I read this book because I was promised an entire chapter devoted to s***-talking Ted Cruz, and Al Franken, Giant of the Senate did not disappoint.
Really. I added this book to my library requests within 5 minutes of reading online that Al Franken hates Ted Cruz and spent a chapter in his newest book detailing exactly why. Ted Cruz’s response was to complain that Sen. Franken was using him to get more liberals to read his book. Guess what, Ted? It worked.
In all seriousness, I probably would have read this anyway, but knowing I would get to enjoy a sweet, sweet takedown of Cruz was the icing on the cake. Al Franken, Giant of the Senate starts off with Al’s childhood and how he got his start at Saturday Night Live, before delving into his entrance into politics and his 2008 Senate race in Minnesota, which he won by 300 votes. If you’re interested in politics, there’s a lot of good stuff here about how Senators work together, how they develop ideas for bills, and what it takes to fundraise and campaign effectively. Franken points out that he actually likes most of his fellow Senators, even those on the opposite side of the political spectrum from him, and that he thinks it’s important to maintain cordial relations with them all, since they have to work together so closely (this makes his hatred of Cruz even more satisfying–he’s the only Senator that Franken says is impossible to work with).
If you’ve read any of Franken’s other books, you know that he delights in catching his opponents in a lie, or making them look like idiots. This is hilarious and deeply enjoyable to those of us who agree with Franken’s politics. Al Franken, Giant of the Senate does have less of that, since it’s structured more like an autobiography. It’s still highly entertaining and a good book for those of us who are worried about the future of the United States. There was a section on former Minnesota senator Paul Wellstone (now deceased) which actually made me get a lump in my throat (the title of this review is a Wellstone quote). Wellstone is Franken’s idol, and he writes with sincerity and heart about carrying on Wellstone’s legacy. It’s quite touching, and also comforting to know that there are some mature adults in the Senate who are dedicated to working for the people of the United States. I never would have guessed that the guy who played Stuart Smalley would be the Senator who made me feel that way.