In Defense of Al Franken

Politics is a humorless practice, but that may change ever so slightly if Al Franken wins his Senate race in Minnesota. Jonathan Chait musters a rousing endorsement of Franken for Slate. Franken’s comedy has disqualified him in the eyes of many as a serious candidate for office. But, Chait writes, Franken is a satirist, and “satire is a form of political commentary.” After rereading Franken’s book, Chait decides that Frank is “smarter than he is funny”—smarter, in fact, “than most members of Congress or national political reporters I’ve met”—and that he’s a political moderate who suffers from a misperception that “conflates blunt opposition to the Republican right with left-wing beliefs.” Franken is so smart, Chait concludes, that, should he win, “I can’t imagine he’ll find politics anything but a crushing disappointment.