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Two More Women Accuse Al Franken Of Sexually Inappropriate Conduct

al-franken

Al Franken is facing two more charges by women who say that he acted inappropriately toward them, bringing to six the number of women who have accused the Minnesota Senator of such conduct.

The first new report came this morning from an Army veteran who says that Franken groped her during a USO tour in 2003:

An Army veteran says Sen. Al Franken groped her in December 2003, telling CNN that while she was deployed in Kuwait, the Minnesota Democrat cupped her breast during a photo op.

Stephanie Kemplin, 41, of Maineville, Ohio, is the fifth woman in two weeks to accuse Franken of inappropriate touching, and the second person to allege that such behavior took place while Franken was on a USO tour. Three of the five women have been identified by name.

Kemplin said while she was stationed in the Middle East during the Iraq War, she met Franken — at the time, a comedian and writer — as he was visiting American troops with the USO. A longtime fan of “Saturday Night Live,” Kemplin got in line to take a photo with Franken.

“When he put his arm around me, he groped my right breast. He kept his hand all the way over on my breast,” Kemplin said in an interview. “I’ve never had a man put their arm around me and then cup my breast. So he was holding my breast on the side.”

Kemplin repeatedly used the word “embarrassed” to describe her immediate reaction at the time.

“I remember clenching up and how you just feel yourself flushed,” she said. “And I remember thinking — is he going to move his hand? Was it an accident? Was he going to move his hand? He never moved his hand.”

She added: “It was long enough that he should have known if it was an accident. I’m very confident saying that.”

Kemplin estimated that the touching lasted anywhere from five to 10 seconds. She said she eventually turned her body to shift Franken’s hand off her breast before the picture was taken.

In a photo shared with CNN, Kemplin — who was 27 at the time and a military police officer — is smiling widely with the left side of her face pressed against Franken’s right cheek. Franken’s right arm is wrapped around Kemplin’s back and his hand is on her side at chest-level, and does not appear to be on her breast in the photo.

Looking back at the picture, Kemplin said she recalls feeling frozen and numb: “I did not process it in those split seconds.”

A Franken spokesperson told CNN Wednesday night: “As Sen. Franken made clear this week, he takes thousands of photos and has met tens of thousands of people and he has never intentionally engaged in this kind of conduct. He remains fully committed to cooperating with the ethics investigation.”

In one of multiple lengthy phone calls with a CNN reporter this week, Kemplin repeatedly broke into sobs.

“I was in a war zone… You were on a USO tour — are you trying to boost the morale of the troops or are you trying to boost your own?” she said. “I just feel so sorry for that young girl in that picture.”

Kemplin said she did not say anything to Franken at the time.

“You’re immediately put on the spot. What are you going to do? What are you going to do? Your mind goes a mile a minute,” she said. “Who was I going to tell?”

She also doesn’t recall telling any fellow soldiers about the incident afterwards because she felt ashamed and did not have peers she felt she could confide in. But she discussed it with multiple family members and relatives, including her sister, as well as an ex-boyfriend. CNN interviewed both.

Amy Muddiman, Kemplin’s older sister, said she remembers Kemplin being excited that Franken was coming to visit because she had grown up watching SNL.

“I just remember her telling me that he grabbed her breast and that she was so shocked about it,” Muddiman said. “My sister is pretty bold and assertive and she said that she didn’t know what to do.”

One of Kemplin’s ex-boyfriends was also in the Army and he and Kemplin dated after the two of them returned to the United States. He asked not to be named to protect his privacy. He told CNN that while he did not remember all of the details of what Kemplin described of her encounter with Franken, she said “he went to put his arm around her and copped a feel.”

Another report comes from an as-yet unidentified election official from New England who said Franken gave her a wet open-mouthed kiss at an event in 2006:

Jezebel has reported that a sixth allegation of sexual misconduct has been levied at Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, coming mere hours after CNN reported on a fifth.

The accuser is a former New England elected official, though she remains anonymous. The woman stated that Franken attempted to give her a “wet, open-mouthed kiss” onstage at an event in 2006. The incident, which is alleged to have happened just before Franken ran for Senate, left the woman “stunned and incredulous.”

“I want my name associated with my own accomplishments,” she said, addressing her decision to remain anonymous, “and not publicly linked to a man’s bad behavior.”

The alleged victim told Jezebel that, after appearing onstage with the now-Minnesota Senator, she tried to shake his hand. Franken, she said, had another idea.

“I reached out my hand to shake his,” she said. “He took it and leaned toward me with his mouth open. I turned my head away from him and he landed a wet, open-mouthed kiss awkwardly on my cheek.”

“I felt demeaned. I felt put in my place,” she said, noting that this happened in front of many people, most of whom did not notice. “It was insidious. It was in plain sight and yet nobody saw it.”

“The other women’s accounts of him grabbing their buttocks in front of their mothers and husbands, I believe them.”

(…)

“My intent in coming forward is not to negate the good work he’s done or smear his name,” [the woman] said. “I want him to take personal responsibility for his actions, learn from this, not repeat the behavior, and go forward with respect in all his interactions with women.”

At their base, these charges have much in common with the previous reports that have come out regarding Franken over the past two weeks. The report of the most recent accuser, for example, is similar to the one made by Los Angeles news anchor Leann Tweeden, who says that Franken attempted to stick his tongue down her throat during a USO tour in 2006. The claim by the former soldier, meanwhile, is similar to those made by a woman named Lindsay Menz and two other woman, who say that Franken groped them while they were being photographed with them during various public events both before and after Franken was elected to the Senate. These new revelations also come just days after Franken issued a statement acknowledging the claims and, most importantly, not denying the facts of any of the accusations. In that statement, Franken reiterated his previous statement that he did not intend to resign in response to the charges and saying that he would cooperate with what appears to be an impending investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee, a process that could end with any number of possible sanctions being recommended including the suggestion that the Senate should consider a vote to expel Franken. Such a move would require the affirmative support of two-thirds of the members of the Senate.

The news about Franken comes on the same day that Democrats on the House side of Capitol Hill are dealing with accusations of sexual misconduct and harassment by Congressman John Conyers, the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives. In Conyers case, the past week has seen reports of several claims by women that have reportedly been settled out of court with agreements that purport to preclude the women from talking about their accusations. Conyers himself was apparently hospitalized for stress this morning, but that hasn’t stopped the calls for his resignation from coming forward. As of the time this post is being written, all of the members of the House Democratic Leadership team — Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer, and South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn — have called on Conyers to resign. In Conyers case, at least some of the accusations appear to be coming from women who have worked for him, or who worked on Capitol Hill and interacted with the Conyers on a regular basis. in that sense, the charges against him are arguably more serious since they involve an employer-employee relationship. For the time being, though, Conyers seems unlikely to leave.

The new revelations about Franken and Conyers also come amid growing rumors that have been circulating regarding similar accusations will soon become public regarding other members of the House and Senate and both sides of the aisle, something that would be consistent with news that has already come out of Capitol Hill. For example, California Congresswoman Jackie Spier, who recently shared her own story of having been sexually harassed in the past, stated that she is aware of at least two currently serving men on Capitol Hill, one from each party, who have been accused of sexually inappropriate contact toward female staffers or other women. Given this, the idea that we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the revelations about sexual misbehavior on Capitol Hill, in Hollywood, and in the media. If anything, I doubt we’ve even reached the end of the beginning.

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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. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Gone by Monday…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  2. Kylopod says:

    Here’s a prediction: One month from now, Al Franken and John Conyers will no longer be in office, but Roy Moore will be Senator and Donald Trump will still be president.

    And the usual suspects will still be saying “both sides do it.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  3. al-Ameda says:

    His state is run by a Democrat, the replacement appointment would be a Democrat – it’s time to resign, Al.

    Next up, Trump’s self-admitted sexual harassment needs to be investigated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  4. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @al-Ameda:
    His state is run by a Democrat, the replacement appointment would be a Democrat – it’s time to resign, Al.
    I agree with this…but replacing him won’t be easy. He’s doing a damn good job. I’ll be sorry to see him go. But he must go.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  5. Mister Bluster says:

    test

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  6. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Kylopod:

    Truthfully, I predict he’ll still be sitting in office in 2020. Conyers, who knows?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  7. James Pearce says:

    @Kylopod:

    And the usual suspects will still be saying “both sides do it.”

    Both sides do do it. It’s just that one side wants to pride themselves on their swift, heroic response and the other side wants to accumulate power at all costs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  8. Guarneri says:

    I’m resigning, because I grab chesties a lot, stick my tongue down throats a lot, and doggone it, I got caught.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

  9. george says:

    The picture actually doesn’t look bad … did he pull her cheek to cheek?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  10. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Guarneri: Buh bye! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  11. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Guarneri:

    Yea, the problem there is that too many of these accusers are anonymous, Franken is fairly vigorously denying the accusations, and he got ahead of the ball by requesting an ethics investigation himself.

    It does seem pretty clear that Stone will continue to toss these accusers at him, but the story isn’t getting the legs that he wanted. The Ethics Committee just opened its preliminary inquiry, so where it goes from here is getting bogged down in a body which moves at the speed of glaciers – in closed session (sorry, no juicy TV tidbits to market).

    I know you guys are salivating at the thought of his resignation, but you’re highly unlikely to get it. Just how it goes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  12. Mister Bluster says:

    Gone by Monday…

    Heard that too many times on Friday, October 7, 2016 about Sump Pump Trump.
    Seems like I heard it continually after a third rate burglary on
    Saturday, June 17, 1972.
    I am loath to predict the future when political crises are running rampant in DC.
    Took 26 months to drain the swamp that time around.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  13. MBunge says:

    @James Pearce: It’s just that one side wants to pride themselves on their swift, heroic response and the other side wants to accumulate power at all costs.

    To be fair, plenty of Republicans and conservatives have fallen on their sword over this kind of stuff. And it shouldn’t be exactly tough to sympathize with folks on the Right who spent the last 25 years, up to and including last year, seeing folks on the Left wildly applaud Bill Clinton, being a little salty over this newfound concern for sexual misconduct.

    What’s interesting about Franken’s case is that this seems less predatory behavior and more like pathetic attempts to maintain an “edgy” and “rebellious” self-image.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  14. Gustopher says:

    So we’re up to 6? And Trump has 16?

    Franken is at 0.37 Trumps, where a Trump is a unit for defining a perfectly acceptable number of outstanding sexual harassment and assault allegations while retaining office. And 1 Trump is an acceptable number!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  15. Kylopod says:

    @James Pearce:

    Both sides do do it. It’s just that one side wants to pride themselves on their swift, heroic response and the other side wants to accumulate power at all costs.

    I agree. My point wasn’t that incidences of sexual misconduct fall more one one side of the political aisle, but that the consequences are different. Part of it goes back to something Matt Yglesias said years ago: “The Most Important Rule Of Surviving A Political Sex Scandal Is: Don’t Resign!” A politician who does something blatantly illegal can be forced from office, in which case resigning is just a way of ending it in a slightly more dignified manner than formally going through impeachment, expulsion, or whatever. But typically in sex scandals the only incentive for pressuring the official into resigning is shame, a quality that Republicans increasingly lack. Franken has already semi-apologized for some of what he’s been accused of, but Moore and Trump, facing far more serious accusations, simply deny everything and call all the accusers liars.

    It’s not just an issue of which party is more willing to do whatever it takes to maintain power, though that’s part of it. It’s also that a great deal of GOP culture is committed to normalizing and defending the degradation of women. As I’ve said before, when the Acccess Hollywood tapes came out in late 2016, I was not especially surprised. (And neither was James Joyner, whose post reporting the matter was titled “Trump Caught on Tape Being Trump, Shocking Trump Supporters.”) We may not have known he committed assault (though he had been accused before), but we did know he was a sexist pig who spoke of women like they were objects. As for Moore, while it didn’t receive a lot of publicity until recently, he has a long history as judge of incredible leniency toward accused sexual predators:

    A review by the Guardian of all decisions issued by the Alabama supreme court during Moore’s second stint found decisions on 16 criminal cases that involved alleged sexual crimes. Moore sided with the offender over state prosecutors in 13 of those cases…. Among Moore’s 10 dissents was the case of David Pittman, who had pleaded guilty to the rape of a 12-year-old girl. Moore in September 2015 said that Pittman ought to have been allowed to present evidence to court indicating that the girl had been sexually active and had a sexually transmitted disease.

    Like I’ve said: it comes with the territory. Both Democrats and Republicans have been guilty of sexual harassment, but it’s only among Republicans that you find people denying the very concept of sexual harassment exists. Both sides “do it” in the sense that there are sexual predators on both sides, but only one side appears to be doing anything about it at present.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  16. Mister Bluster says:

    OT: Manafort strikes $11 million bail deal with prosecutors
    Politico

    I wonder if he skips?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. Hal_10000 says:

    @Kylopod:

    Don’t resign or step down is the lesson of Trump and Moore and everyone else. If you stay in the race, you’ll still get 95% of the vote you would have anyway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. John430 says:

    Looks like leftists wanna throw the black guy to the wolves but are circling the wagons for “one of us”. LOL Hypocrites and Racists abound in the Democrats party. And you call us “deplorables”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  19. DrDaveT says:

    @John430:

    Looks like leftists wanna throw the black guy to the wolves but are circling the wagons for “one of us”

    Who exactly do you think ‘leftists’ are circling the wagons for? Franken? Hardly. I will miss his relentlessly sane voting record, but he’s gotta go.

    And you call us “deplorables”?

    Yes. I do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  20. Jc says:

    @John430: Did you take a break from circling the wagons for white supremacists and child molestors to type that? Go back to adoring your Hypocrite in chief. The gold standard of sexual misconduct. Didn’t he rape his ex wife? Franken should step down, but will not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  21. MBunge says:

    @Kylopod: It’s also that a great deal of GOP culture is committed to normalizing and defending the degradation of women.

    It takes a near total lack of self-awareness to make a statement like that in the current circumstances. Just one year ago, Democrats were perfectly content to put an alleged rapist back in the White House. And if we check the political affiliation of most of the men being accused/outed as sexual harassers and assaulters, not only do we find a D next to their name instead of an R but we hear from their fellow D’s that everybody knew what was going on and did nothing about it.

    Conservatives certainly have their issues of patriarchy, sexism, and chauvinism to deal with. The GOP, however, has nothing to do with the culture that produced Matt Lauer, Al Franken, Harvey Weinstein, John Conyers, Louis CK, etc. Or to put it in term even a stupid partisan can understand, there may be a lot to criticize about “The World According to Vice President Pence” but at least it is NOT a world of office rape buttons, boob grabs, and guys whipping out their junk in mixed company.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

  22. MBunge says:

    @DrDaveT: Who exactly do you think ‘leftists’ are circling the wagons for?

    Are you doing an homage to “Head Wound Harry” from SNL? There have been plenty of Franken defenders out there before today. Did you miss Pelosi on TV pointly refusing to call for Conyers’ resignation? And, of course, let us not forget that it was primarily folks on the Left who either knew or suspected this stuff for years and played blind, deaf, and dumb. And, again of course, Bill Clinton.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  23. Gustopher says:

    @MBunge: Just one year ago, Democrats were perfectly content to put an alleged rapist back in the White House.

    Who did Hillary rape now?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  24. Kylopod says:

    @MBunge:

    Conservatives certainly have their issues of patriarchy, sexism, and chauvinism to deal with. The GOP, however, has nothing to do with the culture that produced Matt Lauer, Al Franken, Harvey Weinstein, John Conyers, Louis CK, etc.

    Name me one prominent liberal who has questioned the very concept of sexual harassment, as Fox’s Geraldo Rivera did the other day or as NRO’s John Derbyshire did a while back.

    Name me one prominent liberal who mocked the idea of rape culture as a “war on boys,” as Fox’s Andrea Tantaros did a few years ago.

    Name me one prominent liberal commentator who has stated publicly that when a woman says no, she means yes, as Rush Limbaugh said a few years ago.

    Name me one presidential candidate who won the Democratic nomination after participating in a televised debate in which he defended having referred to women he doesn’t like as pigs and later described the female debate moderator as having “blood coming out of her wherever.”

    Name me one Senate candidate who won the Democratic nomination after a public record of defending a convicted child rapist on the grounds that he didn’t get the chance to present evidence of the 12-year-old’s sexual activity.

    Name me one Democratic nominee for major office who spoke about “legitimate rape” and suggested that a woman was biologically incapable of becoming pregnant unless she consented.

    Name me one Democratic state legislature that pushed the requirement of a transvaginal probe before a woman gets an abortion.

    Name me one Democratic official who defended the idea of sex with teens on the grounds that Biblical figures did it.

    Name me one Democratic clergyman who defended the idea of sex with teens on the grounds that the accused was seeking the “purity of women.”

    And finally, name me one prominent Democrat who said the following about Trump’s infamous comments on the Access Hollywood tape:

    “It is not sexual assault if the woman consents. What Trump is talking about is boorishly hitting on women and women letting him because he’s rich and famous.”

    Oh, I’m sorry. No prominent Republican or Democrat said the above words. Those are your words.

    (And just for the record, that is the only time I have ever given you a downvote, a tool I reserve for truly offensive and disgusting remarks.)

    I don’t deny there is a toxic culture that both liberals and conservatives have been complicit in, that has helped protect figures from Harvey Weinstein to Roger Ailes, from Matt Lauer to Bill O’Reilly. But there is only one party openly and publicly espousing views degrading to women, and it is most definitely not the party of Bill Clinton.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

  25. Todd says:

    I do find it interesting that essentially all of Franken’s accusers have some connection to right-wing politics. That being said, all of these stories do seem to have corroboration at or near the time of the incidents … so a lot of people would have to be lying. Most likely scenario is that Franken did have a habit of trying to “sneak a kiss” or letting his hands “drift” from time to time. He probably didn’t see this as a big issue, or even out of the ordinary, but that doesn’t make it any less wrong.

    All that said, I think I agree with a few of the others, in that if Franken really wants to stay in the Senate he probably can last until at least 2020. But given the climate and the circumstances, the truly selfless thing to do (for the good of his party if nothing else) would be to announce an end to his time in elected politics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  26. rachel says:

    @Todd:

    But given the climate and the circumstances, the truly selfless thing to do (for the good of his party if nothing else) would be to announce an end to his time in elected politics.

    Yes, but I want the Senate Ethics Committee to go over him with a microscope first. I want the principal clearly established that touching people without their consent is not a minor infraction, it’s not a joke, it’s most definitely not OK, and that doing so means the end of one’s ambitions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  27. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @rachel:

    I agree with you that a message needs to be sent, but I think you are going to be in for a disappointment if you are expecting this committee to send it. Here in the real world, that message will get lost in the considerations of political power which are in play.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  28. rachel says:

    @HarvardLaw92: And the considerations of people who fear this kind of scrutiny for themselves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @rachel:

    Honestly no. The nature of the committee itself makes it this way. It’s the only committee in the Senate in which power is evenly divided – 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats – both parties share co-chair power.

    The practical result of this is that – barring some video of Franken raping somebody – the committee will split down the middle and get nowhere. A recommendation for expulsion is out of the question – just isn’t going to happen and people need to start accepting that now. The worst case that I see for him, and even this is unlikely, is censure, which is a meaningless smack on the wrist to which he will respond with all manner of mea culpas and contritions and “I’m a changed man” statements.

    and then he will remain in the Senate with two years for the story to get stale.

    He requested this investigation for reasons which have nothing to do with innocence or guilt, namely that it takes the entire brouhaha and moves it behind closed doors. The committee investigation, presentation of its recommendations (if indeed it even manages to produce any) and the subsequent Senate action on those recommendations are all closed door proceedings. So we have a situation where the media is completely shut out of the loop and Franken gets to stand back and say “I requested that my peers investigate me of my own volition, and I am completely cooperating with that investigation. What more do you want?”

    Meanwhile, you can bet that opp research people are combing through these women with fine toothed instruments, and there is no telling what entertaining things they may find in the meantime (and that exercise is NOT closed door).

    So Franken is protected from the media by Senate rules, while it is open season on these women and whomever may or may not have coordinated this political attack.

    You tell me you think it’s going to end …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  30. al-Ameda says:

    @MBunge:

    Just one year ago, Democrats were perfectly content to put an alleged rapist back in the White House.

    To my knowledge Hillary did not rape Vince Foster or Seth Rich.

    To be fair, she WAS accused, by mainstream Republican conservatives, of running a child sex slave operation out of pizzeria in Washington DC.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  31. the Q says:

    Don’t we need some sense of proportion here? Do we send a candy bar shoplifter to jail for the same period as a rapist or murderer? Seems like there is no sliding scale of justice when it comes to these allegations. Should people lose their jobs over some of these accusations? Of course, but in ALL cases?

    Seems to me there is a huge difference in degree between Franken’s misconduct and Conyers. Not to mention the grotesque pervert that is Moore. I think Conyers should gracefully exit citing health reasons, but unless more Franken stories come up, I am not sure that I support his resignation.

    I think soon there will be a backlash to some of these drastic penalties for marginally bad behavior.

    “Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. george says:

    @Kylopod:

    I don’t deny there is a toxic culture that both liberals and conservatives have been complicit in, that has helped protect figures from Harvey Weinstein to Roger Ailes, from Matt Lauer to Bill O’Reilly. But there is only one party openly and publicly espousing views degrading to women, and it is most definitely not the party of Bill Clinton.

    I suppose it comes down to how important people think saying the right things while still doing the wrong things is.

    For my part, I’d just as soon someone who hates my people is open about it. Talking the talk without walking the walk is empty.

    On most things D’s are far better than R’s. But this is an example of an area in which they only talk better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. Eric Florack says:

    The West has spent the last 60 cm out years telling Americans that moral values and morality is a concept was a personal choice. And that we shouldn’t judge.

    Now suddenly it’s recorded itself the Arbiter of everything moral.

    The left owns this one. They always have.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  34. Eric Florack says:

    @Todd: is that anything like Roy Moore’s accusers all have serious ties to left-wing politics?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  35. Kylopod says:

    @george:

    On most things D’s are far better than R’s. But this is an example of an area in which they only talk better.

    It’s not just talk–most of the examples I gave concern policy, directly or indirectly.

    Moreover, in discussing who bears the most responsibility for sexual assaulters, I was making a distinction between what happens in the public sphere and what’s going on behind closed doors. When it comes to the crimes of someone like Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood and the media bear a lot of responsibility for allowing it to go on, but it isn’t the fault of moviegoers or TV watchers, who didn’t know what Weinstein was up to. But when it comes to politicians like Trump or Moore, the issue isn’t merely that their crimes were covered up for so long, it’s also on the head of the voters who support these figures even after the things about them that should be disqualifying are out in the open.

    As I’ve explained in other threads, I’m not sure Dems are any better than Republicans in terms of willingness to make a genuine political sacrifice for a principled reason. If late in a presidential election the Dems suddenly discovered that their nominee had boasted on tape about grabbing women’s genitals, I can’t say with full confidence they’d have handled the situation any more admirably than Republicans did last year with Trump. What I can say is that Dems would never have nominated a figure like Trump in the first place–someone who, long before the Access Hollywood revelations, was known to be a misogynistic pig. That is truly on the head of Republican voters, and Republican voters only. And it reflects something fundamentally warped about their values.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  36. John430 says:

    @Jc: Spare me the tired old “your guy was worse” cliche. Failing that, I could remind you of the OTHER candidate last year. She was the enabler of her sexual predator husband. Later, that famous, phony feminist went around trashing the women who accused her husband.

    Charges abound in DC. We have the worst political class of elites in the history of the Republic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  37. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @John430:

    LOL, how are those grapes tasting, John? A tad sour, perhaps? 😀

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. John430 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Sour? Not hardly. It is true that I held my nose and voted for Trump and ditto for Romney and McCain, but you seem to have embraced the aforementioned enabling wife of the sexual predator with both arms. You tell me. Does the sour grape wine ease your pain and embarrassment any?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  39. John430 says:

    This just in…Leading Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have called for Conyers to step down, prompting his attorney, Arnold Reed, to suggest the party is affording Franken special treatment.

    “There are to my count five of these allegations against Al Franken,” Reed said at a Thursday news conference. “There are four — three or four — against the congressman. At the end of the day, I would suspect that Nancy Pelosi is going to have to explain what is the discernible difference between Al Franken and John Conyers. That is a question that she is going to have to answer.”

    What was that I said about Democrats “circling the wagons” around the white guy?

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  40. Moosebreath says:

    @Eric Florack:

    “is that anything like Roy Moore’s accusers all have serious ties to left-wing politics?”

    It would be if it were true. And since your definition of “left-wing” is anyone not to the right of Mussolini, it may be true in your world. On the planet the rest of us live on, not so much.

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