Much has been said about last weeks exchange between Senators Al Franken and Joe Lieberman. Franken’s refusal to give Lieberman a few moments to finish his thought was a breach of Senate etiquette, where being polite on the chamber’s floor is more important than party differences.
Throughout his Senate Campaign, Franken was portrayed as a bit of a jerk, short tempered, scathing tongue and someone who went around looking for an argument. After some good behavior during his first few months, Franken is proving that his reputation of being a real a**hole is entirely accurate.
….Franken has surprised some of his colleagues behind the scenes by getting into heated tangles with GOP staffers.
One such exchange took place in Franken’s office during a recent meeting with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and his aides.
Franken invited Corker to his office to discuss an op-ed that Corker penned in a Tennessee newspaper opposing an amendment Franken offered to a defense bill. The measure gave the employees of defense contractors who suffer rape or sexual assault at the workplace the right to sue in court.
The meeting quickly deteriorated when Franken began berating one of Corker’s aides, according to GOP aides familiar with the incident. Franken’s sally was so harsh that Corker told Franken to lay off his aide and direct the comments at him instead.
Franken’s tough approach came as a surprise because Corker scheduled the meeting to mend fences after Franken confronted him about the op-ed during an angry exchange on the Senate floor.
Franken finds inappropriate times to pick a fight:
Another GOP staffer, an aide to a Senate Republican leader, found herself at the sharp end of Franken’s wit at a recent reception in the Senate’s Mansfield Room. The tongue-lashing took place at an event to celebrate the swearing-in of GOP Sen. George LeMieux (Fla.).
After the conversation began ordinarily, Franken started to grill the aide about what he sees as the failings of the GOP. Franken demanded to know why it had become the “Party of No” and had exaggerated facts in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, according to another GOP leadership aide.
….The incidents with GOP staff have reminded some Senate observers of a mocking interaction Franken had with a conservative student, Peter Fritz, at Carleton College during his Senate campaign. After learning of Fritz’s political orientation, Franken pressed him to defend Reaganomics and mimicked his speech patterns, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Aden-Wansbury vigorously denied that Franken made fun of Fritz and claimed that element of the report was inaccurate.
“There is a war within Al Franken,” said Lawrence Jacobs, a professor of political science at the University of Minnesota. “The Al Franken head tells him to steer away from the limelight and build his reputation. Then there is his heart, which is quite fiery.”
Jacobs said Franken must be careful not to engage in too many political brawls, or it could “reinforce for independent voters what they feared about him, that he’s a hot-headed partisan.”
Franken has not just confronted GOP aides at private meetings; he has also mixed it up with Republican colleagues in public on the Senate floor.
In addition to chewing out Corker over the op-ed, earlier this month Franken clashed loudly with Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) on the Senate floor. The dust-up was spurred by Thune’s claim that Democratic healthcare legislation would impose new taxes immediately but fail to implement benefits for several years.
Franken derided Thune’s floor presentation and implied that he had fabricated some of his facts, a more personal confrontation than usual in the clubby Senate. An irate Thune walked off the Senate floor after Franken revealed a private conversation they had on the topic.
“I asked if he mentioned any of the benefits that do kick in [immediately] and he said, ‘Uh no,’ ” Franken said in front of C-SPAN television cameras.
“We are entitled to our own opinions; we’re not entitled to our own facts,” Franken said, raising his voice. “Benefits kick in right away, and if you’re going to hold up a chart that says when taxes kick in and when benefits kick in … you better include the benefits that do kick in right away.”
Franken later apologized to Thune.
These incidents have pulled Franken away from his stated goal of modeling his early career in the Senate on former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), who made a point of proving herself as a “workhorse,” in Senate parlance, and who teamed up often with Republicans.
Well he is close, not a work horse, but a horses arse. Sorry Minnesota, but elections have their consequences. Your consequence is that your Senator, no matter how hard he works, is nothing but a bully and a Jerk.