January 23, 2017

Who wants to be Trump's nemesis? Al Franken!

I'm reading this at The Hill:
The progressive Minnesota Democrat was the breakout star during a packed week of [confirmation] hearings.... Franken, who was elected in 2008, has largely kept his head down in the upper chamber, focusing on legislative duties and representing his constituents.
Because he couldn't step/stomp on Obama, Franken was caged. The comedian — who came from TV to become a politician — suddenly has a President — who came from TV to become a politician — whom he can attack. What fabulous liberation!

And I'm pretty sure that Trump would be delighted to have Franken as his nemesis. We'll see who's the better comedian-politician.
“It’s very clear now that he is trying to raise his profile and position himself as a leading critic of Donald Trump,” said Jim Manley, a former aide to former Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) who was active in Franken’s recount in 2008. “After watching him skillfully interrogate some of the Trump nominees in recent days, he’s clearly angling to mix it up much more so than he has in the past.”
Here's an example of Franken's newly unleashed prowess:
At former Texas Gov. Rick Perry's hearing to be Energy secretary, Perry referred to an earlier meeting with Franken by saying that he “hope[s] you are as fun on the dais as you were on your couch.”

The hearing room erupted in laughter, and Franken asked Perry to rephrase. “Please. Please. Oh my lord,” Franken said. Once the laughter subsided, Franken pressed Trump’s Energy secretary nominee about his opinion on climate change. 
Rick Perry was the funnier comedian there, unless you think he doesn't notice his own double entendre. If you think he doesn't, you're assuming that the other side is dumb, an easy target. I think Texas politicians can rope you in with that. Watch out, Minnesotans.

52 comments:

rhhardin said...

I don't get the joke.

Curious George said...

"Because he couldn't step/stomp on Obama, Franken was caged."

You are confusing "couldn't" with didn't."

campy said...

"... Franken, who STOLE A SEAT in 2008 ..."

FTFY

Freder Frederson said...

I don't think Perry was intentionally being funny. I think it was a honest slip of the tongue. And although I don't think Perry is very bright, this particular slip didn't say anything about his intelligence.

AllenS said...

Franken got his ass handed to him when he grilled Price.

LINK TEXT

rehajm said...

The Dems are decimated. It's a battlefield promotion...

Not for nothing, It was Perry's words that drew laughter, and it was Perry who asked to rephrase.

Apparently The Hill deals in alternative facts as well.

Brando said...

I would have expected a funnier response from Franken--along the lines of "please, not in front of the public" or "what happens in my office stays in my office." Shame!

Senators always find their mettle when they're in the opposition party from the President. Otherwise they always have to worry about stepping on the president, and by nature they become beta males. In the opposition, though, you can take the mantle of the voice against those in power. I expect Sanders and Warren will vie for that title.

Ann Althouse said...

"... Franken, who STOLE A SEAT in 2008 ..."

With Manley assistance.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

People on the left will say Franken "DESTROYED" Trump. People on the right will say Trump "DESTROYED" Franken. What's actually happening is that Franken is trying to position himself for a run at the White House, which isn't happening. The next Democrat nominee will be a black woman, hopefully not Cynthia McKinney.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Oh, and the nominee for vice president will be a Hispanic with a ambiguous gender identity whose preferred pronoun is zhe. That will show those assholes.

Brando said...

Related to SNL aluns, if anyone here did not see SNL's "To Sir With Love" paean to Obama, make sure to miss it. I had to turn it off partway through when I realized it wasn't satire, they were really doing this.

It's not that I mind that everyone associated with SNL is a big Obama fan--but the point of comedy (particularly political comedy) is to find jokes where they are. Slavish sentimental crap does not belong there, and that crap was the very epitome of the "save us, magical black man" garbage that invaded Hollywood for a while.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Warren vs Franken in a battle of insufferable Media darling Dems? Watch out for that one. Franken, at least, might have a sense of humor. Does he ever just go into his Paul Simon impression in the chamber?

We are overdue for the Franken decade, I guess.

AprilApple said...

Franken stole his seat. That's all anyone needs to know about him.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Brando - that SNL "To Sir with love" to a big picture of Obama (N Korean style) was literally unbelievable--I saw a clip on Twitter and assumed it was a set up for a joke. Nope, completely sincere. Sad!

Bob Boyd said...

One time Perry took Franken out for a ride on his Texas ranch. They came upon a sheep with its head caught in a fence. To Franken's shock, Perry climbed off his horse, unbuttoned his jeans and started putting it to the sheep.
After a bit Perry looked over his shoulder and saw Franken staring open-mouthed and wide-eyed.
Perry said, "What? You want some of this?"
Franken said, "Uh... okay. Yeah."
So Franken swung out of the saddle, got down and put his own head in the fence.

MayBee said...

Allen S- yes! How can people praise Franken after that?

(my husband is a staunch Dem and we were laughing at Franken's presentation. He just seems kind of off)

Big Mike said...

@campy, @AprilApple, Franken's 2008 election was dubious, but he won reelection handily in 2014, which was otherwise a down year for Democrats. Do not underestimate this man (though you are permitted to overestimate that state).

rcocean said...

Franken continued with his questioning by asking Price why he would choose to hold stock in tobacco companies knowing the health risks that come from smoking.

“You personally benefited from tobacco sales,” Franken said to Price. “How do you square reaping personal financial gain from the sale of an addictive product that kills millions of Americans every decade?”


You can say the same thing about beer and ice cream. Or automobiles. Franken also favors legalized Pot and hard liquor ads on TV. Doesn't sound very pro-health to me.

PB said...

Playing the yokel is a common tactic used against people who protrude their self-importance.

cubanbob said...

Suitcase Al A/K/A Stuart Smalley isn't up to the job of being Trump's nemesis. Trump if he isn't careful with his off the cuff ad libbing, is.

rcocean said...

With Minnesota you just expect them to elect a clown. I don't think the immigrants who went to Minnesota ever really assimilated. Their voting patterns have always been weird and there choices for offices inexplicable.

I don't think any other state would've nominated and elected Franken.

damikesc said...

I thought the Hillary piano thing was as bad as they'd get.

They surprised me.

cubanbob said...

“You personally benefited from tobacco sales,” Franken said to Price. “How do you square reaping personal financial gain from the sale of an addictive product that kills millions of Americans every decade?”

Did Stuart Smalley ever consider the federal taxes on smokes is part of the revenue source that pays his Senatorial salary and benefits?

Ann Althouse said...

Freder Frederson said... "I don't think Perry was intentionally being funny. I think it was a honest slip of the tongue. And although I don't think Perry is very bright, this particular slip didn't say anything about his intelligence."

What part of the country are you from?

Ann Althouse said...

"“You personally benefited from tobacco sales,” Franken said to Price. “How do you square reaping personal financial gain from the sale of an addictive product that kills millions of Americans every decade?"

My answer to that is: Has Franken introduced bills to outlaw tobacco products and fought for passing them? How can he sit there in the Senate bitching about the sale of tobacco when he could work to ban it? It's a legal product. If it shouldn't be sold, ban it.

Susan said...

They say it is better to be lucky than good.

Trump is very lucky in his enemies.

Brando said...

"Brando - that SNL "To Sir with love" to a big picture of Obama (N Korean style) was literally unbelievable--I saw a clip on Twitter and assumed it was a set up for a joke. Nope, completely sincere. Sad!"

I gave it about a minute or so, thinking "this can't be what this is, this is going to be some late-hour parody..." but nope, it became clear this was something the writers/cast thought they should actually do!

campy said...

@campy, @AprilApple, Franken's 2008 election was dubious,

Our lefty friends tell us it's important to not "normalize" people who hold offices illegitimately. I'm just following the example of my moral & intellectual superiors.

damikesc said...

Did Stuart Smalley ever consider the federal taxes on smokes is part of the revenue source that pays his Senatorial salary and benefits?

Almost asked that myself. Odds are, the government makes more, per pack, than cigarette makers.

damikesc said...

I gave it about a minute or so, thinking "this can't be what this is, this is going to be some late-hour parody..." but nope, it became clear this was something the writers/cast thought they should actually do!

Well, one of the writers thought cracking jokes about Trump's 10 year old son was a good idea, so they don't have a strong bunch there.

I don't get the entertainment industry's apparent goal to slice their audience down.

FullMoon said...

The hearing room erupted in laughter, and Franken asked Perry to rephrase.

As noted upstream, Perry got the laughs. The Hill lies in order to make their guy look better. No matter how small, they have to spin it most of the time.

Speaking of which. Would be lovely at the presser today for Spicer to start by apologizing for getting the facts wrong about crowd size. Kill all the BS concern right there.

AllenS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J2 said...



You left out the best part. At the end of that exchange Perry said "I think we found our SNL moment" (big laughter including Franken)

AllenS said...

This is from the hearings --
Isakson referenced Franken’s own financial disclosure, which shows that the Minnesota Democrat has a Wisdom Tree equity fund as part of his investment portfolio. This fund includes holdings in Philip Morris, the same tobacco company that Franken criticized Price for owning stock in.

Franken is a not very funny hypocrite.

CStanley said...

I'm guessing Franken was trying to highlight hypocrisy for a HHS secretary to own tobacco stock, immunizing himself against the same charge. But Isakson's take down was still effective because Franken was also insinuating that Price lied about knowing what was in his mutual fund portfolio, and it became clear that most people, including Franken, do not pay attention to the individual holdings.

tcrosse said...

For background, the Minnesota Tobacco Settlement directed millions in lawyers fees to prominent DFL'er Mike Cerisi. Cerisi vied with Franken for DFL endorsement for Senator in 2008, then withdrew.

M Jordan said...

What exactly was the joke? Is it a Stuart Smalley reference or a homosexual joke? I didn't get it, it wasn't funny in either case, Perry way over-laughs, Franken is groaning at the attempt at humor ... the whole thing showed me again why Republicans lose. But I still don't get the joke.

Mary Beth said...

Nemesis? Franken is more a Johnny Snow than he is a Captain Hammer. He's not Trump's nemesis.

mockturtle said...

No Moriarty, he.

Bill said...

Well, Al Franken isn't it, let me tell you right now -- or Michael Moore either. Look at them! They're like big, drooling babies -- is this the face of the Democratic Party? Big, squalling babies -- "wah wah wah!"

-Camille Paglia, 2003

rehajm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rehajm said...

“How do you square reaping personal financial gain from the sale of an addictive product that kills millions of Americans every decade?"

I use the profits to hire lobbyists that solicit Congress to outlaw the legal sale of tobacco.

Larry J said...

Al Franken has the intellectual firepower of a soggy firecracker.

Freder Frederson said...

What part of the country are you from?

Same part as you. It was amusing but I don't think it was planned.

JAORE said...

"Well, Al Franken isn't it, let me tell you right now -- or Michael Moore either. Look at them! They're like big, drooling babies -- is this the face of the Democratic Party? Big, squalling babies -- "wah wah wah!"

-Camille Paglia, 2003"

Not that I think Franken has it in him, but these kinds of things remind me of the dismissive things said about Trump early on.

LYNNDH said...

Billy Bob Boyd, that was soooooo funny! Glad I had my mug of tea on the hot plate. I really needed a laugh today. Thanks!

tcrosse said...

Al Franken has the intellectual firepower of a soggy firecracker.
To be fair, do not confuse Sen Franken with the characters he played on TV. That's as big a mistake as confusing Reagan with the roles he played on film. Franken is no Reagan, but he's no Stuart Smalley, either.

Michael K said...

"Franken is no Reagan, but he's no Stuart Smalley, either."

His performance with Price was closer to Smalley than Reagan.

southcentralpa said...

Pretty big talk from a Senator who won within the margin of fraud (i.e., who would by all appearances have lost without DFL shenaniganizing).

Danno said...

Minnesota isn't quite doing as well as Wisconsin, but Hillary only beat Trump by 44,765 votes statewide (with each over 1.3 million) in the 2016 election. Much of the traditional Dem.(DFL) stronghold in the Iron Range went for Trump. We are getting redder all the time. If not for all of the recent immigrants in the state, we'd probably already have flipped.

SeanF said...

Althouse: The hearing room erupted in laughter, and Franken asked Perry to rephrase.

Perry asked. "May I rephrase that, sir?"

Ann Althouse said...

"Same part as you. It was amusing but I don't think it was planned."

You're from Delaware?!

I don't think it was planned, but I think he knew it was funny, and I bet he's more sexually tuned in than Franken.