Al Franken Thinks Mike Pence Is A Zealot

Democrats are experiencing Trump derangement syndrome. They couldn’t accept that he won the presidential contest last year. Remember when many of them took part in a recount effort led by Jill Stein in the hopes that several swing states would flip in Hillary’s favor? After the recount failed to change anything, liberals then attempted to block his official Electoral College vote. This attempt failed so badly it actually resulted in fewer votes for Clinton than it did Trump. With no options left and Donald Trump securely established in the Oval Office, Democrats have now convinced themselves that impeachment is a serious possibility.

Not so fast.

One prominent Democrat is cautious of letting Trump go. In an interview with the International Business Times, Al Franken said a Trump impeachment would result in a “zealot” President Pence. The junior senator from Minnesota explained his thinking when discussing Pence’s role in the presidential transition process:

“Pence ran the transition and some of the very worst nominees, I felt — [EPA chief Scott] Pruitt, [Education Secretary Betsy] DeVos, [HHS Secretary Tom] Price, [Budget director Mick] Mulvaney — were Pence selections, clearly, I think,” Franken told IBT. “He’s ideological, I consider him a zealot, and I think that in terms of a lot of domestic policy certainly would be worse than Trump.”

He made the comments to IBT while promoting his new book, “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate.”

Franken actually highlights a very important point Republicans need to remember as we move forward in the Trump era.

We are led by a man who did not ascend to the presidency by typical means. Sure, he was unorthodox in his campaign style and he said things that were not “presidential.” It’s not being critical of Trump to say he is a man outside the Washington norm. Because of this, it almost makes me understand why Democrats are so vitriolic in their attacks on Trump. He is an unusual president – so perhaps it makes sense that liberals are unusually critical of him.

But Franken’s comment puts everything back into perspective.

Let’s not shy away from the fact that “zealot” is a harsh word. We can expect that kind of language from a troll on the internet. We should not expect that from a United States senator speaking about our vice president. The word “zealot” conjures up images of religious fanaticism and extremism – nothing at all that describes the humble family man from Indiana.

I assume Franken is calling our vice president a zealot because he holds (very mainstream) positions.  Pence supports traditional marriage, is open about his Christian faith and is pro-life.

What has Pence done in his career to deserve such a harsh label? I implore the senator from Minnesota to learn how to disagree with people without using such extreme language.

What’s the point here? It’s that we should know now that you can be the most well-mannered politician in the country, not have a single scandal tied to your name and you’d still be labeled every pejorative a liberal can throw at you.

Trump does not seem to be bothered if people on the left are angered by what he says. Why should he? They’re going to call you a racist/bigot/transphobe anyway. Why keep caring?

Maybe Trump was on to something all along.

Cruz Bites Back! Or, The Obnoxiousness Of Al Franken

It sure looks as though Ted Cruz lives rent-free in Al Franken’s head. After all, Franken has devoted a chapter to him in his new book about this adventures in the Senate, entitled (please Lord, let this be an ironic title) Giant of the Senate.

My colleague Peter Heck has already speculated as to how Ted Cruz would respond to the fact that he isn’t good enough or smart enough for Franken and that, dog gone it, the Saturday Night Live writer/performer turned senator doesn’t like Cruz. Well, now we know that Cruz hasn’t taken too kindly to Franken’s antics because the Texas Republican has – with a little bit of good nature – referred to his Minnesota Democrat colleague as “obnoxious and insulting.”

“Al is trying to sell books and apparently he’s decided that being obnoxious and insulting me is good for causing liberals to buy his books,” Cruz said in an interview. “I wish him all the best.”

How obnoxious and insulting is Franken’s behavior toward Cruz? Well, take a look at the excerpt from the book that is circulating on Twitter today (but be warned that there’s a bit of language in the excerpt):


Gee, I wonder why Cruz’ smile faded? I bet Franken wouldn’t take being referred to as “full of s***” to his face much less kindly.

Franken has said that he has no qualms about retelling details of private conversations that involve Cruz – a breach of protocol – because he believes Cruz did the same thing when he said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a “lie” on the Senate floor. The difference, of course, is that Cruz didn’t say what he said to gin up book sales. When the Politico informed Cruz of Franken’s reasoning, he simply laughed and said, “Said what I’m going to say.”

Good for you, Ted Cruz, for getting bigger laughs from Al Franken’s material than he’s gotten in years.

Al Franken

Feed My Franken-Stein

One of my laments about the modern American action genre is that whatever happens to be driving the plot–whether it’s a terrorist attack that threatens to destroy the last best hope for peace, or a reformed hacker forced out of retirement to do one last job and secure his freedom once and for all–it always ends up being some secret conspiracy cooked up by corporate mercenaries or rogue government spooks, not the fringe extremist group that everybody says is guilty but just got set up to take the fall.  I’ve gone on at length about this trope as manifested in the ABC show Designated Survivor, but you can pretty much find it everywhere from the movie version of The Sum of All Fears to old episodes of Miami Vice.  Bottom line:  if it looks like ISIS did it, you can be sure it was really a corrupt White House in cahoots with Big Oil to start a war somewhere for profit.

All of this, of course, assumes a government that is as competent as it is sinister–and that’s where the suspension of belief starts to get a leeeetle heavy.  Because seriously, when the federal government can’t even keep track of people who have overstayed their visas, how are we supposed to believe that they can follow every step of our intrepid hero in real time?  And can the same kind of folks who stick unsecured email servers in bathroom closets and send classified materials to the computer of a man who exposes himself online to underage girls really be counted on to keep the lid on a vast, intricate conspiracy?  Color me skeptical, but I don’t think so.

Which is why I was amused when I saw this story on The Hill about the latest bit of kooky goodness to be served up during a Senate hearing.  Instead of al Qaeda, though, we get Al Franken–and yes, he is speculating about possible nefarious ties between Donald Trump’s White House and Vladimir Putin’s Russia:

Franken presented a lengthy hypothetical to former acting Attorney General Sally Yates around Russian connections to former national security adviser Michael Flynn and the 18-day delay between when she made the White House aware of Flynn’s apparent lies to top Trump officials and when he tendered his resignation.

“We’re trying to put a puzzle together here, everybody, and maybe, just maybe, he didn’t get rid of a guy who lied to the vice president, who got paid by the Russians, who went on Russia Today, because there are other people in his administration who met secretly with the Russians and didn’t reveal it until later, until they were caught,” Franken posited during the Senate Judiciary Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee’s hearing on Monday.
“That may be why it took him 18 days — until it became public — to get rid of Mike Flynn, who was a danger to this republic.”

“Care to comment?” Franken asked Yates.

“I don’t think I’m going to touch that, senator,” she replied.

I’m betting it’s not the first time Franken heard a woman tell him that.

Still, as conspiracy plotlines go, it’s pretty thin gruel.  Occam’s razor tells us that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one–or, in terms of government speak, one should never attribute to malfeasance what can be easily explained by incompetence.  The media, after all, were quite fond of reporting the utter chaos that was supposedly going on inside the White House during those first few weeks.  Is it really so inconceivable that the whole Flynn thing just slipped through the cracks?  Or that maybe the president knew about Flynn but didn’t consider it that big of a deal until it leaked to the media?  Apparently, these possibilities have never occurred to Al Franken.  He seems to think it’s more likely that the entire administration is being run by Russian agents.

To which Charles Krauthammer, who holds Donald Trump in about the same regard as I hold Miley Cyrus, could only say, “Who gave him the tinfoil hat?”

Minnesota must be very proud.

Gorsuch Doesn’t Have To Answer Their Questions

The biggest hit Democrats have against Judge Neil Gorsuch is that he’s good at not answering questions they want him to answer. That’s it, they’ve got nothing else, other than fringe lunatic material and fabrications. But they want to pretend they can trap him.

Sen. Al Franken is a smart man. It could not have been easy to be funny in 1975, a year after Nixon resigned, when the wounded were still flowing in from Vietnam, and “funny” wasn’t really something associated with politics. Franken graduated Harvard with a degree in government, and decided instead to be funny in 1975.

Now as a senator, he’s more serious, but as liberals are wont to do, he conflates allegiances. In the poster-child case where a truck driver was fired for doing something his employers disagreed with, Franken tried to get cute. I won’t rehash the detals here (as others have done that), but Slate’s take is that judges must have an allegiance to victims over the law.

Here’s Franken’s criticism of Gorsuch:

It is absurd to say this company is in its rights to fire him because he made the choice of possibly dying from freezing to death, or causing other people to die possibly by driving an unsafe vehicle. That’s absurd. Now I had a career in identifying absurdity. And I know it when I see it. And it makes me—you know, it makes me question your judgment.

Gorsuch has one allegiance: to the law. That’s what Supreme Court justices do. It’s what appellate court judges do. Facts and arguments are hashed out in trial courts. But liberals think that judges should always make the “right” decision, and therefore are beholden to ideological lines of questioning.

Slate’s Susan Matthews added, somewhat sanctimoniously, “Franken bypasses the academic discussion of how Gorsuch read the law and instead makes a much more effective point—that Gorsuch’s ruling in this case reveals something about his heart.”

Gorsuch’s rulings reveal little about his heart or his moral judgment. Nor should they. They reveal his approach to the law, and how he holds those who write the laws accountable for what they’ve written. This includes, to a very large degree, holding lawmakers and judges accountable to what the founders wrote in the Constitution–we call that “originalism.”

Liberals don’t want an “originalist” unless that judge also gets to decide what the founders “meant” and what was their “in their hearts.” Bad laws are passed by legislators all the time. It’s not a judge’s responsibility to overturn them simply because they were poorly conceived. It’s a judge’s job to ensure they are applied fairly.

What liberals call being evasive, Gorsuch holds as being true to the job description of a judge. Some legal precedents deserve to be overturned. Some should be upheld. Asking Gorsuch which ones he believes should fall into either category is asking him to prejudge cases that could potentially appear before him.

Sorry to disappoint liberals writing things like “His mask is starting to slip,” and Democrats “might even trick him into answering a real question.”

Gorsuch knows where his allegiance lies, and he’s not going to fall for stupid grandstanding or trickery.

Stealing Minnesota: Al Franken’s Mixed Up Made Up Facts Du Jour

As you know, the Franken campaign is trying to convince everyone that 133 ballots are missing (though it appears Minneapolis gave up looking for them today) . That is why Franken wanted a church searched and janitors, election workers, and others interrogated by the authorities. Unfortunately, no one seems to be pointing out a couple of rather obvious alternative explanations for 133 ballots not being able to be found:

1. Cindy Reichert, the Minneapolis Elections Director, originally offered the explanation that write-in votes were mistakenly counted twice. She has since walked back that explanation a bit, but it’s still a real possibility. Also note this: “In other developments, Minnesota’s second-largest county is refusing a state directive to sort rejected absentee ballots into five piles, a move that set the stage for possibly counting mistakenly rejected absentee votes.” In other words, the votes could easily have been counted twice.

2. It seems that a lot of students in the relevant area registered on the same day, signed in, and got in line—but the lines were very long. According to people I spoke to up there, it took several hours to vote because the lines were so long. It’s entirely possible that some of the students might have left to go to class, make it to an appointment of some sort, or frankly, just gotten bored and decided they couldn’t be bothered to actually vote… but they would have most likely been signed in.

The Franken campaign is desperate to change the narrative. Keep in mind that his campaign claims he was ahead in the counting, though no media organization, the elections boards, nor any other group agrees. Now he wants to cast doubt on the election by claiming 133 votes mysteriously were stolen from him — never mind that the people doing the stealing would have been Democratic elections officials.

At some point the media is going to have to stop just passing on the Franken line as fact and point out that Franken’s facts exist in some reality other than the current one the rest of us live in.

Stealing Minnesota: If at first you don’t succeed, change the rules

What is it about guys named Al trying to change election rules ***after*** the election is over?


Franekn has filed suit with a favorable judge in a favorable county demanding the right to dig through rejected absentee ballots. It’s against the rules, mind you, so Franken is demanding the rules be changed.

Opening up the rejected-ballot question is also a recipe for potential fraud. When the Franken campaign filed its initial lawsuit demanding access to the voter lists, it used as an example an 84-year-old woman in Beltrami County whose vote was supposedly rejected because she’d had a stroke, and therefore her signature on her absentee ballot did not match the one on file. After some outside investigation, the Franken campaign admitted that the story was not true, and that her ballot had been rejected for entirely different (and legitimate) reasons.

In other words, Franken is lying to sow doubt about the election. Stealing it during the canvassing process didn’t work. Now he has to change the rules.

Of course, even the media in Minnesota is getting tired of his antics.

Franken needs to trust the secretary of state and the 87 county auditors to do their jobs and do them well. The system in place is open and transparent. A lawsuit at this point is like trying to change the rules of a football game during the overtime period. Let’s play by the rules of the existing recount lawbook.

Stealing Minnesota: Best Efforts

The Franken camp is working over time to steal Minnesota now. With them worried they won’t catch up, Roll Call reports the Franken camp wants a delay.

With the State Canvassing Board set to certify the results in Minnesota’s unresolved Senate race Tuesday, the campaign of comedian Al Franken (D) has asked the board not to officially call the race until the votes of several voters who cast absentee ballots are included in the final count.

The Franken campaign filed a brief with the five-person board Monday, demanding that every vote be counted.

“We would ask them to not certify the vote count,” Marc Elias, a Democratic election lawyer working for Franken, said in a news conference Monday.

Notice they aren’t asking to count every legal vote, but every vote. This is important because some people who voted straight Democrat still couldn’t bring themselves to vote for an ass like Franken. Nonetheless, Franken wants the person to be deemed a Franken voter because the person voted for every other Democrat.

Having spent years surrounded by fawning admirers paid to worship him, Franken just can’t handle the real world where everybody knows his name and hates him.