Al Franken and Taxes
Seventy-thousand dollars owed in taxes. For many Minnesotans this is more money than they see in a year. But, this tax thing could be good for Al Franken. Nothing can create empathy in the hearts and minds of the voters better than tax problems. Franken needs to embrace this scandal to get in front of it; here’s how I would accomplish this task:
TV Commercial Starts
Franken: “Some of you may have heard about my recent tax problems, for the rest of you let me fill you in, I owe and have paid $70,000 in taxes from my work I have done in other states.
“As all of you know, the tax code is a complex thing and when you do a lot of work across state lines it becomes nearly impossible to keep track. I’m not trying to excuse my actions, I should have paid closer attention.
“For all the trouble it causes us, we must remember that taxes are a necessity to our democracy. They pay for the bridges, the police officers and the education of our young people, among other things.
“Seventy thousand dollars sounds like a lot of money, and it is. I’ve been very lucky, this great country has provided me and my family a lot of wealth. But there are people who have been less fortunate than I, and once again taxes are used to help them out.
“Taxes can be a pain, we all know it, but we need to remember the good it does. If you send me to Washington, I will make sure the pain of trying to pay all these taxes is worth the effort.”
I think with a little polish and some stock footage of homeless people, it could be an excellent TV ad. The focus needs to be to bring Franken down to the voter. I think he’s seen as too much of a Hollywood elitist, having tax problems makes him more identifiable to the common voter who struggles with finances.
Reminding voters that even Democrats don’t like to pay taxes helps take the edge off the fact they intend to raise taxes. And, by focusing the voters attention away from the hypocrisy and towards the positive effects of taxation it will move voters towards accepting the struggles we all go through every year with our government obligations. This could really work to Franken’s advantage, and it would make the people pushing ths scandal look like soulless, hypocritical accountants (hypocritical, in the sense that one could ask “why are Republicans so interested in this scandal, don’t they want people to pay less taxes? Why are they pushing so hard on this?”)
So far, Franken has been quite forthright. But embracing this scandal could gain Franken the sympathy of the voters. There’s quite an opportunity here for Franken.