On Saturday, the DFL nominated Al Franken to challenge Sen. Norm Coleman in spite of stiff opposition, including that of members of Minnesota’s Democrat Congressional delegation. Democrats fear that Franken’s past, which includes an article written for Playboy and jokes about rape, could cost them a great opportunity to pick up a Senate seat. Even liberal Rep. Betty McCollum has said that she will not endorse Franken in the general election.
The bad news for Franken doesn’t stop there. Planned Parenthood, a reliable supporter of pro-choice Democrats, has said that it will be difficult for them to support Franken in light of recent allegations. It’s truly remarkable when an organization whose main objective is promoting violence against women actually says that a candidate goes too far in that direction. When a candidate has that much trouble with his core supporters - and when I say “core”, I mean those who are supposed to be even more reliable than the proverbial base - he’s got problems.
So how does Franken go about addressing those problems? Well, at the DFL convention, he said that he was sorry for making comments that made some people feel uncomfortable, but that he’s running because there are people in Washington who need to feel a little less comfortable. Wow. That’s the best he can do?! How about, “I am deeply sorry for any pain that my comments have caused the thousands of Minnesota families whose lives have been changed forever as a result of one of the most physically and emotionally violent crimes ever committed?”
In fairness to Al Franken, he is a comedian, not a politician. He, like many other comedians and most people in general, has said things to which many people take offense. Personally, though I have found many other comedians, including liberal ones who endulge in off color humor, hilarious, I have never particularly cared for Al Franken’s unwitty, personally demeaning brand of “comedy”. If the market can support him, though - and his Air America venture suggested that it can’t - then he should remain a comedian, as that is clearly his proper realm. He has already embarassed his would-be constituency more than most politicians do in their whole careers, and he hasn’t even been elected. If he does manage to worm his way into office, though, one has to wonder whether he will take this job any more seriously than he did his last one. That, surely, should be on the minds of Minnesotans as they cast their ballots in November.