Who I am voting for and why

I was asked in an email about who I am voting for. I decided that an answer here would be more useful to the low double digits of readers I have…

Until Congresswoman Bachmann opened her mouth on national TV and called for the media to investigate “unamerican” members of Congress, this race was hers in a walk. I live in a strongly conservative congressional district. I do live in Bush country, here in the North Star State. Pro Life abortion signs dot the landscape here.
I would have voted for her Democratic opponent anyway. but now actively hope for the upset miracle of Elwin Tinklenberg unseating her.. I am pessimstic that she will actually lose. (in their heart of hearts, a lot of people up here agree with her views wholeheartedly.) In recent days she has tried to walk away from what she said, and has launched a barrage of attacks on Tinklenberg. I support Mr. Tinkenberg and can only hope that Michele’s big mouth is enough to ensure her defeat
When I heard that Al Franken was running for Senate, I rolled my eyes in disbelief. Our current senator, Norm Coleman, is a poor replacement for the late Senator Wellstone. A Republican hack of the first order who pretends bipartisanship only when its politically suitable for him to do so, Coleman is a lousy Senator for Minnesota.
And yet…Al Franken, the comedian?! Its certainly true that he is less qualified, in terms of elective offices held, than Coleman or the Independent Party candidate, Dean Barkley. If I sincerely thought that Barkley had enough support to win, I would throw my weight behind him. While IP candidates do okay in Minnesota, with few exceptions, they never come close to winning. More’s the pity.
Al Franken, for all of his lack of experience, does have passion and does, in what he has said and written, the interests of Minnesotans at heart. With such heart, am underprepared Al Franken is better than Coleman, and so without much enthusiasm, I will be voting for Al Franken.
The John McCain of 2000 I would have gladly voted for. Independent, intelligent, strong on national defense issues. Maybe weak on economic issues, but a good VP and staff can help in that regard. The John McCain of 2008 launches baseless accusations against his opponent, cannot be criticized, and seems, to be politically incorrect, to be a tired old man. And he picked as his VP choice one of the most manifestly unqualified persons ever to run for that office from a major party. Even if you go by the rule “vote for the top of the ticket”, McCain’s judgement comes into question here.
This is not to say that I am voting *against* McCain. Sen Obama, in his short, lightning political career has charisma, intelligence and scholarship sorely lacking in the current holder of the office. We do need new directions in America, and a fresh start in the young senator from Illinois seems to me to fit the bill. I support (and have supported financially) Senator Obama for President.