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You can call him Senator Al

Franken takes the oath, proudly (Photo from the NYTimes)

Franken takes the oath, proudly (Photo from the NYTimes)

He’s an occasionally tasteless, egomaniac who declared the 80’s “The Al Franken Decade”, dedicated to him, Al Franken.  But Al Franken got me and millions of others through the darkest nights of the Bush Administration in 2004.  His Sundance Channel rebroadcast of his Air America show was one of my DVR must sees.  Every night.  As I curled up on the sofa sipping my chamomile tea and wondering when it would all end.  We cried together when Kerry lost, not because we were enamoured with Kerry but because the Bushies had four more years to screw things up.

He wrote some pretty scathing books too.  Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Lying Liars were funny in a “kidding on the square” way.  In other words, Franken flayed the bastards with facts.  They were deliciously wicked reads. Not only is he funny but he’s smart as a whip and could always carry on an intelligent conversation with his guests on Air America.

But it was easy to see where Franken was coming from.  He never hid his political leanings.  He is unabashedly liberal who cares about his country in a choked up with pride and concern kind of way.  I remember seeing him in an interview a couple of years ago after Air America started.  At one point, he stopped the sarcasm and got emotional about what was happening to the country.  It’s real.

I think his friends told him to hold off running for Senate in 2006.  He probably wasn’t ready but you could tell he was disappointed to not be able to pick up where Paul Wellstone left off.  But 2008 was a good year for him and he learned what it takes to be a good politician and also how to be patient during an agonizing 8 months of recount.  Now, he’ll have his chance to be a dedicated public servant.

Today as he took the oath, many congressional staffers who wanted to see him sworn in were prevented from doing so.  The gallery was too crowded.  There was an ovation afterwards.  People who still see him as a comedian don’t understand how courageous he looked to the rest of us.  It’s hard to go against the irresistable force of public opinion and conventional wisdom and to put one’s fortune and sacred honor on the line for principle and personal belief.  In this day and age, it’s just not done.  But he did it.

Al Franken has managed to snag some pretty impressive committee assignments. He will be a junior member of the Committess on Aging, Indian Affairs, HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) and Judiciary.  That last assignment is a bit unusual for a guy who is not a lawyer.  But Al has a chance to become our voice in the nomination hearings of Sonia Sotomayor starting next week.  We’ll have to work out a live blog schedule to cover it.  I hope Franken recognizes that Sotomayor probably isn’t going to change the dynamics when it comes to abortion but her opinions on business practices, corporations, the unitary executive theory and discrimination law need to be fleshed out.  I’m looking forward to seeing Franken sink his teeth into it.

So, Good Luck, Al.  We know you can do this.  Make the voters of Minnesota and the rest of us proud.

Now, get to work!


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72 Responses

  1. One of my sisters bought eight copies of The Truth with Jokes and Al autographed each one individually to us (her siblings) – so I have proof that he LOVES me (Cathy) as much as I LOVE him!!

    This was a happy, happy day!

    • I just have to say how excited I am about his committee assignments! HELP & Judiciary? Wow! Perfect timing!

      • Yeah, how weird is that? I can’t figure out why they want to give him that much face time right off the bat. I hope it’s not a set up. As for HELP, he’s not joining the committee until *after* this round of legislation.

    • Lucky! That beats my autographed copy of Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris where the author wrote: “Your daughter has slept with half of New Jersey. David Sedaris”

  2. Yeck!

    Sorry I do NOT like him — I didn’t like that other guy either. But he is a jerk — and not too bright.

    He is another conservative putting on a “liberal” mask.

    double Yeck!

    • What is so conservative about him?

    • Manomanoman, you do NOT know Franken. He might be a smartass jerk but one thing he isn’t is a conservative.

    • I turned Franken off during the run up to the war – he was too supportive of the Bush propaganda.

      I understand your concern. Not sure who he is.

      I read that Franken will not be allowed to participate in the health reform debate in the HELP committee. Reason given – he has not been present from the beginning. Sounds pretty stupid to me.

      • I dunno, Dee. If you were in NYC during 9/11 or knew someone who did, it tended to freak you out. He didn’t strike me as a gung ho “Let’s go to Iraq and kick some Haji ass” type. I suspect that a lot of New Yorkers felt that if there was even a slim possibility that Saddam Hussein was up to no good that it was better to be safe than sorry. I find it hard to believe that he didn’t see through the propaganda. But there was always an element of doubt. I remember thinking that there was a logical argument for why there couldn’t be any WMDs in Iraq. Actually, there were several good reasons to suspect it was all lies but I’d have to sift through my Daily Kos comments to find my argumentation. Let’s just say that it was pretty clear it was all lies but with the element of doubt, even a sliver of one, it was better to check it out. Maybe he thought the war would be of short duration and we would get out quickly. He changed his mind about the war pretty quickly.

        • I was positively certain that Iraq didn’t have any WMD. Back then I was reading European, British, Asian and mid-east newspapers every morning. As it was happening I knew that Saddam had offered to turn himself in and go into exile before the war and to allow any and all inspectors into the country. I knew that the Bush administration cut off the back channel communication and hoped no one in the U.S. ever heard found out about it.

          Besides – what do WMDs have to do with 9/11?

          • Nothing. That wasn’t the point. The point was, if someone has the capability of launching an attack on you, you have an obligation to make absolutely sure they never get a chance.
            I never bought it either. I think my reasoning went something like this: The bushies said Iraq could launch missiles against us that would reach the US in 45 minutes. Umm, I just found this fantastical. During Gulf War I, Iraq leaned heavily on SCUDs and most of them were DUDS. If the Iraqis really had these weapons, what were they waiting for? The so-called evidence didn’t meet my threshhold. Call me picky that way. I’ve been trained to question everything. The photos were unconvincing. The supposed weapon systems were like unicorns. And I figured that the Bushies also knew the data was unreliable. So, if they knew it was unreliable and they were pushing it anyway, then the reason for going into Iraq was a lie. And if they were deliberately lying, nothing they said on the matter could convince me that there was any reason to invade.

      • Yes that’s it exactly — and he claims he really really believed Colon Bowl’s lying act at the UN.

        He’s one of the Hollywood phony types. I don’t think I will ever forgive him for giving his ditto head friend air time the day after the 04 election. It was stupid and shallow.

        Now he’s on easy street — and it is very doubtful that he will be able to hear the people from his state or the common “trailer trash” as 0zero thinks of us rural folk.

        He’s a conservative pretending to be a liberal — just like the rest of dems in congress.

    • I totally disagree about Franken’s intellect. I listened to his show every day for a long time, and I’m convinced he’s extremely bright. I never cared that much for him on SNL, but I grew to love his dry, satirical humor after listening to him on the radio.

      • OMG! The first time I remember seeing Al Franken was when he did the Al Franken Decade on Weekend Update on SNL. I was instantly hooked. It was absurd in a pythonesque way mixed with over the top narcissism. And the weird thing is, the narcissism looked very natural. You can find the script online but you really have to see the video to get the full effect. Unfortunately, SNL seems to be squirrelling the videos away somewhere. You can’t find it on YouTube.

        • I had probably stopped watching SNL by then. I only remember the first couple of years Franken was on.

          • Mr Stuart Smalley in the Senate? Meh I’ve seen worse

          • He’s good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like him.

            Which is more than you can say for 90% of the other Senate Dems.

  3. OT:

    Palin-Bashing and Hillary-Bashing: The Same Thing?
    by Peter Daou, political consultant, former Internet Adviser to Hillary Clinton

    I think it’s worth the click and a read, even if you normally avoid Huffpo:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-daou/palin-bashing-and-hillary_b_226518.html

  4. i dont know much about franken . but i do know that he got lots of help from ACORN & this gives the DEMS the so-called super majorty . & that never a good thing

  5. i think that the possiblity of abuse of power is biger now . that the dems can run the tabel if they vote as a block

  6. Saw this on the drudge report.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/glennthrush/0709/Franken_bucks_Obama_in_first_vote.html

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  7. I think there is a failure to communicate.

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1246443739359&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE56507F20090706?feedType=RSS&feedName=politicsNews&rpc=22&sp=true

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

    • If Obama had just shown up for that Kyl-Lieberman amendment vote that managed to skewer Hillary, we might know how he really feels about Iran.
      BTW, will someone please tell Obama that Israel is a sovereign country and can do whatever it thinks is necessary to protect itself? Some of those things may be ill-advised and that’s what friends are for- to tell you you’re about to make a big mistake. We can tell them they can’t drive our car when they’re drunk and take away our car keys. But we don’t have the right to veto the state of Israel.
      So, Biden is right this time.
      However, he was all over Hillary’s ass over Kyl-Lieberman when she said it was OK to condemn Iran for sponsoring terrorism and to attempt to stop them when they made trouble in other middle eastern countries. For some reason, he wasn’t OK with that.
      Weird.

  8. I believe it’s pathological. Obama doesn’t have any strong convictions about Iran, or much else, so he just tries to slip by without political damage. If he could vote “present”, he would.

  9. Well, congratulations Al and congratulations Democrats.

    And Congratulations DC

  10. As Larry the cable guy sez “git ‘er done”

    • really? has he share that information with Obama????

      • He told his wife Franni’s story. Her father died when she was very young and her mother struggled to provide for her kids, which as I recall had several children who were pretty young at the time. Franni and her siblings got social security benefits from their father and it was those benefits that kept her family from real destitution.
        And then he told a story about how he deflowered her when they were in college. Too funny.

  11. rd, ditto.

  12. Harry Reid is going to have to come up with a whole new set of excuses as to why he can’t get anything done.
    So how long will Senator Franken go along with Obama’s republican lite before he blows a gasket?

  13. I’m actually looking forward to seeing how he does as senator. I think he’ll take it seriously and do good, we’ll see.

  14. I used to listen to Al Franken every morning. Then one morning I heard him and Norm Ornstein all but have an on-air orgasm over Israel’s bombing of Lebanon. I never listened again. And nothing he says or does will make me think well of him. Nothing.

  15. And now, time for the chorus:

    If you’ll be my bodyguard
    I can be your long lost pal
    I can call you Betty
    And Betty when you call me
    You can call me Al
    Call me Al

    🙂

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