So the Minnesota Republican Party issues a press release announcing how offended it is that Sen. Al Franken recently held two road cones to his chest as if they were female breasts.
Really. Is that the biggest issue they can come up with?
Does anybody realize that the race between Franken and Republican challenger Mike McFadden is not for homecoming king?
When it comes to big issues, Franken isn’t much better. His initial advertising has focused on how he helped somebody get some benefits when they needed them and how he gets along with everybody, even Republicans.
McFadden counters that Franken voted with President Obama’s position 97 percent of the time, more than any other senator in the nation.
Yes, we would rather have our senator be a nice guy instead of a jerk, and Obama’s approval rating has sagged to 42 percent of the electorate, so it’s expected McFadden would question whether Franken ever has an independent thought.
However, this race is for U.S. senator, not just government omsbudsman. The Senate used to be called by some people the world’s greatest deliberative body. Don’t Minnesotans deserve to know if either of these candidates has the wisdom needed of a national leader?
We have serious problems. A recent poll found three out of four Americans hate how our political system functions. The combined results of six different polls taken since July 30 find that 66 percent of the American people think the nation is headed in the wrong direction.
In case you haven’t noticed, in recent months, the world has become much more violent. Vladimir Putin is pushing into the Ukraine. Meanwhile, the world’s last remaining superpower, the United States is pulling out of Afghanistan, doing just enough to hold off ISIS in Iraq until after the election, and doing nothing about Syria, Libya or Egypt. Meanwhile, Israel and Hamas have been engaged in all out war.
Of course, none of this has anything to do with Americans, does it? I’d be curious about the views of American journalist James Foley on that topic, but he’s not talking. ISIS made sure of that by decapitating him, and proved it by posting a video of the evil act on the Internet.
In 1972, Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern ran on the theme, “Come Home, America.” The thought was that the U.S. should not be the world’s policeman. At the time, the issue was Vietnam. Americans weren’t buying it then because of the Cold War.
Regardless, ever since, whenever the public is asked where they would like to cut federal spending, the one area that gets bipartisan support is foreign aid.
Under Jimmy Carter, a watered-down version of McGovern’s foreign policy brought us the Iranian hostage crisis, which ended in January 1980 with the release of 52 Americans held by Iran at the exact moment that Ronald Reagan took office.
Under President Obama, it’s fair to say that our foreign policy now is pretty much what McGovern was proposing, but strong arguments can be made both for and against ending our role as world cop.
When we live in a world where a handful of terrorists could soon send a note with some authenticity to the White House saying, “Surrender today or we will nuke New York,” or some other city, shouldn’t somebody who wants to be a U.S. senator be thoroughly screened about their views on foreign policy?
Check out the campaign web sites of Franken and McFadden. Look under issues. Neither one has a word to say about foreign policy. Not one.
One would think a gratuitous sentence or two describing their visions for America’s role in the world would be merited.
Even those issues that they do address give the impression they think we are all gullible third graders.
Take health care. McFadden says he will vote to repeal Obamacare. That makes me wonder if he has read the U.S. Constitution, or at least Article II, Section 7, which says overriding a presidential veto takes a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress. It would be interesting to hear how he plans to get Democrats to override Obama’s veto of a bill designed to overturn a measure passed with only Democratic votes.
As for Franken, it would be interesting to hear his take on Obama’s claim that nobody would lose their existing health insurance or access to their physician. It would be enlightening to know if he thinks it is OK to delay implementation of selected portions of the law of the land.
And what about the national debt? Everyone knows that the only way it can be brought under control is through entitlement reform. Wouldn’t it be great if somebody had the courage to offer a reform package that wouldn’t throw granny out on the street or take away her health care? However, the demagogues rule that issue.
Just once, I’d like to see a campaign that treats voters like adults.
Tom West is the editor and general manager of the Record. Reach him at (320) 616-1932 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.