Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Seriously Funny

Al Franken really is running for the Senate in Minnesota. And he’s getting some serious creds in the process.

Minnesotans have come to understand that this bid by Mr. Franken, odd or not, is anything but a joke. Since Mr. Franken, who grew up in Minnesota, announced his candidacy in February, he has traveled the state frenetically, attending hundreds of forums and luncheons and rallies and leaving even his critics conceding that he has worked awfully hard.

Most convincing are the polls, which show Mr. Franken and Mike Ciresi, a well-known lawyer who has run for office before, at the top of the field of Democrats. More importantly perhaps, polls have shown Mr. Franken (and, separately, Mr. Ciresi) as competitive challengers to Senator Norm Coleman, the first-term Republican whose seat is up next year and whom Democrats have identified as among the most vulnerable incumbents nationally.

Mr. Franken dismisses the notion that voters might be unable to take a former comedian seriously, or that seeking public office now might seem a difficult divergence from an earlier path that in 1999 included “Why Not Me?,” a satiric novel about his own mock run for the presidency.

“Minnesotans know what’s a joke and what isn’t,” Mr. Franken said in an interview in jeans, a T-shirt and sweat socks at the Minneapolis town house he bought when he moved here from New York in 2005.

“There’s not necessarily a contradiction certainly between satire and being serious,” he continued. “To me they’ve always been part and parcel of the same thing. What a satirist does is looks at a situation, finds the inconsistencies, hypocrisies, absurdities, and cuts through all the baloney and gets to the truth. That’s pretty good training, I think, for the United States Senate.”

Of course, the Republicans are a tad freaked out that Mr. Franken might beat the incumbent Norm Coleman that they’ve checked their irony at the door.

“To think of him as a United States senator almost boggles anyone’s imagination,” said Ron Carey, the chairman of the state’s Republican Party. “So much of what he has said is vile and offensive — you can’t even quote it. I look at his words and that’s not how Minnesotans talk, not even in private conversation. His vile bomb throwing is so non-Minnesotan; he must have left his Minnesota roots in Hollywood and New York.”

This from the party that embraces Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh…

Go, Al, Go. Anybody that can reduce Bill O’Reilly to a spluttering mass of incoherency and apoplexy is all right by me.