I’ve actually surprised myself a bit by how viscerally I have reacted to news today that Senator Al Franken, whose presence in the Senate is certainly on balance a benefit to women, has succumbed to pressure MOSTLY FROM HIS OWN PARTY and announced his pending resignation from the Senate. We would not be here if it weren’t for the fact that Alabama may well next week elect a man who has done much worse (For me the involvement of children is a huge red line in these matters.) with the full support of the GOP starting with their leader who has a lot of issues of his own in this regard. We just HAD to be holier than thou to prove a point, didn’t we? Thing is, with the exception of a couple of obnoxious and ham-handed attempts at “whataboutism” the pressure for the resignation did not come from the GOP. Instead, Democrats decided to once again fight with one hand behind their backs and throw a Senator under the bus at the same time the GOP was circling the wagons.
Franken had been a model for how one should behave when facing such allegations. He called for the ethics investigation himself, said he would co-operate, and apologized. Even if we stipulate to all the allegations, from what I can tell they were on the mild side and at least some happened years ago, prior to his political career. If there are criminal matters just prosecute them as such and resign upon conviction, but if we are outside the statute of limitations legally that should be the case politically as well. If politics were the concern at least decline to seek re-election rather than be replaced by an appointment not chosen by the voters. If there is any question about the allegations (and I believe he has denied the most recent one, a denial all the more credible IMO since he was willing to admit to others), then innocent until proven guilty (though in politics maybe not beyond a reasonable doubt) should apply. For those trying to make a comparison with the private sector, that doesn’t really work since constituents are the collective boss. If he sought re-election they can take that into account, but it should be their call. Another Dem would also be justified primarying him in this scenario. If actions are so egregious as to warrant censure or expulsion that’s fine too, but only following some semblance of an investigation or hearing.
With friends like these…:(