From The Hill:
Al Franken, the Democrat from Minnesota who won election to the Senate after a successful career as a comic and author, has begun to show the sharp-tongued side of his personality by ripping into GOP staffers behind the scenes.
Franken has worked diligently to keep a low public profile in Congress while focusing on wonky policy debates. But he has been unable to completely repress the fiery passion that made him a hero of the Democratic Party’s liberal base.
Franken has teamed up with GOP colleagues to introduce a variety of legislation, something that may surprise fans who read his books, such as Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.
But he has also pummeled Republican senators and their aides, showing a glimpse of the pugilistic style of his best-seller, Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations.
Franken has surprised some of his colleagues behind the scenes by getting into heated tangles with GOP staffers.
One such exchange took place in Franken’s office during a recent meeting with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and his aides.
Franken invited Corker to his office to discuss an op-ed that Corker penned in a Tennessee newspaper opposing an amendment Franken offered to a defense bill. The measure gave the employees of defense contractors who suffer rape or sexual assault at the workplace the right to sue in court.
The meeting quickly deteriorated when Franken began berating one of Corker’s aides, according to GOP aides familiar with the incident. Franken’s sally was so harsh that Corker told Franken to lay off his aide and direct the comments at him instead.
Franken’s tough approach came as a surprise because Corker scheduled the meeting to mend fences after Franken confronted him about the op-ed during an angry exchange on the Senate floor.
Another GOP staffer, an aide to a Senate Republican leader, found herself at the sharp end of Franken’s wit at a recent reception in the Senate’s Mansfield Room. The tongue-lashing took place at an event to celebrate the swearing-in of GOP Sen. George LeMieux (Fla.).
After the conversation began ordinarily, Franken started to grill the aide about what he sees as the failings of the GOP. Franken demanded to know why it had become the "Party of No" and had exaggerated facts in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, according to another GOP leadership aide.
A spokeswoman for Franken declined to comment on either exchange.
There were two schools of thought about how Franken would conduct himself should he win election to the Senate. One was that he would continue to act the brainless ultra-left bomb throwing buffoon. The other was that he would be so desperate to prove himself a serious politician that he would control his tongue and avoid the spotlight. Instead seeking to build a solid record as a legislator.
It seems that both views were correct.
Franken is trying but at the end of the day we are what we are.
A snake is a snake, a spider is a spider, a scorpion is a scorpion and Al Franken is Al Franken.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
From The Hill: