Friday, October 19, 2012

Franken Carries Liz' Portfolio


Al Franken, no longer funny guy but still stand-up in the other sense of the term, stood in for Elizabeth Warren today in Cambridge. Yeah, he was still funny, even though he's seriously the U.S. Senator from Minnesota.

Truth be told, a friend and I intended to have a pint across the street from the Warren-for-Senate HQ on Mass Ave. out of Harvard Square before the sked announced she and he would appear there about the same time. We're both pinkos about her age, so we were delighted.

Cambridge Common is a fine place for reasonably priced brews, particularly IPAs. I doubt that is why Warren's campaign planted her office directly across the avenue. However after increasing our wisdom, we were ready for the scrum.

Turns out that Warren must have been at another locale. Franken appeared and charmingly carried the afternoon. I was fine with that, having met her numerous times as well as hosting her on the Left Ahead show. I'm decidedly one of her groupies and my wife has been canvassing and phone-banking for her. When we went to her West Roxbury office opening, she threw her arm around me and said, "I love this guy!" My wife allowed as she did too. It was all good.

Lackaday, my chum, who is also a Warren supporter, had not and still has not met her. We tried to get the tap puller to join us, but she pleaded work duties. Just as well...

Al Franken was in town and around for four or five events promoting his potential colleague. He did well.

The room was astoundingly deep for a Cambridge storefront. We packed it with several hundred very decided voters.

Oddly enough, the speakers who prepped the crowd for Franken's arrival were all women and concentrated heavily on LGBT issues. Obviously, this blog has long been gay-rights/marriage-equality oriented. Yet, it was strange that as far as Marjorie Decker (Cambridge City Councilor and candidate for state rep) and Denise Simmons (Cambridge Vice Mayor) and others were concerned, Warren's LGBT positions were start, middle and end. They didn't talk about equal pay, jobs, the economy or the other big issues in play. Meh.

Franken arrived jolly but coy. He stood by his claim that he did not criticize colleagues, as in Sen. Scott Brown. However, he did note the facts about interactions with Brown. Specifically, he cited a bill, the Student Non-Discrimination Act,  he introduced and collected 39 cosponsors for that would provide anti-discrimination for LGBT teens. This would protect kids like the ADA does for the disabled and Title IX does for girls and women. He said he asked Brown to join the cosponsors. Brown said he'd get back with him, which turned into his staff saying no.

Franken preferred to gush rationally about Warren. He noted that control of the Senate is at stake this year and that "is so important." He added that "Elizabeth Warren is so great."

Then he blended his two public personalities to urge those in the room "get off your butts" for the next two and one half weeks before the election. He said that they might have jobs and families, but that they should forget them for the next 18 days.

He joked that 8-year-olds were perfectly capable of using a microwave, while their parent(s) were canvassing or calling for Warren. He added that the 8-year-olds could also teach the 4-year-olds, and that kids really like being on their own for dinner.

He concluded more seriously that you don't want to wake up on November 7th thinking that you could have and should have done more to elect Warren.

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