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As I write this, the country is finally starting to settle down from an election that has been unprecedented, kind of annoying and certainly one of the most interesting rides in recent political history.

Except for Minnesota.

For those of you who stopped paying attention the moment Obama won the White House (You know who you are, and I know more than a few of you were at the Wyndham Phoenix for the Arizona Democratic Party’s celebration.), that is because the Senate race between incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and challenger Al Franken is still not decided.

If you are thinking that second name sounds awfully familiar, and are frantically flipping through the politicians you know to try to place it, stop flipping. Al Franken is a political comedian and commentator, not a politician.

However, it’s very possible that he will be a senator, and I can’t help but be bothered by that.

To put this in perspective, Franken’s career has taken on a purely political shading only recently. His first decade in the comedy business was spent at “Saturday Night Live.”

Now, despite the fact that I applaud that show for pointing out the absurdity of Sarah Palin’s candidacy, I don’t therefore believe that Tina Fey would make a good political leader. Despite the fact that I am in favor of a country where background and family are not legal barriers to becoming a public servant, I do think that with problems as grave as the ones we face today the person we choose to represent us should have some solid experience with politics.

As a reporter, I know for a fact that interviewing politicians does not qualify you for their job. Franken specifically has had a career marked strongly by acerbic insults (He has an entire book titled “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.”), and a lack of diplomacy in his dealings with those who disagree with him. (He reportedly quit “Saturday Night Live” in protest because he didn’t get a role he wanted.)

No matter how intelligent he is, there is no reason to believe he will vote with the best interests of the people he represents rather than along his own excessively left-wing agenda. There is no reason to suppose he can operate fairly in a bipartisan environment.

But people know his name. He’s a celebrity — the worst reason in the world to elect a senator. But you know and I know that it’s one reason he even has a chance.

I’m all for making fun of politics; sometimes the only way to deal with something that makes you want to cry is to laugh at it. It takes a special talent to make people laugh. Unfortunately, it takes more than that to effectively govern a country.

I don’t know much about Norm Coleman, but that alone makes me inclined to hope that he is re-elected when the smoke clears.

Emma can be reached by e-mail at

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