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December 17, 2009

Rousing The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party: (Or, What Part of “NO” Don’t You Understand?)

Franken vs. Lieberman health 2.jpg
Franken vs. Lieberman health 1.jpg

After Governor Dean threw down the progressive gauntlet earlier in the week in challenging the health care sell-out, Senator Franken carried the new found sense of “NO” into the Senate chamber Thursday giving the compromise-crusher and legislative anarchist, Joe Lieberman, a taste of his own medicine.

Watching the video isn’t nearly the same as looking at these still frames. That’s because Senators, being great actors, reflexively fall back into that fake sense of comity and collegiality. As such, the main take-away from watching the video is the phony ha-ha-ha Lieberman demonstrated after Franken cut him off at the knees, followed by that strange projection, Joe telling Franken “don’t take it personally.” On the other hand, the tendency — watching Franken — is to fix on that dorky expression (because Franken often is dorky looking) after the Lieberman slap down at the very end of the clip.

What we really want to concentrate on, however, are the still frames above, the first showing Lieberman (at the 29 second mark) flashing fury immediately after Franken tells him his time is up — Lieberman briefly revealing his true feelings in having to submit to Franken’s authority. The second frame shows Franken at the 36 second mark clearly evidencing the same confidence as Dean as he looks directly at Lieberman, delivering his: “I object.”

That look — sorely missing since the election — boldly sends the message that the GOP and America Inc. Democrats have no monopoly on strength; that the days of progressives being taken for granted are over; and that, if anybody thinks this is a bad thing for Obama and the party, think again.

(Title phrase courtesy of Paul Wellstone.)

(screen grabs via C-SPAN)

  • Sam Jack

    I think you’re misreading the video. My sense was that Lieberman was saying, “I don’t take it personally,” but the “I” was elided.

  • Kathryn in MA

    Majority Leader Reid requested timliness, so of course, Holy Joe had to test Senator Franken. Hurray for the Senator for passing the test.

  • Andy

    Franken has quickly become one of my favorite politicians in the time he’s been in office.
    Go Al!

  • K.O.

    We need more Al Frankens! Whip smart representatives who do their homework, and fight for the people who elected them.

  • Wordsmith

    There’s no misread of the video. This pissed Joe off no end. You could tell from the tone of his voice when he said (asked)’Realllee?’ He can’t freakin’ believe what Franken did. Joe Lieberman makes me sick.

  • Vote Carefully

    Spot on word-guy – Joe looked pissed, way to go Frank!

  • Demi Moaned

    Close. I read it more as Lieberman ironically putting the words in Franken’s mouth, as though he were to say:
    “‘Don’t take it personally,’ he says.”

  • DennisQ

    I wonder how much Franken’s background in the entertainment business has prepared him to deal with the prima donnas in the Senate. We’re led to believe that some of the biggest stars are also the biggest assholes. The expression on Franken’s face suggests he’s looking right at one.
    Saturday Nite Live has to produce a lot of content – most of it original – in a week. They don’t have time for guys like Lieberman who mug before the mirror and recite affirmations like the ones Al Franken used to spoof.
    “Yeah, Joe. You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you, but your time has expired.”

  • Books Alive

    With the amount of time Franken is in the chair, I hope he’s making some doodles that can be sold for charity or making notes for an eventual book.

  • CF2K

    Indeed. On SNL, Al had to deal with Lorne Michaels, a bloated ego almost unequalled in all of television. Taught Al a thing or two, apparently.
    Al really is turning into the GOP’s worst nightmare. Wherever he is, God rest his noble soul, Senator Wellstone is smiling.

  • desertwind

    Of course, Lieberman then packed up and went home Friday night.
    When everybody is expected to show up (or bunk overnight) for Saturday’s votes.

  • desertwind

    I should add that the mid-Atlantic snowstorm is NOT gonna hurry him back.

  • Books Alive

    New greeting for Sen Franken: You, again?
    Durbin handed off debate time to Al in the midst of a series of quesions from Sen Pat Roberts. Since Al is adept at controlling the floor. Roberts probably feared the same treatment as Lieberman when he blurted out the phrase above!
    Roberts suffered indignities in the mark-up when his amendments were not agreed to, and he’s sore that they will not be submitted now. Having spent eight years doing Bush’s bidding in the Intelligence Committee, Roberts has only the Republicans to blame for not addressing healthcare reform earlier.

  • Kathryn in MA

    ooooooo, an act of God! Right on, God!!

  • Wordsmith

    Soo – G*d IS on OUR side. Someone tell Tony Perkins.

  • CF2K

    Joyeux Noel! Because as a Wichita resident and a Kansas voter, I have less than no time for back-bencher and GOP apparatchik Pat Roberts. A group of us collected a couple of thousand signatures in favor of single-payer, but the staffers in Roberts’ Wichita office barred the door rather than accept them.
    Great to see Roberts cutting such a shabby figure on the national stage. Go Senator Franken!

  • thelogos

    I think you’re being wishful in thinking that a progressive ascendency is neigh…

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