McConnell to Franken: This isn’t ‘SNL’

Mitch McConnell and Al Franken provide a lesson in Senate comity.

Mitch McConnell and Al Franken provide a lesson in Senate comity.  (Which, apparently, isn’t the same as Senate comedy.)

When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell laid out his opposition to Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination, someone in the chamber appeared to be moving around in his chair, gasping and rolling his eyes.

It was Sen. Al Franken.

Moments before Kagan’s confirmation vote Thursday, the Minnesota Democrat was presiding over the Senate — and the Kentucky Republican thought the freshman senator was mocking his speech. Upon the conclusion of his remarks, a very irritated McConnell removed his microphone, approached the dais and confronted the former comedian.

“This isn’t ‘Saturday Night Live,’ Al,” McConnell told Franken sternly, according to people who overheard the exchange.

Franken later apologized to McConnell.

“The leader thought I was disrespectful while he was giving his speech on General Kagan,” Franken said in a statement to POLITICO. “He is entitled to give his speech with the presiding officer just listening respectfully. I went directly to his office after I was done presiding to apologize in person. He wasn’t there, so I’ve sent him a handwritten note.”

As someone who share’s Franken’s difficulty hiding annoyance, I’m less exercised than AllahPundit at the transgression.   And the apology strikes me as quite decent and genuine.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. General Kagan?  Did I miss a war somewhere?

  2. Technically that is a proper form of address, apparently. I heard it during the confirmation hearings and thought it was odd myself

  3. AllenS says:

    James Joyner and Doug Mataconis,

    You two are the dumbest sob’s I’ve ever read on the internet. Seriously, you two are stupid. You’re nothing but teabaggers for the Democrat Party and Liberals in general.

    I apologize.

  4. Herb says:

    When I read this, I laughed out loud.  One account I read said that Franken was “gesticulating” and “making faces.”  I wish there was a video just based on that description.

  5. sam says:

    I believe the attorney general is also addressed as “General….”

  6. Franklin says:

    Sorry, you have to mean it for it to count.  Franken meant it.

  7. AllenS says:


    Should I have used all caps?

  8. Franklin says:

    I think so, and with more words like ‘heartfelt’.  Go for that Oscar!

  9. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    AllenS, You could not have stated that more clearly.  For the most part this site is an echo chamber where if you disagree with the false premises, they quickly marginalize those who call them on their shit.  There once was voices or reason here.  No longer.

  10. Grewgills says:

    You are so cute

  11. The Q says:

    Hey Zags, where was your opprobrium when Cheney disgraced the Senate chambers by remarking to Sen. Leahy, Go f*uck yourself?
    I guess if a republican is rude, obnoxious and flaunts senate decorum its ok.
    If a dem does it we get your predictable paranoid mindless drivel.
    so, to quote your favorite repub, go fu*ck yourself.

  12. Steven Donegal says:

    It’s true, Mitch’s speech wasn’t up to SNL quality.

  13. Juneau: says:

    Go f*uck yourself  ???????
    Wow.  Just…. wow.  I seem to sense the liberals here on OTB getting more and more thin-skinned all the time.  Perchance they’re a bit defensive about the fact that their normal lair – the daily KOS – has been relegated to the loony bin in regards to credibility.  So why not infect this site with the same disease?  Stay classy, guys.