Run, Statesman Jesse, Run!

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ABC's Jake Tapper is reporting on rumors that former Minnesota Gov. Jesse "The Body" Ventura may get into the Senate race between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken. It sure would be fun to watch:

"I'm not a politician, I'm a statesman," [Ventura] told Wineheads. "I do one term, and then I go back to the private sector. If I get back into the fray again this year, it's only because I've been gone five years back to the private sector. That's what I did when I was mayor. That's a statesman. That's not a career politician."

Ventura said of Coleman, "the guy has not had a job in the private sector his entire adult life. He's been collecting government checks since the day he got out of law school and went to work for the attorney general's office. So when Norm Coleman tells people in the private sector he feels their pain, how? He's never been in it. At least Al Franken knows what the private sector is. I would like to send him out and get a real job in the private sector."

Ventura called Franken an opportunist and a carpetbagger. "He hasn't lived here in 30 years, and he's only coming back to Minnesota for the convenience of his own political agenda. Why didn't he run in the states he was living in? Clearly, for being a Harvard graduate, he's not too smart on taxes, is he? Everybody laughs, saying I came from wrestling. But at least I knew when I wrestled in 40 states, I had to pay taxes in those 40 states. You just have to do the paperwork. I find it unbelievable that someone who could go to Harvard didn't know that or let it slip. Blaming his accountant is worse, because now he's turning into a politician. He's not accepting responsibility for his actions."

Polls currently have Coleman beating Franken 52 percent to 40 percent. With Ventura in the race, that turns to Coleman with 41 percent, Franken with 31 percent, and Ventura with 23 percent.

More here.

Tapper's 1999 bio of Ventura here.

reason's Q&A with Ventura here.

reason's Damon W. Root on Ventura's "long, sad decline" into 9/11 paranoia among other things, here.

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  1. Oh please please please do it

  2. Ventura could make Franken cry before the first question is asked in a debate.

  3. (sigh) I wish Prince would run.

  4. So when Norm Coleman tells people in the private sector he feels their pain, how? He’s never been in it.

    He’s got a point here: I don’t think Norm Coleman has any idea what it’s like to be hit in the head with a folding chair.

  5. ok, two things. Firstly, wasn’t Ventura a failed governor?

    Secondly, which party would he caucus with in the Senate if elected?

  6. Were I theistically inclined, I’d pray that “The Body” runs for the senate.

    Since I’m not, I’ll just say GO, Jesse, GO!

  7. I want Jesse to give them both wedgies and a kick in the pants.

  8. Firstly, wasn’t Ventura a failed governor?

    Every politician is a failure in the eyes of his opponents.

  9. Secondly, which party would he caucus with in the Senate if elected?

    His fellow castmembers from Predator. They are their own party.

  10. Coleman’s a politican for the sake of being one, for sure, but he’s less offensive than a lot of GOP Senators in his stances. I think Franken is a well educated and bright guy and often quite a funny guy, but I’m not sure what the Dem.-Farmer-Labor or whatever party in MN was thinking by nominating him. I’m a big fan of Ventura from when I watched wrestling as a kid, and the guy is certainly smart for a wrestler, but no genius.

    One thing you can say about Paul Wellstone is the guy was smart (didn’t he have a PhD in Pol Sci?).

    I wonder why, given the fact that Senators make such important laws, people turn to folks with qualifications with which that they would never think of hiring in any other professional capacity (doctor, lawyer, accountant)?

  11. Is it to much to ask that Franken and Coleman be hooked up to lie detectors? When they answer a question dishonestly Jesse suplexes them.

  12. Isaac,

    Ventura’s favorability ratings cratered among Minnesotans by the end of his term. He was F 37, U 45 at the end of 1999.

  13. Is it to much to ask that Franken and Coleman be hooked up to lie detectors? When they answer a question dishonestly Jesse suplexes them.

    Skip the lie detector and go straight to the pile driver. Betcha Ventura can pound both of those guys at the same time.

  14. Skip the lie detector and go straight to the pile driver. Betcha Ventura can pound both of those guys at the same time.

    With one hand. While eating ice cream. No sprinkles, though.

    You could make a killing on tickets.

  15. If elected, would Ventura also moonlight on the weekends as football announcer and start a feud on-air with a coach, like he did in ’01?

    If so, then GO JESSE GO!!

  16. On the other hand, I doubt either Coleman or Franken are claiming they could take the bear, so…

  17. Fair enough, joe. I suppose popularity is the principle measure of success or failure in politics. Though there are still people who insist Jimmy Carter was a victim of a great injustice.

    But anyone who tells Twins fans and the Guthrie crowd that they can pay for their own goddamn entertainment is A-OK with me. 🙂

  18. From 1966 to 1969, Franken was a member of the varsity wrestling team at his high school in Hopkins, Minn. – NYT, March 21, 2004

    Cage match! Cage match!!!

    Kevin

  19. Ventura was a mediocre governor. As his term continued he proved incapable of working with anyone. He would not have been re-elected if he had run again. And it didn’t help that one house of the legislature was under democratic control and the other under republican control at the same time. As a Minnesotan – I’d wish he just leave – we have plenty of more qualified independent candidates.

  20. Is there still time for Jesse to get on the ballot?

  21. (and I voted for the guy)

  22. If you look at Jesse’s record as governor, it appears that his only “failure” was not towing the line with the political establishment. It’s a classic example of how the Legislature can hamstring the Executive when it actually decides to exert itself (are you listening, you Congressional Democratic pussies?).

  23. Polls also had Ventura in third when he ran for governor — up until he won.

    I knew this dude from Minnesota who was from a small farm town. He never voted, his family never voted, no one he knew ever voted.

    They all voted for Ventura.

  24. He’s been collecting government checks since the day he got out of law school and went to work for the attorney general’s office. So when Norm Coleman tells people in the private sector he feels their pain, how?

    Had Coleman not gone to the AG’s office, his resume was good enough that he could have gone straight to a big-name, top-dollar Minneapolis firm. Making a civil servant’s salary put him a hell of a lot closer to the “pain” your ordinary private-sector person has than making the money an associate at Dorsey & Whitney or Faegre & Benson would have.

  25. Personally, I’d like to see Woody Allen run. Then, there’d be three Jews from New York running for the Minnesota senate.

  26. Colin,

    I prefer Mel Brooks over that Allen fellow.

  27. Polls, schmolls. Quality and popularity at any given time may be mutually exclusive measures ? Besides, the power of the Predator Party cannot be resisted or overcome.

    I think the pinnacle of Ventura’s administration was when he was in the booth for XFL games. . .as a sitting governor. That takes some cojones.

  28. If Jesse was a “failure” for not getting anything done as Governor then I’d like a whole Senate filled with failures.

  29. I love him calling Al Franken a carpetbagger. Franken is such a little twat.

  30. What I would really like to see is Jesse descending down on the top of a cage. This cage would encompass the entire stage. Then the asswhoppin’ would begin . . . and end with Franken and Coleman endorsing Jesse!!!

  31. Then, there’d be three Jews from New York running for the Minnesota senate.

    They can have Bloomberg while they’re at it.


  32. Ventura’s favorability ratings cratered among Minnesotans by the end of his term. He was F 37, U 45 at the end of 1999.

    37% favorable? I though you said he wasn’t popular?!

  33. I thought Jesse was one of our better governors. He, by far, vetoed more bills (and had more bills overridden) than any other governor in state history. That’s a good thing.

    Also, Jesse had a 73% approval rating in 1999. His approval rating (surprise!) went in the tank along with the national economy. Frankly, I think he’s the sort of obstinate jackass we need in the Senate. I voted for him and would do so again. Especially when the other options are Franken (flaming socialist) and Coleman (the living embodiment of Republican “Mushy Middle” politics).

  34. Jesse crushed Coleman once already for the governorship; he’d probably be able to do it again.

    He was largely a hands-off kind of governor who appointed very smart, capable commissioners–unlike Pawlenty.

  35. New World Dan,

    Not getting into Ventura on the merits, the figures I provided were from October 1999. In October 1999, and the economy didn’t start to tank until Q4 2000 at the earliest, and Q1 2001 by most measures.

    Wasn’t there something about a Playboy interview?

  36. (sigh) I wish Prince would run.

    No way. He’d probably just end up suing the state for using his name on the ballot, and probably sue people for voting for him.

  37. I thought Jesse did a good job when he was the guv here.

    He lowered a lot of fees, actually gave a bunch of the budget surplus back to the taxpayers, and mocked the media.

    He isn’t a genius, but when your opponents are even stupider it isn’t hard to win.

    This is another situation where he would do well. His opponents are both opportunists of the first magnitude and in any debate, Jesse will win just be being candid.

  38. Unless the Franken campaign complety re-tools itself, Ventura’s entry into the race basically spells his doom. There’s no way he can win in a three-way contest.

    And Franken has no one to blame but himself. Instead of running a campaign based on his wit and sense of humor, he’s running as a Hollywood liberal with a sense of entitlement. Instead of running to shake up the staid Senate and poke holes in its puffery, he’s running to be a part of the club.

    Franker has to change or he’s going to wind up like fellow DFLers Mike Hatch, Hubert H. Humphrey III and Roger Moe, killed by a third-party candidate.

    However, those who think Ventura is going to get over 20 percent of the vote shouldn’t kid themselves either. It’s not clear whether he’s running as a pure Independent or as a member of the Independence Party, which he would have to win a primary in September to get on the ballot. Jesse won in 1998 because had a party organization behind him to do the little things while he could campaign. That’s not clear this time around. Also, 10 years ago, he was a celebrity and many people voted for him on that basis. But his tenure in office turned off a lot of those people. And if he campaigns on Building No. 7 at WTC, well, he might as well have Alex Jones tour the state with him.

    But as always with Minnesota politics, it will be fascinating to watch. And living in western Wisconsin as I do, I get a front row seat.

  39. Starting to look like this isn’t going to be the Year of Al Franken.

  40. But anyone who tells Twins fans and the Guthrie crowd that they can pay for their own goddamn entertainment is A-OK with me. 🙂

    Exactly. That is why I voted for him way back then. If I still voted, I’d vote for him again.

  41. Jesse Ventura is exhibit A in the case of “Why no one takes libertarians and the Libertarian Party seriously”. For christ sake the man has a more inflated sense of his own importance than Ted Kennedy. He was an absolute disaster as the governor of Minnesota. And what is it with well-known libertarians and “Trutherism”?

  42. “And Franken has no one to blame but himself. Instead of running a campaign based on his wit and sense of humor…”

    Al Franken has never been funny, ever. Stuart Smalley proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt. Hell, if he ran a campaign based on his “wit” and “sense of humor”, his loss to Norm Coleman would be so bad, it would make Mondale’s loss to Reagan look like a close call.

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