Al Franken, the man who will body-slam someone’s exercise of free speech he doesn’t like, all in the name of ensuring someone else’s free speech is allowed, made the news recently once more. First a trip down memory lane:
January 27, 2004 — EXETER, N.H. – Wise-cracking funnyman Al Franken yesterday body-slammed a demonstrator to the ground after the man tried to shout down Gov. Howard Dean.
The tussle left Franken’s trademark thick-rim glasses broken, but he said he was not injured.
Franken – who seemed in a state of shock and out of breath after the incident – was helped back to his feet by several people who watched the tussle. Police arrived soon after.
“I got down low and took his legs out,” said Franken afterwards.
Franken said he’s not backing Dean but merely wanted to protect the right of people to speak freely. “I would have done it if he was a Dean supporter at a Kerry rally,” he said.
“I’m neutral in this race but I’m for freedom of speech, which means people should be able to assemble and speak without being shouted down.”
The trouble started when several supporters of fringe presidential candidate Lyndon Larouche began shouting accusations at Dean.
Franken emerged from the crowd and charged one male protester, grabbing him with a bear hug from behind and slamming him onto the floor.
John Hinderaker remembers a moment in 2004 where Al’s personality shined through:
Franken has a personality that can charitably be described as volatile, and a mean streak a mile wide. He has a history of getting into physical altercations. One that I narrowly missed observing occurred at the 2004 Republican Convention when he got into a shouting-and-shoving match with a producer of Laura Ingraham’s radio show. This photo was taken near the beginning of what turned into an ugly scene that had Radio Row buzzing:
No anger issues there right? Well, how about mocking a conservative college kid who was trying to make nice? Any anger issues involved there?
Earlier this month Franken was at Carleton College, where the late Sen. Paul Wellstone was a professor, for a student rally related to a special election in the state Senate District 25. After the rally in the great space of Sayles-Hill some students crowded around to take photos with the “Saturday Night Live” alum, author, satirist and celebrity.
…things started out fine with him taking photos of fellow Carls (that’s what students call themselves) with Franken. Then Franken’s curiosity was raised about why Fritz didn’t want to be in a pic.
He’s a conservative, another Carl yelled out by way of explanation.
At that point, Franken reportedly began peppering Fritz with questions about supporting President George W. Bush and former President Ronald Reagan’s tax hikes. Fritz told me he got tense and, as he does in those situations, started chewing the inside of his mouth, a gesture he said was mimicked by Franken; Fritz also thought his style of speech was mocked by Franken.
An aide eventually interrupted Franken’s act, Fritz said, by announcing to the candidate that it was time to go.
Fritz told me Monday that he then stuck out his hand to shake Franken’s. “Well, at least it’s nice to meet you,” the GOPer said he told Franken, who reportedly replied, I can’t say the same.
There was no handshake, said Fritz.
Fritz told me Wednesday he was stunned by Franken’s behavior: “I usually expect politicians to, at least, pretend as though, even in that kind of interaction, that they can convince me or have some kind of reasonable dialogue — the whole Minnesota Nice thing, at least.”
Expecting anything human from the likes of Al Franken is expecting a bit too much I think. The man has always been, and always be an embarrassment.
This is the type of guy who should be a Senator? Someone representing the people?
Only the Democrats.