Al Franken needs to resign sooner rather than later

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6079_Smith_W

Indeed. It isn't as if these aren't fair considerations. But wandering from there to a presumed set of rules for what is and isn't abuse (or what is presumably not so bad) is missing the point. It feeds into this running narrative that Franken is the victim here. He isn't. 

Losing trust, especially in a public forum, never comes down to a simple set of rules.

I also think it is unfortunate that his voice is going to be lost. But that has nothing to do with his abuse. As you say, it isn't the first time, and it certainly won't be the last.

josh

Yes, compare Franken to Weinstein.  Because there’s no difference between murder and petty theft.  

Rikardo

Who is Al Franken ?  As a Canadian should I care ?

Rev Pesky

From 6079_Smith_W:

It feeds into this running narrative that Franken is the victim here. He isn't. 

But that's true only if all the accusations are true. Where do you get the knowledge that all the accusations are true?

cco

josh wrote:

Yes, compare Franken to Weinstein.  Because there’s no difference between murder and petty theft.  

It's true that those are punished quite differently in the criminal justice system. But would you vote to reelect someone who'd been accused of petty theft? Svend Robinson's career came to an end over it, and I miss him a lot more than I'll miss Al Franken.

6079_Smith_W

They don't have to all be true, Rev. Only enough of them have to be, and once it gets to more than one or two the writing is kind of on the wall. Bottom line is, he resigned. The fact he even distracted from that by playing this that's not how I remember it game in the very same speech is all the more reason it is time for him to go.

It was a line of reasoning worthy of President Trump: Why am I being persecuted while my political enemy goes unpunished? How is that fair? Franken didn’t apologize — in fact, he cast doubt on his accusers — and the only regret he expressed was for “having to walk away from this job.” But after a political career premised on exposing the depravity of Republicans, Franken himself stood exposed. For years, he had built his brand on always being in the right. Even as he relinquished his Senate seat, he couldn’t let go of his sense of moral superiority.

http://time.com/5057462/al-franken-resignation-sorry/

Pondering

If it were racism it would be different. Sexism is never taken as seriously.

6079_Smith_W

I'm not so sure about that. But as with comparisons to Republican politicians, it isn't a competition. Or shouldn't be treated like one, anyway.

 

 

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
and I did so because Lewinsky's been consistent for the past 20 years that she consented.

Whatever she wanted -- or imagined she wanted -- doesn't even merit its own variable in this equation.  Has no one bothered to mansplain this to her?

"Listen, honey, your feelings are adorable, but..."

progressive17 progressive17's picture

I saw Franken's so-called resignation speech. There are ways one could have done it with much more respect for the audience, and leaving him an opening for a possible return to politics.

"Serious charges have been made against me by several individuals. Because of the current political climate, I cannot effectively represent you as Senator for Minnesota. I hereby resign to await the resolution of these charges. If and when I am exonerated I will run again for this position."

- He should not have made any comment about his possible guilt or innocence, if he really were innocent.

- He definitely should not have said that what others (Trump, Moore, etc.) did was worse. Saying "Others did it" does not make you look innocent.

- He should have come across as deer-in-the-headlights rather than obviously petulant.

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
- He definitely should not have said that what others (Trump, Moore, etc.) did was worse. Saying "Others did it" does not make you look innocent.

To be fair, though, if Roy Moore is elected, despite much worse allegations against him, Franken would be reasonable wondering why those allegations aren't a problem for Conservatives (or the electorate) if the allegations against Franken are unbearable.

And same with Trump, really.  Going by that photo of Franken, he only "grabbed them by the breast".  How is it that grabbing them further south isn't a something?

Quote:
He should have come across as deer-in-the-headlights rather than obviously petulant.

I'm absolutely not saying his hands are clean.  But I could certainly understand if he resents the double standard.   What say you?

voice of the damned

And same with Trump, really.  Going by that photo of Franken, he only "grabbed them by the breast".  How is it that grabbing them further south isn't a something?

One thing to factor in, though, is that Trump still had the option of saying that he was only joking about grabbing women's crotches, whereas in Franken's case, there was a photograph. Even if the photo portrayed something less awful than what Trump said he had done, it still constitued incontrovertible proof.

That distinction might not mean a lot to you or me, but if you were someone who likes Trump, but was still disquieted about his alleged behaviour, but on the other hand still really hoping to find out that Democrats are worse, it's a distinction that you might latch onto.

progressive17 progressive17's picture

Franken should have kept his cool and resigned gracefully. His petulant speech can lead one to the conclusion he is a manipulative dirtbag. He did himself no favours by his speech.

Pondering

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
- He definitely should not have said that what others (Trump, Moore, etc.) did was worse. Saying "Others did it" does not make you look innocent.

To be fair, though, if Roy Moore is elected, despite much worse allegations against him, Franken would be reasonable wondering why those allegations aren't a problem for Conservatives (or the electorate) if the allegations against Franken are unbearable.

And same with Trump, really.  Going by that photo of Franken, he only "grabbed them by the breast".  How is it that grabbing them further south isn't a something?

Quote:
He should have come across as deer-in-the-headlights rather than obviously petulant.

I'm absolutely not saying his hands are clean.  But I could certainly understand if he resents the double standard.   What say you?

Trump ran as a racist and he is a racist. So are many of his supporters. Does that mean it's fine for democrats to be racist too because Trump is?

progressive17 progressive17's picture

Conservatives do not make any pretense about being colour-blind, feminist, gay-positive, etc. They get elected because they are conservatives, not liberals. If they are racist, sexist, and homophobic, that is what they are expected to be.

It is not acceptable for someone on the left-liberal side to be racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., because it is a major principle of the left-liberal side of things not to be racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.

So-called left-liberals like Al Franken cannot decry a "double standard", because by definition standards are not the same for the left-liberals and the conservatives. 

If Al Franken wants to grope women and have a political career, he can always join the Republican Party.

josh

It is not acceptable for someone on the left-liberal side to be racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., because it is a major principle of the left-liberal side of things not to be racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.

And there is nothing in Franken's record in congress to say that he is. 

progressive17 progressive17's picture

I am sure there are many progressive politicians who do not have several accusations of sexual impropriety levelled against them.

You are expected to walk the walk if you are going to talk the talk.

Or is Franken's political career more important than the testimony of his victims?

josh

No, it's a matter of the punishment fitting the crime.

Pondering

josh wrote:

No, it's a matter of the punishment fitting the crime.

There are eight women claiming sexual misconduct. Notice, not criminal behavior, just inappropriate. Let us imagine that instead of eight women we had eight black men claiming that he made racist comments towards them, say called one of them "boy" called another one "niggerly" (in joking) for not picking up the cheque, told another one the descendents of slaves should be grateful they were brought to America because look at Africa. Would that be cause to resign?

josh

Apples and oranges.

Rev Pesky

From 6079_Smith_W:

They don't have to all be true, Rev. Only enough of them have to be, and once it gets to more than one or two the writing is kind of on the wall.

How do you know any of them are true?

And let's be clear about this. The photograph did not show Al Franken 'groping' Leann Tweeden. If he had wanted to touch her breasts, his hands would have had to be under the flak jacket she was wearing. In fact, his hands weren't even touching the flak jacket.

As far as the other complaints, we have counter evidence of Franken's behaviour from the women who worked with him:

Three dozen women who worked with Al Franken on “Saturday Night Live” — including original cast members Laraine Newman and Jane Curtin — penned a letter saying they were “compelled to stand up” for the Democratic senator after accusations surfaced that he sexually groped two women.

“In our experience, we know Al as a devoted and dedicated family man, a wonderful comedic performer, and an honorable public servant,” said the letter signed by 36 female members of the NBC show’s cast and crew. “That is why we are moved to quickly and directly affirm that after years of working with him, we would like to acknowledge that not one of us ever experienced any inappropriate behavior; and mention our sincere appreciation that he treated each of us with the utmost respect and regard. ”

Now, that just doesn't sound like a guy who supposedly tells some women his groping is his 'right as an entertainer'. As I suggested further up thread, the Democratic caucus could have suspended him, investgated the allegations, and made a decision.

What they chose to do instead was demand his resignation.

I look forward to the women of the Democratic caucus joining with the women of the Republican caucus in demanding the resignation of Donald Trump. But I'm not holding my breath.

Pondering

Rev Pesky wrote:

I look forward to the women of the Democratic caucus joining with the women of the Republican caucus in demanding the resignation of Donald Trump. But I'm not holding my breath.

Al Franken chose to resign rather than go the investigation route which he could have done. That was his choice.

P.S. Why just women? Men have to stick together?

josh

He asked for the investigation, but that wasn't good enough for his party.

Pondering

josh wrote:

He asked for the investigation, but that wasn't good enough for his party.

And an investigation was going to be done. He resigned instead of allowing it to proceed. Like the Turks, I agree that he could be innocent but he chose to resign rather than wait. He probably didn't want the attention an investigation would bring (for himself and his family) regardless of guilt.

josh

Baloney.  He was all ready for it until a bunch of his fellow senators panicked and made it politically impossible for him to carry on.

Mobo2000

He was told to resign and resisted it to the end.   He was hoping a heartfelt apology would do it, along with a period away from the limelight.   I think the crass political logic from his fellow senators and the DNC is that the Democratic Party and it's associated media cannot continue to endure the continual cries of hypocrisy from the right on sexual harrassment, and they needed a few of their own to fall on their swords.    Franken (and Conyers, near the end of his career), were low cost choices.   And this will strengthen their hand when they launch a media campaign calling for an investigation into Trump's alleged harrassment of women.    I think it's nearly certain Franken will be back in some capacity as well, after a 1 or 2 year timeout.

 

 

josh
Pondering

Coachs who abuse children are generally otherwise wonderful people who children adore. I read a story of a woman who tortured a boy to death but was distraught when police ran over her dog. Franken wasn't accused of murder or even rape. Nobody is claiming that he isn't otherwise a great guy. By all accounts he was a champion of women's rights.

Yes he was pressured to resign but he did not have to no matter what anyone said. He is an elected official. He answers to the people who elected him.  Maybe he decided it wasn't worth the fight. Maybe he decided he'd rather retire and have fun with his family. Whatever the reasons he decided to quit while maintaining his innocence rather than insisting on an investigation to clear his name. That was his decision.

josh

That’s just factually incorrect.  He admitted some and denied others.  The issue I keep coming back to is did the punishment fit the crime.  I believe it did not.  And Franken did not do this willingly.  Had other Democrats not called on him to resign, he would not have.

Pogo Pogo's picture

It was all about eliminating a 'whatabout', which given Franken stature was going to be big. The unfortunate problem in politics is that perception is reality. 

Pogo Pogo's picture

dp

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Pogo wrote:

It was all about eliminating a 'whatabout', which given Franken stature was going to be big. The unfortunate problem in politics is that perception is reality. 

Precisely. This was not a question of finding an appropriate punishment for Franken's behaviour. It was a matter of finding a way to minimize the damage to the party resulting from Franken's indiscretions.

voice of the damned

Pondering wrote:

josh wrote:

No, it's a matter of the punishment fitting the crime.

There are eight women claiming sexual misconduct. Notice, not criminal behavior, just inappropriate. Let us imagine that instead of eight women we had eight black men claiming that he made racist comments towards them, say called one of them "boy" called another one "niggerly" (in joking) for not picking up the cheque, told another one the descendents of slaves should be grateful they were brought to America because look at Africa. Would that be cause to resign?

Just to clarify, but the synonym for "stingy" is spelled and pronounced "niggardly". And it has no connection to the infamous racial slur(not that you were saying it did). Still isn't a word I would use these days, for fear of being misunderstood.

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
Still isn't a word I would use these days, for fear of being misunderstood.

Probably a wise choice, especially when you also know the word "stingy".  Personally, I stop myself every time I almost use the phrase "rule of thumb" because I know that some people still believe the apocryphal story that it refers to legal standards for wife beating.

But FWIW, if Franken had used, properly, the term "niggardly" to refer to a stingy man of colour, I'm pretty sure that in 2017 that would still "trigger" someone, somewhere.

Pondering

voice of the damned wrote:
Just to clarify, but the synonym for "stingy" is spelled and pronounced "niggardly". And it has no connection to the infamous racial slur(not that you were saying it did). Still isn't a word I would use these days, for fear of being misunderstood.

Thank-you and agreed, I would fear being misunderstood and it's an unnecessary word.

Josh, I sympathize with your perspective. He was pressured. He is still a very well-known respected and powerful white male. He could have held his ground. He chose not to. I don't blame him for choosing to withdraw as he has. I believe he believes it was the right thing to do.

It does not matter that he wasn't actually touching her breasts in the photo or that there was clothing between his hands and her breasts. Certainly that would have been worse but it doesn't make the act okay that it wasn't the case. I do believe that he was pushing to rehearse the kiss in the scene they were to play but that he saw it as flirtateous and a come on not as inappropriate and certainly not illegal.

Bottomline is that he resigned. Yes he was preasured to but it was still his choice. He is extremely articulate. He could have used his speech to explain why he wasn't resigning and would cooperate with an investigation. I particularly didn't appreciate his pointing fingers at the Republican side as though as long as they did worse he shouldn't be faulted.

Rev Pesky

From pondering:

powerful white male.

In what way was Franken 'powerful'?

And by the way, it wasn't just 'clothing' between Franken's hands and Tweeden's breasts, it was a flak jacket, a piece of clothing, if you will, designed to protect the wearer from a significant explosion and flying pieces of whatever it was that exploded. It is, in fact, armour. I doubt very much you could feel anything through that jacket, from either side.

Pondering

Rev Pesky wrote:

From pondering:

powerful white male.

In what way was Franken 'powerful'?

And by the way, it wasn't just 'clothing' between Franken's hands and Tweeden's breasts, it was a flak jacket, a piece of clothing, if you will, designed to protect the wearer from a significant explosion and flying pieces of whatever it was that exploded. It is, in fact, armour. I doubt very much you could feel anything through that jacket, from either side.

As to his being a poweful white male, are you kidding me? A famous white comedian?  As to what she was wearing, it doesn't matter. Why did he put his hands in front of her breasts as opposed to a different part of her body? Could it be because they are considered sexual and it's sooooooooo funny to pretend you are touching the breasts of a woman who is not conscious to object and to get a picture of it.

josh

“In its rush to claim the high ground in our roiling national conversation about harassment, the Democratic Party has implemented a zero tolerance standard,” Ramsey said in a statement Friday. “For me, that means a vindictive, terminated employee’s false allegations are enough for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to decide not to support our promising campaign. We are in a national moment where rough justice stands in place of careful analysis, nuance and due process.”

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article189931514.html#storylink=cpy

Pondering

voice of the damned wrote:

Pondering wrote:

josh wrote:

No, it's a matter of the punishment fitting the crime.

There are eight women claiming sexual misconduct. Notice, not criminal behavior, just inappropriate. Let us imagine that instead of eight women we had eight black men claiming that he made racist comments towards them, say called one of them "boy" called another one "niggerly" (in joking) for not picking up the cheque, told another one the descendents of slaves should be grateful they were brought to America because look at Africa. Would that be cause to resign?

Just to clarify, but the synonym for "stingy" is spelled and pronounced "niggardly". And it has no connection to the infamous racial slur(not that you were saying it did). Still isn't a word I would use these days, for fear of being misunderstood.

Thanks for the correction. I always appreciate the opportunity to learn.

Rev Pesky

From Pondering:

As to his being a poweful white male, are you kidding me? A famous white comedian?  As to what she was wearing, it doesn't matter.

In what way is a comedian powerful? 

As to her clothing, you were the one who referred to it as 'clothing' when in fact it was body armour, so perhaps you could explain that why you did that.

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
In what way is a comedian powerful?

Well, the power doesn't come from being a comedian -- a lot of them are hot messes -- but from being a white male.

Rest assured, if a black comedian had done the same, he'd be starting the first year of his 200 year sentence.

Hey hey hey!  Jell-o pudding!

Noops

As boring as this has become, I much rather weekly sexual misconduct assusations rather than weekly 'terrorist' attacks.

There should be enough fodder to keep this going for at least another year or two.

You need a speadsheet to keep track of all of these accusations.

 

Basement Dweller

What is an ass-usa-tion?

Rev Pesky

Just to clarify for the sake of Pondering. A white male comedian, a black male comedian, famous or not famous, has zero power.

Well, perhaps that's a bit strong. A comedian has exactly as much power as is granted by any indvidual dealing with the comedian. In the pantheon of the Hollywood stars, the comics would be at the bottom; maybe musicians are a bit lower.

josh
Pondering

Rev Pesky wrote:

From Pondering:

As to his being a poweful white male, are you kidding me? A famous white comedian?  As to what she was wearing, it doesn't matter.

In what way is a comedian powerful? 

As to her clothing, you were the one who referred to it as 'clothing' when in fact it was body armour, so perhaps you could explain that why you did that.

OMG she didn't wear any clothes with her body armor! Is that why he did it? Why didn't he put his hands in front of her knees instead? Why in front of her breasts? Why take a picture?

Not just a comedian, a famous (that means well-known) and male and white. Although you are quite right despite being black Bill Cosby is also a famous male comedian but I think he got away with much more so white isn't everything.

Pondering

Rev Pesky wrote:

Just to clarify for the sake of Pondering. A white male comedian, a black male comedian, famous or not famous, has zero power.

Well, perhaps that's a bit strong. A comedian has exactly as much power as is granted by any indvidual dealing with the comedian. In the pantheon of the Hollywood stars, the comics would be at the bottom; maybe musicians are a bit lower.

Okay so clearly you think money, sex and colour have nothing to do with power. I'm not going to bother arguing that with you I'm just surprised you are on this site.

Apparently you disagree with Al Franken who issued this apology:

"For instance, that picture. I don't know what was in my head when I took that picture, and it doesn't matter. There's no excuse. I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself. It isn't funny. It's completely inappropriate. It's obvious how Leeann would feel violated by that picture. And, what's more, I can see how millions of other women would feel violated by it—women who have had similar experiences in their own lives, women who fear having those experiences, women who look up to me, women who have counted on me.

Or maybe you think he was lying when he issued his apology?

Rev Pesky

From Pondering:

Okay so clearly you think money, sex and colour have nothing to do with power. I'm not going to bother arguing that with you I'm just surprised you are on this site.

Money has no power over someone who doesn't do things for money. Bill Gates has a lot more money that me, but if he called me and asked me to do something I didn't want to do, I wouldn't do it. Sex has power only in that males are generally stronger physically than females. What colour has to do with it is beyond me. Do I have power over people who aren't white like me? No, I don't. 

As far as Franken's over the top apology, I think he was still trying at that point to save his career. As far as Tweeden feeling 'violated' by the picture I'm sorry but I find that a bit hard to believe. After all, she had been a Hooters waitress and a Playboy model. I don't think that makes her fair game, but at the same time it does weaken the 'bruised innocence' story. As does this, a picture of Tweeden groping a musician on stage on the same tour. Unless those are 'flak' pants the musician is wearing, that really is groping.

Mobo2000

In my view this is political theatre and there are no principles involved that one can refer to declare what Franken should or shouldn't have done in response to these allegations.    The DNC is setting their standard, and Franken is the prime example.    I don't see anything sincere or admirable in Franken's apologies or the DNC's actions here.    They are quibbling about timing.   The plan is, I think it's pretty clear, that the men accused will apologize, recuse themselves from public life for a bit, and then come back having "reflected on their actions" and declare they have seen the light.   We haven't seen the last of Franken, or Louis CK, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Matt Lauer back again in some capacity, perhaps on a different network, next year.

 

 

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
We haven't seen the last of Franken, or Louis CK, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Matt Lauer back again in some capacity, perhaps on a different network, next year.

As implausible as it sounds, I predict that Donald Trump might also bounce back from "grabbing them by the pussy".  Sure, something like that can't just happen overnight -- even his most loyal supporters are going to need to see some genuine change if they're to keep supporting him -- but don't discount the possibility that he also might also be back, in some capacity, soon.

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