Could Stephen Colbert Join Al Franken To Form A Senate Comic Caucus?

Stephen Colbert - Al FrankenPublic Policy Polling has just released a new survey of South Carolina residents on who they would prefer as the replacement for Sen. Jim DeMint, who is leaving the senate to head the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Among those included in the speculation are long-time state pols like former governor Mark Sanford, his ex-wife Jenny Sanford, congressmen Tim Scott, Joe Wilson, and Trey Gowdy, and GOP official Henry McMaster. All of these folks would be conventional picks for Governor Nikki Haley, whose responsibility it is to appoint DeMint’s successor.

But leading the pack is Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, a South Carolina native and former candidate for President of the United States of South Carolina. According to PPP…

“Colbert tops the wish list of who South Carolina voters would like to see join that body at 20%, followed by Tim Scott at 15%, Trey Gowdy at 14%, Jenny Sanford at 11%, Henry McMaster and Mark Sanford at 8%, Jeff Duncan and Joe Wilson at 5%, and Mick Mulvaney at 4%.”

This could send shock waves through the political world. Colbert has a hefty campaign war chest via his Super PAC that has nearly a million dollars left over from the presidential campaign. He has a devoted following that is nationwide in scope, and a platform for expressing his views on his television show, which gets a bigger audience than Fox News. He has testified before congress on labor issues. He delivered an epic speech before the White House Correspondents He has won two Peabody Awards. However, he also has powerful enemies. Nancy Pelosi launched the Stop Colbert campaign earlier this year:

Yet to be heard from is Minnesota senator Al Franken. The two have a common background and could form a coalition in the senate to advance legislation favorable to political satirists. A “Comic Caucus” in Washington could be a significant counterweight to the other congregation of politi-clowns, the Tea Party.

Neither Colbert nor Gov. Haley have given any indication of their intentions. For Colbert the decision has to include consideration of the fact that a seat in the senate would be a demotion for him. He has far more influence where he is now, although he could earn more money taking kickbacks from lobbyists who would eventually provide him with a multimillion dollar job when he tires of the senate, just as Sen. DeMint has done.

Jubilant Crowds Rejoice As Murdoch Steps Down

News Corporation Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch has resigned and left New York City for his resort in Montauk ending his fifty year reign as a media monarch.


The era of Murdoch has officially ended and citizens the world over are celebrating. There has been no word yet as to the whereabouts of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, but reports indicate that the news enterprise is being handed over to leaders within the Public Broadcasting System.

The announcement, delivered during Fox & Friends, set off a frenzy of celebration, with protesters shouting “America is free! No more lies! No more lies!”

PBS issued a communique pledging to carry out a variety of media reforms in a statement notable for its commitment to diversity, independence, and free speech. PBS’s statement alluded to the delegation of power to local broadcasters and it suggested that NPR would supervise implementation of the reforms.

Responding to the rapidly unfolding events, the White House released a statement saying that they are monitoring the situation closely and the President will speak directly to the issue very soon. The spokesman added that, “We are hopeful for a positive outcome and we congratulate the American people for their stunning and well-deserved victory.”

A thrilled Keith Olbermann said, “The American people have won. But it is now up to us to insure that journalistic ethics are restored and maintained.” Senator Al Franken, a former comedian and radio broadcaster, stopped to comment on his way to an emergency White House briefing and told reporters, “Ha ha ha ha ha. Oh God. Ha ha.”

Glenn Beck was reached at his gold-brick bunker in South Dakota surrounded by an armory and barrels of non-fluoridated water. But when asked for a comment he shouted from a crack in the door. “Marxists. Oh Mommy, Marxists. The Archduke Ferdinand Caliphate has begun. I won’t talk to the Jew media. Leave my property and take George Soros with you.” He then commenced firing genetically modified corn seeds at the press causing numerous tiny bruises, but no serious injuries.

The State Department was in disarray as news reports continued to update the situation. As diplomats scurried from ….. Oh wait a minute. There is new information coming in over the wire right now. What’s that? What is…..It wasn’t Murdoch, it was Mubarak?

Umm…..Never mind.

Why Is Andrew Breitbart Against Mothers And Keeping Kids Safe?

Once again, Andrew Breitbart has dispatched his henchman, Jason Mattera, to annoy a member of congress. This time it’s Sen. Al Franken and, just as happened when he ambushed Rep. Alan Grayson with a false assertion that the health care bill provided funds for child molesters, Mattera is made to look the fool.

In this episode of Mattera’s Morons, Jason stalks Sen. Franken to ask about an alleged provision in the health care bill that allocates $7 billion for jungle gyms. The only problem for Mattera is that nothing of the sort is in the bill. Franken is acutely aware of this and engages Mattera in this exchange:

Franken: You came up to me and said “You know the part of the bill where they give $7 billion dollars to fund the jungle gyms?” And I said “Show me that.” It doesn’t say that in the bill.
Mattera: Oh, it says infrastructure for healthy living in playgrounds for schools. What is that an army of monkey bars?

Sorry Jason. The bill doesn’t say anything about playgrounds or jungle gyms or monkey bars. And when you approach someone who is much more knowledgeable than yourself about legislation, you ought not try to lie about what’s in the bill. What the bill says is that funds in this section can be used for…

(i) creating healthier school environments, including increasing healthy food options, physical activity opportunities, promotion of healthy lifestyle, emotional wellness, and prevention curricula, and activities to prevent chronic diseases;
(ii) creating the infrastructure to support active living and access to nutritious foods in a safe environment;

So now we see that Breitbart and his ward are just as opposed to safe schools and nutritious foods as they are to preventing child abuse. But I have to admire his tenacity. After making an ass of himself over the non-existent jungle gyms, Mattera plowed ahead with a complaint about language in the bill that provides new mothers with reasonable breaks for breast feeding. I thought Republicans were supposed to be the “family values” party. Not that they ever actually supported family values, but they have long sought to pretend that they did. But here the truth is revealed as Mattera berates Franken for supporting a bill that permits new mothers to care for their infant children.

I wonder… Would Mattera prefer it if the woman had an abortion so that she wouldn’t have to miss any work time? Should she quit her job and reduce her income and her family’s ability to provide for themselves? Maybe she should just leave the kid at home and let it fend for itself in a Randian adventure of survival. Mattera’s idiocy is illustrative of something we’ve known all along: Conservatives care very deeply about fetuses but once you leave the womb they don’t give a flying frak.

This hysterical video was, once again, featured on Breitbart’s BigGovernment web site as well as the Fox Nation. And it still amazes me that Mattera thinks he comes off looking good in it. He clearly has a perverse sense of pride. Also Jason, it only makes you look like more of an immature jerk when call Franken “Senator Smalley.” It just drives home how obvious it is that you are NOT good enough, NOT smart enough, and, doggone it, no one likes you.

[Update, 3/31/2010:] Had this been announced a day later, I would have been certain that it was an April fools joke, but no…..Jason Mattera has actually been named editor-in-chief of the uber-conservative Human Events Magazine. Human Events sees some potential in this 26 year old moron whose chief quality appears to be making himself look like an idiot. Now he will oversee the magazine as well as their Internet properties like RedState, home of the new CNN contributor, Erick Erickson.

Al Franken, Sonia Sotomayor, and Perry Mason

In today’s Senate hearings on the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, Sen. Al Franken sparked a mystery that has consumed Washington and beyond. Both Sotomayor and Franken were fans of the 1960’s version of Law and Order, “The Perry Mason Show.” Throughout its run, Mason, a defense attorney, had lost only a single case.

Well, after extensive and costly research, I can now reveal what that case was:

The Case of the Deadly Verdict
Janice Barton is found guilty of the murder of her wealthy relative and sentenced to death. Can Perry find the evidence to clear her of the crime before the pellets in the gas chamber fall?

Interestingly, one of the guest stars on the program was an actor named Steve Franken, who may be better known as Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. III from the “The Dobie Gillis Show.” Also on Dobie was Bob Denver (later Gilligan) and Sheila Kuehl (presently a former California State Senator). So you figure out your own “6 degrees” stories.

SNL Faceoff: Victoria Jackson vs. Al Franken

Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood is providing us with an intimate look into what has become of a couple of former Saturday Night Live cast members and how their paths have diverged.

First we have Al Franken who holds a degree from Harvard in political science. And while he ended up pursuing a career in comedy, he often featured political content in his work, hosted a radio show on Air America, and authored several books. In short, he was never too far from his academic focus or from the public debate over important issues that faced our nation.

Then there is Victoria Jackson. Jackson is a graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic University, a faith-based institution, where she received a degree in theater. She achieved star status by reciting poetry while doing handstands and portraying an array of ditzy blonds.

Franken went on to become a United States senator. Jackson went on to appearances on Pat Robertson’s 700 Club and a reality TV show for overweight celebrities (Celebrity Fit Club).

Now we can see an example of Jackson’s unique insight into public affairs and political discourse in an article written for Breitbart’s Big Hollywood. Amongst her revelations are accusations that “Obama legally kills babies and now he can legally kill Grandmas!” She continues…

“Hitler did this. He killed the weak, the sick, the old, and babies and races/religions he didn’t like. Hitler also controlled the media. (Where’s the public debate between scientists on ‘Climate Change/Global Warming?’) Hitler had the VW bug invented as the state car. What will O’s nationalized car be? So… kill off the weak. That’s the plan. Tax the workers to death. Erase the middle class. Sounds like the evil governments we studied in high school long ago. The evil governments were : kings, oligarchies, facist, socialist, and communist. Now it’s called the Obama Administration. Sounds like candy or a rock band.”

Jackson is just another in the lengthening list of Tea Baggers who compare Obama to Hitler. But she does so in a distinctly demented tone that disparages Volkswagons, puts climate change deniers on equal footing with peer-reviewed scientists, and seems to think that the Democrats’ proposals to rollback tax cuts for the rich is somehow going to harm workers and the middle class.

To top it off, Jackson relates a tale wherein she harangues the proprietor of gift shop in Burbank with her paranoid delusions. She is surprised that the store’s owner and employees are less than anxious to jump on to her crazy train. After failing repeatedly to get a rise out these poor folks, she writes that she drove away thinking “Ignorance is Bliss.”

She oughta know.

A Sad Day For Bill O’Reilly – Courtesy Of Senator Franken

O’Reilly: “In a sad day for America, Al Franken is now a U.S. Senator.”
It’s not sad for the majority of Minnesotans who voted for him, and the millions of Americans who believe in Democracy.

O’Reilly: “Franken is a blatantly dishonest individual, a far-left zealot, who is not qualified to hold any office.
Except that of U.S. Senator, as determined by the voters. O’Reilly is a blatantly dishonest, far-right zealot, who is upset that he can’t pick all the senators himself.

O’Reilly: “A man who trafficked in hate on his failed Air America radio program.”
I wonder if O’Reilly could inject any more hatred into his allegation that Franken traffics in hate?

O’Reilly: “With people like Franken on the hill, this country is in deep trouble.”
Translation: With people like Franken on the hill, O’Reilly is in deep trouble.

O’Reilly saved this little tirade for the last 15 minutes of his show. Glenn Beck never mentioned Franken at all. And he didn’t mention Palin either. Carl Cameron, earlier in the day reported that Franken used to have a program on the “disfunct (sic), bankrupt Air America.” Of course Air America is neither disfunct nor even defunct. It just had its fifth birthday. I wonder if Cameron ever bothered to report that Fox News lost money every year for at least its first five years.

Al Franken Wins Senate – Fox Nation Throws Tantrum

The Minnesota Supreme Court finally handed down its ruling today that Al Franken was the winner in last November’s senate election. The court’s decision was unanimous with all five justices ruling in Franken’s favor:

“…we affirm the decision of the trial court that Al Franken received the highest number of votes legally cast and is entitled under [state law] to receive the certificate of election as United States Senator from the State of Minnesota.”

Norm Coleman has conceded and all that’s left now is for Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty to sign the certificate and send Franken on his way to Washington. Pawlenty has been hinting that he is prepared to sign the certificate, but with Republican governors you never know until it’s done. Pawlenty might decide to go for a hike in the Appalachians.

So leave it to Fox to bring this news down to the level of a whining toddler who can’t understand why he isn’t getting his way:

The Fox Nation reacted to this breaking news by quickly posting a photo of Franken’s Stuart Smalley character from his days on Saturday Night Live – ten years ago. Fox Nation’s childish behavior is nothing new. They simply can’t bring themselves to refer to Franken by his real name (a shortcoming they share with Bill O’Reilly). Every article I was able to find on Fox Nation about Franken used Smalley in the headline.

  • 1) Obama team strikes ‘Stuart Smalley’ diplomacy.
  • 2) GOP vows WWIII over Stuart Smalley.
  • 3) Stuart Smalley closer to US senate.
  • 4) Stuart Smalley Widens Lead.
  • 5) Did Stuart Smalley Steal the Election?
  • And now: No Joke! Stuart Smalley Headed to Senate!

[Update] More Smalley references since Franken was seated:

  • 7) Minister Confronts Stuart Smalley for Christian-Bashing.
  • 8) Did ACORN Elect Stuart Smalley?.
  • 9) Stuart Smalley’s Radio Buddies Turn on Him!.
  • 10) Shirtless Stuart Smalley Video Surfaces.
  • 11) Sen. Smalley Delivers Opening Statement at Sotomayor Hearing.
  • 12) Sen. Smalley Unleashes First Bill.

I suppose that, in order for Fox Nation (and Fox News) to be successful, they have to cater to the diminished mental capacity of their audience. And after reading some of the comments posted on their site, I’d say they still have some ways down to go. Remember, this is a community that reveres ignorance, as illustrated by their adoration of Sarah Palin, and college dropout Glenn Beck. They proudly display their overt disdain for people with demonstrated intelligence, like President Obama and … well, Al Franken, who graduated cum laude from Harvard with a bachelor of arts degree in political science (and you thought he was just a comedian).

I wonder if the fair folks at Fox would have trumpeted Ronald Reagan’s election like this:

It is really too bad that Fox is so committed to acting like a spoiled crybaby. They were amongst the first to complain if someone didn’t show the proper respect to former President Bush. In fact, any demonstration of dissent was regarded as treasonous. But now they are the first to call for treason. Last week Glenn Beck expressly advocated for secession (again) and lamented that there were too few opportunities to threaten the federal government:

“The Constitution, somehow or another, has become a suicide pact, where you can’t get out of it. Once you join the Union, you can’t get out, which leaves no place for threat to the federal government. You know, once you’re in, you’re always in. That’s you know – that’s ‘Hotel California.’ No thanks.”

The real fun is going to come later when the Fox News primetime circus hits the air. It has been reported that the doctor attending to Michael Jackson has moved in with Bill O’Reilly and vans from local pharmacies have been in and out of the estate all afternoon. O’Reilly may try to feign indifference in that way he does, wherein he insists that he’s always been fair to so-and-so. But just as a reminder, here is what he’s had to say about Franken in the past:

  • “You don’t get any lower than that man, Franken.”
  • “That’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen in American politics – is this man maybe becoming a senator.”
  • “It’s personal with me. He’s lied about me. He’s slandered me.
  • “The fact that he was even competitive [...] depresses me about America.”

If you can’t get any lower than Franken, where does O’Reilly place Hitler or Bin Laden? If Franken becoming a senator is the worst thing he’s ever seen, how much higher on his list is Watergate or the Kennedy assassinations? And if he’s really depressed about America, perhaps he should find a pleasant rest home with a nice garden where he can knit and scream at the mosquitoes.

So the list of character flaws evident in the Fox mentality just keeps growing. They won’t be honest; they won’t be respectful; they won’t be faithful; they won’t be patriotic; they won’t be either fair or balanced.

Is it really too much to ask that they just grow up?

David Letterman And The Goon: Bill O’Reilly

The latest installment of the ongoing episodic series, Letterman and the Goon, aired last night, and the madcap misadventures of this odd couple didn’t fail to entertain. The program began with David Letterman revealing how the show got it’s name when he told Bill O’Reilly that…

“I’ve always thought of you as a goon”

From there it segued into an endearing scene that demonstrated the touching bond between the two men, with Letterman obviously lying as he told O’Reilly that…

“You’re too smart to believe what you say.”

That compassionate attempt to spare the feelings of O’Reilly certainly drew a few tears from viewers (or at least Glenn Beck). Everyone knows, of course, that O’Reilly isn’t that smart at all, and likely believes everything he says, no matter how dishonest. But Letterman took the high road on behalf of his friend, just as he did when O’Reilly hilariously declared himself to be a journalist:

O’Reilly: “Glenn Beck is a talk show host. Rush Limbaugh is a talk show host.”
Letterman: “What are you?”
O’Reilly: “I’m a journalist.”

And how do we know that O’Reilly is a journalist? Because he “got a degree” that he “paid a lot of money for.” Well, that settles it then.

The pair did endure a bit of drama when Letterman raised the specter of Al Franken. O’Reilly tried to dodge the issue, saying…

“I’m gonna recuse myself because I don’t like Al Franken and it’s not fair to me to go on and say bad things about him and I don’t want to do that.”

Letterman challenged that position, pointing out that O’Reilly says bad things about people he doesn’t like all the time. O’Reilly insisted that it happens “very rarely.” By very rarely, he must have meant just about every night. Not only does O’Reilly frequently bash his perceived enemies (just ask Sean Penn, Helen Thomas, Jeffrey Immelt, the Dixie Chicks, and any of the hundreds he has labeled “Pinheads”), he has been particularly hard on Franken:

  • “You don’t get any lower than that man, Franken.”
  • “That’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen in American politics – is this man maybe becoming a senator.”
  • “It’s personal with me. He’s lied about me. He’s slandered me.”
  • “The fact that he was even competitive [...] depresses me about America.”

Those are all just love notes from a man who now says that it would “not fair to me to go on and say bad things about him.” No wonder Letterman closed the episode by saying…

“I’d like to see you in about six months for a cleaning.”

Precisely. A visit with Bill O’Reilly was pretty much the same as a visit to the dentist.

Bill O’Reilly Congratulates Senator Al Franken

After a meticulous and prolonged recount, Al Franken has prevailed and will be Minnesota’s new senator. Although the defeated incumbent, Norm Coleman, is still threatening legal action to retain his seat, most observers give him little chance of succeeding. His legal arguments wouldn’t even produce enough votes to alter the outcome if he prevailed on every one.

There are, however, some determined holdouts, including the editorial page of Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal. The Journal itemized what it considers to be grievous errors on the part of the state Canvassing Board. But, while most of their complaints were unfounded, misconstrued, or outright false, it was spread throughout the rightist press by folks like Rush Limbaugh and Joe Scarborough, who characterized it as a news report rather than the opinion piece that it was.

Another Journal disciple is Fox News kingpin, Bill O’Reilly. O’Reilly referenced the Journal’s story in his talking points memo and concluded that…

“Evidence shows that MN Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is not honest enough to run a clean election.”

Of course there was no such evidence in the Journal piece or elsewhere. The attack on Ritchie’s honesty was O’Reilly’s own invention and a trademark of his brand of personal assault commentary. But, as usual, he saved his finest vitriol for Franken himself. It’s classic O’Reilly:

  • “You don’t get any lower than that man, Franken.”
    – So, Charles Manson would be a step up?
  • “That’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen in American politics – is this man maybe becoming a senator.”
    – Really? Worse than Joe McCarthy? Or Watergate? Or Monica Lewinski?
  • “It’s personal with me. He’s lied about me. He’s slandered me.”
    – Ah…Now we’re getting to the heart of the matter. He’s told the truth about you.
  • “The fact that he was even competitive [...] depresses me about America.”
    – So it’s America’s fault?

O’Reilly is fond of hyperbole, so it isn’t surprising that he would blast Franken as the lowest and the worst of whatever delusion in which he is presently immersed. However, he is also fond of bashing what he’d call the “blame America first crowd,” so it is a little surprising to see him throw that sucker punch at America – but only a little. It is very much like O’Reilly to be a major league hypocrite. And it is similarly like him to turn against anyone he perceives as opposing his dementia.

O’Reilly has given up on America. They opposed the war in Iraq. They favor universal healthcare. They elected Barack Obama president. And now they have put his nemesis in the United States Senate. So O’Reilly’s message to the nation as Al Franken prepares to take his seat is, “Screw you, America. You make me sad.”

Not That It Matters: O’Reilly vs Franken

Last night Bill O’Reilly couldn’t hold back any longer. He had to let loose on his arch-nemesis, Al Franken, and he did. Not that it matters. I’m just posting this as a bit of comic relief.

A far-left extremist, Franken’s tenure on the Air America Radio network was punctuated by one word: hate. The man is a smear merchant and a rank liar, unqualified for any elected office [...] If Franken is elected to the Senate you can expect him to vote for every ACLU-driven impediment to fighting terrorism. He will approve more spending for entitlements, and he will promote San Francisco values any way he can.

O’Reilly doesn’t really give a damn about the ACLU, terrorism, or San Francisco values (although he did give Al Qaeda permission to blow the city up). He is just inconsolable that Franken may just prevail and, once again, prove that O’Reilly is a washed up old geezer who only holds sway over a pathetic congregation of rightist lemmings.

I want Franken to win because he’ll bring intelligence, insight, and compassion to the Senate (and a healthy sense of the absurd). But in addition to that, I just love how much closer it will bring O’Reilly to the thorough mental collapse that is inevitable.

TVNewser Turning Into Drudge?

People who are in the television news business, or are interested in following the inside machinations of the media, have come to rely on a spunky little site called TVNewser. Recently, its founder, a college student at the time, Brian Stelter, graduated and was hired by the New York Times.

Well, it’s only been a week and there are already signs of trouble, as seen in this excerpt from an item about newsman Bob Franken:

“…his cousin, ex-Saturday Night Live star Al Franken, a rabid leftie, is running for the Senate in Minnesota.”

This is a disturbing and inauspicious beginning for new TVNewser, Chris Ariens. It exhibits the kind of juvenile disparagement one might expect from Matt Drudge. You could have reasonably described Franken as Liberal or Progressive, but “leftie” is a deliberately pejorative abbreviation. And what exactly is “rabid” about Franken’s positions, which fit squarely within the mainstream of America that is overwhelming against the war in Iraq, in favor of universal health care, worried about global warming, and disapproving of Bush and Cheney?

The next day, TVNewser had an item about liberal groups pressuring FNC advertisers. However they never reported on Bill O’Reilly’s targeting of liberal bloggers and their sponsors, which is what motivated the liberal groups to respond in kind.

This isn’t the first instance of a dubious omission. A couple of weeks ago, Glenn Beck filled in for Paula Zahn on CNN. He bombed in the ratings, but TVNewser, whose mission it is to report on such ratings performance, never mentioned it.

Jupiter Media purchased TVNewser’s parent, Media Bistro, earlier this year. While I have no reason to criticize Jupiter, I believe it is worth noting that the spunky little web site is now part of an expansive, publicly traded, Internet conglomerate.

Whether or not these changes are responsible for the recent degradation in tone at TVNewser, I can’t say with certainty. However, I can say that if this is what I can expect from TVNewser in the wake of Stelter’s departure, I will certainly not consider it a useful resource in the future, and I suspect that many others will agree with me.

Feel free to email your thoughts to TVNewser.