Al Franken’s boast in his book that he challenged Rich Lowry to a fistfight gains a little bit of perspective in today’s Washington Post magazine. Humor columnist Gene Weingarten wanted to parody a moment of right-left civility, but guess who was too “busy” to even get in an e-mail sandbox with one of his hate objects, the Ann Coulter doll:
“I decided to invite an arch-liberal and an arch-conservative to meet in this column and constructively discuss their differences, with me as moderator. I wanted the liberal to be Al Franken, the author of the best-selling Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, and the conservative to be Ann Coulter, author of the best-selling Traitor: Liberal Treachery From the Cold War to the War on Terrorism. Ann agreed right away. But Al begged off, saying he was too ‘busy,’ even for a worthy cause like helping combat the plague of name-calling. What a milksoppy, pantywaist, jellyfish, weasel-out wuss he turned out to be.”
Weingarten reports that Michael Kinsley and Molly Ivins also rejected the challenge. So Gene and Ann have a typically Weingartenesque exchange on toilet paper and the merits of dogs vs. cats.