Satirist Al Franken once wrote a book called ''Why Not Me?'' in which he imagined himself as president of the United States. Now, however, he's imagining himself as a U.S. senator from his home state of Minnesota. Author of the current bestseller ''Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right,'' Franken tells Newsweek that he's ''intrigued'' by the prospect, floated by friends, of running in 2008 for the seat once occupied by his friend, the late Paul Wellstone, a seat now held by Republican Norm Coleman.
The former ''Saturday Night Live'' scribe says his inspiration was not pro wrestler-turned-Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, but Ventura's ''Running Man'' costar. ''Republicans always say, 'How dare Susan Sarandon and Martin Sheen get involved in politics!''' Franken says. ''Then Arnold [Schwarzenegger] showed up and it was 'Oooh! Arnold’s running! Oooh! The Terminator!' Well, 'F' you!'' Besides, Franken's friends say, he's good enough, he's smart enough, and doggone it, people like him. ''I used to say I'd never run because I'd be a terrible officeholder,'' he tells Newsweek. ''Now I don’t want to say that, because it would look bad if I ever did run.'' Spoken like a politician.