Some Senators Are Calling On Al Franken To Reconsider His Resignation

Some Democratic Senators are suggesting that Al Franken should reconsider his decision to resign from the Senate.

al-franken

Several top Democratic Senators are suddenly urging Minnesota Senator Al Franken to reverse his decision to resign in the wake of sexual harassment allegations:

At least four senators are urging Al Franken to reconsider resigning, including two who issued statements calling for the resignation two weeks ago and said they now feel remorse over what they feel was a rush to judgment.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who urged Franken not to step down to begin with — at least not before he went through an Ethics Committee investigation — said the Minnesota senator was railroaded by fellow Democrats.

“What they did to Al was atrocious, the Democrats,” said West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin in an interview for POLITICO’s Off Message podcast to post on Tuesday.

Franken’s unusual timeline — in his departure announcement he said he’d go “in the coming weeks,” without setting a date — has fed the fleeting hopes that there’s still time to reverse course. However, Tina Smith, Minnesota’s Democratic lieutenant governor, was named last week as his appointed successor.

People familiar with Franken’s plans said he has not changed his mind and intends to formally resign in early January. He praised the selection of Smith and has begun working with her on the transition.

Manchin was among the few Democrats who did not call for Franken’s resignation. The West Virginia senator stressed that he believes it would be appropriate for Franken to step down if the allegations are proved true.

Manchin ripped into the members who issued statements insisting that Franken resign — only to gather on the Senate floor the next day to watch him announce he was doing just that.

“The most hypocritical thing I’ve ever seen done to a human being — and then have enough guts to sit on the floor, watch him give his speech and go over and hug him? That’s hypocrisy at the highest level I’ve ever seen in my life. Made me sick,” Manchin said.

He added, “Here’s a man, that all he said [was], ‘Take me through the Ethics Committee. I will live by whatever decision and I will walk away thinking about this opportunity I’ve had while I was here. But you find out if I’m a predator.'”

Manchin said he hopes Franken reverses his decision, but even more that the senators who led the charge against him reconsider and call for the two-term senator to stay until the ethics process is complete.

“I hope they have enough guts … and enough conscience and enough heart to say, ‘Al, we made a mistake asking prematurely for you to leave.'”

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who issued a statement calling for Franken’s resignation, has since told him privately that he regrets doing so, according to two people familiar with the conversation. Leahy declined to comment.

“I think we acted prematurely, before we had all the facts,” said a third senator who has also called for the resignation, and has since expressed regret directly to Franken. “In retrospect, I think we acted too fast.” The senator asked not to be named because of the political sensitivity of the issue among Democrats.

Two of the senators who issued resignation calls told POLITICO they felt rushed to weigh in, as they were focused on hearings and other meetings and pressure on Franken mounted. In retrospect they said they signed off on statements without the appropriate care and thought.

The feeling is not pervasive throughout the conference. Aides to several Democratic senators who called for Franken to step down, despite their conflicted feelings about doing so, said they remain comfortable with the move.

That includes Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. The New York Democrat helped lead the charge against Franken the day that POLITICO published the account of a former Democratic congressional aide who said the former comedian tried to forcibly kiss her after the taping of a radio show in 2006.

Gillibrand has said that sending a clear message of zero tolerance is important, and that she was worried that the Ethics Committee process was being used as a shield.

“She has said, ‘He was entitled to a process, but he was not entitled to my silence,'” said one person who has spoken to Gillibrand about the decision.

(…)

The feeling that Franken should reconsider has gained some steam outside of the Senate, too, among Democratic donors and others, including a former Republican governor of Minnesota, Arne Carlson.

“I and many other people — and specifically feminists — feel that it’s not too late, that he should not resign, and that the rush to sweep him out was ill-conceived, and we think that he has been supportive of women and women’s issues,” said Emily Jane Goodman, a retired New York state Supreme Court judge who’s helped start a Feminists for Franken group on Facebook. “Although we do deplore any kind of gender-based misconduct, we think at the same time he is entitled to a fair hearing.”

The group directly counters Gillibrand’s statement that there should be no gradations made in assessing problematic sexual conduct: “We believe it is crucial to make distinctions and to respond proportionally,” the group’s mission statement reads.

Manchin said he still holds out hope people will come around and call for Franken to go through the ethics process.

“That’s the human and decent thing to do. If they have any decency in them, they’d do that,” Manchin said in the podcast interview. “Every one of them that signed for him to go out —including Chuck Schumer — should do that.”

Franken’s resignation, of course, came in the wake of a series of allegations of sexual impropriety that he didn’t entirely deny. It began with Los Angeles news anchor Leann Tweeden who wrote and spoke on the air about an incident during a 2006 USO Tour she was on with Franken. Tweeden said Franken tried to forcibly kiss her and, later, appeared in pictures where he seemed to be groping her while she slept.  A few days after Tweeden’s story became public, a second woman came forward alleging that Franken had groped her while posing for a photograph at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010. 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 beginning to campaign for the Democratic nomination to run against incumbent Senator Norm Colemen. Then, 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. The day before he resigned, 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. In the wake of all of that, Democrats in the Senate led by New York’s Kristen Gillibrand began to call on Franken to resign. By the end of the day before his resignation, the majority of the Democratic Caucus in the Senate, including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, had issued such a call and it was clear that Franken had lost the confidence of his fellow Democratic Senators.

At the time Franken resigned, some were raising questions about whether or not the uproar against him had gone too far. Many outside observers suggested that calls for Franken’s resignation may have been premature or even unfair and that the Senator had to some extent fallen victim to events outside the Senate and outside Minnesota that made it necessary for his fellow Democrats to basically abandon him. Many of these pundits pointed to the fact that Franken had not entirely disputed the claims made by the women in question, and that he had agreed to submit to an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee and whatever discipline they deemed appropriate. As they pointed out, though, Franken’s announcement came just days before the Special Election in Alabama, an election that of course was consumed at the time almost exclusively by the allegations of impropriety and assault being leveled against Republican candidate Roy Moore. It also occurred at the same time that we were hearing once again from the dozen or so women who had accused President Trump of sexual harassment and groping, reports that led Senator Gillibrand and some others to call on Trump to resign. In any case, these pundits suggested that the rush to call on Franken to resign was governed primarily by concerns about charges of hypocrisy against Democrats given their attacks on Moore and  Trump. Trump, of course, is not going to resign, and Moore is essentially a non-entity now thanks to the surprisingly strong win of Doug Jones last Tuesday. It appears that Manchin’s comments, and those of other Senators, are motivated in part at least by the feeling that he was forced out for political reasons entirely out of his control.

Notwithstanding Senator Manchin’s comments, as well as those from Senator Leahy and others, it doesn’t appear to me that there’s really much of an option left for Franken except to stick to his decision to resign. For one thing, while this Politico report does indicate that at least some of the Senators that initially called for Franken’s resignation now seem to be changing their minds, there”s absolutely no indication that there’s anywhere close to a landslide of such calls or that Franken would find much support in the Senate were he to change his mind. Secondly, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has already selected Lt. Governor Tina Smith to replace Franken once he does step down. If he reneges on his retirement announcement, Franken would be seen by many as blocking a woman from taking a seat in the Senate while he remains under an ethical cloud for mistreatment of women, hardly good optics for a Senator who stands accused of multiple incidents of sexual harassment. Given all of this, I don’t expect Franken will reconsider his resignation decision at this point.

 

 

FILED UNDER: Congress, Gender Issues, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Stormy Dragon says:

    Franklin going back on his resignation now would also likely allow Republicans to judo the Moore situation around into a way of attacking the Democrats.




    0



    0
  2. michael reynolds says:

    As I pointed out early in this purge, we are applying the figurative ‘death penalty’ to actions ranging from serious felonies down to simple boorishness. This won’t work. It will subvert the #MeToo campaign and drain its intensity and legitimacy.

    Franken is a martyr. His treatment was unjust. And from the point of view of someone who generally approves of #MeToo: C’est pire qu’un crime, c’est une faute. It is worse than a crime, it is a mistake




    0



    0
  3. SenyorDave says:

    At one point Franken said he wasn’t sure whether there would be more allegations. That seemed like a pretty bad sign. Did Franken and family really want to go through a Senate investigation? The optics would have to pretty bad on that.

    If all Franken did was grope some women, he still would probably have been forced to resign from senior management positions in every company I’ve ever worked for.




    0



    0
  4. SKI says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Disagree.

    It might have been avoidable but not the way Franken handled it.

    There are too many accounts of him getting “handsy” inappropriately not to believe that was something he did. He had to know that he had done that.

    He may have been able to get ahead of it quickly and initially by copping to juvenile behavior he is now ashamed of and then riding it out but he didn’t.

    And the reality is that, while he is a victim of mores and standards changing (Dem-supporters mostly don’t/won’t accept “boys will be boys” anymore), they did change. It may be unfair at the micro-level but it is essential at the macro.




    0



    0
  5. Mister Bluster says:

    If all Franken did was grope some women,..

    You mean like this?

    …grab them by the pussy…Pud




    0



    0
  6. Gustopher says:

    There is really no way for him to stay now. Not with how he’s handled it up until now, and not with the sudden shift in the Democratic Party.

    If his state’s governor was a Republican, he could have given a speech about how the failures of one man shouldn’t invalidate the votes of millions, and then just ride it out.

    If he was a Republican, he could probably stay — they are more morally flexible. If he wants to stay, he should probably just switch parties.




    0



    0
  7. MarkedMan says:

    I felt that Franken’s sins were materially different. “The Wife of Ceasar” standard is not noble, it is stupid.

    Although I thought Bill Clinton was a snake and I wouldn’t want him near my daughter, I am grateful for the way he hung tough. What he did was stupid and gross, but it was between two consenting adults. The Republicans were willing to do anything to drive him from office, including leaking secret testimony on a daily basis. To this day I’m outraged by the fact that the judge let the depositions continue when every night the Republican lawyers walked out of the room and immediately dialed up the press.

    And yes, I know that two women who spent years earning money on the wing nut gravy train have said he assaulted them. They deserve a hearing but they don’t automatically deserve belief. One of them actually signed an affidavit that no assault had happened, but that was before she started accepting money from Republican donors.




    0



    0
  8. Andy says:

    Well, resignations are hard to take-back politically.

    And the fact is that Franken is expendable. His replacement will be a Democrat and parties care much more about balance of power than protecting their own. Things would be much different if Minnesota was a purple state or had a Republican governor.

    In theory he could “rehabilitate” and compete for the seat at the next general election or try for another office.

    So I don’t feel bad for Franken – he’s rich, he’s still relatively young and he’s got a lot of other opportunities.




    0



    0
  9. Stormy Dragon says:

    Although I thought Bill Clinton was a snake and I wouldn’t want him near my daughter, I am grateful for the way he hung tough.

    Had Clinton resigned and Al Gore served the rest of his term, we likely would have been spared the GWB administration.




    0



    0
  10. teve tory says:

    yeah but then would we have gotten obama, the best president we’ve had in 50 years?




    0



    0
  11. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “we likely would have been spared the GWB administration.” Possibly, another thing to consider is his resignation, for better or worse, would have iced HRC’s future political career.




    0



    0
  12. barbintheboonies says:

    When a guy is seen groping a woman while she is asleep and being recorded that is more than just dirty talk. He needs to go.




    0



    0
  13. the Q says:

    “Although I thought Bill Clinton was a snake and I wouldn’t want him near my daughter, I am grateful for the way he hung tough…”

    Roy Moore hung tough too.

    And with Bill out of the way, no way does Hillary slow dance the Dems to near death in her zeal to be crowned…er elected President the last decade.

    If Trump for some reason escapes collusion or obstruction charges, the tax bribe..I mean cuts in the short term which really do cut taxes for many in the middle and the economy holds up, ISIS is further degraded, trump passes an infrastructure bill giving many union workers jobs and bolstering local economies and the Dems as usual have no message, the GOP may shock everyone and hang on to Congress.




    0



    0
  14. Ben Wolf says:

    @michael reynolds: I’d have to say some kissing and grab-assing is grounds for disciplinary action, not a resignation. I don’t understand why Franken didn’t wait for results from an investigation by the ethics committee.




    0



    0
  15. SKI says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    I’d have to say some kissing and grab-assing is grounds for disciplinary action, not a resignation.

    I’m going to make the following observations/predictions based on this sentence:
    Ben is:
    1. Not a woman
    2. Not a lawyer or compliance officer
    3. Little to no HR or senior management experience in a moderately sized or larger company.
    4. Materially out of touch with the concept of consent and assault and how both are frowned upon.

    Let me be clear, non-consensual “kissing and grab-assing” in 2017 is grounds for termination. Period.

    It may not have been in the not so distant past, particularly for rain-makers and top talent, but the costs of not terminating someone for this today are far, far too great.

    And this is a good thing.




    0



    0
  16. michael reynolds says:

    @Ben Wolf:
    The lynch mob was at the door and the sherif was no John Wayne.

    @barbintheboonies:
    He was photographed miming a grab, the picture does not convince me that physical contact was made. Indeed, he would have avoided contact or risk waking her and ruining his prank.

    But even if he did grab her breasts over her clothing as a prank in context it’s just obnoxious and juvenile, it’s not shoving a teenager’s face into your crotch or undressing a 14 year-old.




    0



    0
  17. michael reynolds says:

    @SKI:

    The incident did not take place in 2017.

    The incident was not in a workplace supervised by an HR department.

    The incident was wrong, but all wrongs are not equal and if we insist that they must be treated as equal regardless of severity or circumstances are we also arguing that the proper response to rape is resignation? The effect of this is to treat all offenses as equally severe and deserving of the same punishment and that is not going to be sustainable.

    If “I was forcibly raped” is punished the same way as, “I was made to feel uncomfortable,” we are discounting rape and exaggerating grab-ass, a clearly unjust and absurd effect which will destroy the #MeToo movement.




    0



    0
  18. the Q says:

    “Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?’….

    We have lost a sense of proportion here as Mr. Reynolds points out…. yes Al did bad but nowadays punishment is the death penalty for traffic tickets.

    The marginal gets lumped with the obscene as Al noted the irony in his resignation speech that Trump gets a free pass for much worse behavior.

    Symbolically, for the female Dem senators, he had to go. But in a larger sense, this sets a bad precedent as any accuser now is deemed innocent and the accused guilty a priori.




    0



    0
  19. SKI says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The incident did not take place in 2017.

    True but that is when it came to light. And his failure to get in front of it happenned in 2017.

    The incident was not in a workplace supervised by an HR department.

    Irrelevant.

    The incident was wrong, but all wrongs are not equal and if we insist that they must be treated as equal regardless of severity or circumstances are we also arguing that the proper response to rape is resignation? The effect of this is to treat all offenses as equally severe and deserving of the same punishment and that is not going to be sustainable.

    Nice strawman.

    The proper response to rape is criminal prosecution.

    The proper response to a repetitive pattern of inappropriate and boorish behavior and non-consensual touchings on the part of a public-facing leader is the removal of that leader – especially when the cost of carrying/shielding that leader is significantly higher than any benefit to be gained by keeping them.




    0



    0
  20. teve tory says:

    , trump passes an infrastructure bill giving many union workers jobs and bolstering local economies

    LOL




    0



    0
  21. HarvardLaw92 says:

    However, Tina Smith, Minnesota’s Democratic lieutenant governor, was named last week as his appointed successor.

    intended / putative successor. Until he actually resigns, which he has not yet done, her appointment is meaningless.




    0



    0
  22. michael reynolds says:

    @SKI:

    The proper response to rape is criminal prosecution.

    Except that the statute of limitations has run out in just about every case. So yes, the punishment for rape and ass-grabbing is now effectively the same thing: resignation.

    There is a giddy enthusiasm about this which is doomed if we don’t get smarter. When you charge the enemy and find an opening in his lines be very careful that you haven’t just plowed your way into an untenable position. You know what percentage of white women in Alabama voted for a child molester? About 70%. So this #MeToo moment is brought to you not by women, but by some women. They are supported by some men.

    But on the other side are most men and way more women than you might expect. This is a fragile advance. It is not victory. The enemy have not been driven from the field, or destroyed, and we have not routed them from their positions of power. Kirsten Gillibrand got too far out on this and the backlash was building rapidly against her when Trump rescued her career by attacking her. But weariness, boredom, loss of novelty and excited over-extension will weaken #MeToo unless it can be turned into something more than this year’s political fad.

    We should be using this moment to craft policy, legislation that in this environment we might just get to the floor where Republicans would have a hard time voting against it. Instead we’re playing media gotcha and randomly ruining people guilty of minor misdemeanors along with serious felons and it will not fly. I realize I’m shouting into the wind, but less giddiness, more strategy, or we are maybe just a few weeks from this collapsing on itself.




    0



    0
  23. SKI says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Except that the statute of limitations has run out in just about every case. So yes, the punishment for rape and ass-grabbing is now effectively the same thing: resignation.

    Nope.

    First, time doesn’t prevent civil suits for rape (see Bill Cosby).

    Second, the societal scorn and shunning will presumably be a bit heightened/differentiated. One is slimey. The other is monstrous.

    I don’t want either associated with my brand but I’m willing to talk to only one of those.

    There is a giddy enthusiasm

    Not from this quarter – or from most I’ve interacted with in corporate America. I work as a compliance officer in health care. This isn’t new to us. We’ve seen this storm coming and its been impacting businesses for years. Law Firms mostly cleaned up their act 10 or so years ago – they saw first hand the costs of not doing so. Academia has been dealing with it too – and the inherent issue of power dynamics for years as well.

    I get that for many this is pretty new but it isn’t – it has just gotten a lot of publicity recently because it is now hitting media, entertainment and politics. The proliferation of social media has definitely accelerated the impact and the speed in which companies deal with it but ultimately it is a simple, cold-blooded calculus: not dealing with it typically has higher costs than doing so.

    I think that you and I are just coming at this from very different places of experience. You see it as something new and driven by outrage. I see this as the logical continuation of years of progress and driven by economics.




    0



    0
  24. SKI says:

    In 1994, a legal secretary got $7.1 Million from Baker & McKenzie (reduced to $3.5 Million).

    HP’s CEO resigned in 2010 over sexual harassment claims.

    In 2011, jury awarded an employee of UBS over $10 Million.

    In 2014, several tech startup Ceos resigned over sexual harassment claims (Tinder, Github & Urban Airship)

    When a 16 year old employee can end up with a verdict for more than $7.5 Million for workplace sexual harassment from Chipotle in 2016, you better believe that large corporations are well aware of the issue and have been trying to drive it out of their businesses…

    It isn’t new to corporate America. Politics and entertainment are just catching up…




    0



    0
  25. the Q says:

    I guess to SKI, entertainment conglomerates aren’t included in corporate America.




    0



    0
  26. SKI says:

    @the Q: That was your takeaway?!?!?

    Your attempt to engage in meaningful interaction or discussion?

    Really?

    And no, most entertainment entities aren’t corporate in the manner I’m talking about – even if their parent companies are. They are wealthy and powerful but they aren’t organized in the same way. They rely heavily on individual talent, not structure.




    0



    0
  27. michael reynolds says:

    @SKI:
    Maybe you’re right, but I am not a big believer in the arc of history. I suspect the ‘different places’ we’re coming from is a matter of age. This isn’t my first great tidal wave of change that ends up being a puddle.

    I think you think you’ve got most women behind this. I have my doubts. On paper, in answer to a poll question, sure. But committed enough to vote? The ‘women’s vote’ is like the messiah, we keep hearing that it’s coming. . . and then it doesn’t.

    This time may be different. This time may be the start of the long-awaited and permanent power-shift from men to women, but I have my doubts about that as well. Males are the New York Yankees of history. For men it’s been about 100,000 winning years in a row. They occasionally have a bad season, but it’s seldom a good idea to write them off.

    But I hope you’re right and I’m wrong. We’ll know in a few months.




    0



    0
  28. SKI says:

    @michael reynolds: ummm….

    You keep ascribing thoughts to me that I don’t have and haven’t shared.

    I said nothing about voting or politics. I talked about corporate culture and legal liability.

    I certainly didn’t talk about a massive change to society that ends the Patriarchy or brings about true equality anytime in the near future.

    I simply stated that boorish and sexist behavior is being tolerated less and less over time and that I don’t think that trend will change.

    That corporations are generally risk adverse and that ousting leading figures like Franken (where we started) for such behavior isn’t a brand new thing. Nor, contra your original opinion, is it a bad thing. It is exactly the right thing to do.




    0



    0
  29. Scott F. says:

    I think it was Dahlia Lithwick who framed Franken’s resignation in the most meaningful way: it was the correct thing to do and it was wrong that it happened.

    Franken deserved due process, but there’s no tenable way to reverse his resignation that doesn’t do more damage than good. Tina Smith, a woman Democrat, replaces him, so Franken ends up being expendable as a Senator, but only as a Senator. Remember politician was his second act and I’m confident he’ll have a third act as an Irritant of Republican Blowhards in some capacity. Rush Limbaugh remains a big, fat idiot don’t you know.

    But, what happened to Franken must be made the case study for the necessary adjustments to deal with the egregious lack of proportionality that michael and the Q raise in the comments here. There needs to be some semblance of rules and, most importantly, the rules can’t be so variably applicable that there’s only consequences for those who admit the truth and sit on one side of the aisle.




    0



    0
  30. george says:

    So how long ago did his groping happen? If it happened while he was in the Senate, then he should resign. So should everyone else who did it while in office. If it happened before that, then when does rehabilitation come into play?

    The liberal standard has been that even people who commit extremely serious crimes like murder can be rehabilitated – the measure being whether or not they re-offend. Is that gone now? Are we now the party of tough on crime – ie once a criminal always a criminal?

    A lot of first nations people are or have been in prison for one thing or another, sometimes just guilty of being red, sometimes for things much more serious than what Franken’s been accused of (up to murder). Is the message that they’re marked for life?




    0



    0
  31. the Q says:

    SKY, I don’t engage in discussions with a child porn owning, wife beating, racist fascist homophobe like you.

    Now, convince others that my accusations aren’t true..

    Because, right now, in our current harassment witch hunt, not in your legal rational paradigm, one is guilty until one proves their innocence.

    That’s what I am objecting to – the severity of the punishment and the conflating of butt pinching with being a pederast. Because there’s no middle ground here. No mater the infraction, life altering penalties are meted out which do not fit the crime at times.




    0



    0
  32. SKI says:

    @the Q: you don’t get it. It isn’t a question of legality or punishment or fairness. It isn’t about Franken – or any other leader. It is about the organization.

    The organization can’t afford to have a leader who is compromised. Period.

    Being a leader requires being held to a higher standard. It’s part and parcel of the job.

    Oh, and you are an asshole. And I think you have proven that “accusation”. Schmuck.




    0



    0
  33. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @SKI: None of what you said applies to Franken because the infractions didn’t occur while he was a member of the organization or even in politics. Im sure no CEO has ever been fired or their organization forced to write a check because accusations or photos surfaced from boorish frat house days. The “moral authority” of a leader is very much a function of the recent past, here, and now. By all accounts, Franken conducted himself well as a politician and a Senator.




    0



    0
  34. Tyrell says:

    Franken should not have resigned.
    “Stand and fight. Stand and fight” (Lawrence of Arabia”)
    “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” (Admiral Farragut)




    0



    0
  35. An Interested Party says:

    The organization can’t afford to have a leader who is compromised. Period.

    Tell that to the GOP…




    0



    0
  36. Guarneri says:

    I’m shocked -shocked!! – to learn of hypocrisy in the Democrat party……….




    0



    0
  37. Gustopher says:

    @the Q:

    Symbolically, for the female Dem senators, he had to go. But in a larger sense, this sets a bad precedent as any accuser now is deemed innocent and the accused guilty a priori

    Alternately, a guilty man would assess how many more accusers are going to pop up, and decide that he doesn’t want to put his family and his reputation through that. He could have fought this … he chose not to.

    He could have come clean with “I thought it was cheeky and funny to pinch a bottom in a photo sometimes, and good lord was I wrong. I am an idiot.” He chose not to.

    Al Franken is a smart man. I’m going to trust him on this resignation thing.




    0



    0
  38. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds:

    There is a giddy enthusiasm about this which is doomed if we don’t get smarter. When you charge the enemy and find an opening in his lines be very careful that you haven’t just plowed your way into an untenable position. You know what percentage of white women in Alabama voted for a child molester? About 70%. So this #MeToo moment is brought to you not by women, but by some women. They are supported by some men.

    I think abortion dominated the decision to support the child molester, and people — even white women — will jump through any hoops to avoid supporting a child molester. They refused to believe the allegations because the alternative was to vote for a pro-choice candidate.

    As far as Franken goes, I’ll defer to every woman I know as to the seriousness. The general consensus is “He gets replaced with a Democrat? Get rid of him” It gets fuzzy if he isn’t replaced by a Democrat.

    Franken disappointed me. Most women I know feel betrayed, not just disappointed, and while I may be a weird unfeeling beast (I would vote for a pedophile rather than a Republican), I recognize this is not normal, and we need the votes of those women (and they would resent him not resigning)

    My desire to vote for Clinton was nearly destroyed by Comey’s email memo a few days before the election. She was obviously less worse than the alternative, but I did not want another 4-8 years of that shit, real or not. And I was in a safe state. If I didn’t care about a lot of local things, I might not have bothered. I don’t want liberal women to be in that spot. I don’t want any part of our base in that spot.

    Al Franken isn’t that important.




    0



    0
  39. Gustopher says:

    It might not be fair to Al Franken, but when has life ever been fair? He’ll be fine.




    0



    0
  40. Ben Wolf says:

    @SKI: You are confusing termination with resignation. Terminations happen after investigation. But why presume someone’s innocence when we can flog the Outrage Machine a little more?




    0



    0
  41. Ben Wolf says:

    @SKI:

    Oh, and you are an asshole. And I think you have proven that “accusation”. Schmuck.

    You’re out of line and drunk with self-righteousness. And you owe Q an apology.




    0



    0
  42. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Guarneri: No, you’re not, nor are we shocked that you decided to enter the fray with a cheap-shot quip instead of a serious comment. Zero Hedge silent on this topic?




    0



    0
  43. SKI says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    None of what you said applies to Franken because the infractions didn’t occur while he was a member of the organization or even in politics.

    Actually, some of the allegations occurred while he was Senator (State Fair in 2010 IIRC).

    Im sure no CEO has ever been fired or their organization forced to write a check because accusations or photos surfaced from boorish frat house days.

    Again, it is not accurate that people haven’t had to resign based on actions that occured prior to hire. Off the top of my head, a senior executive at Uber was let go when it surfaced that he was alleged to have committed sexual harassment at Google previously.

    The “moral authority” of a leader is very much a function of the recent past, here, and now.

    Depends on how you define recent. As I posted upthread, people have been losing their jobs for this for the past decade.

    As for the leader being the moral authority and a representative of a company or organization that is held to a higher standard, that isn’t new at all. There is a reason the expression is “Purer than Caeser ‘s wife”.




    0



    0
  44. SKI says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Tell that to the GOP…

    I think they are and will pay the price for their refusal to confront their leadership issues. They have been and will be paying the “Trump Tax” in elections.




    0



    0
  45. SKI says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    You are confusing termination with resignation. Terminations happen after investigation. But why presume someone’s innocence when we can flog the Outrage Machine a little more?

    If it was one allegation and/or there was an actual denial that the inappropriate behavior occurred but there were multiple allegations over years alleging similar behavior and Franken isn’t denying that he would get “handsy”.

    That being said, you are correct that there isn’t enough here to terminate (or impeach in the case of a Politician). But there is more than enough to lean on the individual to resign, to advise them that their ability to do their job has been hampered because of their behavior and to “suggest” resignation.

    The organization can’t be seen to be passive in face of credible instances of inappropriate behavior.




    0



    0
  46. SKI says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    You’re out of line and drunk with self-righteousness. And you owe Q an apology.

    No self-righteousness here. I’m NOT arguing about this from a moral perspective but sharing how these decisions are made from a callous, cold-hearted viewpoint on what is necessary to protect the organization. The organization is more important than any individual. We are all replaceable.

    As for Q, screw him. He called me a”a child porn owning, wife beating, racist fascist homophobe.” Even as a rhetorical debating trick, that is the move of a Ted Cruz-style asshole. He made it personal. I have no use for that or him now.




    0



    0
  47. Mister Bluster says:

    Al Franken is a smart man.
    I saw the picture of Franken and the woman who was sleeping.
    Sure looks like he was an adult when it was taken.
    How could he think it was a good idea to assume that pose?
    How could he think it was a good idea to have a picture taken?
    Dumb and dumber.




    0



    0
  48. Andy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    But even if he did grab her breasts over her clothing as a prank in context it’s just obnoxious and juvenile, it’s not shoving a teenager’s face into your crotch or undressing a 14 year-old.

    I think “obnoxious and juvenile” works as an excuse for a 20 year old, but not a fifty-something. At that age you should know better. And not when the accusation also includes forcing an unwanted kiss which is still sexual assault even if it’s the least-bad kind.




    0



    0
  49. al-Ameda says:

    @the Q:

    SKY, I don’t engage in discussions with a child porn owning, wife beating, racist fascist homophobe like you.

    Really? When you’ve stopped stealing lunch money from 3rd grade kids, and graffiti tagging child care center buildings, please explain your vitriol




    0



    0
  50. the Q says:

    SKI writes this tripe….”The organization can’t afford to have a leader who is compromised. Period.”

    I guess this does not apply to the organization called the U.S. which elected a totally compromised leader. Period.

    As for your insipidly inane reply to my calling you a child porn fan, it was to illustrate that in this current environment, if I made this accusation and said I saw this on your work computer, according to your own comments, YOU’D BE FIRED.

    Now, I could have made that up, and you would have no recourse, and I could ask some of your co-workers who dislike you (and I bet there would be many since you come off as a total azzwhole) to back up my lie. What’s your response? That its not true and that everyone but you is lying?

    The company would have no recourse but to fire you without caring if the accusations are true or not.

    And thats my argument a you pedantic prick.




    0



    0
  51. SKI says:

    @the Q: Hey asshole, it does apply but we don’t live in a perfect world and everyone doesn’t make perfect decisions. As a result, we, the US organization, has and will suffer. Our standing, morale and overall performance are and will continue to be compromised.

    As for your insipidly inane reply to my calling you a child porn fan, it was to illustrate that in this current environment, if I made this accusation and said I saw this on your work computer, according to your own comments, YOU’D BE FIRED.

    Now, I could have made that up, and you would have no recourse, and I could ask some of your co-workers who dislike you (and I bet there would be many since you come off as a total azzwhole) to back up my lie. What’s your response? That its not true and that everyone but you is lying?

    The company would have no recourse but to fire you without caring if the accusations are true or not.

    And thats my argument a you pedantic prick.

    And like I said to Ben, making that argument in the way you did is a Ted Cruz-like asshole move. Instead of raising an actual point in a way designed to have a discussion, you behaved like an asshole. You are trying so hard to be witty/snarky, you aren’t actually challenging what I said or engaging in discourse – just being a schmuck.

    To take up the argument you are making now, your “logic” is completely wrong because you are making assertions of a standard that I haven’t argued for and assuming facts that aren’t true.

    As I’ve noted in other responses, a single accusation isn’t enough. The issue in Franken’s case is that there were multiple allegations which were broadly consistent and that he has not denied that they happened. Further, there were corroborating witnesses who were able to vouch that – at the time – the complaining women had noted the objectionable conduct.

    So you, an asshole, making an allegation, no matter how obscene or outrageous, wouldn’t be enough to get me fired because I would be able to deny it and there wouldn’t be any evidence because it isn’t true. Which is NOT the case with Franken (or for you being an asshole).




    0



    0
  52. the Q says:

    No, you’d be fired in this climate because others without proof have made accusations which have resulted in dismissal you colossal freak.

    That is the whole point of the discussion. There is no middle ground with the penalties. Show me where someone other than Trump is”surviving” these accusations without suffering dire consequences.

    I’ve wasted enough time with a schmoe like you.




    0



    0
  53. Tyrell says:

    @SKI: Look at the latest incident involving PBS. A well known and respected commentator is dismissed with no reason given, an accuser not named, and no evidence presented. No chance for this person to defend themselves. This is increasingly the pattern, almost “mafia-esque”. Is there another underlying reason and agenda behind all of this?




    0



    0
  54. SKI says:

    @Tyrell:

    First, PBS’s statement stated that they had done an initial inquiry: “The inquiry uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to today’s decision”

    Second, not only would it be inappropriate for them to release the details, it would likely be illegal under prevailing law. The victim(s) could make a public statement but the company isn’t allowed to typically.

    Third, there is a chance fro Smiley to defend himself. He was in fact interviewed according to PBS’s statement. PBS suspended the show and brought in outside counsel to handle a more complete investigation.

    As I noted above to Michael, this isn’t new or unusual. This type of thing has been handled by HR, Compliance and legal departments for the better part of the past 2 decades.

    The real question I have is why, not knowing any of the facts or hearing from the former employees who complained, you are so convinced that his suspension was inappropriate? When a boss sleeps around with employees, claiming consent is problematic.




    0



    0
  55. SKI says:

    @the Q:

    No, you’d be fired in this climate because others without proof have made accusations which have resulted in dismissal you colossal freak.

    That is the whole point of the discussion. There is no middle ground with the penalties. Show me where someone other than Trump is”surviving” these accusations without suffering dire consequences.

    Hey, asshole, I actually handle these type of cases professionally. I know how the process actually works. You are factually wrong. Still.




    0



    0