The co-senator solution to Coleman/Franken mess


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City Pages

reader Michael Barrett of Minneapolis offers this solution to the ongoing Senate turmoil:

No two guys from New York ever tried harder to leave Minnesota for Washington, D.C. than Norm Coleman and Al Franken. So grant their wish. End the senate recount and the court fight. Just declare a tie. Appoint them co-senators and send them off to the national capital. They can split the title, the duties, the pay and the health insurance. They can share the office and each can cast a half vote. After all, it isn't fair to Minnesota's only senator, Amy Klobuchar, to bear the whole load of constituent problems on her strong yet modest shoulders. This solution may be hailed as yet another Minnesota political innovation.

It could open a new era of inter-party cooperation. As the most expensive senate race in history, it's only fair that donors across America who contributed $60 million dollars, or is it heading toward $70 million dollars, get rewarded for their generosity. As one tripped up by the U.S. Tax Code, Al can offer empathy to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Norm can help Al find a rental room in a friend's house in Washington similar to the one Norm had during his first term in the senate. The boys can eat together in the senate dining room. Norm, the lawyer who already has lived and worked in town, can tell Al where to go. Al, the comedian, can practice his new jokes on Norm. They can both exchange memories about their old home town of New York City and tell each other how much they enjoy the more relaxed pace of their adopted Midwestern state when they aren't slaving away in Congress. As experienced vote counters, they can help figure out how to spend billions of taxpayer dollars, or is it trillions of dollars, on two wars and the bailout of impoverished banks and industries. Since the U.S. has run out of its own money and may have to borrow some from our former enemy turned friend, China, the co-senators can become study buddies and take classes together in Chinese. Or if the U.S. borrows more money from the Middle East, the boys can study Arabic. Whatever. A byproduct of the half-senator solution is that it may increase the number of tourists visiting The Land of 10,000 Lakes to find out what kind of water we have been drinking. Or is it 11,000 lakes? It's so hard to keep up. Then as Norm and Al rise in the senate chamber, they shall become known as The Minnesota Twins.