Minnesota Senator Al Franken is toast.
When good liberals like Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, who aren’t facing an election next year, call for you to go, its because they know you’re already planning to leave.
Viewed from a distance, Franken’s impending resignation could be considered darkly, ironically humorous.
Franken is about to be cast out of “The worlds greatest deliberative body” at the same time the US Senate appears about to welcome a man who probably is a child molester and who you definitely would not want to “watch” your daughter while you run into the courthouse.
Hey, I said it was dark.
Leigh Corfman, now 53, said she met Moore outside an Alabama courthouse in 1979. She was with her mother, Nancy Wells, who was attending a child custody hearing. Moore offered to watch Corfman while her mother went inside. The two chatted, and Moore asked if he could call her sometime. Corfman gave him her phone number, she says, and the two made plans to meet. Moore picked her up around the corner from her house and drove her to his home:
Roy Moore, a man accused of having a sexual encounter with a 14 year old girl, and accused of other predatory acts against older teenagers and young women, is poised to be elected to the US Senate from Alabama. This is the same man who, TWICE, was removed from the bench in his home state for his failure to uphold the US Constitution.
For the unanimous members of the Alabama Court of Judiciary that ousted him from the bench — twice — it was not Moore’s substantive views but his sheer lack of integrity and impartiality. In a 50-page final judgment against him last year, phrases like “grossly inconsistent with his duties” and “incomplete, misleading and manipulative” leap out.
Yet, despite what his home state jurists think of him, Alabama voters are likely to make Roy Moore a Senator while Al Franken, for the foreseeable future, will be a pariah.
Franken is far from blameless. While working as a comedian in 2006, Franken posed for a photo that came to light at the very moment when the country’s consciousness was being awakened about the way men have mistreated women in workplaces from the time women were allowed in workplaces.
Juvenile. Idiotic. Embarrassing. Damaging beyond repair.
Another irony is that Franken has a laudable record as an outspoken advocate for women’s rights and likely sees the attention being paid to the issue of sexual harassment as a good thing for women and for the country. Which it no doubt is.
Whether you think it’s fair or not that Franken receives the political death penalty, it’s clear his continued presence in the Senate, at a time when new charges, all of them far less serious than those made against Moore, are being made against him, makes the Democrats look hypocritical if they tolerate Franken while opposing Moore.
If decency mattered in politics, Roy Moore would have folded his tent when he was unable to convincingly deny to Sean Hannity that he, as a man in his 30s, had a thing for young teenage girls.
If decency mattered, the country would be not be led by a man who was caught bragging about sexually assaulting young women and who remains accused of assault by at least a dozen women.
Franken could do do what Moore and Trump have done: refuse to listen to supporters who find the whole business unacceptably tawdry and just stick it out.
Bill Clinton left office with a 65 percent approval rating, about 28 points higher than the approval number for the current president. It seems time heals, if you have the stomach for it.
Al Franken was a good Senator who spoke up for people who couldn’t speak for themselves.
His unique combination of intelligence and humor made him a formidable opponent for the current administration which, with each passing day, behaves outrageously to the point it’s almost impossible to satirize. A world-class satirist could have been a perfect opponent for this White House.
Decades ago, Franken had a recurring bit on Saturday Night Live about the 1980s being the “Al Franken Decade.”
Ironically, not long ago, the decade we currently are in looked like it might become the Franken Decade for real. His unusual life story, his success as a Senator and his ability to use his show business past and his natural intelligence to communicate on a variety of issues seemed to make him a perfect politician for the era of Trump.
There were even people talking about Franken for President in 2020.
That’s not going to happen. Al Franken is about to exit the political stage. Will he have a third act?
More importantly, who is going to step up to articulate important issues and stop the erosion of democracy that Donald Trump seems intent on completing?