Senator Frankenstein Goes to Washington
By Jerome Grossman
Minnesota finally has a new senator. Al Franken, a professional comedian running for office for the first time, overcame Norm Coleman, a professional politician
Franken has a national reputation in show business. In his unique comedy style he covered the 1992 presidential conventions on Comedy Central TV and has delivered his blend of humor, disrespect and analysis at many universities and corporations. He is never at a loss for words, comments, insults and jokes. Franken keeps the listeners awake.
Liberal Democrat Al Franken's best friend and his partner in show business is Ben Stein, a political mirror image, a hard-line conservative. Stein is an actor who was also a speechwriter for President Richard Nixon, and believe it or not, writes a column for the New York Times business section most Sundays.
In their performances, the pair is presented as Stein/Franken, because, as Al jokes, Stein is older and thus gets first billing. However, some critics say that a more descriptive name would be Franken/Stein as depicted in the original book and movie about a horrible creature composed of body parts taken from the dead and assembled by a scientist. Preparation for the Senate?
Of course, Ben Stein will not be a partner in the Senate, but the grimly humorless Republicans may choose to play with the Franken/Stein name of horror, making mistakes on purpose.
“Will Senator Frankenstein yield?”
Will the new Senator use his formidable nickname to intimidate his political opponents? Or at least get Senator Lieberman to behave? If Senator Al begins to strut around the Senate floor in imitation of the strung-together monster, will he be censured for disrespect? Or will the Republicans bring Vice President Cheney to shoot this caricature of a manufactured Senator? In any case, there will be no love interest in this movie as the Republicans try to get Franken to clown while he will be determined to be the most serious senator on the floor. A new day may be dawning in the U.S. Senate, a day with performances interrupting the tedium. And where is Senator Groucho Marx now that we need him?