Politics are no laughing matter, but with little more than two weeks remaining before the Nov. 6 elections, Massachusetts Democrats looked for a shot in the arm from the so-called “clown” of the Democratic Party, Al Franken, the former SNL cast member turned U.S. Senator from Minnesota.
Franken was in Massachusetts Oct. 19 to support , the Republican incumbent, in a tight race many politicos expect will have ramifications far beyond the Commonwealth’s borders. And the stumping stopped here in Lexington Friday afternoon, as Franken and U.S. Rep Ed Markey joined a few more familiar faces to address an overflowing Depot building.
There were jokes aplenty, for sure, but the message was a serious one, and the importance of this race—between Brown and Warren—for Democrats, resonated in all remarks delivered before a highly partisan crowd.
Hanging in the balance is not just one seat representing one of the nation’s bluest states, but also the future of the environment, middle class, Supreme Court and several key committees, the speakers said.
“Once again it all comes down to Massachusetts; would you want it any other way?” said Markey. “Many people are saying, ‘How big is this race?’ Well, let’s be honest. We are at one of those turning points in history, and this race between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren could determine which party controls the United States Senate.”
To “oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowd, Markey went through the committees appointments that could be affected by the Brown-Warren race, including the Judiciary Committee, the Commerce, Energy and Natural Resources and the Environment and Public Works.
While the environment was a big focus, and Franken also spoke about the impacts this race could have on the economy, calling Warren a “siren” for the “squeeze of the middle class,” and the Supreme Court.
“We need someone from Massachusetts who knows that there’s a difference between [Justice Antonin] Scalia and [Justice Sonia Sotamayor,” said Franken, riffing on Brown's muddled response during a recent debate. “And that [Justice Elena] Kagan is much more like Sotamayor than Scalia. Elizabeth, I hope is on Judiciary.”
In closing, Franken, who won his seat by just 312 votes in 2008, implored Warren supporters to hit the streets in support of their candidate, even joking that it’s OK to forget about their jobs and families because kids are resilient and 8-year-olds can not only use microwaves, but can teach 4-year-olds how to use them.
“Massachusetts is not going to control who goes to the White House,” Franken said. “But we need to hold the Senate, we do know that, and that is within your control.”
Also speaking at the event were state Rep. Jay Kaurman, D-Lexington, state Sen. Ken Donnelly, D-Arlington, and state Senate candidate Mike Barrett, D-Lexington.