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ISSUE 120 VOL 13 PUBLISHED 3/2/2007

Franken admits run

By Lindsey Myers
Staff Writer

Friday, March 2, 2007

For those of you who haven’t heard, Al Franken (author, satirist, Air America Radio host and speaker at St. Olaf last year) recently announced that he would challenge Sen. Norm Coleman in 2008 for his U.S. Senate seat. Some conservatives have voiced concern over his qualifications for the position, insisting that someone who has spent a lifetime as a comedian will not be equipped to take the “real issues” as seriously as is necessary.

Normally I’m the first to heed warnings about poorly-qualified candidates, but let’s face it: Unless “real issues” is code for greed, oil-lust and designing international policies that four-year-olds find illogical, I’m pretty sure the conservatives have long since taken the wind out of their own sails.

Admittedly, entertainers do not have the best track records as politicians. Arnold Schwarzescrewup, Jesse Ventura and Ronald Reagan have certainly set a precedent of mediocrity, and we can only imagine the horrors that would await Americans if they elected Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan to office (can anyone say legalized medicinal cocaine?). But Al Franken has a few things on his side that other entertainers-turned-politicians did not: integrity, intelligence and, oh yeah, progressive leanings.

If you are one of the five people on this campus who thinks that Al Franken knows too little about politics and even less about running them, don’t you worry. I’ve put together a nice, succinct, third-grade reading level list of reasons why Al Franken is more than qualified for the job:

Reason one: As a screenwriter, published author and radio show host, odds are that Al Franken knows how to write his own speeches and how to deliver them well. The only way he could possibly be accused of not knowing how to speak English well would be if a confused audience member mistakes his apt impersonation of President George Bush for reality.

Reason two: Al Franken graduated cum laude from Harvard in 1973. Since his family was neither extremely wealthy nor famous, it’s pretty likely he got into and stayed at Harvard on his own merit. He majored in government, which I’ve heard is pretty close to politics.

Reason three: Anyone who’s ever done comedy knows that you need to truly familiarize yourself with the subject matter you are mocking in order to make it an effective jest. Since Al Franken’s main emphasis has been on political satire, he has spent years developing an acute sense of what’s relevant, current and significant. And, since Al Franken is popular within the realm of comedy and theatre, bleeding-heart actors and actresses in Minnesota won’t feel the need to use public venues to vent their political frustrations.

Reason four: Al Franken has been with his wife since they met their first year at college. If he didn’t screw things up during his undergrad years (which I think we can all agree are chock-full of temptations and pitfalls) odds are he’s not going to fall prey to any sex scandals while in office.

Reason five: Al Franken is not Norm Coleman.

If you need more convincing, visit and watch his video. He’s approachable, he’s intelligent and again, he’s not Norm Coleman. Bravo to Al Franken for announcing his candidacy, and bravo to Minnesota voters who are already allying themselves around his race.

Staff Writer Lindsey Myers is a junior from Appleton, Wis. She majors in English, in history and in political science.

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