Politics & Media
Jan 08, 2009, 04:53AM

Making lemonade

In a stunning twist of circumstance, Republicans really don't like Al Franken.

What this author is basically saying is that the GOP is jumping at the bit to tear into Senator-Elect(?) Franken because—shocker coming—they never liked him:

Franken's prominence comes at a time in which Republicans have struggled to find an easy Democratic bogeyman. Barack Obama is still overwhelmingly popular. Hillary Clinton, formerly the party's nemesis, earned a newfound respect among conservatives as the voice of moderation on withdrawal from Iraq. Rod Blagojevich is too local. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are a particular favorite of Matt Drudge, but relentless attacks on them failed to prevent heavy losses in 2006 and 2008. Ted Kennedy, suffering from brain cancer, is off limits.

So Franken provides an inviting target. His style of politics runs directly counter to the civility preached by the incoming president. Franken is author of the bestsellers Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations and Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, which trashed conservative talk hosts like Bill O’Reilly and baited some to respond with their own heated attacks.

Even while on the campaign trail, where Franken tried to project a senatorial gravitas, he found time to hit the right where it hurt. Politico reported that he was behind one of the most brutal Saturday Night Live sketches of the election, in which John McCain approves a series of increasingly horrifying attack ads against Obama ("Barack Obama has fathered two black children...in wedlock").

If Obama's strategy is to dial back the blue/red civil war to a detente, Franken's is to escalate it to World War III. Now Franken is poised to become that rare politician whose very existence is a wedge issue to be exploited.

While it's impossible for even bleeding liberals to ignore the fact that Franken's election (?) is the best thing to happen to American politics, it would still come as a surprise to see Franken drop a rape joke in a filibuster or something equally ridiciulous. He'll keep his head down, give great press conferences and fall in line—though given Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's propensity to...not lead, Franken might be a wild card after all:



Register or Login to leave a comment