Al Franken on Michael Medved
Well Blogger did not want to co-operate. So rather than live blog, it's going to be reactive blogging.
Michael Medved started out talking about a NY Post article covering the yet to be announced Senate campaign. The Post said the comedian said he is still undecided but that "his reluctance is only a matter of convenience" because when he does announce he will have to give up his 3 hour radio show. Meved asked "do you think the Post is right?" No Franken responded "I really have not decided yet...I don't know." Medved asked was that one of your reasons for moving back to MN to establish residency. I guess sure, Franken said, "I moved back home because I could. I'm an empty nester." When you live in NY people either considers themselves as New Yorkers or from where ever they are from and I have always considered myself to be a Minnesota. Medved asked what will be the main factor in the decision to run? Franken - I would have to see if I was viable as a candidate - I have been traveling around the state and talking to people (Medved commented "you sound like a candidate to me") I am doing the kind of things you have to do if I run." Medved asked "Is this like the Hillary Clinton "Listening Tour"? Franken replied "Not exactly because I'm not listening as much. I just yak at these people and they go "well why are you here then". I am seriously considering it and if I do run I would have had to have done these things. So all of that looks like I have decided, if you were of a suspicious mindset but I really haven't. I'm also doing this stuff for other candidates - progressive candidates and progressive organizations like Wellstone Action. We also have a website "Midwest Values PAC" people can go there and see what we are doing and we are trying to get people to get active. He said that the reason that Sen. Kerry lost in 2004 was that the Republicans were better at organizing their base (ed - no Al it was because the Dems still don't have a message!)
Now to the callers - one caller asked if Al connected with some of the spokespeople for the far left - specifically Michael Moore and Al Gore. He was asked for his reaction to Al Gore's remarks in Saudi Arabia on Sunday. Al started to follow the DNC talking points ("well there have been cases"). The caller pressed Al for specifics. He danced around the issue until Medved pressed him on the issue. He mentioned a case in Houston where a doctor had been detained for 9 days on a case of mistaken identity. Medved conceded that there may have been some "excesses" at which point Franken jumped in asking Medved to "name them" - classic Democrat "gotcha" games. Franken closed this question by saying that he could not comment on the issue because he had not heard the comments in context! (More on this at the end)
Another caller (from Medina MN) asked Al how he could be taken seriously after all of these years as a humorist. He also asked how Al would address agricultural issues. Al asked if the caller had listened to his show which he admitted he had not. Al mentioned all of the people he had on the program to discuss ag issues, but he did not put forward any answers or proposals. He did mention that he "didn't know about the saw grass" alternative fuel that President Bush just spoke about until he interviewed someone on his program on ag issues.
The book that Franken is promoting "The Truth with Jokes" talks about what Franken considers to be the "profound lies" of the Republican Party and the Bush campaign of 2004. When asked to give an example for the most egregious of those examples Franken said " it's really about how they won - smears, fears and queers" (I think Al forgot just who brought up the gay daughter of the candidate in the VP debates)...the "3 horsemen of the Republican Apocalypse" he called them. Coming back from a break, Medved mentioned that the last time Franken was on his program, Swift Boat Vet John O'Neill was on the program. Franken had listed the Swift Boat Vets under the "smears" category in his book (even though they (the Swift Boat Vets) were there and Al was not). Al didn't like it because Medved had "invited me on and then there was John O'Neill" (this was at the RNC Convention in New York City). "I don't want to debate John O'Neill on a subject he has debated his whole life on (ed - at least he admits that O'Neill knows what the heck he was talking about) - I felt very blindsided". Franken then goes on to discuss the issue in his book - how brave.
A liberal caller called in trashing the Bush Administration's "compassionate conservatism" He really didn't "ask" a question, so Medved said "Al's the candidate, let's let him answer" (Al did not correct Medved's statement as an aside). Franken gave the Bush administration credit in foreign policy however, he took the administration to task for "cutting student loans when he is looking to make the tax cuts to the wealthy permanent". That led Medved to ask "why is it fair for people who will not send a child to college to tax them for sending your child or my child to college." Franken came back with the "Bush tax cuts only benefit the rich" canard. Medved countered that it was a regressive tax on the poor to pay for college loans that they can not or will not use. Medved turned it around so that it looked like Franken was for the rich and against the poor.....
Another caller asked about the Peter Switzer accusations that Franken does not practice what he preaches. The Switzer accusation is that Al Franken says he is all for affirmative action, but he does not hire minorities. To wit he says that Franken has 114 employees and only 1 is black - what do you say about that? "Not true - absurd" He said that Switzer takes projects that he was involved in as "producer or something" and he counts me every time but he did not count every employee. How many black employees now the caller asked. "2 out of 10" Franken replied. Medved asked don't you think these conversations are stupid - don't you hire the best available? Franken said "I believe in affirmative action". Medved - I'm shocked because I only have 2 employees, to which Franken replied "I am the hardest working guy in show biz/politics". Medved responded "I'd argue that".
The next caller said getting back to Michael Moore, Al Gore and the far left (AF - "Al Gore is hardly on the far left") the caller commented that it seemed surprising that these guys are saying things that Franken "did not much know about and that it your job to know about it". The caller finished with "I don't know is not a option for you as a political commentator" GREAT CALL! Franken admits that the left hears the "outrageous things" that the right says where the right hears the "outrageous things" the left says.
Another caller asked "can this administration is capable of ever telling the truth ". Franken responded "They have a hard time telling the truth...the worst was in the lead up to war in Iraq". Medved asked "you don't believe that the president deliberately lied about Weapons of Mass Destruction?" Franken responded "I believe that he wanted to go to war and that he didn't want to hear anything" contrary to that then they cut to the break. When they came back from break Medved resumed on the point - "Why did GWB want to go to war?" Franken responded "I don't know why...I didn't say that I said that...I said that he closed his mind to alternatives." Part of it was an "adolescent" want to "do something great". Medved asked "do you think he was sincere...that he took us to war because he thought it would help the United States of America?" Franken responded yes but that he thinks the President was "deluded" in that thinking.
The last caller was one of the best. He said that you hear all of this talk about the about the Democrats hating George Bush. The caller said that he thought that they were "profoundly jealous that a dumb hick from Texas could be elected President" and not an elitist like him. Franken's answer "my dad didn't graduate from High School and his dad was President". Now I don't know what that has to do with anything, but I do know that Franken does not realize that "elitist" is not a state but an attitude. An attitude that "I know better than you how you should live your life" and that is something that the left is full of and until they get that idea through their heads, they will continue to loose elections.