Apparently, some political enemies have brought up a record of Al Franken making a joke about rape in 1995 on an SNL set. I have said before on this blog regarding an Onion satire and I firmly believe that rape is not something that we ever should joke about.
Now we ask, Is that it? Is that all the opponents have? I'm assuming it is. Franken is known far and wide as a squeaky clean, upright and moral man.
However he is running in Minnesota where most folks have a hard time understanding when something is sarcastic or even when something is an outright joke.
I ought to know because I taught at the University of Minnesota for many years, sometimes to large lecture classes. After trying humor on my students for a while and getting little or no response, I came into class one day with a little sign that said on one side, "Joke" and on the other side, "Laugh." The students could not sense my humor -- so I stuck it in their faces. And then somehow it started to work. My courses were recognized for years as rich in content, demanding in work, and funny too.
So the question is not whether Franken is prepared to serve in the Senate. No, the question is whether Franken is electable in a state where many of the residents have little or no developed sense of humor.
That my friends is a real problem for him.
From the StarTribune blog:
by Mark Brunswick
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar stepped off the podium of the DFL state convention and into a firestorm of questions about her position on Al Franken and his writings, which have inflamed some women and other feminists on both sides of the aisle.
Klobuchar, who left the convention quickly to tour the closed Winona bridge, said she believed Franken was not fatally damaged by the revelations and expected him to address the issue more publicly on Saturday.
“I found his past writings, some of them, entirely inappropriate. He needs to take this on more upfront and more directly. We will be heading into tomorrow where he’ll be addressing it in a more public way. He’s been married to Franni, his wife, for over 30 years, he loves his family and he loves his country and he cares about the issues and that’s what people need to focus on. But, unfortunately, because this has been boiling up for the last week I think he needs to address this more directly.”
Klobuchar, who has made no endorsement in the Senate race, said she has spoken to Franken and urged him to be more publicly forthcoming.
“Every candidate makes mistakes along the way. Things happen along the way and you have to explain them and that’s what people want to hear. He understands his writings offended people and he regrets that. He’s going to have to bring them along and I think he has the capacity to do that.”
Will she support him if there is a primary? “I’m going to make a decision after the convention.”
On another matter, Klobuchar took no direct shots at the senior senator from Minnesota, Republican Norm Coleman, during a speech to delegates, choosing instead to paint a picture of the importance of a Democratic majority in the Senate.
“My message is we need to get more Democrats. We have a 51-vote margin on the war. My whole speech was setting the stage for why we need change in Washington and that includes the Senate race in Minnesota. He has been identified with George Bush, I think we need change and that’s why we need a Democratic senator.”