…This story about Al Franken dissing Ted Cruz should do the trick

Minnesota Senator Al Franken has a new book coming out entitled Giant of the Senate. From the description, it sounds like a fascinating look at how Franken eked out a razor-thin victory to put him in the United States Senate, and discovered he had a talent for governing:

This is a book about an unlikely campaign that had an even more improbable ending: the closest outcome in history and an unprecedented eight-month recount saga, which is pretty funny in retrospect.

It’s a book about what happens when the nation’s foremost progressive satirist gets a chance to serve in the United States Senate and, defying the low expectations of the pundit class, actually turns out to be good at it.

It’s a book about our deeply polarized, frequently depressing, occasionally inspiring political culture, written from inside the belly of the beast.

Writing about his time in the Senate thus far, Senator Franken dedicated an entire chapter to just one of his colleagues–Senator Ted Cruz, a man who is reportedly deeply despised by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Jonathon Tilove, the chief political writer for the Austin American-Statesman, has shared a portion of this chapter on Twitter. Senator Franken is careful to detail why he feels justified in calling out Ted Cruz specifically:

For what it’s worth, I feel fully justified in doing so, because Ted Cruz violated basic Senate protocol himself when he went to the floor and called Mitch McConnell a liar. It was the sort of thing that just isn’t done, a breach of decorum so shocking that even I haven’t committed it. And I love calling people liars!

Anyway, here’s the thing that you have to understand about Ted Cruz. I like Ted Cruz more than most of my colleagues like Ted Cruz. And I hate Ted Cruz.

Snort. Senator Franken does not stop there. He relayed this hilarious story about his Minnesota colleague, Senator Amy Klobuchar, asking for guidance with a joke she was going to deliver at the annual Gridiron Club dinner, an event that typically features the president of the United States, various elected representatives, and members of the media. The joke was about Ted Cruz. Senator Franken tagged along as Senator Klobuchar spoke to Senator Cruz about the joke beforehand and, whelp–read the exchange for yourself:

“Ted,” Amy smiled, “I’ve written a joke about you for the Gridiron, and I wanted to get your okay.”

“Sure,” Ted smiled back. “What’s the joke?”

“Well,” Amy smiled, “here it is: ‘When most people think of a difficult cruise, they think of Carnival. But we Democrats in the Senate think of Ted.'”

I noticed, of course, that she had softened the joke a bit, changing “a bad cruise” to “a difficult cruise” and changing “we think of Ted” to “we Democrats in the Senate think of Ted.”

Ted smiled. Then he offered a suggestion. “What if you changed ‘a difficult cruise’ to ‘a challenging cruise’?”

Oh my God. What a putz! Now the joke isn’t funny. I could tell that Amy was thinking the same thing. And so could Ted. So before Amy could respond, he smiled even more broadly and said magnanimously, “I’ll tell you what. I believe in the First Amendment. You go ahead and tell your joke.”

Wow, that was patronizing! I decided to step in.

“Say, Ted,” I smiled. “I did a rewrite of Amy’s joke, and I think it’s a lot better. Want to hear it?”

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Amy having two successive thoughts: 1. “Oh no–Al’s not going to do this!” 2. “But I definitely want to be here if he does.”

Ted was still smiling. “Sure!”

“Okay. Here it is: ‘When most people think of a cruise that’s full of shit, they think of Carnival. But we think of Ted.”

And there went Ted’s smile. For once, he had no words.

I nodded, turned around, and walked away.

From all of us in the peanut gallery, thank you Senator Franken.

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