Is Franken Too Vulgar for Politics?

Pundit thinks funnyman-turned-politician's 'satire' reinforces system's failures
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2008 6:51 AM CDT
Comedian Al Franken smiles during his radio show in Washington, in this file photo from Feb. 10, 2005.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Al Franken was cracking tasteless jokes for decades before entering politics, but it may be his opponent in the Minnesota Senate race who'll be accused of coarsening debate if he dares to brings them up, Michael Gerson writes in the Washington Post. Franken calls his work "provocative, touching, and funny" satire—but Gerson doesn't think it's worthy of the name.

By calling people like  Karl Rove "human filth" instead of merely disagreeing with them, Franken is pushing society further away from civility, and hurting the mutual respect a democracy needs, writes the former Bush speech writer. "Rather than lampooning the emptiness and viciousness of our political discourse, Franken has powerfully reinforced those failures," Gerson argues.