The DFL is understandably gun-shy about backing statewide candidates solely on the basis of their popularity within the party itself. It is also understandably leery of endorsing candidates whose weakness among the general electorate enhances the likelihood of a bruising primary challenge in which the officially endorsed candidate is dumped in favor of a better-known and funded figure. But in the case of Nelson-Pallmeyer, I think the party finds itself with a new kind of dilemma on its hands, one that it cannot solve by looking to the past for answers.
This year, the DFL candidate with the worst chances of gaining the party endorsement for Senate is the candidate with the best chance of winning the general election.
If the DFL runs Nelson-Pallmeyer against Coleman, he'll win in a rout. If they run Mike Ciresi, it's at best a toss-up. If the party chooses Franken — the candidate who, to date, has the best shot at winning the endorsement — Coleman wins and we get to spend another six years being represented by the political equivalent of the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion, with a dash of Guiliani-esque family values all wrapped up in one unsavory package.
Indeed, Franken does not move me one way or the other. Ciresi is good, but Jack has a message of hope. "Idealism" trumped "electability" with Paul Wellstone.
It can happen again...