Why Not Me? The Making and the Unmaking of the Franken Presidency

Overview

Updated with more on the real race in 2000!

First came Theodore White's The Making of the President, 1960. Then All the President's Men. Now the searing chronicle that will forever change the way we view the man and the office...

Why Not Me?

...chronicles the dramatic rise and dizzying fall of Al Franken, who would become the first Jewish president of the United States. Meet the president as a young man. Witness the Franken campaign in its ...

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Overview

Updated with more on the real race in 2000!

First came Theodore White's The Making of the President, 1960. Then All the President's Men. Now the searing chronicle that will forever change the way we view the man and the office...

Why Not Me?

...chronicles the dramatic rise and dizzying fall of Al Franken, who would become the first Jewish president of the United States. Meet the president as a young man. Witness the Franken campaign in its infancy, as the candidate pledges "to walk the state of New Hampshire, diagonally and then from side to side." Go behind the scenes and meet Team Franken, the candidate's brain trust: including brother and deputy campaign manager Otto, a recovering sex addict and alcoholic, and campaign manager Norm Ornstein, the think-tank policy wonk who masterminds the single-issue (ATM fees) campaign. Cheer as Franken stuns the pundits by defeating Al Gore for the Democratic nomination, then is swept into office carrying all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

Then, through excerpts from Bob Woodward's detailed account of the first hundred days, The Void, go inside the Franken White House, which is gripped by crisis from day one. After the highly medicated chief executive exhibits a roller coaster of bipolar behavior, Franken is forced to cooperate with the Joint Congressional Committee on the President's Mood Swings. And when the committee releases Franken's personal diaries to the public, his presidency faces its ultimate crisis.

It began on a cold day in January, when Alan Stuart Franken took the oath of office and became the 44th President of the United States. It ended 144 tumultuous days later with the words: "Boy, am I sorry." Here for the first time in paperback is the searing chronicle of Al Franken's journey to the White House--the visionary campaign, the landslide victory, the hookers, the payoffs--told through confessions of key aides, Franken's own diaries, and excerpts from Bob Woodward's book on the first 100 days of the Franken Presidency, entitled The Void.

Witness the campaign in its infancy, as Franken decides to run on a single-issue platform: lower ATM Fees. Follow along as Team Franken canvasses the nation, attacking Al Gore, attacking U.S. banks, attending a couple of prayer breakfasts. Then go inside the Franken White House where for 144 days a President virtually reinvents the office, boldly appointing the first all-Jewish cabinet, then battling a severe case of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. As scandal rocks the Administration, Why Not Me? becomes a tragic American morality tale: of a man who dared to believe that anyone could be president--and paid the price for proving he was right.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
The White House in Crisis, Seriously. If only politics were this funny in real life. After a year that has seen our reviled government impale itself on a double-edged sword of perverted obsession and embarrassingly poor judgment, a year during which the blight of self-interest has tainted players of all political persuasions to an unprecedented degree, America is begging for a little comic relief. And that is why Al Franken wants to be your President. With Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, Franken became a sort of liberal P. J. O'Rourke, ecstatically skewering Limbaugh and many other prominent conservatives to the tune of millions of copies sold. The longtime "Saturday Night Live" writer and performer (remember Stuart Smalley?) had always been a sharp social commentator, but he proved himself an extremely savvy political satirist as well. That first book became a classic and a massive bestseller; his new one, Why Not Me? The Making and Unmaking of the Franken Presidency, is destined for similar success.Why Not Me? is written as the "authorized Presidential autobiography," and like any presidential autobiography worth its salt, it delves into the author's past before jumping headlong into the business of politics. Franken's descriptions of his childhood, delivered with the deadpan seriousness and self-importance of a real politician, are rife with the sort of cleverly foolish humor he practices. "I was born in a non-descript ranch house, the son of the son of immigrants, and the son of a daughter of a son and daughter of immigrants. We lived in a littletowncalled Christ Haven, MN; we were the only Jews for miles." Franken goes on to discuss his years at Harvard as an anti-Vietnam activist and entrepreneur in the late '60s and early '70s, and then the early, drug-soaked days of Saturday Night Live, where, by "Week Three, cocaine had spread like wildfire through the offices on the seventeenth floor.... For my part, I stayed on the sidelines, snorting only the occasional line, so that I could stay awake to make sure the others wouldn't do too much cocaine." These brief digressions serve merely as an appetizer and lead quickly to descriptions of life on the campaign trail. These come mostly in the form of Franken's personal campaign diaries, which are all details of debauchery and manic-depressive rants about the general stupidity of the American voter, and eventually prove his undoing when they are released to the public by the Joint Congressional Committee on the President's Mood Swings. Franken's brain trust includes brother Otto, a recovering sex addict and alcoholic who is dispatched to hound Al Gore's campaign; Norm Ornstein, the campaign manager who masterminds Franken's single-issue platform (ATM fees); media consultant Dick Morris; and former "Grizzly Adams" star Dan Haggerty. After shocking the country by defeating Gore for the Democratic nomination, Franken sweeps into office in a landslide victory over Newt Gingrich. But the Franken White House is gripped by crisis from day one, and after exhibiting alarmingly unbalanced behavior (including the "slugging Nelson Mandela" incident and an attempt to clone himself), Franken is forced to cooperate with the aforementioned Joint Congressional Committee on the President's Mood Swings. Why Not Me? is ingenious in that as silly as it gets (and it does get ludicrously silly), it's not much more preposterous than the surrealism of current American politics. Our disgust with government is at an all-time high — witness Jesse "the Governor" Ventura. Why not Al Franken for president, indeed? At least he has a sense of humor.
— Olli Chanoff
From the Publisher
"An imaginatively funny and fresh satire...part autobiography, part manifesto, part diary  and part eulogy."
--The Washington Post

"[A] witty send-up of presidential politics...Franken proves again that he's one of our savviest satirists."
--People

"A gleefully absurd, rambling jaunt through the ritual of  American campaigning...a hilariously farcical account."
--Entertainment Weekly

"Hilarious throughout...Franken has perfect pitch."
--The New York Times Book Review

Don't miss Al Franken's #1 bestseller Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations:

"Wickedly funny."
--Newsweek

"This book establishes Al Franken  as a master of political humor."
--The Washington Times

"Funny, angry and intelligent."
--The New York Times Book Review

"It's a scream!"
--The Seattle Times

"A very funny book."
--USA Today

"Very funny--.--.--.--Franken has perfect pitch." --P.J. O'Rourke, The New York Times Book Review

"Screamingly hilarious." --Newsday

"An imaginatively funny and fresh satire--.--.--.--part autobiography, part manifesto, part diary and part eulogy." --The Washington Post

"[A] witty send-up of Presidential politics--.--.--.--Franken proves again that he's one of our savviest satirists." --People

Entertainment Weekly
Hilarious...a gleefully absurd, rambling jaunt through the ritual of American campaigning.
Joel Stein
It's unclear what exactly Franken is ridiculing in this political satire, but the results are certainly funny...Perhaps he's mocking the American voter, or the election system, or even himself. Whatever his point, doggonit, it's sharper than making fun of 12-step gurus. -- Time Magazine
Library Journal
Franken, author of Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations (LJ 1/96), is perhaps best known for his work on Saturday Night Live. This irreverent satire is a blow-by-blow account of candidate Al running for president in the year 2000. In "Daring to Lead," Franken waxes autobiographical, setting the stage for his decision to run. His "Campaign Diary" goes behind the scenes with Team Franken and the masterminding of his platform: ATM fees. With his brother, a recovering sex addict and alcoholic, and a team of questionable advisers, Franken chronicles each day on the campaign trail. The diary eventually finds its way into the hands of those who intend to do him harm. The final section, "The Void: The First One Hundred Days of the Franken Presidency," is a Bob Woodward-esque expose of the new president and his dizzying fall from power, overcome by chronic fatigue syndrome. The account of Franken's hilarious inaugural address is not to be missed. Essential reading for public library patrons and students of political(ly incorrect) science. --Joe J. Accardi, Northeastern Illinois Univ. Lib., Chicago
P.J. O'Rourke
At another period of American history, Why Not Me? might serve as an antidote to the fatuity of Presidential selection. We would welcome a puncturing of the electoral balloon, if it were filled with something only as silly as Al Franken. -- The New York Times Book Review
Entertainment Weekly
Hilarious...a gleefully absurd, rambling jaunt through the ritual of American campaigning.
Thomas Fields-Meyer
...[H]ilarious....Franken proves again thqt he's one of our savviest satirists. -- People Magazine
Clarissa Cruz
...[A] gleefully absurd, rambling jaunt through the ritual of American campaigning. -- Entertainment Weekly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385334549
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/8/2000
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 524,844
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.14 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Al Franken is the author of I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me! and Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

Biography

Al Franken's career as a comedian and political satirist has made him a star of television, movies, and books. Born in New York City, Franken grew up in Minneapolis and started his stand-up career while still in high school. He moved back east to study political science at Harvard University, and the civil rights movements of the 1960s had a profound effect on his politics. Franken tried to blend his two passions by applying for a position at the Harvard Lampoon but was, ironically, rejected.

After Harvard, Franken and a former high school friend, Tom Davis, toured the country as a stand-up team. Fate stepped in when Lorne Michaels caught their act and hired them in 1975 for a new sketch-comedy show based on the Monty Python premise. That show, of course, was the legendary Saturday Night Live. As writers and performers, Franken and Davis were instrumental in putting the edgy new show on the map.

Franken has had an on-and-off relationship with the show, leaving for years at a time to work on outside projects. When he returned to SNL in the late 1980s, Franklin created one of his most memorable characters, Stuart Smalley, the quintessential 12-step therapy optimist whose motto was "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me." Franken spun the Smalley character into a book in 1992 and a feature film, Stuart Saves His Family, in 1995.

In between stints at SNL, Franken carved out a career in the movies. In 1976, Franken starred in Tunnel Vision, an irreverent story about a typical day of programming at TV's first uncensored network. The film wasn't a big hit, but it helped launch the careers of Franken and his costars -- burgeoning comics Chevy Chase, John Candy, and Ron Silver. Franken teamed up with fellow SNL actors once again to star in the box office hit Trading Places (1983) with Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd. He cowrote the screenplay for the inspiring and passionate When a Man Loves a Woman (1994), and he was a guest celebrity voice in Clerks: The Animated Series (2000).

Outside of SNL, however, Franken is best known for his hilarious and engaging books, where his sense of humor is well served by his political background. When Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot: And Other Observations was released in 1996, it quickly established Franken as the top liberal satirist of American politics. A biting attack on conservative politics, it was also critically hailed as being uncompromisingly fair. Despite seeming to single out Rush Limbaugh, the book also blasts Republican leadership on subjects ranging from family values to Vietnam draft deferment. The success of the book helped Franken launch his own sitcom, Lateline, which ran on NBC from 1998-99.

After the success of Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot, Franken fans were delighted when Why Not Me? The Inside Story of the Making and Unmaking of the Franken Presidency was released in 1999. Why Not Me? is Franken's rousing mock-epic race for the White House, detailing how he entered the 1999 presidential race (and won) on a platform condemning unfair ATM fees. In 2002, Oh! The Things I Know!: A Guide to Success, or Failing That, Happiness has Franken referring to himself as Dr. Al Franken, dispensing life-affirming lessons such as "Oh! Are You Going to Hate Your First Job" and "Oh! The Weight You Will Gain." He also served as contributing writer to Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live (2002) and wrote the foreword for the third volume of the popular Bushisms series, Still More George W. Bushisms: "Neither in French nor in English nor in Mexican."

None of Franken's books has generated as much controversy as his 2003 release, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. Franken's fans waited seven years for another work of piercing political commentary, and this one more than delivered. Over the course of 43 chapters, Franken takes his battle straight to the top, criticizing the Bush administration and the scores of conservative pundits who, in his opinion, have distorted facts to support their political causes. Franken was sued by the politically conservative Fox Network for using the Fox slogan "Fair and Balanced" in the title of the book. Fox eventually dropped the case, but not before Franken got the last laugh -- he thanked the Fox Network profusely for boosting his book sales via the controversy.

Good To Know

In 1992, Franken anchored Comedy Central's Indecision '92, covering the presidential conventions and election-night events. In 1996, he teamed with Arianna Huffington, covering the party conventions and election night for Bill Maher's show Politically Incorrect.

In 1988, CNN hired Franken to provide commentary at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta.

Franken served as a Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, in 2003.

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 21, 1951
    1. Education:
      B.S., Political Science, Harvard University, 1973
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

From Daring to Lead, the authorized campaign biography by Al Franken and Tony Schwartz:

THE COURAGE TO DARE

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Broder once wrote something to the effect that "anyone who's willing to do what it takes to be president should be immediately disqualified." And that's why I want to be your president.

As a regular voter for most of my adult life, I have grown to share the average American's disgust with "politics as usual."

Year after year, election after election, we've seen candidates prostitute themselves on the altar of special interests: corporate fat cats, six-figure lobbyists in Italian loafers, women, gays, and the so-called disadvantaged. Is it any wonder that with each passing election we've witnessed lower and lower voter turnout as the public's skepticism turns to cynicism, which leads to apathy and despair, which can cause sleeplessness, dry-mouth, and loss of sex drive? And that's why I want to be your president.

The reason I'm running is very simple: to restore America's lost faith in its leaders. Of course, the high-paid media pundits may say this claim is grandiose, that I'm not qualified, that I'm deluded or even seriously mentally ill.

But I think the American people know better.

Yes, I know the job of President of the United States can be a difficult one. Full of challenges, decisions, and meetings. Furthermore, a president must be diplomatic and statesmanlike, which sometimes can mean being nice to people he doesn't like. As the leader of the world's only remaining superpower, the President can ignite nuclear Armageddon at the touch of a button, killing billions. That is a responsibility not to be taken lightly.

Yes, the President does earn two hundred thousand dollars a year. But when you break that down on an hourly basis, it's no more than a union plumber in the New York City public school system or a third-rate heart surgeon, neither of whom confronts life and death decisions on a daily basis, except the heart surgeon. Still, by the standards of the forgotten middle class, the working poor, and the not-working poor, two hundred thousand dollars is a nice chunk of change. But, unlike some of the candidates I'll be running against, for me the money is secondary.

I recognize that any president necessarily stands on the shoulders of giants: Washington, Lincoln, etc. Anyone running for president must wrestle with the nagging suspicion that he somehow doesn't "measure up" to Washington and Lincoln and the others. But self-doubt is a luxury, and anyone who knows A1 Franken knows that he selects his luxuries very, very carefully. And that's why I want to be your president.

My inspiration to run for president is threefold. First, there is the Franken family tradition of public service, which began back in the old country when my uncle Moishe left his little village in Russia. Everyone in the village said it was a public service. But seriously, this is not a time to indulge in traditional Yiddish humor. Or so my media advisors tell me.

Second, as a parent, every day I look into the eyes of my children, not only to make sure that they're not on drugs (they're not, thank God) but also to remind myself of the legacy I will leave behind. As Miss America 1988, Kaye Lani Rae Rafko, once said, "Our children are America's future." I agree. And I have made a solemn pledge to my children that I will leave this planet in at least as good a condition as I found it--if not better.

Third, I have been inspired by the example of some recent candidates for our nation's highest office: former Tennessee governor Lamar Alexander, eccentric businessman Ross Perot, Reagan-era functionary Alan Keyes, and tire king Morry Taylor. When I looked at them I said to myself, "Hey, I can do that!" The decision to run for president is not one that is made casually. I am well aware of the toll this will take on my family and on Colin Powell, who will never hear the end of it if I win.

Furthermore, campaigning for president can be a full-time job, leaving very little time for making money by developing concepts for sitcoms, let alone writing entire scripts. Nevertheless, both I and my therapist believe that I am fully prepared for the task that lies ahead, physically, mentally, and emotionally, as long as I keep up with our regular Tuesday and Thursday sessions and group on Saturday.

But the decision was not mine and my therapist's alone. There was a third person involved. The most important person in my life. Franni Franken is not just my wife, not just the mother of my children, not just the woman who cleans my house--she's also my best friend. By that I mean we have sex together. But after the sex, we often have a conversation. That's what makes us not just friends but best friends. This is not to say that if you and your spouse are not friends, that you shouldn't vote for me. Because I know what that's like too. God knows, we've had our problems. When I told Franni that I was going to run for president, she said, "Fine. If that'll make you happy." That's the kind of woman she is. So, she's on board.

My children, on the other hand, were another matter. Both Joe and Thomasin felt that as members of the First Family they would be living under a microscope with no privacy whatsoever; that the twenty-fourhour-a-day news cycle and modern, sophisticated electronic news-gathering techniques would afford them no opportunity to grow up in anything resembling a normal household. My teenage daughter, Thomasin, who is just getting her feet wet in the dating "scene," whined that trusting her private life in these delicate years to the pledged word and promised restraint of the nation's bottom-line-obsessed, cutthroat news media was no better than leaving a starving fox to guard a fully stocked henhouse. Her little brother, Joe, added that no matter how much they would try, his peers at school could not help but treat him differently if he were the son of the President and that he feared losing the companionship of close friends during this crucial formative period and even his very innocence itself.

Kids!

In our family we make important decisions by consensus. Everyone--Franni, Joe, Thomasin, and myself--must agree before we embark upon major life changes. (That's why we never bought that DeLorean I wanted.) It was time for a family meeting.

On a rainy Sunday afternoon in March our family gathered around the kitchen table, as so many other American families do, whether to cope with a family crisis, tell a joke, watch a sporting event, play cards, discuss a string of unsolved rapes in the neighborhood, or just have a snack.

While my advisors waited anxiously in the next room, I laid out the pros and cons of a campaign for the presidency and shared my vision for America's future with my family. I described for my kids an America where every child, not just the children of the privileged few, would have clean water, access to the Internet, and regular vaccinations.

"You're just pulling this stuff out of your ass to make us feel guilty," Thomasin said. "I didn't ask to be inoculated."

Franni came in on my side like a true champion. "Thomasin! If your dad's going to be president, you won't be able to use words like ass at the dinner table."

"My point exactly," Thomasin replied.

"And if your dad is president, you won't be able to answer back either," Franni riposted.

"Right," Thomasin said, rolling her eyes. "Mom, you're not doing yourself any good here."

Sensing the wisdom of her daughter's words, Franni decided to change tack and snuck me a conspiratorial look that seemed to say, "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar."

"Honey, you know how important being president is to your dad. And I'm sure he understands how much you dislike the idea of his being president. But this is something he wants us to agree on as a family. So, what if Dad took us all to Hawaii for spring vacation? You'd feel better about Dad running for president then, wouldn't you?"

Franni was on to something. Because she spends so much more time with the children than I do, she knew how much a simple ten-thousand-dollar vacation to Hawaii would mean to a status-seeking Manhattan teenager. But it was my son, Joe, who provided the clincher.

"Thomasin, let's just take the trip. A.) He'll never win. And B.) The Simpsons is on."

And so, a month later, jet-lagged, tanned, and with my family fimmly behind me, I began my quest to lead the world, trusting in God to show me the way.

THE JOURNEY BEGINS

My dad, Hemman Franken, used to say that if you want to know where a man stands, you've got to know how he got to where he's standing. Dad wasn't so good with words, but I think you can see what he was driving at.

I was born in a nondescript ranch house, the son of the son of immigrants and the son of a daughter of a son and daughter of immigrants.

We lived in a little town called Christhaven, Minnesota. We were the only Jews for miles. My father owned and ran Franken's Department Store, which by the time I was born had only three departments: lawn furniture, men's work clothes, and driveway sealants. Modern inventory techniques had not yet made their way to Christhaven.

Dad instilled in me the values of hard work and thrift. I always used to tell him that if he fired some of his lazy and slow-witted employees, who frankly had very little to do anyway, that he wouldn't have to work so hard or be so thrifty. But he also believed in loyalty. Also, he said that the Gentiles brought in business.

In addition to loyalty, hard work, and thrift, Dad felt that trust--even when it meant extending credit to our deadbeat neighbors--was important, although I realized early on what Dad seemed not to: that trust would only lead to more hard work and thriftiness.

Dad also believed in the innate goodness of human nature, and that everyone deserved a second chance. One of my earliest memories of my father is him giving a youthful shoplifter a stern lecture and then a free candy bar instead of calling the police. Perhaps that's why Franken's was so popular with Christhaven's many shoplifters.

Ironically, when his business finally went under, after the store had been foreclosed on by the bank and our assets attached by Dad's creditors, leaving us with nothing but a mountain of unpaid bills, no one gave Dad a second chance. Always a proud man, convinced that Franken's would soon reopen with more departments than ever, Dad refused to declare bankruptcy, leading to the first of several short jail terms.

I don't know exactly when Dad started to become bitter and disillusioned, but I think it might have been in jail. Because when he resumed from his second stretch in prison, Dad seemed not to be motivated by hard work, thriftiness, loyalty, trust, or innate faith in human goodness so much anymore. He seemed to be motivated by revenge.

Dad sued the town for the very first time when I was just eleven.

It was Christmastime. Dad had never mentioned to me how much Christhaven's lavish Nativity display in the town square had bothered him. But judging by the vehemence with which he now began to attack it in court, it must have stuck in his craw for quite some time. Working with an ACLU lawyer he had met while serving time, Dad sued the town, demanding that it either dismantle the manger scene or erect an equally magnificent menorah.

I'll never forget the sight of the wrecking ball knocking the heads off the Three Kings while my dad merrily waved the court order under the mayor's nose. It was then that I realized what one man with a good lawyer can accomplish.

While Dad seemed to have found a new lust for life, his new hobby--suing the town--was not one the whole family could enjoy. In fact, we think that my brother Otto's drinking problem and sex addiction can be traced back to some of the difficulties that he and I encountered in school as the result of my father's notoriety. My mother still weeps when she recounts the story of how Otto and I came home from school one day, swastikas drawn on our foreheads with blue Magic Markers.

There was no mistaking it. This was anti-Semitism. It was as plain as the swastika on my forehead.

It's hard to imagine now, but in 1962 many people felt that only members of certain religious groups, such as Presbyterians and Episcopalians, for example, were qualified to be president. In fact, America had just elected (and was about to shoot) its first Catholic president. In 1960, when John F. Kennedy launched his bid for the White House, there were many, my parents among them, who believed that a Catholic was unfit to serve as America's leader; that all Catholics were in thrall to their puppet master in Rome: the Pope; that they were intellectually ill-equipped for anything more than brutish manual labor and the hollow re-creation of excessive devotion to the superstitious hocus-pocus of their beloved Mother Church.

Irish Catholics in particular were regarded as drunkards and loutish potato eaters who, given half a chance, would sooner spend their last dime in the neighborhood saloon than buy food for their drooling simpleton of a wife and her innumerable brood of squalling infants, each one an unwelcome addition to the Pope's legions of brainless drones.

That was then.

Now, in 1999, only Arabs are held in the sort of contempt once reserved for Catholics, Jews, and Communists. It will still be many years before America has its first Arab president but I hope I am alive to see that day. Also, I think it will be a long time before we see a Hispanic president. Also, blacks.

As it turned out, President Kennedy was one of our greatest and most noble leaders who imbued the office of the presidency with a single-minded devotion to only the loftiest of ideals for the betterment of both our nation and the world. His heroic example and irreproachable moral standing still inspire us today every time we look at a half dollar (the heads side).

But standing there in front of the mirror in 1962,1 didn't know much about that. I only knew that I was a little boy with a backward swastika drawn on my head. And I knew one more thing: I knew that prejudice, no matter what form it takes, is bad.

As I scrubbed my forehead, first with soap and water and then with an acetone-based cleaning fluid, I swore that day on the grave of my father, yet to be dug, that I would not let small-minded bigotry or widespread prejudice stop me from fulfilling my destiny. I wouldn't restrict my sights to the traditional "Jewish" professions of medicine, law, accounting, and dentistry. I would make my mark in a sphere of endeavor previously regarded as "off-limits" to my people: show business.

At that time, the number of successful Jews in the performing arts could be counted on one hand: Irving Berlin, Jerry Lewis, Kirk Douglas, Charlie Chaplin, George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, Eddie Fisher, and Elizabeth Taylor. That was it. Eight Jews. Plus, four of the six Three Stooges. Also, Yitzhak Perlman, but this was years before he acknowledged he was Jewish.

Where am I? Oh yes. Anti-Semitism. It is a scourge that has been with us for centuries, this century being particularly bad. And that's why I want to be your president.

Don't get me wrong. As the first Jewish president of the United States, I am not going to be president of the Jews. I am going to be president for all Americans, Jews and anti-Semites alike. But even before I've signed my first bill or held my first cabinet meeting or given my first order to the joint chiefs of staff, I will have accomplished something very important for our nation. I will have demolished a stereotype: that a Jew lacks what it takes to be president. That we're too insecure, too guilt-ridden, too obsessed with food and eating. All the lies that have been used to oppress us ever since we made the mistake of killing Jesus Christ.

Battling anti-Semitism in all its forms, whether it be manger scenes or movie theaters that stayed open after sundown on Friday night, was the legacy of Herman Franken. It was a legacy I was to inherit prematurely when Dad was killed by an overdose of nitrous oxide while getting a deep cleaning well below the gumline from Dr. Knutsen, a Gentile dentist. It was small comfort that my father, never a happy man, had probably died laughing. Ironically, Dad's notoriety as a litigant brought his family financial security only after his death. Mom didn't even have to threaten to sue. Representatives from Dr. Knutsen's insurance company were there at the funeral with a large ceremonial check.

While some saw simply a large ceremonial check, I saw a magic carpet that would whisk me eastward and somewhat southward to Harvard, made famous in the film Love Story and later in Good Will Hunting. It was at Harvard that I would first mingle with our country's "best and brightest" and learn from them what it meant to be both "best" and "brightest" during one of America's "worst" and "darkest" times.

DAYS OF DECISION

I arrived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the fall of 1969, with a suitcase full of clothes and heart full of hope. Mostly, I hoped I wouldn't go to Vietnam.

It's not that I took issue with the courage and honor of our brave men fighting in the jungles of Southeast Asia eleven thousand miles from my dorm. But I had begun to question the wisdom of our leaders after events like the Tet Offensive, the mining of Haiphong Harbor, and the receipt of a letter from my local draft board.

There are many ways for a young man to serve his country. Being drafted into the military is one way. But I learned about another way from my new friends at Harvard, the children of America's power elite, particularly my roommate, Cabot Stanton Hollingshead IV. Early in our collegiate careers Cabot guaranteed his standing as a "Big Man on Campus" by building what was, at the time, Harvard's largest bong. Our two-room suite in Hollingshead Hall became a Mecca for late-night bull sessions during which we, America's future leaders, would "hash" out the "burning" issues of the day. If you know what I'm saying.

Our circle of friends was divided into two camps. The first felt that it was our moral obligation to fight the imperialist aggression of America's racist military-industrial establishment by any means necessary, even if it meant avoiding the draft. The second group just didn't want to die.

I could see the validity of both arguments. And I availed myself of every opportunity to protest the war. In retrospect, the manner in which we protested was not always constructive or mature. For example, there was the time Cabot and I freed all the animals in the Boston Zoo while high on some killer weed we got from his cousin Hollingshead Stanton Cabot VI, now Senator Cabot (R-TX.).

However, in fairness to Cabot and myself, the photograph of a little girl running naked down Newberry Street while being chased by a galloping giraffe and the picture of an orangutan being executed with a single pistol shot to the head by Boston's chief of police remain two of the most indelible and searing images of that tumultuous era, and undoubtedly served to shorten the war.

In light of the fact that my responsibilities as a student prevented me from serving in the military, some may wonder whether, as president, I would have the moral authority to send our troops, gay or straight, into harm's way. The answer: an emphatic yes.

First of all, if our choice of commander-in-chief were limited to only those who served in the military, we would have to pick from the ranks of dubiously qualified presidential wannabes like John McCain, Bob Kerrey, and Colin Powell.

As for the myth that someone who has not experienced the horrors of war firsthand would be all too eager to send our young men into battle at the drop of a hat, I say that while that might apply to some people, like Newt Gingrich, it wouldn't be true in my case. As for the opposite argument, that someone who has not worn our uniform would be too insecure to put our brave young men and women at risk to defend our vital national interests, all I can say is don't worry about that.

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First Chapter

Chapter One: The Courage to Dare

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Broder once wrote something to the effect that "anyone who's willing to do what it takes to be president should be immediately disqualified."And that's why I want to be your president.

As a regular voter for most of my adult life, I have grown to share the average American's disgust with "politics as usual."

Year after year, election after election, we've seen candidates prostitute themselves on the altar of special interests: corporate fat cats, six-figure lobbyists in Italian loafers, women, gays, and the so-called disadvantaged. Is it any wonder that with each passing election we've witnessed lower and lower voter turnout as the public skepticism turns to cynicism, which leads to apathy and despair, which can cause sleeplessness, dry-mouth, and loss of sex drive? And that's why I want to be your president.

The reason I'm running is very simple: to restore America's lost faith in its leaders. Of course, the high-paid media pundits may say this claim is grandiose, that I'm not qualified, that I'm deluded or even seriously mentally ill.

But I think the American people know better.

Yes, I know the job of President of the United States can be a difficult one. Full of challenges, decisions, and meetings. Furthermore, a president must diplomatic and statesmanlike, which sometimes can mean being nice to people he doesn't like. As the leader of the world's only remaining superpower, the President can ignite nuclear Armageddon at the touch of a button, killing billions. That is a responsibility not to be taken lightly.

Yes, the President does earn two hundred thousand dollars a year. But when you break that down on an hourly basis, it's no more than a union plumber in the New York City public school system or a third-rate heart surgeon, neither of whom confronts life and death decisions on a daily basis, except the heart surgeon. Still, by the standards of the forgotten middle class, the working poor, and the not-working poor, two hundred thousand dollars is a nice chunk of change. But, unlike some of the candidates I'll be running against, for me the money is secondary.

I recognize that any president necessarily stands on the shoulders of giants: Washington, Lincoln, etc. Anyone running for president must wrestle with the nagging suspicion that he somehow doesn't "measure up" to Washington and Lincoln and the others. But self-doubt is a luxury, and anyone who knows Al Franken knows that he selects his luxuries very, very carefully. And that's why I want to be your president.

My inspiration to run for president is threefold. First, there is the Franken family tradition of public service, which began back in the old country when my uncle Moishe left his little village in Russia. Everyone in the village said it was a public service. But seriously, this is not a time to indulge in traditional Yiddish humor. Or so my media advisors tell me.

Second, as a parent, every day I look into the eyes of my children, not only to make sure that they're not on drugs they're not, thank God but also to remind myself of the legacy I will leave behind. As Miss America 1988, Kaye Lani Rae Rafko, once said, "Our children are America's future." I agree. And I have made a solemn pledge to my children that I will leave this planet in at least as good a condition as I found it -- if not better.

Third, I have been inspired by the example of some recent candidates for our nation's highest office: former Tennessee governor Lamar Alexander, eccentric businessman Ross Perot, Reagan-era functionary Alan Keyes, and tire king Morry Taylor. When I looked at them I said to myself, "Hey, I can do that!" The decision to run for president is not one that is made casually. I am well aware of the toll this will take on my family and on Colin Powell, who will never hear the end of it if I win.

Furthermore, campaigning for president can be a full-time job, leaving very little time for making money by developing concepts for sitcoms, let alone writing entire scripts. Nevertheless, both I and my therapist believe I am fully prepared for the task the lies ahead, physically, mentally, and emotionally, as long as I keep up with our regular Tuesday and Thursday sessions and group on Saturday.

But the decision was not mine and my therapist's alone. There was a third person involved. The most important person in my life. Franni Franken is not just my wife, not just the mother of my children, not just the women who cleans my house -- she's also my best friend. By that I mean we have sex together. But after the sex, we often have a conversation. That's what makes us not just friends but best friends. This is not to say that if you and your spouse are not friends, that you shouldn't vote for me. Because I know what that's like too. God knows, we've had our problems. When I told Franni that I was going to run for president, she said, "Fine. If that'll make you happy." That's the kind of woman she is. So, she's on board.

My children, on the other hand, were another matter. Both Joe and Thomasin felt that as members of the First Family they would be living under a microscope with no privacy whatsoever; that the twenty-four-hour-a-day news cycle and modern, sophisticated electronic news-gathering techniques would afford them no opportunity to grow up in anything resembling a normal household. My teenage daughter, Thomasin, who is just getting her feet wet in the dating "scene," whined that trusting her private life in these delicate years to the pledged word and promised restraint of the nation's bottom-line-obsessed, cutthroat news media was no better than leaving a starved fox to guard a fully stocked henhouse. Her little brother, Joe, added that no matter how much they would try, his peers at school could not help but treat him differently if he were the son of the President and that he feared losing the companionship of close friends during this crucial formative period and even his very innocence itself.

Kids!

In our family we make important decisions by consensus. Everyone -- Franni, Joe, Thomasin, and myself -- must agree before we embark upon major life changes. That's why we never bought that DeLorean I wanted. it was time for a family meeting.

On a rainy Sunday afternoon in March our family gathered around the kitchen table, as so many other American families do, whether to cope with a family crisis, tell a joke, watch a sporting event, play cards, discuss a string of unsolved rapes in the neighborhood, or just have a snack.

While my advisors waited anxiously in the next room, I laid out the pros and cons of a campaign for the presidency and shared my vision for America's future with my family. I described for my kids an America where every child, not just the children of a privileged few, would have clean water, access to the Internet, and regular vaccinations.

"You're just pulling this stuff out of your ass to make us feel guilty," Thomasin said. "I didn't ask to be inoculated."

Franni came in on my side like a true champion. "Thomasin! If your dad's going to be president, you won't be able to use words like ass at the dinner table."

"My point exactly," Thomasin replied.

"And if your dad is president, you won't be able to answer back, either," Franni riposted.

"Right," Thomasin said, rolling her eyes. "Mom, you're not doing yourself any good here."

Sensing the wisdom of her daughter's words, Franni decided to change tack and snuck me a conspiratorial look that seemed to say "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar."

"Honey, you know how important being president is to your dad. And I'm sure he understands how much you dislike the idea of his being president. But this is something he wants us to agree on as a family. So, what if Dad took us all to Hawaii for spring vacation? You'd feel better about Dad running for president then, wouldn't you?"

Franni was on to something. Because she spends so much more time with the children than I do, she knew how much a simple ten-thousand-dollar vacation to Hawaii would mean to a status-seeking Manhattan teenager. But it was my son, Joe, who provided the clincher.

"Thomasin, let's just take the trip. A. He'll never win. And B. The Simpsons is on."

And so, a month later, jet-lagged, tanned, and with my family firmly behind me, I began my quest to lead the world, trusting in God to show me the way.

Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Copyright © 1999 Al Franken, Inc.

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Interviews & Essays

On Wednesday, January 20th, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Al Franken to discuss WHY NOT ME?.


Moderator: Welcome, Al Franken! Thank you for taking the time to join us online this afternoon. How are you doing today?

Al Franken: Very well, thank you.


Niki from Niki_palek@yahoo.com: Last night Bret Easton Ellis was online discussing his bestselling satirical account of '90s celebritism. Now you have a sure-to-be bestseller satirical account of politics. What does this say about our society? Politics and entertainment have both gone to hell as we approach the millennium? Only 346 days to 2000. Does that scare you?

Al Franken: Actually, the millennium doesn't begin until January 1, 2001, so I wish everyone would just stop being so excited and calm down.


John from Peekskill, NY: How close is Al Freundlich to your own personality?

Al Franken: There's a lot of Al Freundlich in me. Al cares about what he does and is a news junkie, and is sometimes a little clueless about his effect on other people, and he's very aggressive in getting the news, and sometimes I may be a little too aggressive in doing my comedy.


Lauren from Santa Monica, CA: What's the story with your TV show? Was I dreaming or is it really coming back?

Al Franken: Well, it came back, and has been on the air for the last couple of weeks on Wednesday nights. It will be off the air during sweeps in February but will return in March on Tuesday nights, which evidently is a must-see night, or so NBC tells me. And we're on tonight at 9pm ET.


Melissa from Tupelo, Mississippi: Does your wife think you're funny? What about your kids if you have any?

Al Franken: My wife thinks I'm funny, and both my kids think I'm funny. And I think they're funny...except my wife.


Jo from Virginia: I would like to know why Mr. Franken selected chronic fatigue as his illness and how much research he did before he wrote about this particular disease.

Al Franken: Actually, in my book, the President, who is me, just gets depressed, and the press secretary calls it chronic fatigue syndrome because he doesn't want the people to know the president is depressed. I take pains in the book to explain that chronic fatigue syndrome is a physical disease and is not the same as depression.


L. T. Wheeler from Sunnyside/L.I.C., NY: Mr. Franken, the nature of my three questions relate to books. 1. What book has influenced you the most, besides your own? : 2. What is your favorite book either given to you or just your own damn favorite ones -- names of authors, too. 3. For what reason might you attribute such an influence upon your own works? P.S. Do you enjoy Umberto Eco?

Al Franken: Well, I think ANIMAL FARM, which I read when I was in high school, sort of got me on the satire mode. I like WHAT IT TAKES by Richard Ben Cramer, and A BRIGHT SHINING LIE by Neil Sheehan. I don't understand the third question, and I've never read Umberto Eco.


Francine from New York City: What would you consider the inspiration behind WHY NOT ME?

Al Franken: I guess I wrote it because after I wrote the Rush Limbaugh book, a number of people came up to me and said that I should run for office, and I tried to explain that I would be a terrible officeholder, and that sort of gave me the idea of writing a book about how awful I would be.


Jill from Beverly Hills, CA: Your comedy has become really politically focused in the last few years. Why the focus? Do you miss doing other things? Or is it just because that's where the big bucks are right now?

Al Franken: Well, to a great extent, "Lateline" is not a political show. Some people think it is, but it is a classic sitcom, or I like to think so. So to me, in that show I am doing comedy in a sitcom with a little satire thrown in. And by the way, it's on tonight at 9.... Also, with the success of the Rush book, I've been able to indulge my interest in politics, which has been a lifelong interest.


Julie from Orchard Park, NY: Are there many political or sociological trends that frighten Al Franken?

Al Franken: Yes. I guess the most frightening trend to me is the incredible partisanship we're seeing. Most members of Congress now, particularly the House, are much more partisan than they used to be. A lot of this has to do with redistricting: If you look at all the Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, each one of them comes from a safe district. So you have a majority of the members from the committee coming from districts where perhaps a majority of their constituents wanted the President impeached, so the thing gained a momentum that I don't think it would have had 20 years ago.


Hunter Mason from Cobb County, GA: How dare you make fun of Rush Limbaugh. If you and Mr. Limbaugh were to ever have a political debate, he would eat you alive!

Al Franken: Actually, I challenged Rush to debate many times, and he has declined. Rush isn't very good with other people who disagree with him. In fact, he created the format that is known as "unguested confrontation."


Jen from Jersey City, NJ: Your book seems to be as much about the press as it is about the politicians. Could you talk about this? What's going on in the media today?

Al Franken: Well, yes, the book does go into the way the press covers my campaign, and so the reader gets to see the campaign from the inside and then the way it's covered. I particularly like the Bob Woodward book which covers the first 100 days of my presidency, called THE VOID. Like Woodward books, it includes a lot of unnecessary detail, which proves he's done a lot of research but nevertheless misses what's really happening.


Moss Jacobs from Los Angeles: What's so hilarious about your comedy and your books is the stream-of-consciousness way a lot of it comes out. You say what other people think but won't utter, with a heavy dose of your unique worldview thrown in. Is what we read in your books pretty much the way you write/think? Or is there a lot of editing that appears seamless?

Al Franken: Wow! Thank you! I'd give you a good answer to this, but I'd really have to sit down and write it out and then edit it.


Chris from Wilmington, DE: What, if anything, do you miss about "Saturday Night Live"?

Al Franken: I miss the opportunity to comment on things through sketches live on TV that week. At "SNL," when there would be a big event in the week, we would often wait till Friday night to write the sketch because things were changing so fast. There was a certain exhilaration to that, and a real ability to comment on things as they were happening.


Chris Hickman from Tucson, AZ: Once I had the opportunity to listen to Al Franken at an appearance arranged by Tony Hall in Dayton, OH. Needless to say, it was undeniably a treat. My question for the author is as follows: Despite all the negative ramifications from the current impeachment, might there, in his opinion, be any positive outcome as well?

Al Franken: I guess the most positive outcome of this whole scandal, I think, is that husbands and wives have begun to discuss what does and does not constitute adultery. For example, my wife told me that she considers oral sex adultery, which I guess explains why we haven't had any since we've been married.


Robyn from Tampa Bay, FL: What advice would Stuart Smalley give to Monica Lewinsky?

Al Franken: Probably that she should maybe go to OA and FA. She obviously...I think it would help relieve some stress, and God bless her.


Vince D. from Northport, NY: This book sounds like it would be a great movie! Are there any plans to make a film out of this? A mock documentary, perhaps?

Al Franken: That would be fun -- I haven't pursued it, because I've been so busy with my TV show, but I've actually given it some thought.


Benny from Bennington, VT: I loved RUSH LIMBAUGH IS A BIG FAT IDIOT! How does the character Al Franken in your book match up to your own political sentiments?

Al Franken: The Al Franken character in my new book is a big asshole, so he's not really me, obviously.


Thomas S. Owens from Marshalltown, Iowa: "Lateline" is a classic, like the old "Murphy Brown" and "Mary Tyler Moore Show" combined. Al, will we see off-camera lives of any more "Lateline" characters? And did you pick up any satirical-writing pointers from the lying child author who Representative Hype, I mean Hyde, made famous by reading the eight-year-old's confession letter on the Senate floor?

Al Franken: Well, thank you for liking "Lateline," and yes, we will learn more about each character as the show continues. The lying child I think was lying when he said that he lied because President Clinton lied. I think he was just lying.


Pac87@aol.com from xx: I read your last book and loved it. I can't wait to read more of your nonfiction essays. I think you have a wit about your essays that is unparalleled. Who in your opinion is the greatest satirist of the 20th century? Who are a couple at the top of your list if you even have a list?

Al Franken: The 20th century...let's see.... I actually really like Garrison Keillor. I'm not sure if you would call him a satirist, but I think he's great. George Orwell was pretty darn good. I guess Twain died in this century, so how about Twain? Then there's the comics, like Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce, and in a way, I think Bob and Ray were the greatest satirists of their time.


Diana Helmer from Marshalltown, Iowa: You called yourself a "mushball liberal Democrat" in USA Today. Please define. We may belong to the same species!

Al Franken: A mushball liberal is someone who is for affirmative action but understands why people are against it, is for a woman's right to abortion but understands why people are against it, et cetera, et cetera.


Angie Jacobs from Anaheim, CA: WHY NOT ME? would make an amazing movie. And perhaps you'll host "SNL" in the interim and treat us all to a bit where you show us a glimmer of the new president in action? Your writing on "SNL" was the absolute best.

Al Franken: Well, thank you, and I'd love to do "SNL" again, as the host or in any way Lorne would see fit to use me. Of course, I'm talking about when I actually have the time....


Jay Mitchell from Naperville, IL: If you were president, and in President Clinton's shoes right now, how would you have handled the situation differently?

Al Franken: If I was in his shoes right now, I would be doing what he's doing. If I was in his shoes the first day he met Monica Lewinsky, I would have walked away from her in the shoes.


Ellen from Oak Park, IL: Your comedy has quite a consistently political bent to it. How did you first become interested in politics? Do you consider yourself a political satirist?

Al Franken: Yes, I do consider myself a political satirist, which is a subset of comedian, and mainly I consider myself a comedian. I grew up in a home where news and politics were very important. My dad was a Republican and my mom was a Democrat, but they both shared certain values that were very important to me and my brother. In fact, my dad became a Democrat in 1964 when Barry Goldwater opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act.


Rich from Houston: I'm assuming you watched the State of the Union last night. I'm not going to ask what you thought of the President or his speech. What I thought was really annoying were GOP rebuttal speeches after. Any comment on those idiots?

Al Franken: I actually didn't see them. I put my kids to bed instead. I did hear some reports that Steve Largent did not come off very well. But he was a great football player.


Greg from Houston, TX: Any chance of another Stuart Smalley movie?

Al Franken: I've discovered that movie studios don't like to make sequels of movies that lost $15 million. If that doesn't tell you what show business is all about, I don't know what does.


Jim from Grayling, Michigan: I would have voted for you. Please reconsider. If Bill "I love your lips" Clinton can get elected, then so can you.

Al Franken: Well, read my book, and I think you'll change your mind!


Jay Mitchell from Naperville, IL: Do you intend your books to affect and alter the reader's political views, or are you just content with that as a related outcome?

Al Franken: On the Rush Limbaugh book, I definitely was trying to convince people at least that Rush was deliberately distorting the information he gave out on the radio, and tried to make a case against the Gingrich revolution. This book is more an entertainment, I think. But it is meant to be a scathing satire of the political system, because I create a satire in which I could win, which would be a terrible, terrible thing.


Jennifer from Bryn Mawr, PA: You certainly seem to stir up a lot of controversy and ire with all kinds of people Rush Limbaugh drones, et cetera. Do you try to get people upset on purpose, or is it just a by-product of your wit?

Al Franken: I don't try to upset anybody, but I've learned that if you don't upset someone, you're probably not doing your job.


G. W. Bush from Texas: You're the best, AF. What is your next project?

Al Franken: I hope my next project is making more episodes of "Lateline." By the way, it's on tonight at 9pm ET. It's a good episode -- it has G. Gordon Liddy in it!


Paul from Morris Plains, NJ: Would you consider Evelyn Waugh a literary influence?

Al Franken: No, because I've never read Evelyn Waugh, but I understand that I should!


Kathryn from MA: Where do you see things headed with the impeachment and in the wake of this debacle?

Al Franken: I think we may see a long trial, which I think is too bad. But I've just grown to expect the worst as far as this whole thing is concerned. Eventually I think the President will be acquitted, but not until we've heard Monica Lewinsky respond to questions about what parts of her body the President touched.


Bearly from Hollywood: Hey, Al! Could you please share a nice Jerry story with all of us Deadheads out here missing him? I know you must have some good ones....

Al Franken: Well, last time I saw Jerry, I introduced him to my daughter, who at the time was 14, and she was obviously thrilled, and it was like 112 degrees, because we were in Las Vegas. Anyway, I subsequently heard about Jerry's death from my daughter, who called me from camp and said, "Dad, is it true?" And I wish it hadn't been, because I would have loved to have heard the guys play in the millennium.


Iain from Queens, NY: What are the funniest parts of the body?

Al Franken: The funniest part of the body is also the sexiest part of the body, and choose either the mind or the feet.


Jan from California: Are you friends with Arianna Huffington, or is that just PR?

Al Franken: Yes, I am friends with the beautiful but evil Arianna.


Moderator: Thanks for chatting with us this evening, Al Franken. Best of luck with WHY NOT ME? Any words of wisdom for your online fans?

Al Franken: Sure, watch "Lateline" tonight! It's on at 9pm ET. Bye-bye, and thank you.


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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2002

    One of the funniest books I've ever read.

    I bought this book a long time ago, and it has been sitting on my nightstand collecting dust for months. I finally got around to reading it, and lemme tell you...it is one of the best books I've ever read. I was laughing out loud every other page. Get this book! Al Franken is so talented!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2000

    Franked does it again

    Franken's first book since Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot is very different from the Limbaugh book, but is again a very funny read. Franken is highly creative in his exploration of the primary stage of the run for president, and also in his actions after he assums the role of the presidency. The book is definitly worth reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2000

    Great Political Satire

    Mr. Franken kills with this book. This book could only come from a mind like his. Absolutely brilliant, and one of the funniest books I have ever read. 'Otto explained that [the reporter] was suffering from a severe case of 'board poisoning.'' Vote for Mr. Franken for President this year! Or Ralph Nader.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2000

    Awesome!!!

    The book is great. It is absolutely hilarious. This is a must for anyone who enjoys political satire.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2000

    On the Mark!

    Al Franken has done it again. Carefully weaving fact and (mostly) fiction, Franken has successful skewered the world of modern politics. This is a great election year read for both the politicos and those fed up with the entire system.

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