I Heart Al Franken

I’m entirely jealous of the people of Minnesota on a daily basis. I have friended/liked Al Franken’s Facebook page, and so Franken sends me posts about his work several times a day. Jealous, jealous, jealous. He does so much good, progressive work, and he’s damned hard-nosed about it.

Vitter sends me regular emails too, because I signed up for his newsletter for some stupid reason. They are nothing but grandstanding. I reply to his emails telling him so on a regular basis. Vitter’s last email announcement praised his efforts to pressure “the administration” (by which he presumably means Obama) to send in the Fish and Wildlife folks, and to increase the number of people assigned to the Louisiana Gulf Coast. Of course, in the mean time, Jindal is dicking around on calling in the National Guard.

Anyway, back to Franken. I have always liked Franken. The Stuart Smalley book made me roll in the airplane aisle when I read it. Later, Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot (which he is), and Why Not Me did the same. Why Not Me was prescient.

Upon realizing that Franken is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, I knew I could sleep soundly at night during the Kagan confirmation hearings.  I’ve been avoiding news about the hearings due to all the big bloviating Republicans on it (Sessions, Hatch, Graham, Cornyn).

There are two fun HuffPo pieces about Franken: The one about him doodling during the hearings, and the one that made the rounds sometime back about him drawing the US map during a campaign speech. IS THERE NOTHING THIS MAN CAN’T DO?

Onward again to the Judiciary. OMG AL FRANKEN I LOVE YOU! Some of his campaign ads were so sincere, with his wife sitting next to him, while he recounted his personal investment in making the country better. His blurb on the website differentiates him from other candidates. Everyone lists their credentials, the issues they’re concerned with, and the committees they’ve served. Maybe Franken doesn’t follow suit because he’s a freshman Senator, but after years of service, his bio will probably remain the same.

It resembles his video announcing his campaign (which, by the way, was brilliant) in which sounded utterly sincere. Here is his blurb:

Al Franken (D) was born on May 21, 1951, and grew up in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.  He graduated from Harvard in 1973, where he met his wife Franni.  They’ve been married for 33 years, and have two children: daughter Thomasin, 28, and son Joe, 24.  Franken spent the last 37 years as a comedy writer, author, and radio talk show host, and has taken part in seven USO tours, visiting troops overseas in Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Uzbekistan – as well as visiting Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait four times.  In 2008, Franken was elected to the Senate as a member of the DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) Party from Minnesota, and was sworn in in July 2009 following a statewide hand recount.  He currently sits on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee; the Judiciary Committee; the Committee on Indian Affairs; and the Special Committee on Aging.  Franken is a long-time advocate for affordable, accessible health care, an economy that works for the middle class, the protection of a secure retirement, the promise of a 21st century education for our kids, and the creation of a green economy that creates jobs and improves our environment.

He starts with when and where he was born, and who is family is. No one else has that on their statement. I’m usually dismissive of politicians who do that, but Franken constantly refers to his background and family as the motivation for his political career. In his campaign, he deftly balanced claiming a working-class background and admitting his own privilege.  To me, “grew up in St. Louis Park, Minnesota” encapsulates all that “real people” rhetoric. Then he modestly references his expansive comedy career without either exploiting or downplaying it. He includes the recount controversy over his election, which was an unnecessary reference, but which shows to me that he values transparency. And last, but not least…. he cares about KIDS! KIDS, not children, KIDS. That cinches the deal and earns him my undying admiration. Ok, he already had that. I like “kids” because it’s so unpretentious and homey. Ok, the final thing that closes the already closed deal is his picture (it’s his standard Senator picture). That smile that has the faintest possibility of smirk to it, but is simultaneously happy and earnest. Of course I’m biased, but to me Franken is about as “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” as you can get.

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