No Time for Levity

Al Franken is in the U.S. Senate, and sadly, he’s borrowing more heavily from his former jobs than establishing a level of decorum more befitting of the post he currently holds.

Apparently, when his turn came around at yesterday’s hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Sen. Franken (D-Minn.) reverted to comedian Franken.

I’m sorry, but I don’t see how comparisons to Perry Mason and quizzes on which case the fictional prosecutor actually won contribute to the proper vetting process the Senate is required to conduct. I like a tension-breaking splash of humor as much as the next person, but a Senate hearing regarding the qualifications of the first Hispanic to be elevated to the SCOTUS is not the place.

I’m a little amazed Franken chose this route during his first major duty as a sitting senator. He had to know the country (and more importantly, his constituents) would be tempted to see him first as a jokester, and hence less likely to take him seriously. So why, then, at a time when he had the perfect stage to reveal his more heady and reserved side did he squander the opportunity and crack a joke? What was his staff thinking? What was Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) thinking?

For a brief moment, Franken made fellow Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) look like a sage, and that had to embarrass the Democrats.

The Supreme Court hearings are a time for deep, probing inquiries into the mind of a very capable and even delightful jurist. The Senate has a lot on its plate, with little time to waste on seeing if Al Franken “still has his touch.” Take my advice, senator, and stick to your day job.

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