After arriving in the Senate in July after a bitterly contested recount, the former “Saturday Night Live” satirist immediately set out to prove that he was no court jester. He pursued Hillary Clinton’s expectations-defying model of bipartisan workhorse and convincingly assumed the role of diligent policy wonk.
But by so effectively suppressing the punch lines, Franken exposed an irascible, sometimes nasty side of his personality. In a chamber where goodwill helps a freshman rack up legislative achievements, that can be just as damaging.
Without humor to soften his acute observations, Franken’s naked sarcasm, short fuse and sense of showmanship ran amok, leading to public blowups with Republicans, private grievances among Democrats and attacks on senior Obama administration officials.