PRUDEN: Franken, a clown for all seasons, arrives in time

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

We’ve never had an Official U.S. Senate Pornographer before, though pornographic behavior is frequently the entertainment provided to the public by the world’s oldest deliberative body. So Al Franken, the answer to Harry Reid’s prayer, should fit right in.

Some of the Democrats can’t wait to see what mischief they can do. “With the Minnesota recount complete,” Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York said after the Minnesota robbery was completed, “it is now clear that Al Franken won the election.”

Actually, it wasn’t clear at all, but clarity is never valued among thieves. The Democrats in the Senate were eager to get Al seated quickly, both for crucial Senate votes coming up and because once seated among his equals, a bum is difficult to throw out.

There’s honor among the members of our only native criminal class, similar to the honor among robbers, burglars and other servants of the night. The difference, and it’s only a slight one, is that robbers, burglars and thieves often hold themselves to higher standards than members of Congress.

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Given their handsome majority in the Senate, the Democrats shouldn’t have trouble confirming Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, regardless of whether the senorita is “wiser” than white folks, as she assures us she is, or not quite ready for prime time, as her record on the appeals court suggests.

The first day of hearings on her nomination was the expected partisan patty-cake, full of the hot air and empty bravado that makes July in Washington such a treat. Democratic senators spoke of her as the incarnation of John Marshall and Learned Hand, or at least the equal of David Souter. Republican senators weren’t so sure, but made it clear they have no stomach for making the hearings “a teaching moment.” The Constitution is such a bore for so many of our congressional worthies.

Patty-cake or not, it’s nice to have the pornographer’s 60th vote at the ready. Harry Reid will need Sen. Franken’s vote first for the global-warming legislation, only narrowly passed by the House. The 20-vote margin is nice but cannot necessarily prevent a Republican filibuster, provided the Republicans in the Senate could even find the grit and gumption to mount one. As many as 15 Democrats are thought to be wary of voting for the cap-and-trade tax, fearing retribution from constituents who are waking up to a monumental scam. They’re not at all eager to say “yes, ma’am” and fall in line just because Barbara Boxer of California warns that if the Senate doesn’t pass the bill “there will be dire results: droughts, floods, fires, loss of species, damage to agriculture, worsening air pollution and more.” It’s difficult to imagine what “more” there could be after all those droughts, floods, fires and such. More lady senators like Mzz Boxer, perhaps.

After that, if any of us are still alive, there’s the health care legislation to consider. The White House wants a vote in September, and you can understand the hurry. Like the global-warming legislation, the health care plan, whatever its dire details turn out to be, will evaporate under the glare of close examination.

The theft of Norman Coleman’s Senate seat was remarkably brazen for the way it was done in broad daylight. The techniques of such thievery are peculiar to the various states. Mary Landrieu stole her seat in Louisiana, but authentic fraud shock is rare in Louisiana, and Huey Long didn’t bother to roll to either right or left in his grave. Lyndon Johnson got to the Senate on the strength of a single ballot box in remote Jim Wells County, where he kept going back for more votes until he had the 87 ballots he needed to steal the election from Gov. Coke Stevenson.

But Minnesota imagines itself to be more high minded than Louisiana or Texas, even if the rest of us don’t. One member of the Minnesota canvassing board, a state Supreme Court justice, conceded that some ballots were probably counted twice, but he said there was not much anybody could do about it. In more than 25 precincts, officials counted more ballots than actual voters; this was put down to well-meant enthusiasm. If everyone has a duty to vote, who could scold a voter for going above and beyond the call of duty?

Al Franken’s vote is not likely to be the margin of victory for any of the schemes now being dreamed up by the Democrats, but the way he got to Washington, and the easy acceptance of fraud, will be remembered as typical of the times, an era when avarice reigned, and the clever swindle was a joke to be played by a clown.

• Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

About the Author
Wesley Pruden

Wesley Pruden

Editor Emeritus — American journalist legend and Vietnam War author James Wesley Pruden, Jr. is Editor Emeritus of The Washington Times. Pruden’s first job in the newspaper business dates back to 1951 as a copyboy at the now defunct Arkansas Gazette where he later became a sportswriter and an assistant state editor. In 1982, he joined The Washington Times, four ...

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