Comedian Al Franken penned a book called Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations. Once again, art imitates life, as just replace Limbaugh’s name with Franken’s. Yesterday, as he didn’t actually resign but said he would do so in the coming weeks (whatever that means), Franken accepted no responsibility for his boorish behavior and in fact, said that some his women accusers were lying. He then went on to talk about the Donald Trump and Senate candidate Roy Moore’s past behavior toward women.
Let’s take this one piece at a time. First, Franken announced his resignation sometime in the future. He could have said that it was effective immediately but he didn’t. Why would he do that?
How about so he could hang around to vote against the Republican’s forthcoming tax bill? I guess he’s unfit to be a senator but not that unfit after all. The Democrats made a great show of coming together to root out the evil of sexual abuse in their party while demanding the same from the Republicans – eventually.
However, it is a barely concealed and politically calculated move to end the Republican majority in the Senate before a crucial vote. And it’s hypocritical too. Why? Because as soon as Franken resigns, the Minnesota governor, who is a Democrat, will appoint a Democrat and there is no loss of seats by Democrats in the Senate. So it costs the D’s little to make such a courageous move.
On the other hand, Roy Moore is running to replace Jeff Sessions who left the Senate to join the Trump Administration as Attorney General. If Moore is forced out before next week’s special election in Alabama, the Democrat, Doug Jones will win and change the delicate majority held by the Republicans to 50-50 with Vice President Pence as the tiebreaking vote.
Spare me the moral outrage, please. This is the same Democrat party that defended Bill Clinton’s abuse of Monica Lewinsky as “it’s just about sex.” Before that, the Democrats turned a blind eye to Rep. Barney Frank (D. MA)’s behavioras he not only hired a young male prostitute but also had the young man (Steve Gobie) do errands for him and live in his home. Gobie continued to practice his trade while a resident of Frank’s house. He faced an ethics procedure in the House and was only reprimanded for fixing 33 parking tickets for his young lover. Franks continued to serve in the House until 2013 when he retired.
Roy Moore may or may not have abused teenagers. We just don’t know. But if he did, it was 40 years ago and there is a statute of limitations. And interestingly, a convicted felon is allowed to serve in Congress, although he or she could be expelled. You see our Constitution sets the high bar pretty low and Congress has certainly met those low expectations
So, what are we to make of Franken’s remarks about the President? Franken states that the man in the oval office bragged about his sexual abuse of women. You can read a transcript of the Access Hollywood tape that surfaced during the election here.
It sure is ugly but it only proves that Trump is like many men, a bragger, and a crude lout when it comes to talking about women. It does not say, however, that he actually did anything except try to hook up with some woman. More than a dozen women have since accused Trump of sexually abusive behavior. Certainly, we have no accusations about him while he’s actually been in office. Did he do any of what he’s accused of? No one knows at this point.
In the end, Franken resigned because of political pressure from his own party. I actually believed that his initial shock and apologies were sincere and he deserved a chance to right his wrongs. His resignation under pressure was an unfortunate act of politics by his party. However, calling out Roy Moore and Donald Trump on the way out the door is purely about politics and it wasn’t very classy, was it?
Look, every woman’s accusation should be taken seriously but not all of them are true. Remember the Duke Lacrosse case? The unfortunate feminist McCarthyism going on right now has created an atmosphere where we can’t have an honest conversation about power and it’s ability to corrupt and how that’s manifested itself in sexual abuse by our politicians, entertainers, and business people. Even worse, it’s blurred the line between unwanted advances, abusive behavior and rape. Right now, all out of line sexual behavior is treated the same. It’s one size fits all and that’s a shame.
See there’s something very serious at work here. We seem to believe all accusations leveled at men because we expect so little of them. That’s a big problem. We’re now in a rush to judgment and “purge the b*****d environment.” And that’s too bad because if Clinton, Weiner, and other revelations have shown us anything, there’s a real societal problem out there and picking off the high profile offenders and lumping them all together really doesn’t address the problem. It just makes for sensational news stories.
Meanwhile, Washington’s hypocrisy continues unabated. But that’s not news.
Jon Saltzman is the Publisher and Senior Editor of Political Storm and he can’t look at a picture of Al Franken without thinking of his part as the baggage handler that put Clarence Beakes in the cage with the gorilla in Trading Places.