I think that Minnesota ought to give a power of attorney to another state, like maybe Wisconsin or one of the Dakotas. Back in 1998, they elected former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura as their governor. That was all fun, because it was the 1990s and we were all sort of loose since the Commies lost and all. But Ventura was not much of a governor, Minnesota legislators got tired of overriding his vetos and Minnesotans elected Tim Pawlenty and his funny name just as soon as they had a chance in 2002.
Now the same state is bending over backwards trying to make Al Franken one of their Senators. Franken was a longtime Saturday Night Live writer who had the distinction of being with the show when it was often funny (1975-1979) as well as when it often stank (ever since, although Franken can only be blamed for the years he worked with the show, 1985-1995). Franken has managed to squeeze two books worth of humor into six titles (mostly Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Why Not Me?). He's made jokes about rape, about a husband who didn't want to have sex with his wife after her breast cancer surgery because she only had one breast and shepherded two sketches about a gawky adolescent Chelsea Clinton onto SNL in 1993 after rightfully blasting Limbaugh for making the same kind of joke. Franken complains about conservative racism and yet during his television, movie, radio and book career, has hired one (uno) nonwhite person in a senior position.
Granted, a jerk in the Senate is nothing new. As Okies, we know this (and we are frequently reminded). But Minnesota has given the nation senators like Hubert Humphrey, who came into the office after fighting to finally get the Democratic Party to embrace civil rights in 1948. Or Paul Wellstone, whose honesty and good character earned him friends and respect across the political spectrum despite his own decidedly un-mainstream views. When mokes like us want to follow up Don Nickels with Tom Coburn, we don't exactly tarnish a brightly shining legacy. But Minnesotans are ready to do just that, it seems, and more's the pity that they'd not only get themselves stuck having to choose between a bland political hack of a non-entity and a fellow who seems to specialize in mean jokes but that they'd then go and pick the meanie.
So I support a temporary power of attorney that would allow voters in a neighboring state to choose Minnesota's elected officials (fortunately, Minnesota does not border Gov. Rod Blagojevich's Illinois, although many Illinois voters do have experience in casting more than one vote per election). The Ventura episode could be considered a one-time aberration. Like when Iowa made The Love Boat's Gopher a congressman, or Georgia did the same with the Dukes of Hazzard's Cooter. But the repetition signals the possible California-ization of the state, and it should be stopped before that happens. Because we sure as heck don't need a second California.
(PS -- the post title refers to this. Scroll down to the end).