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In the News:
2008 Senate Race
by Lynn Hayes
He's good enough, he's smart enough, and doggone it, people like him!
Unless your political views fall on the right side of the aisle, it's hard not to like Al Franken. I have long been a fan of Al Franken, even though his trivialization of the power of affirmations (via Stuart Smalley on Saturday Night Live) went against the grain of my own belief system. Still, he's a smart and funny guy, and when in 1999 he wrote his book "Why Not Me?" about his mythical run for the Presidency in the 2000 election, I agreed, why not him?
Although his pet project, Air America Radio, has faltered and declared bankruptcy, it spawned a new generation of successful left-leaning talk radio shows, such as the Stephanie Miller and Ed Schulz shows on the Jones Radio network. Unabashedly partisan, these liberal talk shows have given a new voice to the millions of people frustrated with the turn to the right of the media.
Last year Jill and I went to see Al Franken speak before a showing of his film "And God Spoke," and watched as Al choked back tears when talking about his political mentor Paul Wellstone. In 2005 Al and his wife Franni moved back to Minnesota in anticipation of his 2008 run for the seat that Wellstone held, a run that last week became official.
Al Franken was born under the sign of Taurus, but he is in the last 13 minutes of that sign, almost into the sign of Gemini. This is sometimes called a "cusp" at the late degrees of a sign; in this situation the characteristics of the next sign begin to bleed in. (When a planet is in the early degrees of a sign, however, there is no bleeding from the previous sign). The safety and security required by Taurus is very much a part of who he is, but the restlessness and hunger for variety of Gemini is also strong in his psychological makeup.
Al's Sun is within 15 minutes of a conjunction to Mars in Gemini, and this strengthens the Gemini influence even more, giving him a strong drive (Mars) to communicate his opinions and ideas. The conjunction of Mars to the Sun often bestows a tremendous amount of physical energy and an aggressive or assertive personality that is not afraid to express one's own needs and desires. Over the past six years many of us that lean to the left have become very angry at what we view as the destruction of the political process and global good will that the Bush administration has created, and Al Franken is no exception. This has gained him the reputation on the right of being an angry person, but this is not shown in his chart. Aggressive, yes. Fearless in his self-expression, yes (both shown by the Mars/Sun combination). But not angry.
Al's Moon is in the happy-go-lucky sign of Sagittarius, the sign of optimism and expansion, suggesting that he has a need to keep his emotions (Moon) from becoming bogged down in negativity. The Sagittarian Moon has a need to search for meaning in life; there is a need for adventure and exploring other cultures and ideals. There is also a tendency to be opinionated and tactless, and those of us who have listened to Franken's radio show have been a witness to these characteristics as well. Still — this factor in Al's chart shows his sense of humor and ability to poke fun (Sagittarius) at those who irritate him (Sun/Mars).
Mercury in Al's chart is in Taurus, which is a fixed sign that can be extremely stubborn. Like its symbol the bull, Taurus does not like change and Mercury in Taurus shows an individual with very fixed ideas. There is a tenacious quality here as well, and a perseverance that goes beyond that of ordinary individuals. Mercury in Taurus is not sensitive to criticism, but neither is it flexible to adaptation. It will be nearly impossible for Al to ever admit that he is wrong. This is exacerbated by Jupiter in Al's chart which falls in Aries, the sign of the warrior.
Jupiter in the chart shows where we find abundance and opportunity, but also where we become overconfident and reckless. Because Aries is ruled by Mars (the god of war), the placement of Jupiter in Aries magnifies the effect of Al's Sun/Mars conjunction and shows that the warrior image is very strong for him. Aries and Mars generate the element of fire, and this strong fiery quality provides inspiration and energy that is exciting and contagious to others. There can also be a tendency toward self-centeredness; but still, there is an ability to get things done and to inspire enthusiasm and excitement in others.
Venus in the birthchart shows how we express our affection for others and what we need in our relationships, and Al's Venus is in Cancer, the sign of the family. This placement shows his sensitive side and that nurturing the people he loves is important to him, but in his chart Venus conjuncts Uranus, the sign of autonomy and freedom. Al is someone who despite his long marriage craves independence and freedom, and it is likely that his marriage has survived for so long because his career has included nearly constant travel. The planet of discipline and responsibility, Saturn, makes a trine to his Sun which suggests that despite this need (Venus/Uranus) for space and distance, he has a strong sense of responsibility and commitment (Saturn) that provides an underlying motivation for stability in his life.
The picture of Al Franken that is generated by his astrological chart is that of a stubborn yet persistent (Mercury in Taurus) visionary leader (Jupiter in Aries, Sun/Mars conjunction), who cares about other people (Venus in Cancer). Al has the energy and intelligence for political life; however, his political life so far has been in poking fun at others. In politics there is a give and take and a need to listen to the opinions of others. This quality is less visible in Al Franken's chart.
This will be a good year for Al Franken as beneficent Jupiter creates an expansive influence for him. He could very well be a viable candidate for Senate in 2008.