From Senator Al Franken – #1 bestselling author and beloved SNL alum – comes the story of an award-winning comedian who decided to run for office and then discovered why award-winning comedians tend not to do that.
This is a book about an unlikely campaign that had an even more improbable ending: the closest outcome in history and an unprecedented eight-month recount saga, which is pretty funny in retrospect.
It’s a book about what happens when the nation’s foremost progressive satirist gets a chance to serve in the United States Senate and, defying the low expectations of the pundit class, actually turns out to be good at it.
It’s a book about our deeply polarized, frequently depressing, occasionally inspiring political culture, written from inside the belly of the beast.
In this candid personal memoir, the honorable gentleman from Minnesota takes his army of loyal fans along with him from Saturday Night Live to the campaign trail, inside the halls of Congress, and behind the scenes of some of the most dramatic and/or hilarious moments of his new career in politics.
Has Al Franken become a true Giant of the Senate? Franken asks readers to decide for themselves.
As you know, Michele Bachmann, Congressperson for Minnesota’s Sixth District, has announced that she will not seek re-election to her seat in Washington DC.
Bachmann almost lost her re-election to challenger Jim Graves last year. I’m convinced that had the election been held a few weeks later, Graves would have won. Recently, internal polling data from within Bachmann’s campaign became known, and showed that as of a couple of weeks ago Bachmann was actually behind Graves. Bachmann’s response to this polling was an ad buy; the Bachmann campaign started up early with local ads, clearly indicating one thing and strongly suggesting another. For one, Bachmann had decided to run for re-election as of several days ago. She bought campaign ads. That’s pretty clear. Two weeks ago or less, Michele Bachmann was a candidate for re-election to the sixth district and was spending money on that campaign. This is a fact that must be taken into account in figuring out what is going on. The second thing this indicated was that she was nervous about the polling data and felt compelled to start early.
Then, suddenly, she announced that she would not be running. You don’t decide to run for re-election and actually craft campaign ads and buy air time for the ads and put on the air if you are not running. “I’m Michele Bachmann and I approved this message” means, very clearly, that she was in fact running for re-election. Why, then, did she suddenly stop running for re-election? Even with poor polling numbers, this does not make sense. The polling numbers were not abysmal. She was about five points behind, very close to the margin of error. This is not a number that in and of itself would recommend abandoning a campaign. Also, the numbers were known to her campaign before the ad buy.
There are two other possible explanations for her withdraw, I think. One is that something bad is about to happen and she is bugging out before that occurs. The other is that she noticed that there was another office up for election and has decided to run for it. Let’s examine those two possible explanations.
Someone from Michele Bachmann’s 2012 presidential campaign team stole an email list off of Barb Heki’s laptop. This list was from the evangelical home school organization for which Heki played a leadership role… She sued.
Today, the court scheduled the trial.
… and later that day Bachmann made her video bowing out of the campaign.
There are other problems. The FBI is looking into Bachmann’s campaign, for instance. So, it is reasonable to guess that another shoe … related to any one of the pending law suits or investigations … is about to drop, and it is not a dainty ballet slipper but rather one of those big-ass Mickey Mouse boots the Arctic division of the Airborne Army wears when they jump out of airplanes onto glaciers.
A second explanation is that Bachmann noticed that the Junior Senator from the State of Minnesota, Al Franken, is up for re-election and, at the time she made her plans to announce her withdraw, had no serious challengers. This is the preferred explanation among local Minnesota pundits. Why? Not because it is the best explanation, but because it is the coolest explanation. Al Franken only barely won his seat during the last election, but there are very specific reasons for that, and these reasons simply don’t apply today. Senator Franken went from never having held elected office to being one of the most respected and effective Senators in Washington. How did he do that? He is a) very sincere about his public service and b) very smart. Well, also, his hard work and the excellent support from his family and staff and all that too. Bottom line: The people of Minnesota understand that Al Franken is a great senator and he will be re-elected.
Al Franken isn’t just a great Senator, but he is also one of those guys we watch for the entertainment value, and I’m not referring here to his earlier career as a comedian satirist. Have you seen him in action? Here’s an example. I would not have wanted to have been a grasshopper living in Little Al Franken’s yard when he was a little boy in Ednia, Minnesota.
That was Subtle Al. Here’s another:
Here’s Al with a very smart witness trying to trip him up. Starts at about 1:27:
Not in chambers, about Fox, and reforming our Math education system at the same time:
And here is Al Franken eating a lawyer before lunch:
For comparison, here is Michele Bachmann:
Can you imagine it? A Franken-Bachmann campaign? Pure Political Squeee. Bwahahaha to the Nth power.
So, you can see that no matter how unlikely it may be that Michele Bachmann would actually have quit her seat in the house in order to run against Al Franken, we insist on keeping it on the table as a possibility because, well, it is something to live for.
There is a third possible explanation for Michele Bachmann’s withdraw; A better offer from Fox or some other corporation. This has been suggested by various commenters but I think it unlikely. Yes, expect such a thing to occur at some time in the future, but I believe that Bachmann truly sees herself as a savior of The Constitution and will generally act with that motivation before other considerations. Of course, the first and third explanations can be linked. If she is facing high costs from impending legal battles, bowing out and getting a nice contract with Faux News would be the thing to do.
Finally, I would like to express my great relief that Bachmann is bowing out. It has been a great burden to me … as the person who got her political career started, feeling responsible all these years for having created this particular horror. Now, finally, I’ll be able to sleep nights.
Today is Minnesota Senator Al Franken’s Birthday. In honor of that, I’m reposting this historically accurate and important essay, which first appeared on this blog on April 23, 2009 at 3:56PM:
I personally put Al Franken in the Senate
Al Franken is about to be seated as the Junior Senator from Minnesota after a long and costly battle between loser Norm Coleman and Senator Franken. Al won the election by just a few hundred votes, and three of those votes are mine.
Norm Coleman had to pay a $7,500 fine yesterday for failure to disclose important evidence in the 26 day long Franken-Coleman Senatorial Election Challenge Trial. The plaintiff, Coleman, also claimed in a written statement to the court that since the number of illegal votes cast in this election exceeds the narrow margin of difference between the two candidates (which has Franken as the winner), the election needs to be set aside. However, Coleman has failed to show that any votes were actually cast illegally, or to make any compelling legal argument that this extraordinary request be honored.
The judges indicated to Coleman that additional fines would be charged if his shenanigans continue. They also indicated that “In the event this sanction fails to deter future conduct on the part of [Coleman’s] counsel, the court will not hesitate to impose harsher sanctions, up to and including dismissal [of the case].”
The essence of the unethical behavior by Coleman: Republican election judge Pam Howell had been on the sand a couple of times last week, but was pulled off the stand as the result of documents she secretly passed to the Coleman lawyers. The crux of her testimony seemed to be unverified hearsay about a Souh Minneapolis (= Democratic) election judge stuffing a ballot box. But the Coleman camp and Republican Howell also seem to have bee in cahoots, and worked out the exposure of evidence that seemed to (ineffectively) support Coleman’s claim, but the suppression of evidence having the contrary effect. Continue reading Coleman rests, pays fine, asks Judges to overturn election.→