I enjoy the televisions on domestic flights with WestJet and Air Canada. I really do. I used to fly a lot more than I do now. When I was working on Parliament Hill, I was on a plane at least a few times every month, usually for about 5 hours each ride. Nowadays, I’m only one a plane a few times a year. And I really do enjoy the option of watching a movie or sporting event on domestic flights. But I really used to love plane rides because of the serenity. I’d get the window seat, put in my headphones, turn on some music and just relax with a book for a few hours of uninterrupted reading. Now, I still bring the iPod and the book, but I’m less likely to use them, at least for the entire flight.
Since moving out to the West Coast, I have begun taking regional flight more often. The smaller, regional carriers don’t have television in the seatbacks, fortunately. And so, a few months back, I was relaxing on a West Coast Air flight from Vancouver and pulled out the copy of The Atlantic Monthly that had conveniently arrived in my mailbox that morning. For those of you that have never read the magazine, I strongly encourage you to give it a try. It’s my favorite (though, as Wells often laments with all American magazines, the delay between publishing and receiving it in my mailbox is uncomfortably long.
Anyway, Radwanski highlighted an old article the other day in his post, The Anti-Obama, from that particular issue penned by Joshua Green. I remember this because of how much I had enjoyed the article. Radwanski picks out some of the highlights of the old Franken that were mentioned in the article – lunging at a protestor at a Dean rally, a rather undignified incident with Bill O’Reilly – as reason to believe that Franken’s being elected to the Senate could prove a greater boon to the Republicans than the Democrats.
I, for one, couldn’t disagree more strongly. The point that I believe was so clearly made in Green’s piece was that the Al Franken that Minnesotans saw on the campaign trail was a very different Franken than the one Americans were accustomed to seeing on Saturday night Live or the left wing provocationalist of Air America Radio.
In my estimation, Franken seems completely aware of the weight of his baggage. The same righteous indignation that gave him the profile that allowed him to take the nomination was a thousand-pound weight around his ankles from day one of the general campaign. Republicans came after him ferociously with every inappropriate joke and comment he had ever uttered (as they ought to have done). His election to the Senate was – in many ways – in spite of his previous success and notoriety, not because of it.
Read the article for yourself. And watch the video pieces done to accompany it on the Atlantic website. Make up your own minds. But I expect Franken to much more closely resemble his friend, Paul Wellstone, who held the seat until his death in a plane crash only days before the 2002 mid-term elections.
I believe that Franken will be a no-nonsense, DFL-style Democrat. I expect him to work with farm-belt Republicans. And by contrast with Radwanski’s post, I am confident that he will fit well into Obama’s plans.
Filed under: Damn Yankees, al franken