THE BLOG

I Wonder If Al Franken Still Is Dismissive of Election Fraud Now

12/08/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I'm trying very hard to keep from gloating inwardly about Al Franken's plight, since, from
Election Day, 2004, he has always pointedly denied the evidence of fraud by the Republicans.

I was on his show on Air America just days after that election; and every time I noted yet
another piece of evidence that it was stolen, he would reflexively dismiss it with some
asinine banality or misconception. At one point, I mentioned a bizarre anomaly in Florida
(one of many), where the number of votes for Bush exceeded the number of voters in
that entire county.

"Oh, no," Franken said: "We looked into that," he said. "We talked to someone down there
--a Democrat!" I asked him for some more specifics. Just then his producer texted him,
and he read from his computer: "Oh, yeah, here it is. We talked to... the webmaster for the
Secretary of State. And he said there was nothing to it."

That Secretary of State was Glenda Hood, whom Jeb Bush had appointed to replace
Katherine Harris.

When the Conyers Report was published the next year, with an introduction by Gore Vidal,
the author was on "Real Time with Bill Maher" to talk about it--and Franken was on, too.
As ever, he denied that there'd been any fraud committed in Ohio. "I think they won dirty,"
he said solemnly, denying all those crimes and improprieties precisely documented in the
Conyers study (which he evidently hadn't read). He talked on and on in that vein, and
thereby managed to upstage Vidal, whose vital point was lost in all the blather.

On Wednesday, Randi Rhodes said, on her show, that Air America had discouraged her
from talking much about the GOP's election fraud, and suggested that Al Franken had a
hand in it.

This all matters greatly now--and not just because of yesterday's report that the e-voting
machines in Minnesota have turned out to be defective (or "defective"). Maybe Franken
will now face the facts about election fraud more realistically.

What matters most about his long refusal to discuss the problem is that it appears to have
been urged upon him by the Democratic Party, or those in it who were counseling him
as he prepared to run for office. When asked by regular people, as he often was (on his
book tour), exactly why he always pooh-poohed the whole subject, he would say,
"The people I listen to have told me there's nothing to it," or words to that effect.

This raises the larger question as to how, or if, the Democrats will now endeavor to
reform our voting system. The chances are that they won't do an honest job unless
we force them to it.

MCM