Emmett Tyrrell

In the aftermath of the Minnesota Supreme Court's decision, Franken deadpanned, "I won by 312 votes." He went on to josh, "So I really have to earn the trust of the people ... of Minnesota and let them know -- not just by my saying so but by my actions -- that I'm going to be working for every Minnesotan" -- another humorless joke. What work he will do he did not say. Possibly, he will sweep the floors of the Capitol or pick up litter on its lawn. His service in government has been nil. Yet how much service in government has our president had? Increasingly, the Democratic Party is the party of personalities, though Franken's personality is markedly weird.

He was weird on "Saturday Night Live" in the 1970s, on which he popularized a goofball character named Stuart Smalley, a self-help guru who repeated over and again, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!" The audience laughed. Using lines not a lot more sophisticated, he campaigned for the Senate. My guess is that the Stuart Smalley character is the essential Al Franken, a weirdo.

I experienced his weirdness firsthand when I appeared as his guest on a talk show he hosted for Air America, the liberals' feeble effort to create an alternative to conservative talk radio. At the time, he was an impassioned opponent of the 1990s "Clinton haters" -- so impassioned, in fact, that he could have been called a "Clinton lover." Apparently aware of The American Spectator's role in exposing poor Bill Clinton, Franken asked me how I had passed the 1990s, obviously expecting me to boast of my crimes. I stepped around his loaded question, and with my trademark self-deprecating wit (reminiscent, I am told, of JFK), I rolled a handball across the desk from my microphone to his, saying merely that I played a lot of handball during Clinton's years of public embarrassment.

Franken went ballistic. "What is this," he said, holding the little blue ball in his hands and seething. I moved on to other subjects, and not surprisingly, he lost control of the show. After I departed, he remained visibly perturbed. In fact, three hours later, a friend of mine observed him leaving the studio with the ball still in his hand as he snarled about it and my insouciance toward him. Do you remember the controversy created by liberals with their unsubstantiated allegations of U.N. Ambassador John Bolton's temper? My prediction is that Franken will not get through his Senate term without anger management counseling, and the liberals will cover for him.

From a review of his simple-minded utterances on the campaign trail with regard to issues, it is apparent that he is not a consistent thinker. He will disappoint the liberals. If they can keep him angry with Republicans, they will have his vote. But if he calms down, anything might happen.


Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
 
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