Why Not Me?

Why Not Me?

infobox Book |
name = Why Not Me?
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption =
author = Al Franken
cover_artist =
country = United States
language = English
series =
genre = Comedy novel, politics
publisher = Delacorte Press
release_date = 12 January 1999
media_type = Print (Hardback & Paperback)
pages =
isbn = ISBN 0-385-32924-5 (hardback edition)
preceded_by =
followed_by =

. The book was published in 1999.

In the novel, Franken bases his campaign on the issues of eliminating high ATM fees and the deregulation of banking laws (which would benefit insurance companies). Through various illegal and unethical activities, he eventually manages to fluster his Democratic rival, Al Gore, and wins the Democratic nomination. Franken is elected due in part to massive feuding within the Republican Party. However, a serious gaffe committed by Franken during his inauguration speech causes Franken to become manic depressive, causing him to display strange and dangerous behavior. After the embarrassing contents of his campaign diary are disclosed, Franken is forced to resign from office.

Plot introduction

The book is made up of three different sections. First is Franken's autobiography, "Daring to Lead." Second is a campaign diary, following Franken and his campaign staff across Iowa and New Hampshire. The final section, supposedly written by Bob Woodward, is a behind-the-scenes account of Franken's first hundred days as president, entitled "The Void." After the final section, there is an epilogue, set several decades after the plot, giving historical perspective on the Franken presidency and Franken's post-presidential life.

"Daring to Lead" is Franken's campaign autobiography, which he recounts his life from his childhood in the fictional town of Christhaven, Minnesota, to his college years to his career on NBC's "Saturday Night Live". We learn later from the campaign diary that some parts of "Daring to Lead" are completely fabricated.

Franken's campaign diary describes his experiences in the race in great (and disturbing) detail. We learn that Franken starts out as a dark horse Democratic candidate, running on a single-issue platform (Automated Teller Machine fees). In the diary, Franken routinely insults the residents of the primary states of New Hampshire and Iowa, describes numerous extramarital affairs, illegal actions such as the assault of an investigative reporter and Al Gore's press secretary, the use and distribution of meth by some campaign staff, making ridiculous campaign promises (such as pledging to walk on foot through the entire boundaries of New Hampshire and Iowa), and deceptive (and sometimes disastrous) schemes designed to bolster Franken's appearance to the public. Despite Franken's deceit and avarice, he is eventually given the Democratic nomination due to a rise in support after the Y2K bug creates glitches solely on ATMs and is elected President of the United States in an unprecedented landslide victory.

Bob Woodward's book "The Void" describes Franken's brief and turbulent tenure at the White House. His administration is literally gripped in crisis from day one, when Franken makes a bizarre inauguration speech apologizing for slavery (while Franken makes a highly stereotypical impression of a slave in the film "Mandingo"). A firestorm erupts, causing a PR nightmare for the administration and sending Franken into depression, and the President does nothing but sit in bed watching television. His aides soon give him anti-depressant drugs, but this causes Franken to display bizarre behavior. Franken has himself cloned, starts taking Spanish lessons, punches Nelson Mandela in the stomach during a state meeting, and hatches a strange and dangerous plan to assassinate Saddam Hussein by hitting him with a plaque that reads, "World's Greatest Grandpa." Soon, Congress forms a committee to investigate Franken's bizarre behavior, which leads to the unraveling of his administration. After his secrets come out, Franken is forced to resign.

The epilogue reveals that a clone of Franken was indeed made, and the clone (parented by then-lesbian lovers Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche) is now the head of Franken's presidential library. Franken's entire cabinet was arrested and impeached along with the President, and all served varied prison terms (Franken received a pardon). Franken later wrote a disastrous TV pilot, but later became a successful biblical archeologist, finding the intact skeleton of Jesus Christ, still nailed to the cross. Franken's term does actually reveal to have had some benefits: Franken's campaign for Russia to enter NATO provides important global security; Franken's Vice President, Joe Lieberman, turns out to be the greatest President in history serving eighteen years in office; and Franken's dismantling of the remains of the Glass-Steagall Act.

Most of the characters in the book are real people, but obviously the events are fictional.

Characters in "Why Not Me?"

* Otto Franken -- Al's violent and alcoholic (fictional) brother, who attacks members of the press with two-by-fours and disguises himself and uses aliases like "Dotto Dranken", "Botto Branken" and "Klotto Klanken" to mock Al Gore.
* Dan Haggerty -- TV's Grizzly Adams, whom the campaign uses for celebrity endorsement.
* Norm Ornstein -- A well-respected fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and friend of Franken. He is the campaign manager, and later the White House chief of staff.
* Howard Fineman -- former "Newsweek" reporter who is goaded into being the Franken campaign's public relations spokesman, and later becomes the White House press secretary.
* Dick Morris -- A famous pollster for Bill Clinton that joins Franken's campaign to develop strategy and raise money.
* Frank Luntz -- a Republican pollster who Al thinks is only on the campaign because he's a "starfucker."
* Joe Lieberman -- Franken's vice president.
* Sandy Koufax -- former professional baseball player who becomes Franken's Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
* Al Gore -- former vice president who Franken politically destroyed during the 2000 Iowa primary; later became a congressman from Tennessee.
* Franni Franken -- Al's (real life) wife who is eventually used by the campaign after a heroic rescue in New Hampshire.

Imitation of life?

On February 14, 2007, Al Franken has officially announced his [http://alfranken.com/page/content/videoMessage candidacy] for Norm Coleman's Minnesota seat in the U.S. Senate in the 2008 election.

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