Sunday, September 23, 2007

Can a Comedian be a Senator? Can a Wrestler be a Governor?

Before Minnesota democrats embrace a comedian for U.S. senator, they need to know that he's not going to be a Jesse Ventura: the sort of non-politician that makes traditional politicians look bad, but then collapses under pressure from the first press conference.

Who would question the political credentials of a comedian after the "successful" political careers of a wrestler, a body builder, and a middling actor?

In a Newsweek article that chronicled Al Franken's Minnesota State Fair campaigning, reporter Andrew Romano watched Franken take a tough question from a fairgoer, 55-year-old Jeff Hill:
"You've spent your life as a comedian," says Hill. "Now that you're running for office, how will you keep from crossing the line?" Franken looks him in the eye. "I'll tell you what a satirist does," he says. "A satirist sees the hypocrisies and absurdities in the world and cuts through the baloney to get to the truth. I think that's good training for the U.S. Senate. Don't you?"
It is. And so is the media savvy that Al Franken has cultivated writing for and appearing on television over the last couple of decades.

For a glimpse of the sort of hypocrisies and absurdities that Franken will have to deal with if he gets the democratic nomination, have a look at the Republican incumbent Senator Norm Coleman, the ex-Brooklynite, ex-Jewish, ex-democrat (he switched parties in 1996) whose wife Laurie, rumor had it, enjoyed an "open marriage" while she pursued a career in Hollywood. In the video below, Norm gets flustered by "Gorgeous" George Galloway, the British MP accused by the U.S. Senate of profiting from the U.N.'s Oil For Food program.

I don't think Franken's going to have a very hard time.


Anonymous Andy said...

What Al Franken has going for him is that, unlike Norm, he doesn't have a voice that sounds like a cross between Betty Boop and George Raft.

12:37 PM  

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