December 7th, 2017

Al Franken leaves the Senate

It’s difficult to escape the sense that Al Franken is resigning under pressure from the Democratic Party due to their hopes that they can occupy the sexual assault high ground vis a vis Roy Moore, and also expunge the ghosts of Ted Kennedy and Gary Stubbs (for those with long memories, which most people don’t have), not to mention Bill Clinton.

Here’s a video and transcript of Franken’s speech. It’s not something I plan to watch, but on reading it I see that he says he’s not guilty and is a champion of women’s rights, finds an opportunity to say Trump is guilty of bragging on tape “about his [Trump’s] history of sexual assault,” and thanks a lot of people. He also adds something with which I happen to agree: “…that the Ethics Committee was the right venue for these allegations [against Franken] to be heard, and investigated, and evaluated on their merits.”

I can’t stand Al Franken as senator (although I happened to like some of his comedy bits on SNL many a long year ago). I can’t stand his politics and a lot else about him. Looking at the accusations, if I had to bet, I’d say most of them are true, or at least enough of them are true to establish him as a slyly opportunistic sexual scumbag of a minor sort.

Note that characterization: minor sort. I believe in proportionality, and even if all the allegations against Franken are true they don’t rise to a very high (or very low) level. If they are true, the proper remedy is a hearing and possibly censure (or expulsion, if that’s the decision), IMHO, and then if the people of Minnesota don’t want to re-elect him (or he doesn’t want to run again) when his term is up, that’s their decision. I’m uncomfortable with forcing people out because of allegations without any sort of due process at all—and I do believe in having at least some sort of official forum in which the allegations are heard and evaluated.

My opinion is probably a deeply unpopular one. But I’m consistent—I apply it to politicians I like and ones I don’t like. I apply it to people who aren’t politicians. I don’t like trial by mob and/or trial by MSM. I just don’t like it.

That doesn’t mean I have any sympathy for sexual abuse of any kind. I believe in coming down with vigor on those who are guilty of serious abuses. But I believe—as I already said—in proportionality. I’ve worked in the field of sexual abuse. I’ve seen serious allegations. I’ve seen false allegations. I’m very protective of the rights of the victim and the rights of the accused. If this brings me to an unpopular stance, so be it.

It’s also clear to me what’s happening here in terms of party. The Democrats are planning to use this as ammunition against Moore. And not just Moore—Trump, and others. They want to occupy the sexual high ground in order to weaponize the idea of allegations being the same as truth, and establish the idea of their own defense of (and belief in the veracity of) women as opposed to the GOP’s failure to defend and believe in women. If it requires sacrificing one of their own they’ll do it.

But in this case the sacrifice is limited to Franken himself, because the Democrats run no risk of losing his seat right now. Franken’s replacement will be appointed by Minnesota’s Democratic governor, and it will be a Democrat, of that you can be sure. Meanwhile, a Roy Moore loss in Alabama would put a Democrat in a Senate seat that was a sure thing for Republicans before the sexual allegations against Moore surfaced. So for the Democrats Franken/Moore is a possible win/win situation.

[NOTE: Richard Fernandez refers to it as a purge. I think he’s correct.]

21 Responses to “Al Franken leaves the Senate”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    Pretty cynical of the Dems, but they are nothing if not the noxious gas that rises in the charnel pits of history. And I am sure that should Moore win they will be joined by the rotting corpses of Rinos to refuse to seat a duly elected senator.

    A dangerous game. One they could lose no matter what happens to Moore.

  2. Tom Says:

    The Gerry Stubbs thing has occurred to me often while all of this has been going on. I 100% agree with you on some sort of due process, but this is the die that’s been cast. The Democrats have FREQUENTLY assailed Republicans over the year for any sort of sexual impropriety, even behavior as simple as cheating on one’s wife in a situation where it was perfectly legal. Bob Packwood, Larry Craig, Mark Sanford, Roy Moore the list goes on ad nauseam. If you create the rules, be prepared to play by them.

  3. Griffin Says:

    Let the voters decide.

    This is all getting so ridiculous. If they have actually done something while in office then fine have their ethics investigations but this talk of Moore being immediately under an ethics investigation for some almost certainly unprovable thing from decades before he took office is beyond ridiculous. If he wins he wins, if he loses then so be it.

    And Franken should not resign. If he doesn’t want to run for reelection or is defeated then that’s the way the system works.

    This is all getting so ridiculous!

  4. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Over at the Gateway Pundit they’re reporting that the same women Senators who yesterday demanded Franken resign, were “Crying Women Democrat Senators Hug Sex Assaulter Al Franken After He Heeds Their Call to Resign; ‘Big Hugs’”

    “If you as a woman truly believe a man is a creepy serial sex assaulter of women, do you get all misty-eyed and line up to tightly hug him when he resigns from the Senate following your demand he do so in the face of numerous accusations of sexual assault? If you are a Democrat woman senator, the answer is ‘yes’, even though several of the allegations involved Franken groping and forcing kisses during hugs. Franken was also photographed assaulting a woman in her sleep.

    Capitol Hill reporters posted reports on their observations of how Franken was treated by his colleagues on the Senate floor following his unrepentant resignation speech in which he denied the accusations by women over which he was resigning.

    The reporters noted many of the women Democrat senators who just yesterday demanded Franken resign for being a serial sex assaulter of women were crying and giving ‘big hugs’ to Franken after his speech. Named in the reports are Amy Klobuchar (MN), Claire McCaskill (MO), Tammy Duckworth (IL) and Maggie Hassan (NH).”

    There you go folks, proof positive that the pressure on Franken is a ‘dog and pony show’ for the rubes. A cynical ploy in an attempt to, as neo puts it… to “occupy the sexual assault high ground”…

    Franken is the sacrificial goat and even women democrats could care less about sexual assaults when those on the Left engage in it. But that’s hardly surprising, as when fanatical ideologues are caught and exposed, they lie and scheme to try to get away with it. It’s a form of criminality; criminals invariably deny responsibility and try to escape accountability.

  5. Dave Says:

    Trump should come out and say this:

    don’t vote for Moore, vote for the republicans and my agenda because this seat belongs to republicans, I will see to it myself that Roy Moore will be given an opportunity defend himself in a fair disciplinary hearing, if he is found guilty he will be expelled from senate and conservatives will be given another chance to vote for another upstanding conservative in another special election. There is no reason to give up the seat that belongs to republicans to a socialist because of unsubstantiated allegations that could possibly be a plot fabricated by the left Bypassing judge Moore’s right to due process.

  6. BrianE Says:

    This, IMO, is just preparation for the 2018 elections, and if it inconveniences a few Democrat legislators, it’s a small price to pay for a bigger prize– impeaching the president.

    As Neo reminds us, neither Conyers or Franken puts either seat in jeopardy.

    The fact that 58 Democrat representatives voted for impeachment at this point, just means, if the Dems win back the House, they will vote for impeachment and send it to the Senate.

    The left will never give up their campaign to impeach DJT. Never.

    And if it means throwing a few Dems under the bus, well, what’s the saying– You’ve got to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

  7. Lizzy Says:

    I agree that the random groping is fairly minor compared to, say, Harvey Weinstein’s behavior. However, I expect Congress to live by the same rules the rest of us do. If this was done by you, a colleague, or a CEO, would he/she keep her job?

    Hey, most of us citizens have to take sexual harassment awareness training to learn all sorts of behavior could make the company liable for lawsuits. If we would not keep our job for doing it, why should our Congressmen and Senators?

  8. Dave Says:

    The purge is going to backfire because the most talented and competent liberals are also the most perverted ones, that is the reason why the democrats offered them protections and coverups in exchange for their services and talents. If the democrats drive out all the most talented people in the party they will be left with losers like Debbie wasserman. Republicans should promote that they are the party of reasons, law and order and due process, more talented men would be willing to join.

  9. T Says:

    I thought that Ann Althouse had an interesting post from a legalistic point of view. While Franken references Trump’s “bragging” about sexual harassment, Althouse, certainly no Trumpophile, point outs that Franken claims a right to do so while Trump only claims the presumption of consent. Her ultimate conclusion is that it is Franken, not Trump, who is “on the rapist spectrum.

    The Link:

  10. Dave Says:


    I disagree you with the fact that Congressmen are subject to more false allegations than regular people that is why their due process are as important as everyone if not more. Do you want every result and the choice of the people of a legitimate election overturned by a manufactured allegation created by someone who wasn’t happy with the result?

  11. Dave Says:

    conservatives will never win abiding to the rules create by liberals. people like Mitt Romney will only win in deep red states and cities, people like him will never win anything in anywhere purple or in a general election because he doesn’t offer anything that democrats are already offering. virtue signaling by saying bs like Moore alleged victims are heroes or we should always believe the accusers or due process doesn’t apply in elections will not gain Mitt Romney one vote from liberals and moderates

  12. Dave Says:

    The Bush tape clearly shows that Trump was bragging without following through, Trump told Bush he was going to kiss the woman but when the woman approached them he did nothing.

    Do you consider it harassment if Mick Jagger in his prime said “I can get any woman to sleep with me and allow me to do anything imaginable to her because I am handsome and famous…” No, because it is him bragging about being able to obtain CONTENT from any woman to fulfill his every sexual demand on her. Trump didn’t say “I am going to grab her p**sy even when she says no” instead he said “Women who approach him all want something from him and are willing to let him do anything to them if he choose to do so, including grabbing her by her *****” the consent was clearly stated.

  13. Kyndyll G Says:

    While not necessarily a direct comment about Franken or Moore, and whether or not they really did as accused, the thing that really disgusts me is that the hard left has spent decades – certainly since the 1990s – encouraging us women to feel empowered by meaningless sex. The “right” to hookups is such that the left cares more about making the rest of us subsidize young stupid democrat females’ recreational sex than the obvious outcomes of them doing so.

    As regulars here know, I am a fiscal, small government and law-and-order conservative, rather than a religio-social one. I don’t give one cheek of a rat’s ass about immorality. But I do care about consequences that affect others, and meaningless sex has plenty. For example, there’s a reason that almost half the population has HPV today, and it has nothing to do with safe sex.

    But more on point, it’s as if no one considered the logical outcome of telling girls and young women, some 97% of whom prefer their meaningless sex with males, that when you seek out hookups and “friends with benefits”, talk about it with your friends and on social media, carry magazines emblazoned with headlines about getting good sex, and so forth, you’re going to encourage guys to think of you as sex objects and people likely to welcome advances. They overhear the conversations, see the movies and sitcoms. What the F do girls think is going to happen?

    In no way am I excusing “rape-rape.” But in the environment of cheap sex that was heavily pushed by the left until, like, a week ago Wednesday, how is anyone even slightly surprised that men everywhere joke about sex, talk about sex, and make hopeful advances? If these things end at “no” then end of story.

  14. CapnRusty Says:

    KyndyllG, Dave and “T”:

    If women now want men to be more “chivalrous,” women need to be worthy of it.

  15. parker Says:

    Franken was sacrificed because Conyers was sacrificed. The dem power structure had to appease the CBC. I am enjoying the flaming canvas of the democrat’s big top circus.

    ‘War on women’ is now a hot potato for the left, trying to toss it to Moore strikes me as a losing proposition. I don’t know the truth of the allegations against Moore, but am highly skeptical of he said she said decades ago. I hope Moore wins just to enjoy the outrage of the sjw/msm/dnc axis of evil. Same goes for the Flakes of the gope.

  16. blert Says:

    His election was illegitimate — and his purge is illegitimate.

    Reciprocity, then.

  17. y81 Says:

    As to the sexual scumbag part, I suspect that Franken’s conduct was typical of the entertainment industry. An environment of high sexual promiscuity (which that industry is) tends to feature extra squeezes and gropes and rubs and kisses on the lips (from both sexes). Unfortunately for Franken, that sort of conduct is less common at the Minnesota State Fair and in the armed forces.

  18. steve walsh Says:

    Anyone want to bet Franken never actually resigns? At first I thought he was pushed so as to enable the Dems criticism of Moore, which I still think is true. Now that Franken has announced his resignation in the future, after the Alabama vote, I suspect he will take back the resignation and weather whatever storm such an act brings. He’s set that up by refusing to admit to inappropriate behavior – some incidents he denies, others he says happened differently – and by asserting that Trump & Moore did worse. If i want to go fully down the conspiracy rat hole I would say that Pelosi and all those other vocal female Democrats calling for him to step down are in on the plot, maybe even developed it.

  19. Dave Says:

    Howcan anyone claim moral highground if the motive of the resignation is not due to guilt or a way to atone his sins but just for the sake of claiming high ground as clearle stated in his speech? i resign eventhough i am completely innocent so you have to resign even though you could be completely innocent too to match our standard. Give me a break, a resignation of a senator in exchange for the resignation of the president, great calculation by the Dems, but people will not forget they never cared about sexual allegations when Bill Clinton was the president, we endured eight years of having a pervert democrat president, they have to endure eight years of having a pervert republican president too even every allegation against trump is true as there punishment.

  20. Dave Says:

    You can’t claim moral high ground after protecting Bill Clinton from allegations against him for so long and only opportunistically care about sexual allegations when you have a president from the other side under the same allegations.

  21. Dave Says:

    Democrats want republicans to follow the same standards the democrats are setting? We will, we will follow their standard and call for a senator to resign over sexual assault allegations only when there is a democrat president under the same type of allegations but not when the president is on our side just like how they did with Bill Clinton. Only calling for anyone to resign over sexual allegations when the risk is minimal and the gain is tremendous but attack the victims and protect the pervert when he was their president, what a great party for women.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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