Moment readers might remember a cover story in our December 2005 issue on Al Franken. Considering how his intense and close Senate race (the most recent count has him losing by all of 204 votes) is all over the news, we decided to post it here for further enjoyment.
By David Paul Kuhn
Al Franken leans over the scattered papers atop his desk. He puffs out his pasty cheeks. His round brown glasses seem slightly too small for his face. His brown eyebrows arch up and he grins like Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Batman. “I gotta tell you,” Franken says to me in his midtown Manhattan office, “I’ve been to Israel, and I didn’t enjoy it.” He chuckles. He knows he’s telling this to a Jewish magazine. “I hate to say that,” he continues. “I support Israel. But when I was there, in 1984, it was very high-pressured. It felt very”—he pauses to find the right word—“tense.”
Al Franken is a caricature of himself, which allows him to talk about serious issues without ever appearing to take himself too seriously. He can shuttle from the solemn to the sardonic as the straight man, often in droll monotone. You may dislike him or think of him as an ideologue—the mirror image of his adversaries, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly. The title of a recent book by conservative Bernard Goldberg calls him out: 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken is #37).
Or you may think he’s a hero. With his 1996 book, Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations, the Saturday Night Live alumnus found a new calling: doing unto conservatives as they have done unto others. Until Franken’s foray into Beltway bombast, Continue reading