If Al Franken notices a decline in speaking engagement invitations from fellow Democrats, perhaps he’ll look back at his campaigning for Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, who’s busy trying to defend her incumbency in a red state.  Herseth Sandlin has been projecting herself as a model of independence to South Dakota voters, but instead of supporting that, Franken more or less cut a TV ad for her Republican candidate with this remarkably inept gaffe:

With those red-state Dems distancing themselves somewhat from Pelosi, it’s interesting to note MN Sen. Al Franken‘s (D) comments this weekend while campaigning for Rep.Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD).

Franken visited the state to tour an Indian Reservation with Herseth Sandlin, and he also used the opportunity to tout her re-election campaign. “She has voted differently than I voted on a couple of things,” Franken said, according to the Rapid City Journal, “but we need to be able to have somebody here in South Dakota who’s going to vote for Speaker Pelosi, not for Speaker Boehner.”

While Herseth Sandlin hasn’t exactly run away from Pelosi like some other Dems, she can’t like the fact that Franken, in this generally conservative, GOP-leaning state, would tout her vote for the Speaker. Herseth Sandlin’s first TV ad touted her independence, and her opposition to the “trillion dollar health care plan.”

D’oh! As Jim Geraghty noted earlier today in his poll roundup, Herseth Sandlin already has enough problems in the race:

The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters shows [GOP challenger Kristi] Noem picking up 51 percent support against [Democrat incumbent Stephanie] Herseth-Sandlin, who receives 42 percent of the vote. Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate in the race, and five percent (5%) are undecided. The latest numbers mark an improvement for the Republican challenger from the 49 percent to 44 percent lead she held in July.

This is in a state where Barack Obama has a 41/58 approval rating, and where only 29% of voters think that their personal finances have improved over the past two years.  Rasmussen didn’t poll on Pelosi’s favorability, but it’s not likely to be above Obama’s in South Dakota.  Independents already favor Noem by almost 2-1 in this race, 54/28 — and 18% of Democrats do as well.  Campaigning for the incumbent as a safe vote for Pelosi is about as foolish as it gets.

But as the popular definition of “gaffe” instructs, this is nothing more than the accidental telling of a truth in 2010.  A vote for a Democrat in Congress is a vote for Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and their radical agenda, no matter how “independent” a Democrats claims to be while campaigning.  Only by taking control of the House away from Democrats can voters stop the radical, high-spending, and intrusive policies of Obama and the Democrats.