Al Franken has become the voice of the progressive left in the Senate. Yup, Stuart Smiley himself.
Franken this week led the Democrat charge against the Obama Administration. Sen. Al Franken ripped into White House senior adviser David Axelrod this week during a tense, closed-door session with Senate Democrats. Sources said Franken was the most outspoken senator in the meeting, which followed President Barack Obama’s question-and-answer session with Senate Democrats at the Newseum on Wednesday. But they also said the Minnesotan wasn’t the only angry Democrat in the room, although he certainly seems to be the leader.
A Democratic source said that Franken directed his criticism solely at Axelrod. “It was all about leadership and health care and what the plan was going to be,” the source said.
Why all the anger? Simple. Franken’s importance in national left wing politics took a major hit with the swearing in of the 41st Republican Senator, Scott Brown. Franken came in as the all-too-valuable 60th vote, and as such, was integral to the Obama legislative push last year. Now…Franken is just another member of the less-than-super majority.
Now, the irony is that Obama nor David Axelrod care all that much. Without 60 votes…Franken becomes another irrelevant senatorial voice.
Of course, Franken is a hot head by nature. Last November, after Tennessee Republican Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander authored an op-ed in a local paper defending their opposition to a Franken amendment, Franken confronted both men on the floor — and grew particularly irritated with Corker. He lashed out at Corker and a staff member in a follow-up meeting about the matter, several people said. Franken also clashed with South Dakota Sen. John Thune, No. 4 in GOP leadership, last month in a scathing speech during the health care debate, and staffers have reported other run-ins.
From left wing blogs, this has served Franken well. In a recent poll, he was among the favorite liberal politicians among the political left. He is growing his financial war chest that will serve him well in 6 years.
So as the voice of progressives, we have a former comedian who doesn’t know how the Senate works, who has little interest in real policy, and is quick to blame everyone but himself for the reality of the political landscape.
What a perfect leader for the progressive movement.