Of all the people who have moved from pop culture to politics, Franken is probably the most clearly prepared and the one least guilty of cashing in on his 'fame' for political gain. In addition to the Hollywood group, include some athletes as well and you see that (Reagan (R), Ventura (I), Sonny Bono(R), Jim Bunning(R), JC Watts(R), Tom Colburn(R), Steve Largent(R), Bill Bradley (D) Jack Kemp (R) and even Lynn Swan (R)) the pattern is that in virtually every case the initial election, if not all of their elections, depend upon people having very little understanding of the politics involved, but they vote on the sense that they liked the person playing a game or in some movie. With Franken he has years of very, very public and clear political activity that outweigh him being on SNL. He could not hide behind few political positions since there are countless hours of tape and books.
Also, one of the funny, stupid talking points is that this kind of celebrity politics is something of the left, but it is so clearly, generally, a cynical ploy of the (in the spirit of being too stubborn to actually say or pronounce the name of the party correctly)'re-pubic' party. Note the list above.
I am glad you posted the list. And there are even more names than that: Heath Schuler, Jim Ryun, Fred Gandy, Mary Bono.
Some have won, some have lost. Some have been appointed and went on to win election on their own.
This is one of those columns that is so stupid, so moronic, that it makes it impossible to read anything Johnson writes ever again and take it seriously.
People are not bugs trapped in amber, impervious to change and growth. People who come from a "celebrity" background--sports, TV, etc--can be suitable candidates for public office, just as those who are workers, military personnel, etc. Celebrities are not entitled to public office because of their status, but neither should they be disqualified.
How many Senators run for or gain office without substantial prior political experience? How many times has Jim Oberweis tried to buy his way into an elected office? How many other Senators have used their personal fortunes to buy name recognitiion in order to gain an electoral edge?
As a whole, voters have shown that they do not automatically vote for someone just for their celebrity status. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't.
Obviously some people don't like Franken because of his politics, which is fine. I don't like Arnold, or Mary Bono, Jim Bunning, etc. But Franken earned his seat--he studied the issues, he put together a campaign, he campaigned for 18 months in front of the voters and they chose him--both in the primary and in the general.
To dismiss him solely because of his past as an entertainer just shows you are a shallow moron who doesn't bother to learn the facts before flapping your mouth--or word processor.