The Al Franken Story: A Campaign in Four Minutes


Democrats didn't used to think Al Franken could win a Senate seat from Minnesota, but in the last month polling and fundraising have started to move his way. Incumbent Republican Norm Coleman, who beat Walter Mondale to win the seat six years ago, tried to pummel Franken into submission with a negative ad campaign and a steady drip of stories about his scandals and hypocrisy. It didn't work, so Coleman's dramatically announced an end to negative ads from his shop.

The whole saga reminded me of a skit from the late, belated Mr. Show, wherein one grocer drives another out of business through political-style attack ads. Because Franken and Coleman throw all their ads online, you can watch how the year played out with a few mouse clicks and about four minutes of attention. It's a microcosm of the whole election: a Republican shocked that he can't beat an obvious liberal, who rebuffs every single character attack as a distraction and ties his opponent to Bush.

You don't get the feeling of… sincerity in that last ad. Well, in any of them.