July 1st, 2009
05:00 PM ET

What will Al Franken mean for Obama's agenda?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Al Franken is headed to Washington. Nearly eight months after Election Day, the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously declared Franken the state's next senator. And once he is sworn in - presumably next week - the Democrats will finally have their so-called super majority; meaning they'll have 60 votes, which is enough to stop any Republican filibuster.

On paper it seems like a home run for Democrats and for President Obama's ambitious agenda in the coming months. But in reality it might not be so easy.

For one thing, Democrats won't always have the 60-vote majority because Senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd are both ill and are only likely to return for the most crucial votes. Also, Former Majority leader Trent Lott once said governing the Senate is like herding cats, and Senate Democrats have already proven they won't fall into line when it comes to some of the president's top priorities.

For his part, Franken insists he's not going to Washington to be the 60th Democratic Senator; but rather to be the second senator from the state of Minnesota. That's what he's supposed to say. But Washington is nothing if not partisan; and Franken just might be able to make a real difference on big votes like health care and climate change.

Democrats are welcoming the news, but say it won't mean they'll just be able to "jam" their agenda through. Meanwhile, one top Republican says the 60-vote majority means Democrats won't be able to blame the minority for being obstructionist any more.

Here’s my question to you: What will Minnesota Senator-Elect Al Franken mean for President Obama’s agenda?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Dennis from Virginia writes:
It doesn't mean jack, Jack. A filibuster-proof majority doesn't help if your party can't agree on anything. There are too many corporatists in the Democratic Party preventing them from ever passing meaningful legislation.

S. writes:
The runaway freight train is coming. Whatever the Democrats want, it is theirs and there is nothing anyone can do about it, until 2010. The flip side: they have no one to blame but themselves when it all blows up in their faces, and it will!

Tom from Las Vegas writes:
Franken gives the Democratic caucus 60 votes but I doubt that the caucus will vote as a unit very often. In the Democratic caucus, there are conservative Democrats from the South, two Independents and Arlen Specter who will no doubt balk at many of the president’s initiatives. Even with 60 votes, the Democrats will still need some Republican support to move things forward.

Eric from Texas writes:
It will mean that Obama can now pass anything he wants. He'd better hurry with jamming his crap down our throats because the 2010 midterms are coming up, and those are going to be a bloodbath for Democrats.

Diane from Pennsylvania writes:
I think Al Franken may really challenge Obama on his agenda. He's not coming in as a career politician; he sees it from the outside and therefore may be able to think "outside the box." I'm hoping Al Franken can be a voice of reason. Somebody has to be!

Frankie writes:
To paraphrase President Obama's words today at the town meeting, I hope this shows Republicans that the train has left the station and they had better jump on board.

Sandra from San Diego writes:
Al Franken is the Genie, here to grant Obama’s every wish!

Filed under: Al Franken • President Barack Obama
soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. Alan

    FRANKENstein will be a disaster, and the majority of Americans who voted for Obama and him will soon find that out when their taxes are increased, when seniors freeze to death because of "cap and trade", when their choice of health care options is limited to what Obama tells us we get; and when our National Security is compromised by the terror attacks to come, courtesy of Obie's appeasement of our enemies and his hate for our allies.

    Phoenix, AZ

    July 1, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  2. Ken in NC

    I don’t see where it means very much to President Obama as it appears Democrats are busy shooting themselves down right now and they will continue until such time as the Republicans have reloaded and in position to begin shooting them down again.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  3. Grant from Denver, CO

    Comic relief. I can't think of a building that has a greater need for some humor.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  4. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    Franken will be one more dependable vote for Obama's agenda but it will not give him a filibuster-proof majority since there are too many "conservadems" who will vote with the Repubs. more than with the Dems.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  5. Tony from Torrington

    I'm actually very happy that Al Franken was elected. The Democrats now have complete control. It will be nearly IMPOSSIBLE to blame George W. Bush for the disaster that will be coming....but I can bet, and you know it's true, that they will try their best to do so.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  6. pat

    i think franken is savvy enough and inteligent enough to be his own man.we don't need another rubber stamp. that is what got us in this mess in the first place.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  7. Rico

    Senator-Elect Fraken will stand up for what is right and not just partisan politics he's very right when you win by narrow margin everybody voted and made there voice heard now it's time to get to work.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  8. Jack from las vegas

    I don't want a rubber stamp congress jack. Look at what bushs rubber stamp did.

    Congress is supposed to check and balance the presidents agenda with each states agenda. The more dialogue On a bill the better it becomes.

    When congress loses that precious mindset that is when you get partism and an executive branch that runs wild

    July 1, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  9. Melissa

    Hopefully Democrats will finally be able to pull needed programs through despite Republican obstructionism.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  10. Martin

    Hi Jack,

    All it will means is that there will be another joker in the senate. The President will still have all the problems that he now has to deal with from his own party and the GOP.

    Martin Toronto

    July 1, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  11. Jim Blevins

    One more vote for reason.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    July 1, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  12. Karl from SF, CA

    It gives the president the opportunity to have a 60 vote Democratic majority. Now back on planet earth, as a lifelong Democrat, to me it means maybe he will have something close to a 60 vote majority once and a while. My dear Senator, Diane Feinstein, has even said getting some things through will be difficult. Giving the Dems everything they need to get something done is still no guarantee they won’t screw it up because they probably will. Intelligence is only a committee to them.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  13. Kerry Diehl

    Ohhhh Great!!

    Now Obama has another true clown/comedian in the Senate!

    Perhaps he can get Al together with Joe Biden to do some Laurel & Hardy routines to help promote their not-so-laughable bills.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  14. Annie, Atlanta

    Absolutely nothing. Inside the Beltway it’s always politics as usual. No matter how many times you say change in a campaign, they’ll destroy themselves before they change in that town. It’s time for Dems to man up, and go for it.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  15. Betty Boop

    Because he's good enough, and smart enough and, doggone it, people LIKE him!

    July 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  16. Erik in Oklahoma

    jack, maybe we will finally get someone that will stand up on issues and whip some weaker senators into shape. Franken has always been a great debator and fierce on speaking his mind. With what we've seen latley from the dems maybe Franken will show some backbone.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  17. Lee, Seattle WA

    I guess a good thing....But Franken just might be a centrous!!

    July 1, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  18. Frank Joopiteer

    Al Franken as a Democratic Senator will mean President Obama will have a very strong hand with regard to issues like healthcare and other social issues such as HUD and Social Security. Franken leans to the left, and the country is also leaning to the left. It's time to bury the Republican greed that has strangled so many for so long.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  19. Boyd, Reedsburg, WI

    I would certainly hope that it will give President Obama the courage to be more true to the vision of Candidate Obama. And for the Republicans, perhaps less of a "Rush to judgment." Well, it should improve the odds, anyway.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  20. Mari, Salt Lake City, Utah

    It means that the Democrats have an opportunity to give Americans the CHANGE we voted for!

    GO Congress GO!

    We blame Bush for the economic disaster we are dealing with right now!

    July 1, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  21. Steve

    Tyrus from Boise: Does the war in Iraq sound familiar? We MUST stop the WMDs! Oh, no WMDs, well were gonna deal with this for the next 10 years anyway. Gimme a break.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  22. John

    I'm not sure it will mean much. The potential is there, but haven't we been down this road with previous administrations & Congresses? The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    But hey, he is good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like him.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  23. Aldo from West New York, NJ

    It just means that President Obama gets an extra free rubber stamp with clown faces and balloon animals included. I always asked myself if the Democrats really wanted a clown like Franken in the Senate. Oh well.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  24. Ted,Pa.

    It is very simple...Al got elected on obamas coatails,now he will suck up and do what he is told to do. Goofey would have been a better choice.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  25. MIKE

    I think Franken puts Obama in a powerful position to move his agenda forward. The republicans have no more defenses. There filibuster was their last line of defense and they don't even have that anymore.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  26. Tony IL

    I don't think it will mean anything for Obama. Not all Democrats vote the same way just as not all Republicans vote the same way. It also depends on what's promised to which senator from another senator or lobbyist. We all know that swapping votes among senators goes on. I am curious to see if Franken becomes one of the good ol' boys or if he actually works for his constituents in Minnesota.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  27. Loyal Son of Colorado in Colorado

    It will mean that the Republicans will be left with nothing but blame game.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  28. James

    It will be just another media elitist swooning over Obama, and all things socialist to appease their guilt.

    Get Bill Mahr in there while you are at it.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  29. Ken in NC

    He will not mean much when the Senate cannot get Senators Kennedy and Byrd into the chambers to vote due to their age and or illness. That drops the vote from 60/40 back to 58/40, which is not the “Super Majority”.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  30. Mike from Minnesota

    Poor question as Al Franken is "suppose" to be a representative for the state of Minnesota and not a puppet for the Obama administration. Furthermore, Al Franken needs to understand that his margin of victory over Norm Coleman was razor thin which means that his voice for Minnesota "should" be very moderate and not ultra liberal. We here in Minnesota will be watch not only how he casts his votes but the other senator representing our state and adjustments will certainly be made when their terms are up.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  31. macy

    Big mistake, we have Nancy pelosi and now Franklin chaos in the congress.Obama numbers will go down because, of congress.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  32. Mark Stone

    Now we get to see who really runs our government, 3 out of 4 people want healthcare overhauled with a government option. But I fear we'll find the Dems are just as "bought-off" as the Reps! They're representatives allright, representatives of the corparations they take millions from! Mark, Kona

    July 1, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  33. Katy Lake Forest, Il

    It'll mean we are in bigger trouble than ever. It'll mean more unstoppable and unconscionable spending and taxing with no end in sight. Since we don't control our borders anyway, why don't we just let the Chinese in and hand over the keys to the country. They own us anyway

    July 1, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  34. Diane, Houston TX

    Well, unlike most of Congress, we'll have a legislator who can honestly list "professional commedian" on his resume. And to steal a line from the great Tom Lehrer's song about George Murphy: "We'll finally have a senator who can give the public, a song and dance!" I think that Frankin will make a fine senator. But I don't live in MN so I didn't have a dog in that hunt anyway. I'm just glad that it finally got settled.

    Diane, Houston TX

    July 1, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  35. Katiec Pekin, IL

    It will give the Democrats more leverage. Now they need to get the misguided Democrats who are putting campaign funds and big
    business first back to what their party represents, us.
    Due to the republican obstruction, it is almost impossible to get
    anything passed regardless of it's merits. One more vote will

    July 1, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  36. FrankenBama

    Well Jack, it means we have actually elected two of the "Three Stooges".

    Just think, only one more and we can look forward to never ending economic, healthcare and "Global Warming" slapstick...........

    July 1, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  37. Jared from Arizona

    The Democrats have been begging for control of Washington and now they have it even more than before. No blame can be on Bush anymore and now the Democrats are responsible for America.... lets see how this plays out

    July 1, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  38. Bill

    It mean no excuses for the democratic party when things go bad.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  39. Leonard

    Wow, I can't believe all the negativity on the thread directed at Al Franken! I highly doubt any of the negative posters have even listened to some interviews of Al prior to the senate announcement. He's well spoken, intelligent, great sense of moral/ethical standings, and tells it like it is. He is more in touch with reality than most any Congressional appointee atm. He actually earned his spot in Congress on being a down to earth person. I'm appalled at how far the Republican party has fallen. They used to stand for something, now they stand for nothing except sucking up to the media vs. getting a clue. It is WE THE PEOPLE that elect our government, because they are supposed to serve for the greater good of all. Not fill their pockets and screw over the people that elected them.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  40. Kevin from Colorado Springs

    How much of a difference can 1 aditional clown make? Luckly there are a few democrats who can actually think for them selfs and are not rank and file. This will be seen with the failer to pass the huge tax increase called "energy reform".

    July 1, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  41. Keith in Mn

    Doubt that for the first 2 years he will be anything but a "party" follower.

    I am curious to watch and hopefully see him actually doing some of the things he had been saying in his campaign about, oh boy here it comes,
    Change – –

    With the dem's in full filibutser proof control, I can't wait to start seeing some of the "changes" (wink – wink) –

    Senate floor could be a bit more humorous now that he will be there. You know – passing frivolous bills and insufficient legislation much like the last 2 years of W's presidency.
    Disclosure – I am a democrat turned independent.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  42. Tim

    Oh horrors! Al Franken a senator! The sky is falling! I read some of these crazy quips for those on the right on this board and am amazed how few know anything other than to whine and scream, "We're DOOMED!"

    Truth is, we now have two senators from our state. Hasn't been that way for awhile. And to those that say the people of this state are crazy, you don't know what you're talking about. Al's competitor was just THAT BAD! Besides, Al Franken should be just the guy we need for some comic relief at the nut house in Washington.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  43. Kari


    Franken is more communist leaning than Obama. He will do whatever Obama asks. If his work in the senate is as crooked as his illegitimate senate victory nothing good will can come from it. After he lost the election he said " I just want ALL the votes to be counted". As soon as he got a small lead by counting votes found in his campaign worker's automobile trunk after election day he said "I think it is time to stop counting votes and declare me the winner.

    Remember Franken said that "RAPE IS A JOKE". I think FRANKEN IS A JOKE.


    July 1, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  44. Manny from Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Hopefully it means nothing, other than a reasonable person working on behalf of his constituents. Whether these interests cross or join with Obama's agenda is not really the point.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  45. Andrew

    If Senate democrats agreed all the time and followed the party line like many congressmen ignoring their job do, it could be a huge catalyst in Obama's agenda. Fortunately there are still some democrats that aren't completely convinced about big government and unconstitutional tyranny. I fear this nation could be feeling the effects of the Bush-Obama combo just as we still feel the egregious expansion of government and dissolving of liberty felt under the FDR dynasty.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |

    Sounds good to have a majority in the senate again. Maybe they can now get the mess straightened up that the Bush administration made when they had a majority for six years.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  47. Karen in Minneapolis

    Franken emulates Paul Wellstone. If he can fill his big shoes, it will be a gift to the people of Minnesota and to the country. Give him a chance before you decide what kind of a senator he'll make. I'd rather have an intelligent comic than a shifty lawyer or financier any day!

    July 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  48. N. McCabe

    Actually, I think it'll be great.
    He's technically an "outsider" so he'll probably have more views like normal Americans, including most moderate Democrats as well as whatever is left of moderate Republicans (I'll exclude the tin-foil-hat Republicans from that group).

    July 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  49. Walther Schmit

    It won't mean a thing to Obama, or the people of this country, as long as Obama keeps brown nosing republicans. Until we get some real leadership from our president, the republicans will continue to control the issues.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  50. Austin

    I don't think it will mean much, in terms of him having a filibuster-proof majority. Franken is anything but a lap dog. I think he will be great at helping keep the President in line by being an outspoken advocate of what he truly believes. I look forward to having him in the Senate.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  51. Dan, Chatsworth, CA.

    This means an opportunity for the Obama administration to get big things done and real changes accomplished. Minnesota should be ashamed that it took them 8 months to figure out an election.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  52. sg on long island

    It won't mean much of anything as far as voting numbers are concerned, becuase the democratic senators definitely have varying opinions on many of the major bills about to hit the floor. I would be stunned if all the dems voted as a 60 person block on anything....

    But Franken entering the senate definitely will cause neocons to whine. Ever since they drove this nation into the ground, I must admit that I enjoy anything that causes them added political discomfort.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  53. Bill

    To all those who feel Bush had a rubber stamp Senate. Do your homework. The most GOP Senators he had at one time was 55. Barry now has 58 and with the 2 independents voting with the democratic caucus makes 60. Bush never came close to having a rubber stamp.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  54. reg

    Jack, Al Franken represents the extreme left wing of the Democratic party. He is a wing nut and presents President Obama with a rubber stamp for his agenda. Franken is also a great comic relief. He should bring some light hearted humor to the Senate that is sorely missing.
    These folks take themselves too seriously. Maybe what this country needs is a comedian in the Senate and just maybe they may be taken
    more seriously for many of us feel the Senat has been ineffective in tackling the big issues facing our country. Good luck, Al.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  55. stef in minneapolis

    Hopefully, that we can get the healthcare that Congress gives themselves. The other day my health insurance company decided to make me an offer–I can pay them $125/month in order to pay everything out of pocket myself! Craziness.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  56. Mike

    The whining, weeping and gnashing of teeth by the accept-no-blame righwingers is hysterical and sad at the same time. Look at these comments from them. Nothing would make them happier than for America to completely fail now after eight years of horrible leadership they accept no responsibility for the misery the Bush folks created. None, None at all. They want to blame Obama. They need to blame Obama, because if they don't blame him or somebody else, they'll have to face the truth, that eight years of Bush and Cheney drove this country into the ground. That whole eight years, they blamed Clinton. For eight years, they blamed Clinton. To these people its as though Bush never happened, or he has no culpability for what he did and what happened on his watch. Now they want to blame Obama. They want to make dire predictions about Franken, and the truth is, they simply are praying for all out economic collapse for they can selfishly say "I told you so." These are not Americans, these are treasonous traitors.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  57. dimes1

    Just shows how retarded the people of Minnesota are. They elected a pro wrestler as Governor and now a comedian as Senator. Maybe it would be best if they became part of Canada.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  58. j/NJ

    What will Minnesota Senator-Elect Al Franken mean for President Obama’s agenda?

    A significant edge given that Franken represents a potential 60 vote fillibuster-proof majority in the US Senate...on the other hand if this 60 vote democratic majority fails to sustain itself on key domestic and foreign policy issues, Franken is not likely to be one of the defectors responsible...

    July 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  59. dave

    I hope it don't do the same thing it did for president Carter. That was the last time the Dems had 60 and we know how that ended up.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  60. Wyatt

    This is the best thing to ever happen to the Republicans. The Dem's in control is already a disaster. This would be funny except my children are being sold down the river by the no birth certificate having Chicago hustler and his minions. If we the Republic do survive the next four years the Republicans will win in a landslide in 2012.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  61. Katy Lake Forest, Il

    It'll mean we are in more trouble than ever. It'll mean more unstoppable and unconscionable spending and taxing than we could have ever imagined. Since we don't control our borders as it is, why don't we just let the Chinese in and hand them the keys to the country. They own us anyway!

    July 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  62. Dan from Dassel, MN

    I'm very glad we finally have 2 senators like all the other states. I think the ever shrinking American middle class will finally be represented. I think taxes and some government intervention will have to increase to fix the mess Obama inherited. I don't think the Democrats will have a super majority in 8 years, but I do think the country will be in a much better place in regards to the economy, the number of people with adequate personal wealth, and personal health.
    We'll see!
    I voted for Franken, but did not vote for Obama, and consider myself a social liberal and economic conservative.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  63. Bobby

    Franken will hopefully represent his state faithfully. He should be a partner, rather than a follower of Obama. To Franken's critics: the people have spoken. The majority of voters want the Democrats to enact new policies and new ideas.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  64. New Yorker

    I don't think it will affect Obama very much either way. I like Al Franken. I think he's a smart guy and one that will do well for his home state. A lot of Right-Wing-Nuts are calling him a clown, or a comedian, because of what he did in his private life before the senate. But these are the same people that told us not to look backwards when there was talk of Bush doing coke, smoking pot, going AWOL and bankrupting companies in his path. Let's give Senator Franken chance. If you don't like him in five and a half years, vote him out. Until then, get used to the idea Right-Wingers that YOU and GEORGE BUSH are the reason that Al Franken is in office!

    July 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  65. chris

    It should be apparent to anyone but those with right-wing political blinders on that Democrats are not going to march in lock-step on anything.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  66. Jeff of Peoria

    The good news is that MAYBE FINALLY we'll get an independent candidate because everyone is sick of Repubs and will be sick soon of Dems.

    I hope someone out there is listening

    July 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  67. B Edwards

    He's a total leftist liberal, you don't even have to wonder if he'll remember he won by 312 questionable votes out of more than 3 million cast votes and try to represent all Minnesotans.


    July 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  68. John Dee,,,Georgia

    Obama may need to put him on a leash with someother noteable Democrats. He may give late night shows some material and become a lightening rod for Republican ridicule.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  69. R Cano

    If the Republicans do not like it - It must be good.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  70. Jim Campbell

    From my view in St. Paul, MN, I can only tell you that my city, like so many others, needs Al Franken in the U.S. Senate. He will be another Paul Wellstone who has been dearly missed for these last 6 disasterous years.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  71. DP

    Hopefully this will mean a more poignant, "smart" and humorous confrontation of the GOP crap....!

    July 1, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  72. louis, denver

    I think Franken is seriously mentally ill.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  73. B Edwards

    Franken doesn't even pay his own taxes in more than 30 states but you can bet he will do all he can to raise your taxes in all 50 states. He's a total hypocrite and will govern like one.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  74. Kal, in Hawaii

    I believe Al Franken will act more as a safety net for the Democrats than anything else. I also just want to say that while I myself am a Democrat, and happen to be from Hawaii, I find it frustrating when supporters of either party bash each other blatantly. If you have an opinion you wish to share, use objective and intelligent prose, not mindless hate.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  75. Craig

    It means the continued destruction of the US economy and a return isolationist policy, oh and of course the embracing of Socialism in all its forms. But what it really means is why bother having any ambition as Obama will just tax the hell out of every additional dollar you make.

    10 more years of recession...thanks Obamanomics...

    July 1, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  76. Miguel E. from San Leandro, CA

    It means not much to Obama, but a lot to Minnesota. I think he will be a good representative for the land of 10,000 lakes.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  77. Ken, Castro Valley CA

    Unfortunately, 60 Republicans would be a veto-proof majority. Sixty Democrats make for 10-12 factions in an uneasy coalition. That's what happens when it's your responsibility to represent everyone other than rich, white men.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  78. Dion

    Al Franken will be a phenomenal addition to the Senate. He is exceptionally smart.
    What will it mean for the Dems? It means that they need to get it together and work to push a humane agenda through...
    Please use this chance to show the Republicans and Conservatives how a government can work for the people.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  79. Larry @ Santa Monica

    I don't know. Let's wait and see. Lately your questions have been more about speculating on the news and less about eliciting opinions.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  80. Jesse

    All the people on here that are bashing the Dems and Obama need to take a look in the mirror. What were they saying when Bush was throwing this country in the toilet. Were you so passionate then? I can't believe the right wing who would flock to a hypocritical, uneducated dim-whit who couldn't find Iraq on a map, just because she is pretty. And (with all due respect) to a man who would let those around him influence all his decisions including picking said dim-whit to be his Vice.
    Wasn't you folks who chastised anyone who talked bad about our former president. Quit your complaining and let the MAJORITY ELECTED officials do what they were elected to do. You all make me sick!!!

    July 1, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  81. Bob Nichols, Roseburg OR.

    I kinda have to agree with the cat herding guy. These guys lack gravitas they should project and many of them lack any real understanding of the blight health care has become on the US economy.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  82. Bill

    Grant, unfortunately Al Franken is one of the least humorous people I've ever seen. Tumbleweed vendors will probably reap massive profits though, one will blow by after any of his mudane utterances.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  83. Brian in MD

    Typical – don't give a guy a chance before you take shots at him.
    At least we'll have a professional comedian in Washington instead of the two Amateur comedians in the Executive Branch we had the last two terms. No one could do the country worse than those two, not even Reagan.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  84. stef in minneapolis

    It means people should shut up and let us Minnesotans decide who WE want representing us.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  85. Jeff Zerangue from Gulf Breeze Fl

    Franken will now be able to get some pointers from Obama on his political stand up comedy. I guess Franken couldn't make it in the stand up comedy world so he tried politics. It just goes to show you, there isn't any deference between current day politicians and comedians. Like Franken's comedic career, he barely made it in to politics. This gives me a great deal of confidence in our current political environment. NOT!

    July 1, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  86. Joe Doctor, Austin TX

    The Democrats are able to think for themselves. They don't march lock-step to some high-minded god-like figure in an ivory tower as do the Republicans. Therefore, you won't see a full-blown fillibuster-proof majority because Democrats don't all vote the same way. I kinda like that – politicians with minds of their own.

    As for taxes – when you get sick, you go to the doctor and pay for surgery or medicine. If your car breaks down, you have to spend money to fix it. If your house burns down, it is expensive to rebuild. So it is with a broken economy. When will you negativists realize that we had to put money into the economy to get it going again? You all remember the headlines from last Fall. They were pretty gloomy if you ask me. Now the leading indicators are suggesting that things are getting better, and much sooner than we were told in October, but all you people can say is "Oh my God look how much this is costing us!" Imagine what condition we would be in without the spending.

    As far as climate and health care – both of those topics have to be addressed anyway. But remember that eventually, it has to get paid for one way or another. Think of what it will be like when Medicare and Medicaid evaporate. Your grandparents won't be able to afford either insurance or health care. That is a shameful situation for America.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  87. Kevin

    I'm encouraged to know that Franken's election will probably make little difference to the Obama administration. Moderate Democrats seem to as a group vote either their own mind or (preferably) that of their constituents' , rather than towing the party line. This puts something of a damper on the whole "magic 60" idea. Sorry neocon doomcriers, no apocolypse today.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  88. Chris

    Franken will finally come face to face with a stark reality: He is a nobody.

    In Congress, where he hopes to entertain and tickle the fancies of his fellow Senators, he will likely be tolerated for a moment or two before the real politicians show him what "Freshman" means. He will learn that he's unseasoned and fairly inconsequential until they need his vote, and he will learn that his big mouth and overestimation of his own opinion won't be tolerated.

    In short ... his ordinary craving for attention won't be fed.

    He's a token.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  89. Hieron, VA

    The Republicans made a farce of democracy by blocking and imprisoning his victory every legal way possible. In the end the Republicans sullied their parties reputation and gave further proof that the Republican party is composed mainly of thieves, liars and crooks Franken is taking his rightful seat in the Senate and in doing so it is hoped that he will represent his state and the nations needs with logic and solid decisions without being a brown nose to his party, which by the way is a requirement for all potential Republican law makers.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  90. Bruce

    What will it mean? It will be something for all those "expert commentators" to babble without end, mercilessly boring the crap out of people who want real non-mainstream news.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  91. Justin

    Listen, Al Franken won. The count in Minnesota was fair, and was declared so in front of two separate courts. One of those decisions came from a completely partisan panel (included one dem, one repub, one independent).

    And ummm... Coleman was no prize. This dog and pony show of using the courts to try and win an election will probably continue in his run for governor. Remember back in November when he said that if he were behind, the right thing to do would be concede. 8 months later, he finally lives by his own words.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  92. Robert

    What does it mean, it means that we can finally reverse the catastrope know as george w bush. and his cronies that took the biggest surplus this nation has ever known and turned it into the worst resession since the 70's got us into 2 wars and wiped out decades of diplomatic work on the international front by the previous 5 presidents including regan and his daddy.

    Go Get'm boys and girls

    July 1, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  93. Justin

    The odds that the 60 democrats in the Senate will rally behind the same issue is pretty unlikely. They aren't often in lockstep like the Republicans. Having Al Franken in the Senate just means that the Senate is more awesome than they were pre-Franken.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  94. Sean

    I'll tell what it doesnt mean. We still are nott going to get a universal health care system established and it will all be the democrats fault. The republicans are not the only ones in the pocket of the insurance and drug companies.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  95. Al Bundy

    Franken Is a stooge !

    July 1, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  96. Mark

    It means one step closer to a socialist ( and taxed to poverty) society.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  97. ken m.

    Its about time , watch things move now when he gets there, the republicans ore going down slowly , they are dieing slowly. they have distroyed themsefs by giveing bush all he wanted, bush and all his very, very rich friends and canney who profited from the bush years and the war ,some are still makeing monet hand over fist. the republicans will never ever help america ,while the democrats have the white house , and a black man at that, and both houses ,they have nothing anymore. so they will do nothing but cause trouble around every corner, the number 60 totaly canceles them out.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  98. Michael McDowell from Ft. Hood Texas

    It will mean the obstructionist Republicans can now sit back and watch our country steam towards progress and practical common sense for a change!

    July 1, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  99. Ken, Castro Valley CA

    One more thing: "Mike From Minnesota" said:

    "Furthermore, Al Franken needs to understand that his margin of victory over Norm Coleman was razor thin which means that his voice for Minnesota “should” be very moderate and not ultra liberal."

    Sure–we all know that's what Bush did when he actually received fewer popular votes than his opponent.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  100. teachend

    It's a good thing. Franken will obviously help Obama, though it won't be all that he needs.

    I like the people on here who say the Dems are the spenders. Bush and Reagan spent the most out of any presidents in the history of the country.

    But I guess that doesn't fit their spin.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  101. PXS

    Folks – This is the beginning of the 2nd Carter Administration. Sit back and watch as the invinceable 60 votes turns into something far less, but not far left.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  102. Nancy from Minneapolis, MN

    Finally! Senator Franken is smart and thoughtful. His wife, Franny, is wonderful.

    To all you crabby people – why don't you wait and see?

    July 1, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  103. Mark

    It means another step closer to socialist America

    July 1, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  104. anonymous

    Just a little more overspending in Washington. Rather scary that there is a filibuster proof Democratic majority. Not good.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  105. Luis Garzon

    Al Franken is only a junior senator. His final election will help Obama but not all that much. Not anymore then one more vote will. Let's put it this way it can't hurt.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  106. Lonnie from Washington State

    This country's election antics are just like those in Iran and elsewhere. Franken did not win the election it was stolen. We experienced that same event when Cantwell won her first term in Washington State. What a disaster the Congress and Presidency have become. It is a shame. What, did our founding fathers fight for this crap? Pelosi can barely find her brain half the time and she is predominately stupid the rest. We have no hope. Listen to Mr. Obama's health care proposal and see if that is what you really want. The government deciding your care, when you die and at what age do get told that you are a drain on the system and cannot have any more treatment for your condition whatever it is.Mr. Obama and congress are going to decide that for you. Be prepared. You will not like the outcome. Remember 62% of the voters 18 to 30 voted for Mr. Obama and the 30 and older it was more even – 50% Obama, 49 McCain. I can honestly say that Mr. McCain was not my first choice but he would be better the Mr. Obama. You can be sure of that!!!!

    July 1, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  107. Donald Mey

    Seems to me that the Dems have gathered up tons of rope. And we all know they'll just hang themselves with it.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  108. Matt, Canoga Park CA

    Now we have a clown Senator to go with this joke of a president. I'm sure they will have a few chuckles and grins together while we have to pay for all this "Change" we got.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  109. Edward

    So at what point with the super majority Dems stop blaming GWB for all the world's troubles?

    July 1, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  110. Shubham

    It is sad day but if we elect jokers we can't complaint when they put a big circus show. We are stuck till 2010 or 2012 or may be even 2016. Lets just hope we are not a third world coutry when they get done with us.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  111. Sara; Everett, WA

    I think its great! US politics need more comic relief. I admit, Sanford was really funny for a while, but that jokes getting old...

    July 1, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  112. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    Al Franken is a fresh face and that's change I can believe in. Also, he's a pretty intelligent guy–that's another change. I like him and I'm glad he's finally going to Washington. I hope he sticks to his guns.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  113. Dave

    I would be amazed to see people quit whining about who won or lost and focus on the major issues facing this country. Obviously we got to this point not by working together but by splitting apart the country. Divide and conquer didn't happen overnight. Fixing it will take some time but look at people in countries such as Iran. They seem to cry out for the democratic ideals we take for granted.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  114. Joe McGrath

    It means Obama will believe even more that he is unstoppable and can pass whatever he wants to force on US "for our own good" at the expense of millions of jobs. I would not be surprised to hear of the passing of another 3AM bill to rename the title of "President" to "Supreme Leader". Will you be able to afford the propane for your Independence Day cookout next year? Read. Study. Think for yourself.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  115. Marc M

    Mister Joe Doctor, I do imagine what it would be like without spending and I envision a country where bad decisions have consequences and failures are not rewarded and recovery is quick because the free market will handle the need and create supply where needed.

    Why is it so hard for you rank and file demoncrats to understand that the government is incapable of fixing a pothole with any sort of fiscal responsibility, why would you think that they should handle something as important as healthcare?

    You voted out one person you hated with disregard for the awful policies of another that have been proven through history to not work. Just look at the Carter administration.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  116. Rick, MN

    One more likely reason to vote conservative (note, I did not say Republican) in 2010.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  117. Terry - California

    I fear we are watching the death of the Republican Party. While I understand the need for a two party system, the Republican Party is in need of a major overhaul. Perhaps term limits are needed.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  118. Jasmine in Germany

    I'm proud of Minnesota, Al Franken is a great choice and will advance the state. It might mean that the President of our country gets a little more support.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  119. Arlene-- , Illinois

    He will fit right in with all the other clowns in the Senate
    only without the funny nose.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  120. Dave in NC

    Nothing new...The GOP didn't have a filibuster anyway...With Defect Spector and some of the other senators – It'll just be business as usual.

    Plus, Harry Reid – for all his shortcomings is no Nancy Pelosi...He can't control the Senate nowhere near as good as Nancy can the House.

    But hey, in 2010 and 2012 the GOP can say "it was Obama's fault!" and "We won! We won!" because one party control is always a bad thing.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  121. RickBlaine

    He'll be a joke, as he was on SNL.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  122. Robert

    It doesn't mean much. Spector & Libermann are Dems in name only, and there a plenty of moderate Dems who don't always go along with Reid's plans, so I'm betting that they will seldom, if ever, have a solid 60-vote majority.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  123. ike

    Al Franken election will teach GOP humility in puplic service.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  124. Anthony McMahon

    It seems that Sen-elect Franken is fairly liberal so I'm not certain that he will always be a reliable vote for a president who is seeking concensus from the center. Just as more conservative "blue-dog" Dems are not reliable votes for the prewsident's agenda. However, as far as strategy it's not a bad thing to have given the make up of the Senate.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  125. Lloyd

    As a Canadian observer of U.S. politics, I often wonder if anything very progressive can be accomplished with so many centrist Democrats not willing to anger big campaign war chest contributors and Obama trying to be overly nice to Republicans on issues such as health rerform. But I do note that Al Franken in a June 30 note to supporters talked of a new direction for the country. He said he wants an economy that works for everyone, universal health care and to create new jobs through renewable energy investment. Franken's note also quoted the late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone saying that "politics only has to do with trying to do right by people." If 09 turns out to be a big letdown, maybe Americans should consider a new third, progressive party to keep the Democrats honest...Winnipeg

    July 1, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  126. Todd FPO/AP

    Franken is so qualified to be a US senator, his business failed utterly and was supported through George Soros Money, a Foreigner immigrant millionaire with continuing communist ideals as he was a communist before and most likely still is one. Franken, a comedian that divided and bullied he was pretty much a flop as a comedian and a Air America host whose ratings were worse than MSNBC so what's the big deal? He pretty much represents mainstream DNC. Put him, Michael Moore, and Jimmy Carter and Keith Olbermann at the table and you have pretty much have the true representatives of the DNC. The right has Rush, they just don't elect him to any office or have him a prominant place at any party functions so I guess there is a difference. Term limits on all of em I say and no lobby money to ether party!

    July 1, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  127. Nick

    People, are we missing the big issue here? Norm Coleman LOST, as did large swaths of the Republican party. The scent on the wind, so to say, is that America is sick and tired of this 1940's style bickering and ready to get some people in there that will DO something for a change.

    And that happens to be the DEMOCRATS??? They couldn't even impeach GEORGE BUSH when they DID have a majority. GAWD I hope this brings us another political party.

    Or total collapse. I will take either.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  128. Chris - Denver

    It will mean one less obstructionist and one more intelligent, well-informed voice adding to the debate. That can't be a bad thing.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  129. Minnesota Joe

    I don't think this will have much of an effect on Democrats' agenda in Washington. Many Senators vote their own way and Franken appears to be the type who will do what HE thinks is right and not vote for something because the party tells him to. But I voted third party, so we'll have to wait and see.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  130. Wayne, Honolulu HI

    Knowing Al Franken WAS a comedian (now turned politician) is just fine with me. It's far more palatable than the politician who screws up, forced into the role of a comedian, becoming the laughing stock of his party. I think Als personality is perfect for the job.

    The stars are all aligned. The time is right. Obama is right. He's smart, he's good looking, and darn it, the people like him.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  131. MC

    Believing that Franken is going to give Obama a rubber stamp is rather incredible. Franken is nothing if not opinionated (implying potentially stubborn).

    At best this means that on one or two key issues that have widespread support Obama might be able to push legislation through without too much fuss. Other than that it will mean little.

    I am actually very interested to see Franken in Congress, though. No doubt he'll say a number of things that will make even his fellow Dems cringe. 🙂

    July 1, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  132. Alonzo

    Sen. Franken won't mean much to Obama in the sense that Obama's policies won't be affected. Franken can be an effective as Senator from Minnesota, but Obama can be a bad president. And it will be the same the other way around.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  133. Russ

    Perhaps Al Franken will be a politician who can help us smile instead of so many others who only make us frown.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  134. Ray Goellner

    Not a thing. Democrat or Republican getting 60 to agree on Obama's initiatives will be difficult to impossible.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  135. Dimslie

    It will be interesting. Can a Communist fit into Obama's National Socialist agenda? I'm betting he can.

    July 1, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  136. Mike in SA

    Franken doesn't mean anything to Obama. The Dems were going to ram stuff through using cloture on every single vote. I'm sure all the while bragging about how they were reaching out to the other side.

    July 1, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  137. Susan L.

    I'm Good Enough-I SURE HOPE SO!
    I'm Smart Enough-I REALLY HOPE SO!!
    and Doggone it,People Like Me-I GUESS SO!

    July 1, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  138. AZ. JOE

    We are suppose to be americans he was voted in legally so give him a chance. He beat the republican so hold your breath and live with it

    July 1, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  139. dante deleon

    it is about time to put this election behind us and get this economy going again. If Franken can make the difference in the presidents agenda so be it. A lot of Republicans are so obsessed in partisan politics and can't accept that our country has spoken for a change, so give the President and Dems congress a change to govern. Taxes are not a big concern for me, just get it right, after all, a slight increased in taxes is better than 0 taxes on no income. Go USA!

    July 1, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  140. Dave

    Court Jester maybe?

    July 1, 2009 at 6:02 pm |