Time for Franken to Go Away
Where have you gone, Al Franken?
The answer? Nowhere. As we welcome in 2018, Minnesota’s discredited junior U.S. senator is still ensconced in the U.S. Capitol like a wet hair clump in a shower drain, employed by the people of Minnesota and paid in full by American taxpayers.
That is until today. That’s when the comedian turned cad turned politician turned pervert has pledged to resign his seat … and hopefully keep his mitts off other people’s seats to boot.
Yet, Mr. Franken’s pending resignation, announced nearly four weeks ago, now appears to be the longest ongoing adios in modern history.
I’m reminded of the Huntingtons’ smash hit, “How Can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away?”
All the while, there are concerns the senator may have contracted a case of resigner’s remorse. And polls show half of Land of 10,000 Lakes voters prefer Franken stay in the Senate.
There is the small timing issue. According to CNN’s Chris Cizzilla, “Two things were clear after Al Franken finished his speech on the Senate floor . . . 1. He was resigning his seat by the end of the year.” Now it’s been pushed to the New Year, but what are a few days among scoundrels?
There’s the other thing, too: “2. He didn’t believe he had done anything for which he should have been forced to resign.”
Of course, no one “forced” Senator Franken to step down. He did so voluntarily. Why?
Simply put, because three-quarters of Democratic Party senators demanded he resign, clearing the way for an attack on Republican sexual sleaze-balls without partisan distraction. Then, many of these same senators reportedly hugged Franken after his announcement.
“Made me sick,” remarked Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., calling the behavior of his fellow Democrats: “hypocrisy at the highest level I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Now Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) claims to regret his own call for Franken’s resignation from office.
“Al Franken resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations,” the liberal Vox headlined a recent story, “but Democrats aren’t making him leave in disgrace.”
Fellow Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar explained, “He will not be quieted in any way,” adding, ridiculously, “His voice will be stronger than ever.”
Leading liberal feminist voices have loudly and consistently defended Franken. When National Organization for Women President Toni Van Pelt was questioned about the accusations against Franken, she ranted, “We could ask all of the men in Congress to resign, is that what you’re asking me? You know that mostly all men do this kind of thing to women.”
She went on to suggest, “They all should resign, every man in every industry.” (But don’t hold your breath for the Southern Poverty Law Center to list N.O.W. as an anti-male hate group.)
Liberal feminist Kate Harding, author of Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump’s America, warned against a Franken resignation, writing in the Washington Post that “if we set this precedent in the interest of demonstrating our party’s solidarity with harassed and abused women, we’re only going to drain the swamp of people who, however flawed, still regularly vote to protect women’s rights and freedoms.”
In other words, Franken votes the way she desires, why should she care about how he treats women?
How, exactly, does Franken treat women? Eight have come forward to accuse him of sexual assault, i.e. groping, unwelcome touching, aggressive and unwanted kissing, etc. And Senator Franken’s response to those charges, or lack thereof, has been a tad bizarre.
“I’ve been trying to take responsibility by apologizing. And by apologizing to the people I’ve let down,” he told TIME back in November. “And I’m going to work to regain their trust. I am going to be accountable. I know I let a lot of people down. . . . Everyone counted on me to be a champion for women.”
An ABC News report on the allegations noted that Sen. Franken was “apologizing to the women, who have spoken out against him, saying he is ashamed.” There were strong graphics stating “FRANKEN: TREMENDOUSLY SORRY” and “FRANKEN: I AM SORRY.” The network’s senior congressional correspondent added, “Franken says he is embarrassed, ashamed and ready to get back to work.” “I know there are no magic words I can say to regain your trust,” Franken offered.
Those statements are not a formal guilty plea, granted, but neither are they the tiniest peep about innocence.
In his resignation oration, Franken tried to address his non-defense: “Over the last few weeks, a number of women have come forward to talk about how they felt my actions had affected them. I was shocked. I was upset. But…I also wanted to be respectful of that broader conversation. Because all women deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously.” He acknowledged this “gave some people the false impression that I was admitting to doing things that in fact I haven’t done. Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others I remember very differently.”
Now put yourself in Franken’s shoes. Eight women have accused you of sexually assaulting them in one way or another. If the best defense you could offer is that “some” of the many disgusting charges are “not true,” wouldn’t you resign?
Or would you go down fighting, counter-allege a right-wing conspiracy, and assert your “alternative memories” as a champion of women’s rights?