Thursday, December 07, 2017

Bowing to Pressure From Democrats, Al Franken Says He Will Resign

From HERE.

The New York Times reports that Senator Al Franken of Minnesota announced Thursday he would resign “in the coming weeks” from the Senate after his support among Democrats crumbled, becoming the highest-profile casualty in the growing list of lawmakers felled by charges of sexual harassment or indiscretions.

“I of all people am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,” Mr. Franken said.

Mr. Franken also said that he had been ready to “cooperate fully” with a Senate Ethics Committee investigation but that he decided to leave office because it became clear he could not both pursue the investigation and represent the people of Minnesota. Still, he maintained that he would have ultimately been cleared.

I can't emphasize how big a mistake I think this is, for reasons I already wrote about yesterday. Tom Arnold isn't exactly the most trusted name in Hollywood. But given that Republicans have been furious that Franken won that battle in 2008 -- remember the recount that kept him from being seated forEVER? -- Arnold's claim that this was a rightwing plot certainly rings true.

It's "nice" that Democrats can demonstrate that they take allegations of sexual misconduct seriously. But the average voter will only remember that both sides had "skeevy politicians" (true) and NOTHING more. (Playing nice doesn't win control of Congress -- just as not being nice won the GOP the fucking Supreme Court.)

And here's a real knee-slapper. New York Times opinion columnist Thomas Edsall thinks "liberals need to take their fingers out of their ears":
Democrats who yearn for President Trump to be taken down should examine this list of Republican strengths: victories in all three contested special elections for the House of Representatives this year; Trump’s 82 percent approval rating among Republican voters; his success with the current tax bill; his swift evisceration of key regulatory policies; the Gorsuch appointment to the Supreme Court; economic growth of over 3 percent in the last two quarters; the Dow Jones topping 24,000; and the unemployment rate dropping to 4.1 percent. 
For the moment, the left is both stunned and infuriated by the vehement animosity it faces from red America, which is made up of counties that are 84 percent less dense than blue America, 37 percent less racially and ethnically diverse, and 34 percent more white.

Voters in red America are 44 percent less likely to be college graduates and 22 percent more likely to have served in the armed forces. Geographically speaking, red counties are virtually nonexistent on the West Coast and on the East Coast north of the Mason-Dixon line.

Many Democrats continue to have little understanding of their own role — often inadvertent, an unintended consequence of well-meaning behavior — in creating the conditions that make conservatives willing to support Trump and the party he is leading.
Translation: Appeal to voters' inner racism, misogyny, peniaphobia, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia when running for office. I don't think so, which is all the more reason Franken should have stood his ground.

From HERE.


Joe said...

Absolutely, 100% agree. The GOP is co-opting this (rightful) wave of male culpability concerning sexual assault/harassment. They are setting traps appealing to the Dem's oft-touted moral high-ground and the Dems are falling for it. The Dems will lose in 2018 and lose again in 2020 if they don't grow a pair and get their shit together.

We're losing our ability to think. We're losing our ability to tell unlike things apart. This thing over here is different than this thing over here. Bad judgement and stupid mistakes are different than sexual assault and breaking the law with an underage girl. Allegations and accusations should have, at least, a small degree of investigation or oversight before automatic belief and resignations occur. Especially in this day and age of sound bites being smashed in our faces every two minutes. If every and all allegations and accusations are dumped in the same bucket, then eventually there's going to be a backlash of none of it retaining the importance it deserves.

The GOP is once again outsmarting the Dems and we're losing ground. But this moral high ground the Dems claim to be taking has blinded them from the reality of their own responsibility in the undoing of their party.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

@Joe: Brilliantly put. It's so upsetting.

jaragon said...

Joe said it best- he should not have resigned

Yue Shi said...

I respectfully disagree. Politically it's probably a smart move for Democrats to push Franken out. This is supposed to be a relatively safe seat for Democrats, but since the allegations began Franken's approval rating in Minnesota has dropped to 37%, rightly or wrongly. Now the Democratic governor will nominate a replacement, probably either the LT governor or the attorney general, both democratic women, who will have much less baggage next year in the special election to finish Franken's term. I agree with you that there is definitely a double standard in the ways we judge our politicians versus the way Republicans judge theirs and it is unfair, but just in terms of elective politics, I think this is going to be a net positive.

Joe said...

I agree with you, mostly, Yue Shi, but the methods being used now to decide guilt or innocence in these matters coupled with the fact that the GOP will never act with morals is going to create more and more losses for the pushover, spineless Democrats. So we'll have our morals and standards while Rome burns.

I have less concern about due diligence or oversight as far as investigating claims of sexual harassment or sexual assault in the entertainment industry, although still important. I'm more concerned that as far as our elected legislators are concerned there should at least be an ethics committee investigation. And in the particular instance of Franken, the hypocrisy and fear and spinelessness of the Democrat senators demanding his resignation while staying noticeably silent on Trump and Moore .... and Farenthold and Barton, all Republicans, all currently still in office.

This Great Reckoning to the abuses of the patriarchy will be nothing but good. But if we lose our heads and forego rational, methodical processes to bring about justice and err on the side of frenzy and mob mentality there is going to be an inescapable and virulent backlash.

Bring the bastards to justice, by all means. But let's make sure the way we do that is just and rational.

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