Franken for President
by Paul Krassner
Guess who wrote this letter to Republican members of Congress:
"I'm a lifelong Republican who just woke up from a 26-year-long coma. I notice you're trying to weaken the filibuster in the Senate because Democrats are blocking a few judicial nominees. I notice you say this is 'unprecedented.' But I remember how we Republicans filibustered to block President Johnson's Supreme Court picks back in '68. Man, those were the days. Does 'unprecedented' mean something different nowadays?"
(A) Gore Vidal
(B) Al Franken
(D) Pat Buchanan
If your answer is (C), you are correct. Candorville is a syndicated comic strip, joining Doonesbury, Boondocks, Non Sequitur and La Cucaracha in using humor as a vehicle for presenting information and analysis of current cultural and political controversies.
Animated cartoon TV programs also deal with such material. On the final episode of this season's The Simpsons, Homer says to Bart: "If this school doesn't straighten you out, we'll send you straight to the Army, and they'll send you straight to whatever major quagmire is going on. Will it be North Korea? Iran? I guess wherever Commander Cuckoo Bananas wants to go next."
And, of course, some of the most incisive commentary comes from satirists--Harry Shearer, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Mort Sahl, George Carlin, Lewis Black, Chris Rock, Wanda Sykes, Barry Crimmins, Dave Chappelle, Margaret Cho, Will Durst, Jimmy Tingle, Johnny Steele, Marc Maron and, the cornerstone of Air America Radio, Al Franken, who, as a guest on HBO's season finale of Real Time, answered Maher's question about whether he was planning to run against Minnesota Republican Senator Norm Coleman by candidly admitting that he's "seriously thinking about it."
I believe Franken could easily win that race. His progressive stance is enhanced not only by his sharp wit, but he's also well informed, articulate, honest, uncompromising, passionate, compassionate, imaginative and, in a strange way, even charismatic--all combining to inspire a genuine sense of trust. He would be a perfect candidate to serve as a true successor to the late Paul Wellstone.
In fact, I would definitely vote for Al Franken for president. As an entertainer with a national fan base, he could raise funds by going on tour, selling CDs and books, giving good quote and getting free publicity. He would be a Democratic equivalent to Ronald Reagan. I can picture him now at a White House press conference, reading aloud to electronic and print journalists all those comic strips that deal with the issues that they've been afraid to report.
I doubt that there are any grave skeletons in his closet. The worst that the Republican propaganda machine could do would be to show an old clip from a Saturday Night Live sketch, where Franken, playing himself, announces that he has been "brought to you by the Communist Party of America."
Paul Krassner is the author of Murder At the Conspiracy Convention and Other American Absurdities. To read George Carlin's introduction, check out paulkrassner.com [click to visit - http://www.paulkrassner.com].