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Krugman Says Al Franken's Big Secret Is: He's A Policy Wonk

I just loved this little tidbit from Paul Krugman this morning: David Broder has a column this morning calling for bipartisanship. I know, you’re

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I just loved this little tidbit from Paul Krugman this morning:

David Broder has a column this morning calling for bipartisanship. I know, you’re shocked. But what struck me was this bit about Al Franken:

Franken, the loud-mouthed former comedian, will be the 60th member of the Senate Democratic caucus …

Two points.

First, implicit in this characterization of Franken is the notion of the Senate as a decorous gentlemen’s club. I doubt that club ever existed in reality; but in any case, these days the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body is, not to put too fine a point on it, chock full o’ nuts. James Inhofe: I rest my case.

Second, Al Franken’s dirty secret is that … he’s a big policy wonk.

I used to go on Franken’s radio show, all ready to be jocular — and what he wanted to talk about was the arithmetic of Social Security, or the structure of Medicare Part D.

In fact, the only elected official I know who’s wonkier than Al Franken is Rush Holt, my congressman — and he used to be the assistant director of Princeton’s plasma physics lab. (The campaign’s bumper stickers read, “My Congressman IS a rocket scientist.”)

So what will Franken do to the level of Senate discourse? He’ll raise it.

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