With liberal Minnesota Senator Al Franken under fire for alleged sexual misconduct on a USO tour, including groping a sleeping woman, the debate over his fate is underway. Democrats have almost universally condemned his actions (which are reinforced by photographic evidence), for which he's apologized -- an apology that his victim has accepted. Senators McConnell and Schumer have called for an ethics investigation into the matter, with which Franken says he will fully cooperate. I think it's highly likely that if this information had emerged before his historically narrow Senate victory in 2008, he would have lost. But it didn't, and he didn't. Now what? If no additional allegations of sexual harassment or unwanted touching arise, what should happen to him? Should he resign? Should he face some form of discipline? Should he endure opprobrium and embarrassment, then carry on as a Senator? There's a lot about the single allegation that's gross -- from the forcible kiss, which was clearly pre-meditated and a set-up, to the groping of his sleeping target, to the retaliation against her after she rejected him. The infamous image of him grabbing at her breasts as she slept was supposed to be humorous, he says. This is an interesting little flashback, referencing this story from earlier in the week, regarding a stupid Democratic attack line against a Trump judicial nominee:
Wednesday: @alfranken on @JusticeWillett tweet: "I don’t get it, But sometimes when you don’t get a joke, it’s because it wasn’t a joke.”— Josh Blackman (@JoshMBlackman) November 16, 2017
Thursday: @alfranken "As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t."https://t.co/WPq0BHdzRY
I think there's a case to be made that Franken's behavior is worthy of scorn, but shouldn't trigger his ouster from the Senate -- especially in the absence of additional credible allegations reflecting a pattern of predatory behavior. By the way, I would not be at all surprised if more stories emerged. Speaking of which, is the media doing everything it can to track down potential victims, the way they have with Roy Moore?
Time for MSM to assign reporters to deep-dives into Franken's past, stretching back decades. Right?— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) November 16, 2017
There's also a case for holding Democrats to an unforgiving 'zero tolerance' standard, playing hardball the way they always do. Groping an unconscious woman while mugging for the camera, after making an aggressive, pressure-filled pass at her, is ugly stuff. One liberal feminist has reached her verdict on this question, writing in the Washington Post that because Franken is a liberal Democrat who thinks the right things and votes the right way, he should be spared. I highlighted some distilled tribalism on the Right last evening. Here's some laboratory pure tribalism on the Left:
It would feel good, momentarily, to see Franken resign and the Democratic governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, appoint a senator who has not (as far as we know) harmed women. If I believed for one second that Franken is the only Democrat in the Senate who has done something like this, with or without photographic evidence, I would see that as the best and most appropriate option. But in the world we actually live in, I’m betting that there will be more. And more after that. And they won’t all come from states with Democratic governors and a deep bench of progressive replacements. Some will, if ousted, have their successors chosen by Republicans. In other words, 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. The legislative branch will remain chockablock with old, white Republican men who regard women chiefly as sex objects and unpaid housekeepers, and we’ll show them how staunchly Democrats oppose their misogynistic attitudes by handing them more power. if the short-term “right thing” leads to long-term political catastrophe for American women, I think we need to reconsider our definition of the right thing.
Her argument is literally, we must protect liberal gropers because we don't want to set a precedent that could lead to more liberal gropers getting replaced with 'anti-women' Republicans. It's the same old argument that was made in support of Bill Clinton (before the Left found it expedient to cut him loose): He can basically do what he wants as long as he's for abortion. This woman criticizes President Trump (she's written a whole book blasting him, apparently), and I'm confident she's horrified by Roy Moore. But she's mirroring the exact same arguments deployed by their GOP supporters who justify voting for flawed candidates accused of serious misconduct because of the bigger policy consequences. Maybe Trump groped a bunch of women and bragged about it, but think of the Supreme Court. Maybe Roy Moore chased high school skirt as a 34-year-old, but we can't give Schumer another vote. Maybe Franken shoved his tongue down a stunned woman's throat and grabbed her breasts in front of other people while she slept, but we can't risk more Republican misogyny. It's all the same thing. I'll leave you with a CNN panel minimizing the Franken story because, among other things, he was "just a comedian" at the time, as opposed to a Senator. C'mon:
And this is also true -- a lot of lefty journalist types downplaying Franken's actions are doing so based on their interpretation that the photograph may not definitively prove groping. That...wasn't the victim's only allegation against him:
Love how the gang here is omitting the fact Tweeden also stated Franken of shoving his tongue down her throat against her will. pic.twitter.com/B25Mn5safg— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) November 17, 2017