Bozell & Graham Column: Al Franken Is 'Sick,' All Right

Al Franken has a new book out humbly titled Al Franken, Giant of the Senate. On that same level of attempted humor, his author’s biography states he received “his doctorate in right-wing megalomania studies from Trump University.” Stay classy, Sen. Franken.

Sycophantic press profiles of Franken express admiration for the “former comedian” as if the satire stopped. Just two months ago, The Washington Post gushed that in the Age of Trump, “the former comedian and satirist may be having a breakout moment as a political star....The Minnesota senator spent the last eight years proving that he’s good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like him.”

The Democrats who support The Washington Post swoon at Franken’s feet, but if you’re conservative, you can see he’s a serious jerk. On May 25, the Post puffed Franken again in the Style section’s gossip column, under the headline “Al Franken is back to writing jokes with this sick burn on Ted Cruz.” 

So what was this “sick burn,” this masterful insult? He wrote about how before the Gridiron comedy dinner in Washington, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn) asked Ted Cruz to hear her Cruz-bashing joke. Her joke played off the 2013 Carnival “poop cruise” story about the disabled ship with sewage seeping  into the halls. Klobuchar joked: “When most people think of a difficult cruise, they think of Carnival. But we Democrats in the Senate think of Ted.” Franken burst in on this conversation with his own rewrite: “When most people think of a cruise that’s full of s—, they think of Carnival. But we think of Ted.” Cruz didn’t smile.

The Post wrote: “Now that’s a burn.” This is the same newspaper that cartooned Cruz’s young children as organ-grinder monkeys, so we guess the Post can relate to Franken.         

Franken devotes a whole chapter of his Giant book to running down Cruz, who told Politico “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. I wish him all the best."

By contrast, Franken said he considered Cruz "singularly dishonest and smarmy” in a new  interview with USA Today reporter Susan Page. “You have to understand that I like Ted Cruz probably more than my colleagues like Ted Cruz. And I hate Ted Cruz,” said the gentleman from Minnesota.  

Why be Franken’s friend? Page related that Franken became pals with Sen. Jeff Sessions and their wives became friends. But when Sessions was nominated as attorney general, Franken told Page, “When my job meant doing everything in my power to deny my friend this important position, I was relieved there was so much to demonize him for.”  

Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions are demonized by the “objective” national press for pressing their constitutional conservative agenda. But Franken can be as vicious as he wants and supplicants like Page write sentences like this: “His relish for debate and his full-throated liberalism is a good fit with the rising anti-Trump energy among Democrats on the left.” 

This is why conservatives roll their eyes when liberal journalists lecture about the need for civility. They adore Franken’s bilious nastiness as “full-throated liberalism,” but freak out when someone uses Barack Obama’s middle name. Their judgment of civility is as well-honed as their judgment of “news.” It’s all about whose ox is being gored. 

USA Today Washington Post Susan Page Al Franken Ted Cruz
Brent Bozell's picture


Tim Graham's picture