Thursday Reads: Al Franken Steps Down from the Senate

Good Morning!!

This morning Al Franken announced that he will be resigning from the Senate “in the coming weeks.” He suggested that the ethics committee investigation would continue. He said that he is not admitting to every allegation that has been made against him, but he feels that he cannot both fight for his good name and fully serve the people of Minnesota. He noted that

“I am aware of the irony 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 preyed on underage girls is running for the Senate with the full support of his party.”

Franken several times quoted his mentor, the late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone. He said he will continue to be a political activist and fight for what he believes in. Here is the full speech.

I am truly sad to see Franken go, but I was very impressed with his speech. A number of writers are claiming that by taking the high ground in this case, Democrats will have an advantage over republicans in upcoming elections–especiall the one in Alabama on Dec. 12. I’m not convinced of that. The media always gives Republicans the benefit of doubt while punishing Democrats no matter what they do. I hope I’m proven wrong.

Here are four points of view on the Franken situation.

Amanda Marcotte at Salon: Al Franken must go: It’s the right way to help women and protect Democrats.

As sexual harassment allegations against Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, consumed Thursday’s news cycle — pushing far more serious allegations against Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore out of the headlines — many people started to smell Republican skulduggery.

Before the allegations became public, notorious dirty trickster Roger Stone sent out a tweet saying, “Franken next in long list of Democrats to be accused of ‘grabby’ behavior.” Franken’s accuser, a radio host named Leeann Tweeden, is a conservative who been a frequent guest commentator on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show. Tweeden hit the interview circuit in a polished manner that felt more like a promotional tour for a book or a movie, rather than the raw and amateurish interviews you usually get with women bringing forward these kinds of accusations.

If there weren’t photographic evidence to back Tweeden’s claims, it would be easy to dismiss this whole thing as a stunt designed to distract the media from allegations against Moore and to give cover to Republicans who want to continue supporting him. Now any Republican who is asked about Moore can simply deflect the question by invoking Franken and suggesting that both sides do it. Donald  Trump, in particular, is a fan of this what-about-ism technique, which is also favored by Vladimir Putin. Unfortunately, it’s extremely effective.

This is one of those rare situations where two apparently contradictory things could be true. This may well be a Stone-style political stunt and Tweeden may be telling the truth about Al Franken’s sleazy behavior. That’s why I haven’t wavered in my belief that the right move, both morally and politically, is for Franken to resign his Senate seat immediately and for Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton to replace him with one of the many fine progressive politicians from his state, such as Rep. Keith Ellison or state Attorney General Lori Swanson.

More on Marcotte’s reasoning:

But Franken has basically admitted the photo of him “jokingly” groping Tweeden while she was asleep on an airplane is real. In that light, his best move is to take one for the team and resign. Finding gainful employment, somewhere in the crossover zone between politics and entertainment, should not be a problem.

Leeann Tweeden

If this is a political stunt, then the people behind it surely want Franken to stay. Tweeden made a big public show of forgiving Franken and asking him to remain in the Senate. That could be sincere, or it could be that Tweeden and her friends in conservative media believe that Republicans will reap maximum benefit from Franken staying put.

If so, it’s hard to deny that they’re being crafty. Every day Franken remains in the Senate as a visible symbol of liberal hypocrisy, Republicans get a free pass to grope, harass and abuse women. Any effort by journalists or Democrats to hold them accountable will be met with, “What about him?” Even misogynist legislation, which Republicans love more than dogs love their owners, will prosper under the Al Franken shield. If Sen. Kristen Gillibrand tries to pass more anti-rape legislation, too bad! Why? Al Franken!

Dahlia Lithwick at Slate: The Uneven Playing Field.

Al Franken, many argue, should now resign. He should resign immediately because there are credible accusers (another emerged Wednesday), and because the behavior alleged is sufficiently abhorrent that there is simply no basis to defend him. In this parade of unilateral disarmament, Trump stays, Conyers goes, Moore stays, Franken goes.

Is this the principled solution? By every metric I can think of, it’s correct. But it’s also wrong. It’s wrong because we no longer inhabit a closed ethical system, in which morality and norm preservation are their own rewards. We live in a broken and corroded system in which unilateral disarmament is going to destroy the very things we want to preserve.

To see the double standard in action, watch Mike Huckabee making the case that Roy Moore should be welcomed into the Senate because Franken has stayed. Then keep watching and realize that in the next breath, he adds that Moore has “denied the charges against him vehemently and categorically” so they must be false. Franken and Conyers are deployed by the right to say Moore should stay, and then they are dismissed as suckers for crediting their accusers.

Sexual predation is bad and grotesque and disqualifying for national office and positions of power. Stipulated. Victim-shaming and claiming that “the people should decide” is contemptible avoidance of responsibility. But the question that remains is whether the analysis stops right there. I, too, would like to live in a world where the debate begins and ends with that proposition. But I don’t think any of us live in that world anymore. And this may not be the moment in which to try to resurrect it.

A bit more:

When Al Franken, who has been a champion for women’s rights in his tenure in the Senate, leaves, what rushes in to fill the space may well be a true feminist. But it may also be another Roy Moore. And there is something deeply naïve, in a game of asymmetrical warfare, and in a moment of unparalleled public misogyny, in assuming that the feminist gets the seat before it happens.

This isn’t a call to become tolerant of awful behavior. It is a call for understanding that Democrats honored the blue slip, and Republicans didn’t. Democrats had hearings over the Affordable Care Act; Republicans had none over the tax bill. Democrats decry predators in the media; Republicans give them their own networks. And what do Democrats have to show for it? There is something almost eerily self-regarding in the notion that the only thing that matters is what Democrats do, without considering what the systemic consequences are for everyone.

I hope you’ll take the time to read both of those excellent articles

Here’s another opinion from MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle. Raw Story: Stephanie Ruhle explains why booting Franken could lead to Trump’s impeachment.

“We can talk all day long about how unpopular President Trump is, he is a political svengali,” Ruhle said. “An unpopular, completely unqualified, morally reprehensible person became president of the United States. I cannot believe — lightning’s going to strike me, I’m saying this — I want to share what Laura Ingraham had to say.”

The Fox News host claimed Democrats had “come down with a sudden case of feverish morality,” and she insisted the calls for Franken to step down were nothing but a “political calculation.”

“It sets the precedent for the Democrats to try to drive Roy Moore from office should he win the Alabama Senate (seat), and, two, this is the next step in the quest to impeach President Trump,” Ingraham said on her own program….

Stephanie Ruhle“I feel like lightning is going to strike me,” Ruhle said. “Does Laura Ingraham have a point here? Democrats are going — Al Franken could be the sacrificial lamb and say, look at the moral high ground we found.”

She said that could give Republicans an opening to turn the discussion back to Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct, but she and her guests agreed there were too many current examples of GOP wrongdoers to ignore.

“Is this not the year of the ultimate age of hypocrisy?” Ruhle said. “For Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, to come out and call for Al Franken to resign, does Lisa Murkowski not remember that her, our president of the United States, Donald Trump, who she stands behind, has more accusers than Al Franken and have accused him of worse. How does Lisa Murkowski stand up and say I think Al Franken need to step down and stand silent when it comes to our president, our Republican president?”

Finally, at Bloomberg, Johnathan Bernstein explores the notion that Democrats wanted to get rid of Franken because it’s politically expedient.

There’s one theory floating around that Franken’s fate was sealed not because of what Democrats believed about his actions but for pure electoral self-interest. Getting Franken and disgraced Representative John Conyers out of the way supposedly allows them to campaign against Roy Moore and, presumably, Donald Trump without being called out as hypocrites. For what it’s worth, I doubt that was the reasoning involved here, in part because I think it’s foolish. It’s hard to imagine any voter in Alabama who would have voted for Moore without the revelations about his behavior who then pulls back from supporting Democrat Doug Jones because Democrats weren’t tough enough on Franken. And it’s not as if Democrats haven’t blasted Moore over the last two weeks.

So why did Democrats act? Largely because women and men who care deeply about these issues are important players within the Democratic coalition. That means a lot of Democratic party actors were going to push the party to take a hard line, and others who perhaps care less about the issue nevertheless value their alliance with those who do. That’s how parties (and democracy) work.

That said: Yes, it’s an easier call for Democrats because if Franken resigns, the governor of Minnesota, a Democrat, will name his replacement, although it will mean a special election in November 2018 to serve out the last two years of Franken’s term. The same was true for Conyers, who represented a safe Democratic House seat. Republicans in Alabama really do not have any good choice in that Senate race. It’s easy for Democrats to say that everyone should be against a candidate with strong evidence of sexual assault and chasing after teenagers against him, but it’s not wrong for Republicans to care about losing a vote in the Senate. I’m not saying Republicans should back Moore — just that it’s a legitimately awful decision for them.

Bernstein brings up another interesting question involving sexual harassment and political expediency:

One interesting question is what will happen to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who had serious accusations of sexual harassment lodged against him during his confirmation process. Republicans at this point defend him against their political interests; if he were to retire from the court, Trump would be able to nominate a much younger replacement who is at least as reliable a vote for Republican priorities. Of course, Thomas is far more insulated from calls for resignation than Franken or any other politician is, so even if Republicans want him to leave, there’s no guarantee they’ll get their way. But it will certainly be interesting to see how that one develops.

There is much more news out there to discuss in the comment thread, but this is certainly the most important story of today. It is also an important day in history, Pearl Harbor Day.

So . . . what stories are you following?

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80 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Al Franken Steps Down from the Senate”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a nice Thursday, Sky Dancers. I’m glad you’re here.

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    I don’t know how I feel about Franken leaving. And that in itself bothers me.

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    I am disappointed in Al Franken both for his behavior and for having no choice but to resign. Some of us admired his tenacity and truthfulness but his behavior, in light of today’s charged atmosphere, led to his disgrace.

    I could overlook his behavior as evidenced by that picture of him hovering over that woman while she slept. He was not a sitting senator at that time and he was a comedian. It was a stupid and frat boy move but not really that disturbing when put into context.

    What was troubling were the accusations of grabbing and pinching women’s butts while running for office and apparently after being sworn in. What gives any man the right to play slap and tickle with anyone other then his wife, especially the wife that Al is always quick to revere.

    Was it a horrid crime in and of itself? No, but it is still troubling that a man I had come to admire, who spoke lovingly about his wife and family, would stoop to that level because he could.

    As a female I am disappointed. As a liberal I am appalled. As a Democrat I am pleased to take the high ground even while my heart breaks.

  4. Sweet Sue says:

    The Media won’t be happy until Bill Clinton nails himself to the cross.
    I wish Franken had hung in there.

  5. This is a sad day for our Democracy. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a perfect man—or woman—anywhere in the world, much less the halls of Congress or even the White House. John F. Kennedy and his brother Ted Kennedy served our nation well, despite being womanizers. Even FDR, the architect of our modern safety nets, cheated on Eleanor.

    At the rate we are going, no one will be left standing.

    • Sweet Sue says:

      And President Pence will declare that women are too pure and vulnerable for the rough and tumble of politics and governance.

  6. Boo Radly says:

    Jeralyn at TalkLeft states how I feel about Al Franken resigning. Since I have been medically crippled, semi-lobotomized – she speaks for me. Wish HT were still here as she had experience similar to my mine and was very open and wise. My faith in the Democratic Party is evaporating.

  7. NW Luna says:

    Listen to women, yes, and investigate. Unfortunately we can’t believe all women or we’d also have to believe the spokeswomen for Trump and Moore.

    The Democrats are making the perfect the enemy of the good and handicapping themselves again. We are and will loose good senators, reps, governors, and state lawmakers this way at the risk of Republicans filling those positions.

    Due process should have been followed. Our legal system does presume innocence until proven guilty. Due process would have an investigation finished and a conclusion that Franken was ethically guilty before calling him to resign.

    Dems should have demanded en mass that Trump be investigated first.

    I feel sad and discouraged. I’d been encouraged when Flynn was charged, and barely a week later it’s back to Dems at fault in the headlines again.

    • Jslat says:

      I’m with you.

    • dakinikat says:

      definitely … women should be able to come forward and deserve to be heard, taken seriously, and have their claims investigated …

      • Enheduanna says:

        The problem with the investigations, according to Melissa McEwan – and I agree – is they are rarely centered on the victim. The Senate ethics investigation is there to exonerate the Senator.

        While I concede her point I don’t agree with her overall position on this which is rare for me. I just can’t shake that this is a set-up.

        • Sweet Sue says:

          McEwan is a good writer. She’s also a safe space seeking snowflake who thinks that every woman must be automatically believed because I don’t know why.

          • jan says:

            I feel sorry for Al Franken and mad at republicans. I believe Franken probably pulled some crude jokes but didn’t really expect women to be victims. I do believe that if republicans have to resign or lose elections because of harassment, they will turn the tables and accuse democrats even if they have to make up the evidence and pay the accusers. For republicans it is a case of tit for tat. You have seen this over and over, but have you noticed? and the republicans are often openly misogynistic. They are investigating Hillary again aren’t they??

    • bostonboomer says:

      I agree, Luna. I don’t think the no tolerance policy is going to work. I hope I’m wrong. I saw on Twitter that the WaPo is working on a story that will out 30 Congresspeople.

    • Riverbird says:

      I feel the same way.

  8. NW Luna says:

    Meanwhile:

    In a dramatic reversal, MSNBC has decided to bring back Sam Seder as a contributor

    On Monday, the network [had] said that it would not renew Seder’s contributor contract due to a provocative joke he told on Twitter in 2009.

    In the tweet, Seder mocked defenders of the filmmaker Roman Polanski, a director who pleaded guilty to statutory rape after being charged with drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl.
    “Don’t care re Polanski, but I hope if my daughter is ever raped it is by an older truly talented man w/a great sense of mise en scene,” Seder said at the time.

    The tweet went largely unnoticed for nearly a decade — until last week, when the far-right activist Mike Cernovich dredged it up and spearheaded a pressure campaign against MSNBC. Cernovich, a central figure behind a bizarre and false conspiracy theory that linked Hillary Clinton’s campaign to a supposed child sex ring inside a pizza shop, was triumphant when news broke on Monday that the network was parting with Seder.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’m glad they did the right thing. The tweet was obviously satire. MSNBC fell for another alt-right ploy, which is what also happened to Franken.

  9. NW Luna says:

    Also meanwhile:

    • Delphyne49 says:

      Wow. Thank you for posting this – I am very happy that both the man and bunny are alright. His anguish and freak out when the bunny ran into the fire was palpable – I would probably feel the same.

  10. dakinikat says:

    The first accuser was obviously coached by Stone and on the same tour groped a CW singer and Robin Williams

    and this

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/12/i-believe-frankens-accusers-because-he-groped-me-too/547691/

    D.C. was decked out and packed in for the inauguration of a young and popular new president. The town was buzzing with optimism, and one of the many events on our list was a swanky Media Matters party with Democratic notables everywhere. Then I saw Al Franken. I only bug celebrities for pictures when it’ll make my foster mom happy. She loves Franken, so I asked to get a picture with him. We posed for the shot. He immediately put his hand on my waist, grabbing a handful of flesh. I froze. Then he squeezed. At least twice.

    is an odd complaint. I’m truly conflicted.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I’m conflicted too – putting his hand on her waist is not harassment IMO. I’m not buying Tweeden because of Stone. I think Franken has been targeted and frankly all I see are smiling women standing next to him in those pictures.

      The airplane picture was not great but not a fire-able offense IMO. Again – did ya’ll SEE the clips of Tweeden on that tour?

      I’d like to see an investigation.

      And do I really have to see him resign on the same day the news is plastered with pictures of Ginny Thomas giving James O’Keefe III an award for his “work”? Really?

      Caving on this without demanding tRump resign looks weak. Dems look weak – not valorous.

    • NW Luna says:

      That is an odd complaint — not something that IMO rises to the level of sexual assault. Rude and too presumptiously friendly, yes. I might find it too much glad-handing, but certainly nothing he should resign for. Frankly I think he and fellow comedians are used to a quick arm around the waist for quick photo-together-with-friend or fan. Arm around waist is a somewhat common position during photo snaps, and if she was a bit plump a firm hold or pat could feel too hard.

      It was during the inauguration of Obama’s first term, everyone was celebratory, she says, and it was a party — “one of many events on our list.” The incident was brief, he didn’t grab her hips or buttocks, and he was asked by a complete stranger if he could be photographed with her. Am I rationalizing? But seriously, this should not be a big deal.

  11. NW Luna says:

    Good news from Down Under:

    The Australian Parliament voted on Thursday to allow same-sex marriage across the nation, following a bitter and divisive debate settled by the government polling voters in a much-criticized ballot survey that strongly endorsed change.

    The public gallery of the House of Representatives erupted with applause when the bill passed to change the definition of marriage from solely between a man and a woman to “a union of two people” excluding all others. The legislation passed with a majority that wasn’t challenged, although five lawmakers registered their opposition to the bill.

    The Senate passed the same legislation last week 43 votes to 12. After royal assent and other formalities, the law will likely take effect in about a month, with the first weddings expected about a month later.

  12. NW Luna says:

    Justice of a sort.

    Former South Carolina police officer who shot Walter Scott sentenced to 20 years

    The former South Carolina police officer who shot and killed Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, following a traffic stop was sentenced Thursday to 20 years behind bars in a federal case stemming from the fatal encounter.

    Michael Slager, who had been an officer with the North Charleston police, was charged with murder in state court and indicted on federal civil rights charges after the shooting in 2015. In graphic video footage of the shooting recorded by a bystander, Scott could be seen running from Slager as the officer fired a barrage of bullets into his back.

  13. janicen says:

    My take on Franken: He had to go. He was finished by the time the women of the Senate called for him to step down. I think he may have been targeted and I certainly don’t think his behavior compared to that of Mark Halperin, Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Glen Thrush, Donald Trump, Kevin Spacey, etc. His behavior, while unfortunately typical, probably crossed a line. Most men’s did back in the day. I think the women of the Senate recognized that we are at a watershed moment for women in that people are finally believing the victims and we have to continue to stand with them no matter the circumstances or we risk losing this moment. Like I said, it was too late to try to save Franken, chalk one up to Stone, but in the long run I’m hoping things will get better for women and Democrats will stay pissed off.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Unless Republicans also participate, I don’t see how much changes. As long as Trump is there, it’s all pretty meaningless. I’m not holding my breath waiting for Repubs to tell Farenthold to step down, and Dems aren’t doing it either.

      • janicen says:

        Because it’s not about politics, it’s about men assaulting women. As soon as you make it about politics then people can say, “Tsk, tsk, both sides do it, let’s move on.”and nothing changes for women. It has to be about weeding out violators and standing with victims in all professions. I agree that the Republicans should be accountable but since when do they give a crap about anything or anyone? They are proudly ripping children from their parents’ arms so they can deport the parents. They are doing nothing about the flood of firearms in this country on the contrary, they are trying to add more. They committed treasonous acts to prevent a woman from becoming president. They have no decency. We can’t gauge our behavior on theirs.

        • quixote says:

          Of course we’re not going to gauge Dem behavior on Repub. That’s a big principles kind of thing overarching the here and now. It’s important, but you can’t stare at it to the exclusion of noticing the spiked bear trap you’re going to fall into.

          That’s what the Dems are doing here. They should have, from the start, refused to contemplate any resignations until the Repubs with worse ones (Dump, Farenthold, Moore) were gone.

          All they’ve done now is handed over the field to the goons.

          Sure, the Repubs aren’t holding themselves accountable for anything. How does it help matters when you’ve brought your cream pie to a gun fight and you carefully cut it into equal pieces so the guy trying to kill you gets an equal slice?

          This is idiotic.

          • Sweet Sue says:

            Completely agree with you, Quixote.

          • janicen says:

            Isn’t it “what-aboutism”? Isn’t that what we accuse the R’s of? As Lawrence O’Donnell said on The Last Word last night, politics isn’t fair. Bob Packwood went down for what every other Senator was doing at the time. Bill Clinton was impeached over a legal, consensual affair even though many other presidents have done the same thing and the press was well aware of it. So yeah, we lost Franken but he was not without guilt. He did some disgusting things to women. I think he’ll be replaced with a woman and I think she will win reelection.

          • quixote says:

            No, it is not whataboutism. It’s about different degrees of crime, all the way to plain old this-is-awkward. If a woman doesn’t like Franken’s hand on her waist/hip, she has every right to prefer not to be touched. BUT. That’s nothing but social awkwardness. It’s not even harassment. That particular instance is no kind of crime at all.

            Creating a crappy working environment with lewd pics or unwanted comments? yes, that’s harassment and depending how bad it was, might merit more than a mere apology. If you’re looking for a seat with the Supremes? It should make you an automatic non-starter. You obviously don’t know right from wrong very well.

            Cornering 14 year-olds while you’re the DA? Ten year prison sentence!

            Serial sexual assault that you goddamn boast about on national media? Well, don’t get me started on what I think needs to happen to the Dump.

            The difference in these cases is not their politics. It’s what they did.

            We don’t have the same punishments for murder, robbery, shoplifting, and taking the last slice of cake at a party either.

            Whataboutism is downplaying real problems by pointing to other problems. It has nothing to do with recognizing different degrees of crime and treating them proportionately.

          • bostonboomer says:

            I think Dahlia Lithwick expressed this very well. And what the Democrats did absolutely was and is about politics. They wanted to clear the field in order to be able to attack Trump and Moore. Franken understood that and he took one for the team, even though some of the allegations were unbelievable. He understood that he had to go for the good of all.

            Unfortunately, more Democrats will be outed. Another Republican–Trent Franks went down today. There will be more Democrats with more egregious charges. It should all come out, and I hope it does. But it’s not going to be pretty; and we could very well end up in an authoritarian state with an insane old man in charge. The stakes are very high. I hope we come out with the Constitution intact.

          • quixote says:

            Among other things, the notion that Dems need to clear the field in order to object to Repub behavior is another non-proportionality. Repubs don’t worry about that. So if Dems do, they’re just handing their cream pie over to Repubs.

            Dems could distinguish themselves by clearly condemning all that behavior (with condemnation proportional to the level of awfulness). That’s essential, as you say, bb. But in terms of dumping people on their own side, it should be like those prisoner of war swaps. Each side does the same amount of resignations and only of people who committed similar acts!

            Otherwise the burn-it-all-down Repubs will just take the brilliant and great MeToo moment and weaponize it. Like they do with everything.

        • Enheduanna says:

          And they’ll happily find 6 or 8 women to take down any Democrat they think is becoming too popular. I’m still mad as hell no one stood up for Acorn. Ratfking is what they do.

          But I hear you. It’s just so infuriating.

        • teele says:

          When the Dems are conned into the Repub way of thinking, that everything is black or white, that there are no shades of gray, that individual cases can’t be judged, that accidentally grabbing some back fat during a photo op is the same thing as being so creepy about trawling for teenage girls that you get banned from a business area, then both sides are doing it. I am sick about this, to the point where this is actually the only site I can visit yesterday and today, can’t even catch up on the news. The Democrats have proven that they WILL NOT fight for the average Joe, that their spine is made of fruit-flavored gelatin, that they are incapable of stopping this whirlpool from spiraling down the drain. I have to believe every woman? Sorry, I am a woman and I judge women just like I do men. If they are decent, honest people who have proven they can be trusted, then I believe them. If they are are sleazy, lying creeps, I don’t believe them. I wouldn’t believe a single word that came out of the mouths of Kellyanne Conway or Sarah Huckabee. And they are not the only two women who lie. And women who lie are NOT “products of the patriarchy.” Lying is one of those qualities possessed by both genders equally.

          We are losing a person from the Senate who, in a very short time, has proven his worth. He has buckled down and learned his job, and taken it seriously. He has shown himself to possess the backbone that is characteristic of very few Dems. And into that void, we can welcome a backward f*ckwad piece of white trash. But, hey, as they steal every last dime we have, and plunge our once-shiny empire into darkness at a dizzying rate, we can warm ourselves with the certain knowledge that we have the moral high ground. If that gives you comfort, that’s great. It just makes me feel enraged, impotent and depressed. But I have definitely at last gained an understanding of why half the population of eligible voters throws up their hands and finds something more productive to do on election days.

          • Sweet Sue says:

            Beautifully written. What happened to nuance?

          • Catscatscats says:

            And what happened to having the punishment fit the crime? What about context, due process and hearing both sides of the story? I don’t consider Franken’s resignation fair or just. I think he did all the right things given the current atmosphere, until today, and that he deserves to wait until the ethics investigation he asked for is concluded. I feel like we are exploiting the “sea change” on sexual harassment and missing the point. Personally, i want to be treated with the same respect as any man, treated as an equal, not special or handicapped because I have a vagina or lesser because I don’t have a penis. See me, not my breasts or my ass and keep your hands off both if you don’t have my permission to do so.
            Didn’t someone say lasting change comes gradually? For now, i would settle for men thinking twice about manhandling or disrespecting women before they do it and if they can’t see the line they are about to cross that a woman can safely say “stop it” without retribution, ridicule or abuse. A place to start for men: how would i feel if a another man said or did this to my mother, my wife, my sister or my daughter?

          • NW Luna says:

            Well said.

  14. bostonboomer says:

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    • Fannie says:

      Wow, Charlie is on to something: Birth into the world of the dead, or maybe the awakening.

    • bostonboomer says:

      And BTW, there is no way in hell I’m voting for Kirstin Gillibrand for president. Same for Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, and Bernie Sanders. I hope the Dems come up with a candidate I can support–if there is a 2020 election.

      • NW Luna says:

        I’m with you.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        Me, too, BB.

      • RalphB says:

        Almost nothing would make me happier than for Kirsten Gillibrand to be brought down by a scandal of her own. There just might be one from her days as a Big Tobacco lawyer for freaking Phillip-Morris.

        • lililam says:

          I agree- what a sanctimonious jerk. I am so angry that Franken went down. If he actually was disrespectful, he has already apologized. What has happened to forgiveness? Franken likely blew it on several occasions, we may never know for sure, but his caring and thorough stewardship of Minnesota rises above many or most politicians. I think he was truly hurt by the lack of support of his colleagues- with friends like those, who needs enemies? As Gilbert and Sullivan said, in a satiric way, albeit, let the punishment fit the crime.

      • RonStill4Hills says:

        Yeah, I am out too.

        Kristin and Lizzie lost me with their “rigged” talk.

        The Franken thing seals it.

        Does no one ever get a “go forth and sin no more?” Or was that just a Jesus thing?

        How are we better off with Al Franken out on his ass?

      • quixote says:

        Me too, bb. I’d written off the others already, but I’d had high hopes for Gillibrand. Now she’s in the cesspool with the others. Something tells me 2020 is going to be grim, unless someone comes out of nowhere.

    • RonStill4Hills says:

      Truth above all, but this one hurts too. I really like Harold Ford Jr.

      If guilty, he has to atone like anyone else, but I always felt that he was a decent congressman who got screwed by a racist campaign run by Bob Corker.

      Ford is a little too conciliatory to conservatives for my tastes, but I always hoped he back back. Oh well.

      We will see how it plays out.

  15. bostonboomer says:

    The Daily Beast: Here’s Why Democrats Forced Al Franken to Do the Right Thing—And Why They May Come to Regret It

    Do you think we’d have heard all these calls for his resignation from his Democratic colleagues if Minnesota had a Republican governor? No way.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Franken’s resignation could well mean a Republican Senator from Minnesota because:

      Now Gov. Mark Dayton is throwing a wrench in the works by evidently appointing a caretaker on the condition she not seek to keep the seat, which opens the seat up to the real possibility of Republican capture in 2018 (maybe by Norm Coleman, the Republican Franken defeated in 2008). I wonder how many Senate Democrats calling for Franken’s head would have thought twice if they’d known Dayton was going to pull that boneheaded move, instead of appointing a younger star like state Attorney General Lori Swanson who could build a real Senate career.

      • NW Luna says:

        Bringing the Wellies to a track race again.

      • bostonboomer says:

        As Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out last night, the Dems are welcoming Menendez back into the fold because if he quit, he’d be replaced by a Republican. And he may well be tried again.

  16. NW Luna says:

    Hey Purity Democrats? This is what’s going on while you’re pearl-clutching about Al Franken’s arm around a celebrity-chaser’s waist:

  17. NW Luna says:

    I missed this earlier — It’s not actually Springsteen, but still funny!

  18. Sweet Sue says:

    Luna, I love you,

  19. bostonboomer says:

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    • Enheduanna says:

      So depressing. I’m trying to be positive. MN leans blue at least – Hillary won it and Obama by a lot. 2018 should be a tsunami for Dems and MN will hopefully follow that trend.