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Al Franken to Liberals: Don't Check Out Now

Al Franken
U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken speaks during a picnic for Democrats in Edina, Minn., in this July 21, 2007 file photo. In the 1980s, Franken was cracking jokes on "Saturday Night Live." Mike Ciresi, his chief rival for the Democratic nomination for the Senate this year, was serving as general counsel to the government of India in a landmark lawsuit over a catastrophic industrial accident. Despite his impressive resume, Ciresi finds himself trailing Franken in the Democratic contest. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt, File) AP

LAS VEGAS -- The liberal base is dissatisfied with the Democratic establishment, but Sen. Al Franken told them at the closing of the Netroots Nation conference: "No matter how frustrated you are, you can't check out now."

"It only took a few years for progressives to establish a foothold in Congress, but it's going to take a little further" to enact a progressive agenda, he said.

Throughout the Netroots conference, the year's largest gathering of progressive activists and bloggers, attendees lamented the lack of a public option in health care reform, the prospect of watching Democrats scale back Social Security and other liberal let downs.

But what's worse, Franken said, is that "Republicans have been making plans to take back the things we did get. They'll implement a truly dangerous agenda."

One of the most important fights progressives should take up, Franken said, is Net Neutrality, the principle that Internet Service Providers should be prohibited from favoring certain content on the Internet.

"Net neutrality is the First Amendment issue of our time," he said.

Speculating on what the Internet could morph into under the Republicans' preferred lack of regulation, Franken asked the audience of bloggers how long it would take before the Fox News website loads significantly more quickly than the Daily Kos website.

"If you want to protect the free flow of information in this country, you have to help me fight this," he said.

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