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Al Franken Announces Resignation From The Senate Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

al-franken

As expected, Minnesota Senator Al Franken has announced he will be resigning from the Senate in the wake of reports by eight women of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior on his part:

WASHINGTON — Senator Al Franken of Minnesota announced Thursday he would resign “in the coming weeks” from the Senate after his support among Democrats crumbled, becoming the highest-profile casualty in the growing list of lawmakers felled by charges of sexual harassment or indiscretions.

“I of all people am aware that there is some irony in the fact 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 repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,” Mr. Franken said.

Mr. Franken also said that he had been ready to “cooperate fully” with a Senate Ethics Committee investigation but that he decided to leave office because it became clear he could not both pursue the investigation and represent the people of Minnesota. Still, he maintained that he would have ultimately been cleared.

“Some of the allegations against me are simply not true,” Mr. Franken said. “Others I remember very differently. I know in my heart, nothing that I have done as a Senator, nothing, has brought dishonor on this institution, and I am confident that the Ethics Committee would agree.”

He also said he was “shocked” and “upset” by the harassment allegations and that in responding to the claims, he may have given people the “false impression” that he was admitting to any of the accusations. He added that he planned to continue to be a “champion” for women and would be active outside of the Senate.

“Even on the worst day of my political life, I feel like it has all been worth it,” he said. “Politics, Paul Wellstone told us, is about the improvement of people’s lives. I know that the work I have been able to do has improved people’s lives. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”

You can watch the video of Franken’s remarks below:

Franken’s decision came in the wake of allegations that began to unfold just three weeks ago, but which continued to build as the weeks went on. The reports began when  Los Angeles news anchor Leann Tweeden wrote and spoke on the air about an incident during a 2006 USO Tour she was on with Franken. Tweeden said that Franken tried to forcibly kiss her and, later, appeared in pictures where he seemed to be groping her while she slept.  A few days later, a second woman came forward alleging that Franken had groped her while posing for a photograph at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010 after he had become a Senator. That same week, two more women came forward to make similar allegations against Franken, alleging incidents that happened during a second 2006 USO Tour and at a political event in Minnesota in 2007 while Franken was just beginning to explore what became his 2008 campaign for the Senate. Last week, similar accusations have been made by two more women, including an Army veteran and an as-yet-unidentified political official from New England, both of whom say that Franken groped them. Yesterday, two more women came forward to claim similar actions by Franken during the 2006-2007 time period. This last set of charges came in the wake of the resignation of Congressman John Conyers amid a series of allegations of harassment and other inappropriate behavior on his part over a number of years, as well as the settlement of such claims using taxpayer dollars. It also comes on the same day that Time Magazine had chosen women who have come forward to speak out about being sexually harassed as the “Person Of The Year.”  It was these last set of allegations that led a number of Franken’s Democratic colleagues to call on him to resign. By the end of the day yesterday, 38 Senate Democrats had joined in that call, with the majority of the holdouts being members of the Senate Ethics Committee who according to Senate Rules are supposed to remain publicly neutral when there is an ongoing investigation.

According to reports, Franken will make his resignation official at the end of this month, which would give the state’s Governor more than enough time to name someone who would replace Franken at the beginning of 2018 and would serve at least until a Special Election is held for the seat. The current Governor, Mark Dayton, is a Democrat and it is expected that he would appoint a Democrat to fill Franken’s seat. Among the top prospects for that job is the state’s Lt. Governor Tina Smith. Other potential names include Attorney General Lori Swanson and two Members of Congress, Keith Ellison and Tim Walz. Regardless of who Dayton chooses, the Senate seat will be up for a Special Election in November of next year at the same time that Minnesota’s other Senator, Amy Klobuchar, will be running for re-election in her own right. The Republicans will no doubt put up nominees for both seats, additionally, it’s possible that we’ll see a primary on the Democratic side for the nomination for Franken’s seat. On the Republican side, potential candidates include former Governor Tim Pawlenty and former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. A bid by Bachmann, though, would seem to be quixotic given that there’s never been any indication that she has any political appeal outside of her old Congressional District even among the state’s Republicans. While a candidate like Pawlenty might potentially be competitive, the likely political atmosphere in 2018 along with the fact that Minnesota seems to clearly be a solidly blue state suggests strongly that the seat will remain in Democratic hands.

Update: This post was updated to note that Minnesota is, of course, a solidly blue state.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tony W says:

    Democrats, again, prove to be the party of personal accountability.

    And also the party of horrible marketing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  2. Paul L. says:

    @Tony W:

    party of personal accountability.

    Al Franken did not resign yet and called his accusers liars.

    Al Franken is the new Duke Lacrosse and UVA Frat Gang Rape Hoax.

    Al Franken’s name will forever be held up as an example of a hysterical witch hunt that backfired on the very people who led the charge.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 16

  3. MBunge says:

    @Tony W: Democrats, again, prove to be the party of personal accountability.

    Let’s not lie about this. Democrats EVENTUALLY came to demand Franken’s resignation because…

    1. The list of alleged transgressions kept growing.

    2. They know he’ll be replaced by a Democrat.

    3. It serves their interests to throw Franken overboard to bolster their moral authority when it comes to Roy Moore.

    You shouldn’t give people much credit for doing the right thing when it’s easy. It’s holding to principles when it’s hard that matters. 13 months ago these same Democrats were not just content, they were positively thrilled at the prospect of putting an alleged rapist back in the White House.

    Republicans have thrown plenty of their own over the side in the past. This isn’t some great breakthrough in political accountability.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11

  4. al-Ameda says:

    @Paul L.:

    Al Franken did not resign yet and called his accusers liars.

    He did discretely mention that Donald Trump has not yet been called to account for his admitted sexual harassment activity

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. Paul L. says:

    @al-Ameda:
    discretely?

    “I of all people am aware that there is some irony in the fact 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 repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,”.

    subtle as turning the Wellstone memorial into a Democrat pap rally.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  6. grumpy realist says:

    @Paul L.: why don’t you demand similar punishment on Trump and Moore?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  7. James Pearce says:

    Donald Trump will be resigning in, 3….2……never.

    I guess what’s important, though, is that liberals feel good about themselves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

  8. Paul L. says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Do not want Franken to resign.
    Trump and Moore can serve as long as Franken does. July 7, 2009 – ??? ??, 2018
    8+ years

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  9. wr says:

    @MBunge: Yes, Democrats are so icky because they take so long to act. Meanwhile, how many Roy Moore bumper stickers do you have on your car?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  10. becca says:

    @James Pearce: it kinda grieves me to agree with you, but right now I’m so mad at the senators from NY I could spit.

    I don’t believe the charges against him. People lie, and last I heard, women are people,too. I imagine a few accusers were cultivated to re-recollect. This is standard GOP procedure when they want to put down a threat and Al is a threat to them.

    Thing about Franken is gosh darn it people like him, they really like him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  11. Gustopher says:

    There’s no place in the Democratic Party for sexual abuse.

    He should have switched parties and become a Republican.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  12. george says:

    I’m wondering how far this goes … does the bad someone does mean their good works should be ignored or boycotted. For instance, William Schockley, the inventor of the transistor was a eugenicist and pretty questionable character. Should we be refusing to use computers based on transistor technology (ie 99.9999% of them to date)?

    And read up on some of Sir Issac Newton’s personal characteristics. Perhaps we should refuse to use any technology based on Newtonian mechanics (basically 100%)?

    For that matter, Heisenberg, one of the key figures in quantum mechanics, who introduced much of what’s today used in most high tech, was working on an atomic bomb for the Nazi’s. Shouldn’t we be boycotting all physics (and the resulting technology) based on matrix formulation?

    Moreover, I always thought part of being a progressive was believing in rehabilitation. It was conservatives who maintained that if you once committed a crime of some sort you were never to be trusted again. But it seems that progressive thought now is in agreement with that; once guilty you can never be trusted again. Bringing in a statute of limitations was a liberal idea; its odd to see liberals deciding it should be abandoned.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  13. gVOR08 says:

    @Paul L.: You’re link is to a post by a pre Senate Al Franken very effectively debunking the Mighty Right Wing Wurlitzer claims that Paul Wellstone’s funeral was a “Democratic Pep Rally”. I fear whatever point you’re trying to make is too subtle for me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  14. the Q says:

    Franken had to leave because fellow senators believe there should be a ‘higher standard” for Congress members.

    So, if we take this to its logical extreme then:

    1. All those who have ever cheated on their spouses should resign.(Morally repugnant)

    2. Anyone who has declared bankruptcy should resign. (Poor fiscal management)

    3. Anyone who has ever been arrested for DUI or for that matter any crime. (clean record a must)

    4. Anyone who has engaged in anal sex. (Just because)

    5. Anyone who has ever told a Pollack or dumb blonde joke.(Tasteless ethnic insensitivity)

    Al had to go after the 7 or 8th accusation. If it were just a few, he might have weathered the storm.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  15. Paul L. says:

    @gVOR08:
    It was not effective.
    He just excused Tom Harkin, Rick Kahn and Mark Wellstone turning it into a political rally by claiming their statements where out of context.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  16. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Pearce:

    I’m going to have to agree with you here. He was a fool to resign. He would have survived the ethics hearings and been reelected in 2020.

    Now, instead, we have an additional seat we have to defend in 2018, all because the Democratic Party is evidently more interested in virtue signaling than it is in gaining and maintaining political power. They can’t get it through their heads that it can’t be virtue signaling 24/7/365.

    For all of their failings, Republicans understand retail politics in this country in a way that Democrats just no longer do. I’m furious with Gillibrand, as is the state party back in NY. It was a BS move on her part. These clowns just do not get it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  17. Jen says:

    Roll Call is reporting that Rep. Trent Franks (R, AZ-8) is expected to resign.

    Sen. Tim Kaine has requested information on the members who have made settlements. I have a feeling that Franken isn’t going to be the last here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  18. James Pearce says:

    @becca:

    it kinda grieves me to agree with you, but right now I’m so mad at the senators from NY I could spit.

    You really have to wonder what they’re thinking. They think they’re going to lead by example? (No one on the right is going to follow their example.) That they’re going to shame the right? (HA! The right cannot be shamed.) That this will be the new standard? (With Trump in the WH and Moore in the Senate, and no way to remove them aside from contrite resignations, it’s not a “standard.”)

    Once again, the Dems get outplayed by Donald fricking Trump….

    @Gustopher:

    He should have switched parties and become a Republican.

    He totally should have….if party ID was determined by mood affiliation instead of ideology.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  19. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    He was a fool to resign.

    Disagree.
    He would have been an ineffective representative for his state going forward.
    And he was hobbling his party.
    Now morons like Bunge are stuck singing “butwaddabout Clinton”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  20. Gustopher says:

    @george: that’s a pretty impressive deliberate misunderstanding there, sir.

    Al Franken is basically replaceable, and no one is suggesting that because he gets handsy we should roll back every bill he voted in favor of.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  21. dmichael says:

    @James Pearce: You and the others who are decrying Franken’s decision to resign are missing two things: First, it was the right thing to do. The list of accusers and his own admissions should convince everyone that this has been a pattern with him. Second, it was the politically correct decision because he was becoming and would continue to be the excuse “What about Franken?” used by Republicans whenever they needed a distraction from evidence of their own egregious behavior. (Not that anyone on this forum ever used the “What about….” defense. (snark). Finally, please see: http://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2017/12/of-course-al-franken-should-resign.html.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  22. Jen says:

    People are missing a nuance in the Franken resignation. There were complaints from the Congressional Black Caucus that Franken was being treated differently than Conyers, in “similar situations.” They weren’t that similar, of course–Conyers propositioned an employee in a hotel room, which is (at least to me, as a woman) a bit different than a butt-squeeze–but even the appearance of disparate treatment is a problem. I think that played into the resignation too.

    On another note, it sounded to me in Franken’s speech that he is intending to pursue the ethics investigation during his remaining time in office. If he feels he’s truly innocent of these charges, that could be interesting to watch (if only from afar, as I think these are behind closed door hearings).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  23. James Pearce says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    They can’t get it through their heads that it can’t be virtue signaling 24/7/365.

    I hate to say it, but I’m starting to wonder if it’s become virtue signaling 24/7 because they have nothing left in the quiver.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  24. James Pearce says:

    @dmichael:

    First, it was the right thing to do.

    The right thing to do is to never harass the women who will call for your resignation.

    Second, it was the politically correct decision because he was becoming and would continue to be the excuse “What about Franken?”

    Yeah, I get that. But this must be understood: They will still go “What about Franken?” You have inoculated nothing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  25. george says:

    @Gustopher:

    When was the latest accusation?

    If he’s been accused of groping while in office he should go. But if its something he did in the past, when does rehabilitation come into play? Or are serious crimes never rehabilitated?

    In terms of rolling back, that’s not going to happen with Senate bills. But its advocated for movies and products – boycotting them for something someone taking part did years ago. If its okay to boycott a movie because someone committed murder or rape twenty years ago, why not technology?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  26. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Pearce:

    What they’ve just managed to do is signal, loudly, that whenever the party is pushed, instead of pushing back it will turn on itself and fold like a cheap piñata.

    To paraphrase Ron Silver, we stood in the corner and said “Please. Don’t. Hurt. Me.”

    That tendency, right there, is one of the main reasons so many people hate us. Fair? No, but reality nonetheless. This party had better grow a set while it still has something left to salvage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  27. An Interested Party says:

    @MBunge: You sanctimonious prig…a person who defends the Orange Mange as much as you do has no right whatsoever to criticize anything to do with sexual harassment involving anyone else…filth, clean thyself…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  28. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Know what makes somebody an effective representative? Being seated.

    You guys are forgetting mission one of any political party – gain political power, at any cost, and maintain it, at any cost.

    The majority of these accusers were anonymous, and they’ll magically disappear now quicker than snow in Arizona.

    Short version? This was a political attack. An orchestrated one, and we were too busy clutching pearls and reaching for smelling salts to do what we should have done – punch back. Hard.

    It’s how you say “stop”, and at the very least it gives your opponent pause the next time he’s thinking of pulling that stunt again.

    It’s weakness, nothing more, and as distasteful as many here will undoubtedly find hearing that, here in the real world a whole lot of people still despise weaklings. Why should they trust us to fight for them when we can’t even fight for ourselves?

    The party had a golden opportunity here, and it straight up blew it. Gillibrand is being hauled over the coals by the state party about this one. Maybe she’ll learn.

    Politics is a contact sport, so either suit up and intend to win, or get used to getting beaten. Those are the party’s options.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  29. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @dmichael: Please note that I remain unpersuaded, but if you guys want to remain on the moral high ground in an environment where nobody except you and yours care about morality, by all means carry on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  30. Scott F. says:

    @James Pearce:

    I hate to say it, but I’m starting to wonder if it’s become virtue signaling 24/7 because they have nothing left in the quiver.

    You don’t hate say it. It’s all you ever say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  31. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jen:

    Franks is meaningless. The AZ 8th has a PVI of R+13. Democrats don’t even bother fielding candidates in that district. He will be replaced by another Republican.

    Meanwhile, we’ll have the novelty of having BOTH of Minnesota’s Senate seats up for election in 2018 at the same time, in a state where Franken (who barely replaced a Republican in his former seat) carried his last election with 53.2%.

    Seeing the problem (and the other rationale besides deflecting Moore for this attack) yet?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  32. Scott F. says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Punching back hard and holding to a high moral standard are not mutually exclusive.

    People pissed at Gillibrand, Schumer and other Dem senators are directing their anger in the wrong direction. In Dahlia Lithwick’s words, Franken did the correct thing, yet it was wrong. The remedy to that wrong is to now do the “punch back hard” part. I’ve contacted Gillibrand and my Dem senators today to demand they do what Jeff Merkley did today – segue every comment on Franken to a hit at Republicans – “Now that Franken has resigned, it’s time for Trump to do the same.”

    This needs to be said every day until Trump leaves office, even if that’s three years from now. This would be the correct thing to do, even if it doesn’t work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  33. James Pearce says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    It’s weakness, nothing more, and as distasteful as many here will undoubtedly find hearing that, here in the real world a whole lot of people still despise weaklings. Why should they trust us to fight for them when we can’t even fight for ourselves?

    Brutal, but true.

    Saw something today that said Trump was at 32% approval. 32% approval and every blow just glances off…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  34. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Scott F.:

    Yea, it’s not going to work, and I suspect you already know that.

    Know what else people despise just about as much as weaklings? Moralistic holier than thous. Moving the party to occupy both of those plots of ground is stupidity.

    The people on our side are already convinced, and the other side will see it as whiny Democrats throwing a tantrum.

    Judging from your past commentary, I feel confident that you’re not remotely naive enough to actually believe what you just suggested will accomplish anything – at all.

    And, not to be repetitive, but you’ve missed the point. The battle isn’t Trump in 2020. The battle is Congress in 2018, and that battle just got more difficult for us.

    Congrats on the “moral” victory, I guess. Maybe it’ll soothe the pain of getting our asses kicked – again – in the midterms.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  35. Jen says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I 100% see the problem–I totally, completely agree with you. You might recall before I saw the light, I worked in Republican politics. I know what they are capable of, and putting another seat in play–even in 2018–is bad.

    I’m still of the mind that if these charges against Franken were fluffed, or concocted out of thin air, that will come out in the ethics investigation. It might not be enough to save Franken, but it could be enough to stop any Project Veritas-esque plans that might be in the works to hit others. Remember, Roger Stone insinuated in his tweet that Franken would be the first of many.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  36. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jen:

    I’d love to believe that, but this committee moves at the speed of a glacier, and when Franken leaves the Senate, any investigation of him which might be in progress – regardless of what stage it has reached, must terminate at the same time. Whatever has been gathered will not be released. The same secrecy of process that would have ensured Franken came out on top of this mess will serve to prevent any benefit for the Dems on the back end.

    That having been said, honestly, nobody will care, because for the vast majority of onlookers, Franken just delivered the verdict for them.

    Get used to hearing “he wouldn’t have resigned if he wasn’t guilty”. This is why you never, ever resign. Stay where you are, and you have options. Resign, and you have none (and you’re forever guilty to boot).

    I wouldn’t expect Stone to back off either – he just got what he wanted (and proof that the tactics work). This is a signal for him to step up his game, not one to retreat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  37. Modulo Myself says:

    The Democrats are the party of intelligent younger (by that I mean, hysterically, under 45 or 50) people and they need to start saying that straight up non-stop. They’ve spent the last decade downplaying their strengths. I thought Franken needed to resign but there was also a Democrat waiting to replace him. I guarantee the response is going to be more muted if it’s a Dem in a Republican-controlled state. I have to be honest–a certain state with a very unpopular governor known for sitting his fat ass on a chair on a beach has a senator with something of a reputation for womanizing, and it’s not going to surprise me if women start coming out of the woodwork to say things about him, especially since he’s not exactly white.

    That’s when you start hitting these people. James O’Keefe and Roger Stone are white trash. There’s not one reason to be scared of white trash if you have power, unless they have a gun or you are 14-year old girl. There’s not one reason to be scared of being called a hypocrite. Letting Franken resign and calling Trump a rapist and Moore a pedophile and then telling the GOP to f—
    itself when this senator is accused will be better than being consistent.

    The reason white Republicans and conservatives lose it because they are called racists is because they are flat-out racist white trash. You can have ethics and not be a dope.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. Scott F. says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I’m a pragmatist, first and foremost, so I oppose Moore because of the policies he’d support not the idea he’s a pedophile. I supported Clinton against impeachment because he was advancing causes I care about and Gingrich’s House stood for all the wrong things.

    I know the history, but I don’t think I’m being naive as much as aspirational. Moralism generally is worthy of your spite, but this is a unique time with a unique issue. And in unique situations, I posit it’s worth at least trying something unproven in the hopes a significant shift just might happen.

    Quiet talk about the behaviors of Weinstein, Trent Franks, Lauer, etc. has been swirling around for years and these men didn’t pay a price for their behavior until they did. Trump’s election over a woman, any woman, was an affront to many, many women. The Women’s March and “The Silence Breakers” as Times Persons of the Year signal a moment in time that is unprecedented.

    Democratic women have been out in front in all this and Franken’s resignation speech noted the respect due to word of women. I believe this could be a tipping point in women’s power in this country. A man can dream.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  39. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Somewhat OT, but the House Ethics Committee has opened an investigation of Farenthold for sexual harassment as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  40. Dmichael says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Too bad you weren’t counsel to Richard Nixon. Then I would have seen him get impeached.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  41. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Dmichael:

    Nah, see, Nixon had things like audio tapes in which he incriminated himself and witnesses who flipped on him in a public investigation being carried out by a special prosecutor.

    Franken had mostly anonymous accusers and the locked doors of the (deadlocked by design) Senate Ethics Committee. They’re not remotely comparable scenarios. Franken would easily have survived.

    But thanks for playing. Be sure to see Janice on your way out for your toaster, m’kay?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  42. Modulo Myself says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    You’re right, but there’s a difference between law and politics. In the courtroom it’s totally legit to question accusers of men as if they are prison snitches, but right now, politically, not so much.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  43. Jen says:

    A former Democratic strategist says (on Twitter) that the Washington Post and CNN are currently working on stories that would expose 20-30 members of Congress for sexual harassment. Another says it could be as high as 45 current and former members.

    If accurate, this is going to be a bumpy few weeks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  44. becca says:

    @Jen:

    What shall we do about that Thomas Jefferson feller?

    I know this is all supposed to move us forward on women’s issues, but I’m not feeling it.

    At least in the short term, this does more harm than good on that front.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  45. Jen says:

    @becca: We’re definitely in a blood-letting phase. The Franks accusations are weird and gross, who the heck asks subordinate coworkers to act as surrogates? Ick.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  46. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “Saw something today that said Trump was at 32% approval. 32% approval and every blow just glances off…”

    Trump started out at around 43%. Now he’s at 32. Apparently all those blows don’t just glance off. It’s just that he acts as if they do, and gullible morons believe the con man. Meanwhile he’s lost a quarter of his following and he’s not far off from W’s lowest number — and Nixon’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  47. Blue Galangal says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Know what makes somebody an effective representative? Being seated.

    You guys are forgetting mission one of any political party – gain political power, at any cost, and maintain it, at any cost.

    The majority of these accusers were anonymous, and they’ll magically disappear now quicker than snow in Arizona.

    Short version? This was a political attack. An orchestrated one, and we were too busy clutching pearls and reaching for smelling salts to do what we should have done – punch back. Hard.

    This. My Democratic senator’s wife is running around on her Facebook page telling women (!) who don’t agree with this “noble cause” that they can leave the Democratic Party. (!!) To which I say: “Done!” No, I’m not going to not vote Democratic. I’m not as stupid as the DNC and the purity idiots who fell for this agitprop. But no more money or energy for these campaigns from me: my time and energy is going to local politics, Planned Parenthood, and the ACLU, not the DNC and a senator from Ohio who can’t craft a coherent, strong response to an orchestrated political attack to save their lives. Or, more importantly, their chances at regaining the Senate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  48. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    Apparently all those blows don’t just glance off.

    Donald Trump on Twitter this morning:

    LAST thing the Make America Great Again Agenda needs is a Liberal Democrat in Senate where we have so little margin for victory already. The Pelosi/Schumer Puppet Jones would vote against us 100% of the time. He’s bad on Crime, Life, Border, Vets, Guns & Military. VOTE ROY MOORE!

    Yeah, he’s on the ropes…

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  49. Mikey says:

    @James Pearce: What do you suppose he’s going to do? Just fold up and go back to Manhattan? wr’s right, Trump has been bleeding support since day one, but he’s not going anywhere voluntarily.

    It is, by design, incredibly difficult to get rid of a President. There’s one legal recourse for misbehavior, but those responsible for holding Trump accountable are currently involved in putting party before country, so that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

    Barring some great revelation from the Mueller investigation, we simply have to find the best possible opposition candidate for 2020. We can’t assume Trump’s approval will stay as low as 32% until then.

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  50. wr says:

    @James Pearce: Donald Trump never admits loss, never admits that everything he does isn’t a huge success. And somehow you seem to believe that because he acts like he’s winning, he’s really winning, when in fact his numbers are dropping steadily.

    If Trump were impeached, tried, convicted, and hanged, on the gallows he’d be proclaiming that he was winning at every stage. And for some reason you’d agree with him.

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  51. Just 'nutha' ig'nint cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    “he wouldn’t have resigned if he wasn’t guilty”.

    I didn’t know you get Glenn Beck in France! This was the hour 2 theme for his show this morning.

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  52. Just 'nutha' ig'nint cracker says:

    @Scott F.: Aspirational? There’s an old saying that goes “if you wish in one hand and sh pit in the other, I can tell you with nearly 100% accuracy which hand will fill up first.”

    In this case, we can go ahead and say 100% because 99+% is only a statistical acknowledgement that the alternative can happen–which it can’t in this case.

    Aspire that!

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  53. dmichael says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Your dismissive sarcasm is noted. You said that politicos should never resign. I gave you an example when it was wise to do so: Nixon. You implicitly conceded Nixon would have been impeached. It also would have impeded his attempts at political “rehabilitation.”

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  54. James Pearce says:

    @Mikey:

    Trump has been bleeding support since day one

    According to polls about approval ratings.

    But this dude has gone from TV celebrity to POTUS precisely because of Tweets like that.

    Look at how he frames the issue:

    “LAST thing the Make America Great Again Agenda needs is a Liberal Democrat in Senate where we have so little margin for victory already.”

    No racism, no sexism. Just a focus on the agenda and why they need Moore in the Senate to achieve it. The agenda, the agenda, the agenda.

    “The Pelosi/Schumer Puppet Jones would vote against us 100% of the time.”

    It’s almost like he knows us too well, innit?

    “He’s bad on Crime, Life, Border, Vets, Guns & Military.”

    Agree or disagree, but Trump just gave 5 reasons for people to vote for Roy Moore. As far as I can tell, Doug Jones has given people 1: “Roy Moore is a child molester.”

    I can’t stand Trump and I hate that he’s the only one in politics willing to actually fight –with fists– for an actual agenda.

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  55. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    And somehow you seem to believe that because he acts like he’s winning, he’s really winning, when in fact his numbers are dropping steadily.

    Gorsuch, the tax bill, Senator Roy Moore, Jerusalem….

    His numbers are dropping? Small price to pay.

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  56. wr says:

    @James Pearce: Yes, Trump has the power of the office, which is formidable. You seem to believe that if Democrats aren’t able to wave magic wands and change that, it’s proof that Trump is invincible. It’s almost as if you have no idea how the government works.

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  57. Mikey says:

    @James Pearce: Except the agenda is a bunch of bullshit. It’s not even really an agenda, it’s a saying (that he basically stole from Reagan).

    And what he says about Doug Jones is the same twaddle every Republican says about every Democrat. Big effing deal. It’s not new, it’s not innovative, it’s just the same garbage, only less articulate because it’s coming from Trump.

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  58. Tyrell says:

    @Jen: Whenever that Gloria Alred is in the pictures, you can bet there’s some serious money going down.

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  59. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    You seem to believe that if Democrats aren’t able to wave magic wands and change that, it’s proof that Trump is invincible.

    Hahahahahahahahahahaha.

    No, I believe Dems have spent the last few years waving magic wands, going, “How come this isn’t working?”

    @Mikey:

    Except the agenda is a bunch of bullshit.

    That is not in dispute….

    And what he says about Doug Jones is the same twaddle every Republican says about every Democrat. Big effing deal.

    BFD? Dude, the Democratic case against Moore is that he’s a child molester. The Republican case against Jones is that he’s a Democrat.

    And there are people going “At least the child molester isn’t a Democrat.” The twaddle works.

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  60. Mikey says:

    @James Pearce:

    BFD? Dude, the Democratic case against Moore is that he’s a child molester. The Republican case against Jones is that he’s a Democrat.

    Part of the Democratic case against Moore involves his actions with teenaged girls. But there’s also his long record of defiance of the Constitution, and his recently-resurfaced statements regarding how great America was back when we still had slavery, and all the other regressive stuff he’s been pushing.

    Also, Jones isn’t simply focusing on Moore’s past actions. He is out on the campaign trail pretty constantly reaching across to receptive Republicans and focusing on what he calls “kitchen table issues” that concern everyone regardless of party. Which is exactly what he SHOULD be doing. But unless you live in Alabama, all you hear is what’s big in the news cycle, which is Moore.

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  61. Tyrell says:

    @Jen: I thought these sort of settlements have to be kept sealed. Is Kane trying to dredge up stuff that is long in the past? Things that all those involved have moved on long ago.
    Are Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson now subject to these hunts?

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  62. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:

    And there are people going “At least the child molester isn’t a Democrat.” The twaddle works.

    In Alabama.
    Move this to New York or California and the reverse will be closer to true than most liberals want to admit. A liberal democrat with Moore’s penchant for underaged girls would stand a better than average chance of winning against a Republican for statewide office. Where the difference arises, IMHO, is that the Democrats of CA or NY would then want to force the offensive senator from office to be replaced by their governor with a more ethically stomachable liberal replacement. In Alabama, the Republicans will simply act as though Moore is a fine upstanding citizen unfairly attacked by liberals (inclusive in their minds of the R establishment).
    I’ll be spending xmas with family in AL, thankfully not supporters of Moore. The cuntry relations will not be seeing us this time around.

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  63. James Pearce says:

    @Mikey:

    But there’s also his long record of defiance of the Constitution, and his recently-resurfaced statements regarding how great America was back when we still had slavery, and all the other regressive stuff he’s been pushing.

    Yeah, the list is very long, and a savvier opposition would have turned it into a whole song, not just a chorus.

    At any rate, let me just say that I appreciate your optimistic outlook as a counter-point to my perpetual doom.

    @Grewgills:

    In Alabama, the Republicans will simply act as though Moore is a fine upstanding citizen unfairly attacked by liberals

    In some districts no doubt. He’s going to be a terrible Senator for them too.

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  64. Matt says:

    @James Pearce:

    But this dude has gone from TV celebrity to POTUS precisely because of Tweets like that.

    I know MANY Trump voters and generally in the rustbelt area people voted for him because he’s “a successful business man who could bring the jobs back” with some variations on “rolling the dice on something new”. His tweets and behaviour are turning those people off.

    There’s also those that love that he pisses liberals off but they are a much smaller group. That’s why Trump won’t go below 30% approval.

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  65. Mikey says:

    @James Pearce:

    At any rate, let me just say that I appreciate your optimistic outlook as a counter-point to my perpetual doom.

    I try to be optimistic, although the fact all the stuff I listed doesn’t have Moore being ridden out of town on a rail by Alabama voters makes it difficult.

    On the other hand, our experience here in Virginia last month does help with optimism. Northam significantly outperformed pre-election polling (RCP average had him up 3.3, he won by 10) and the House of Delegates went from a GOP supermajority to 51-49 GOP.

    Of course, Alabama isn’t Virginia, so the usual caveats apply. But there’s clearly a lot of motivation on the Democratic side all around the country, and maybe Virginia is just the start of the wave.

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  66. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @James Pearce:

    I can’t stand Trump and I hate that he’s the only one in politics willing to actually fight –with fists– for an actual agenda.

    Which brings up another point–do the Democrats actually have an agenda beyond we’re better than the GOP? Is it capable of being expressed in 5 or 6 words–as Trump did in his tweet? “See my agenda in my who knows how long platform statement at VoteDems.com” is probably a less effective “fighting stance” than many of you would like to believe.

    And for those of you who are going to respond “well we can’t just say jobs, prosperity, opportunity because the GOP is already saying that and people won’t believe us,” well… that’s part of the problem, too then, isn’t it?

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  67. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @James Pearce:

    He’s going to be a terrible Senator for them too.

    Yeah, but only because the Republican “agenda” is terrible to begin with. Alas, he is going to give them exactly what they are voting for–and both barrels of it, too.

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  68. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @James Pearce: If Pepsi discovered that the people in a region would choose Coke, even if it has been diluted with pi$$ water, to the exclusion of even TRYING Pepsi. They would understand they have a serious branding problem and would figure out a strategy to make Pepsi , at a minimum, considered a superior alternative to pi$$ water flavored coke. I’m certain the major part of their campaign would be about how GREAT Pepsi is.

    Unlike Pepsi, Democrats (also with a branding problem) continue to emphasize the terrible taste of pi$$ water, the inferior quality of Coke, and the stupidity of someone that would chose it over the their product. They’ve yet to understand that the allegiance to the Republican party is cultural and cultivated through brand identity. The pick-up truck demographic doesn’t consider a roadster as an alternative. Democrats need to do some homework and engineer a pickup truck that is distinctively Democrat. There is always a crowd that want to go against the grain a bit….the Dems should have a pickup truck they can test drive

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  69. Mikey says:
  70. James Pearce says:

    @Matt:

    His tweets and behaviour are turning those people off.

    If Trump had an intellect to go with his lizard-brain instincts he might understand that a little better.

    @Mikey:

    But there’s clearly a lot of motivation on the Democratic side all around the country, and maybe Virginia is just the start of the wave.

    I’m too cynical to be too impressed by Democratic motivation. Are they motivated to vote? Are they motivated to work? Or is it just going to be hastags and donations and “I stand with” type stuff?

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    do the Democrats actually have an agenda beyond we’re better than the GOP?

    I honestly do not know. Sometimes I think “the agenda” is merely to “emote and affiliate.” It should be so much more.

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  71. James Pearce says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Unlike Pepsi, Democrats (also with a branding problem) continue to emphasize the terrible taste of pi$$ water, the inferior quality of Coke, and the stupidity of someone that would chose it over the their product.

    So true, Jim, especially that part about the “stupidity of someone that would chose it over their product.” I mean, that’s awfully smug for some folks who shouldn’t be so smug.

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  72. Mikey says:

    @James Pearce:

    I’m too cynical to be too impressed by Democratic motivation. Are they motivated to vote? Are they motivated to work?

    Here in Virginia they are. You don’t see last month’s election results otherwise. Democrats expected to do well, but everyone was still blown away by what actually happened.

    Whether that holds for Alabama is, of course, the big question of this coming week.

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  73. Tyrell says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Around here Sun Drop is very popular. It’s Sun Drop and a Moon Pie.
    Most restaurants, stadiums, theaters, and theme parks go with Coca-Cola. The new self service Coke machines are nice, but slow.

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