Needed: some better political candidates

Well, it's over -- the ugliest, saddest, mud-instead-of-issues Senate election in many years. Again many voters were left with casting a lesser-of-two-evils vote. When will the thinkers, the innovators, the problem-solvers be attracted to serving their nation through the challenges and dignity of congressional office? When will the press decide to serve the people by addressing the content of platforms instead of sensationalizing a candidate's personal life?

As important domestic and international economic, social and political problems face us, we have a Congress dominated by sound-bite-seeking attorneys who are trained and focused on finding blame instead of solutions. It reminds me of the song, "Send in the Clowns."

At least Minnesota sent a professional.

GARY SCHLIECKERT

BLOOMINGTON

Norm: Time to heed your own advice

Another example of how Norm Coleman operates:

After the election, he basically told Al Franken to just accept defeat and don't waste our time with a recount.

Now that Franken has won, it is Coleman who can't accept defeat and wants to drag it out even longer than it already has been. Shame on you, Norm.

JIM HEUER

MINNEAPOLIS

Delayed outcome is costing too much

Another recount? The Minnesota state budget is in a tremendous deficit. School children and people who are disabled, elderly and/or homeless will surely be asked to take a cut in state-supplied funds. If you really care about Minnesota, Norm, quit pouting and stop spending money that literally comes out of the mouths of the most vulnerable people in our state.

MARY M. HILL

MINNEAPOLIS

First a pro wrestler, now a comic?

I am taken aback by the so-called Franken victory. I am not a native Minnesotan, but a transplant after marrying a local man. I am in disbelief over some of the elections that take place in this state.

I don't get it -- Minnesota people put a wrestler in the governor's office and now pick a comic to represent them as a senator? The governor flopped big time, and I'm starting to seriously question the common sense of the voters in this state.

It's an embarrassment, plain and simple. Let's hope and pray that Franken will drop his juvenile ways and clean up his mouth so that Minnesota doesn't sink even further into the "stupid" quicksand.

MARILYN HOLZERLANE

MOUND

'Count every vote' cuts both ways

If Al Franken is seated as a senator, he will be an illegitimate representative of Minnesota. Mr. "Count Every Vote" is making his true colors known as he is now working to block rejected absentee ballots from counties unfavorable to him from being counted -- after insisting that such ballots from counties favorable to him be counted.

Also, it is clear that up to 100 of Mr. Franken's votes are due to duplicate ballots, required to be created when the original is damaged during counting on election night. In many cases it's agreed that those duplicates weren't marked as required, and they're now being counted in addition to the originals.

And finally, how can we have faith in the outcome of this election when a Ramsey County precinct, for example, ended up with more ballots than there were recorded votes on election night?

I may be a nice Minnesotan, but I'm not so gullible that I can't see that our Democratic secretary of state has thrown this election in Franken's favor.

KARA WEST

MAPLE GROVE

How can we say who really won?

It is statistically impossible to conclude that either candidate in this Senate race is a winner without much manipulation of the process. The election was a joke. There is something terribly wrong when we seem to be divided so precisely and the very act of voting that is supposed to make us the greatest nation on earth is so fraught with problems.

AL SCHAFER

TONKA BAY

Al Franken is no carpetbagger

I normally am in agreement with Nick Coleman. However, after his Jan. 6 column, I feel the need to say something.

As someone who discussed the possibility of a Sen. Franken with my friends on the U of M campus as early as 2005, yes, I have been pulling for him throughout his primary bid and into the general election.

I was prepared to accept that he couldn't pull it out. I was prepared to make nice and suffer through six more years of Norm Coleman. But there is one thing I cannot accept. I can no longer abide people calling Franken a carpetbagger.

Does no one remember that the man was reared in St. Louis Park? Yes, he lived in other places for 30-plus years, but the simple fact is that he has never forgotten the values instilled in him during his formative years, when he was growing up here.

And while he spent those 30-plus years living elsewhere, he has embodied Midwestern values in his family life and continued to return to Minnesota and was in touch with, if not intimately involved in, Minnesota issues and the struggles of our people. Whether speaking about the life of his friend Paul Wellstone or at the DFL fundraiser where I saw him in the 3rd District in 2006, Al has never forgotten where he came from.

I would love to know how many of the people lining up to call Al Franken a carpetbagger cheer every Sunday for Adrian Peterson, the Texan who's been carrying the Vikings to victory as of late, or the West Virginian Randy Moss in 1998. How is Al Franken a carpetbagger when these men become local heroes?

What it all boils down to is this: You can take issue with some of the jokes Franken has made money off of in the past, and that's legitimate. You can have misgivings about whether his demeanor is senatorial enough. I personally think he is a brilliant man with a lot to give for the state of Minnesota.

But please stop calling him a carpetbagger. Because at his core, this man is one of us. He has spent three years trying to endear himself to us, and I think he has earned our respect as an equal.

KEVIN P. MOBERG

MINNEAPOLIS