The Real Joke May Be on Minn. Voters

If they don't learn to laugh, they'll reelect the inoffensive hack
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2008 11:03 AM CDT
Al Franken and Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer enjoy a laugh during a question and answer session, June 7, 2008 at the state Democratic convention in Rochester, Minn.   (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
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(Newser) – Voters always say they’d rather support “real people” than “professional politicians.” But Al Franken is having trouble in Minnesota precisely because he hasn’t spent his life reading a political script, Michael Kinsley writes in the Washington Post. Instead, he told jokes for a living—jokes his opponents are now trying to transform into political gaffes, and it seems to be working.

Jokes almost always offend someone, making them far too dangerous for typical politicians. Politicians, that is, like Norm Coleman, Franken’s incumbent opponent. Coleman “is a man of no interest,” writes Kinsley, “a standard-issue pro-war tax-cut Republican.” If voters choose him because they can’t laugh off a couple jokes, then they had better stop complaining about professional pols, which is what they deserve.