What Fresh Hell Is This?

November 19, 2017

Hey, I Have An Al Franken Story, Too!

Let's start with what this story is not:
  • It's not about sexual harassment.
  • It's not that important.
But it's mine so here it is anyway.

Sometime before October 2006, I got an freebie from the Jason Altmire campaign to attend a fundraiser (described here) taking place at an amazing loft apartment in the Strip.

The place was packed and sweaty when I got there, armed with a short stack 2PJ business cards ready to network the blog. I think I was on time. Perhaps I was a little late. I really can't remember that detail. Eventually, the place got so crowded it was very difficult to hear clearly anything more than the conversation right in front of you or to even make it over to the kitchen area for the tasty catered nibblies. I remember hanging out with Doug Shields for a little while. I noticed that he was wearing a pair of jeans so new he'd hadn't yet taken off that tape strip that runs down the side and tells you what size the pants are. And I remember meeting Yarone Zober - who angry joked an accusation that we'd outed him on 2PJ. That was a surprise as it's not something we'd ever do here. But just to be sure I checked and no, we hadn't.

Mayor Ravenstahl was there as well - very carefully watched over by his stern-faced, obviously well-armed body-guard.

Then Al Franken arrived. After milling around for a while he addressed the crowd saying among some other things (and I am paraphrasing) that since the Republican Party had moved so far to the right the Democratic Party had become an even bigger "big tent" party. It was now the liberal party AND the conservative party. Remember, this was only 2006. Think of how much farther rightward they went!

Eventually, I got up the courage to introduce myself and to hand him a 2PJ card (that was the goal of the evening - to get a 2PJ card into Al Franken's Harvard-educated hands). I went over to do the usual fan-boy stuff; shake hands, say I'm a big fan and it's great to meet you, etc. That part went off without a hitch. He was shorter than I expected and I noticed, when handing him the card, that his fingernails were bitten short. I gave him the card telling him that his book, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" was an inspiration for the blog.

"Oh, I know this blog," he said looking down at the card.

My mood suddenly soared. Al Franken has actually read 2 Political Junkies???

"Really?" I asked, beaming.

"No, I'm just kidding." He answered dryly, taking the card and putting it into his pocket.

My mood suddenly soured. Why do that to someone you don't know, someone who just told you he was a fan?

As I wrote at the very tippy top of this blog post, this has nothing to do with sexual harassment. In the grand scheme of things - and let's be honest, in comparison to Franken's harassment story - it's not really that important at all.

But it's my Al Franken story and regardless of anything else, it shows that he could be a real dick.


1 comment:

Ed Heath said...

Yeah, I want to say, for the fifteenth or fiftieth time, I think Al Franken turned it around when he actually ran for Senate. I think he turned himself into a better person. I don't know what value his "dick" persona was to him before that, and it is kind of weird to say he could have been a nice guy all along if he had cared to put in the effort. I don't even know how to look at judging the present day Al Franken, who was, in is first six years in the Senate aggressively unfunny and serious, but by all public accounts also a very decent and caring man compared to the pre 2008 Al Franken, whose history is peppered with incidents like the one you experienced. My feelings these days is that Franken has called for an investigation, so let that play out. If, at the end of the investigation he isn't expelled and he decides to stay in the Senate, then let Minnesota decide his fate in 2020 if he runs again. Personally if I were him I would use his remaining time in the Senate to propose or sign on to proposals for single payer, for free tuition at state schools, for some kind of raise of the minimum wage (if he wanted to lure Republicans on board, a lower rise, or a higher one to endear himself to progressives). It might all be for naught, but going out fighting the good fight seems better to me.