This clip of Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) was making the rounds yesterday, and it's well worth watching. According to the person who posted the video, Franken was "staked out" by Tea Party activists at what looks like the state fair "and confronted him loudly when he arrived."Yes, please!
What's impressive about the 10-minute clip was the quality of the discussion about health care reform, and the fluency with which Franken addresses policy details. Most, but not all, of those pressing Franken on the issue were opposed to reform, and chances are, Franken probably wasn't able to change their minds. But notice how the senator guides the discussion, lowers the temperature, and deals with complex issues in a way non-wonks can understand.
No one screamed; no one compared reform advocates to Nazis; no one threatened anyone else. We're setting the bar a little low, but Franken's exchanges with his constituents was a good example of how political discourse is supposed to work.
But one other angle occurred to me while watching this: maybe Franken could take a higher profile among Democratic lawmakers?
If you don't get a chance to watch the clip, at least read Dustytrice.com's description:
I got to witness something really special the other day. About a dozen tea party activists had staked out Sen. Al Franken’s booth at the Minnesota State Fair and confronted him loudly when he arrived. But within minutes, he’d turned an unruly crowd into a productive conversation on health care. The discussion went from insurance reform, to the public option, to veterans benefits, to cap and trade. He made a few laugh and even told a touching story that moved a few to tears. A whole lot of common ground was found.I think he's gonna be one of the greats.
I’ll try to post the rest of the video soon. It was a great discussion!