has initiated a MoveOn petition in support of a constitutional amendment to cut back on the First Amendment:
Dear Minnesota MoveOn member,
I’m Senator Al Franken, and I started a petition to the United States Congress and President Barack Obama, which says:
We, the undersigned, have had it. Corporations are not people. Elections should not be auctions, and we refuse to let our democracy be put up for sale.
We are standing together to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.
Sign Sen. Franken’s petition.
Corporations are not people? So the Sierra Club has no First Amendment rights? Interesting. Actually, corporations are people, for most legal purposes. Moreover, it is axiomatic that a corporation can act only through its employees–people–and its purpose is to earn money for its shareholders–more people. And if elections should not be auctions, does that mean the Democrats should stop outspending Republicans in virtually every contested race? And should unions be barred from spending money on electoral politics?
Citizens United was a disaster. It opened the floodgates for corporations to write big checks to fund right-wing special-interest attacks, helping them pour $719 million into the 2012 elections.
Citizens United applied equally to corporations and unions, and there has been no “flood” of corporate spending, which accounted for only a small portion of the $7 billion that was spent on the 2012 election cycle. As usual, Democrats out-spent Republicans, just as Franken will out-spend his eventual Republican challenger by a factor of at least three times.
By the way, $7 billion sounds like a lot of money, and it would be if it were mine. But Americans spend almost $40 billion a year on pizza. And that’s every year, not just even-numbered years. Until we spend as much on elections as on pizza, I will not be impressed by claims that campaigns are flooded with cash, and our elections are being “auctioned.” Think of it this way: if the average American, who thinks he can’t possibly afford to contribute to political campaigns, were to divert less than 10% of his pizza money to the biennial campaign cycle, spending on political campaigns would double.
Back to Al Franken:
The question is, what are we going to do about it? How are we going to stuff this “corporations are people, elections are auctions, democracy is for sale” mess into the Dumpster of Bad Ideas?
Here’s how: a constitutional amendment that puts power back in the hands of the people. The actual, human people.
Click here to sign my petition and join me in calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, and then pass it along to your friends.
–Senator Al Franken
Don’t hold your breath waiting to see that constitutional amendment. It isn’t likely to be drafted, let alone passed. Which I find interesting. Here is a sitting United States Senator, running for re-election after six years of, presumably, serving the people of Minnesota, and this is his opening salvo? A petition on a fringe web site on behalf of a constitutional amendment that will never be seriously proposed, let alone enacted? Has he no accomplishments of which he can boast?
Well, no, he doesn’t. As a senator, Franken has been an embarrassment on the rare occasions when he has not been invisible. It is telling that an incumbent senator thinks it necessary not just to shore up his base, but to shore up the wackiest elements of his base with a purely symbolic appeal that has nothing to do with his own six years in office. In a race where he has no opponent on the horizon with any name recognition.
I think what this signifies is the terror that the Obamacare debacle has struck into the hearts of Democrats who are running for election next year. No Democrat is safe. That certainly includes Al Franken, who is eminently beatable, if only we Republicans can come up with a credible candidate.