That's what Tomasky is saying: Is Al Franken's resignation "deeply unfair?"
That's what Michael Tomasky is saying—and, as a general matter, we like the cut of his jib. Unfortunately, he's also saying this:
TOMASKY (1/2/18): The main point is that Franken didn’t have a chance to defend himself. He has maintained publicly that he didn’t do most of the things he’s been accused of. Democrats are supposed to believe in things like a fair process and hearing both sides and letting a person defend himself. In this case, they did not. They will face, and deserve to face, very tough questions of their own, starting with New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who started this Queen of Hearts-ish avalanche. She came in for a lot of heat on my Twitter feed, and elsewhere, I’ve noticed.We're glad to hear that others are less than deeply impressed with Gillibrand's recent behavior. But just as a matter of obvious fact, Franken did have a chance to defend himself.
No one forced him to resign. He could have stayed and fought.
The fact that Franken didn't stay and fight is one more part of this problem. Stating the obvious, it suggests the possibility that he knew the ethics committee probe would have gone poorly, though we have no way of knowing if that is, or isn't, the case.
Tomasky goes on to praise Pat Leahy. This really makes us barf:
TOMASKY (continuing directly): And props to Pat Leahy for being the only Democrat to come forward and admit on the record that he was wrong to call for Franken’s resignation. It would help, a little, if more of them had the courage to do the same.Citizens, please.
In all likelihood, the order from Democratic senators that Franken should resign was based on the strong possibility that Roy Moore would win his Senate election. Had he done so, these mental midgets would have spent this entire year talking about nothing other than Moore's alleged behavior from the 1970s.
This would have been much harder to do if Franken had stayed on the scene.
Once Moore lost, the nation was spared this prospect. Along came Leahy, saying that maybe Franken perhaps and possibly shouldn't resign after all!
Is it possible that Leahy "came in for a lot of heat" with respect to his original stance, as Tomasky says Gillibrand did? We have no idea, but it's certainly possible. If so, should a senator really get "props" for having the "courage" to get out ahead of the crowd?
For ourselves, we don't know why anyone did what they did or said what they said. That includes Franken himself, along with Leahy and Gillibrand.
We do know this:
Nothing is gained when our thought leaders make statements which are are objectively false. Franken was not denied the right to defend himself. However one views the conduct of Gillibrand and so many others, he himself chose to resign.
Personally, we're glad that we won't spend the next year hearing these fraudulent phonies discussing Roy Moore in the 70s. That said, Franken could have chosen to stay in the Senate and defend himself. Liberal interests aren't served when we lose the ability to make even the simplest, most obvious factual statements.
These events all occurred during a moral panic. Since Franken never issued a blanket denial, we assume that he actually did grab some people's keisters along the way. (If you've never grabbed anyone's keister, it isn't hard to say so.)
We're amazed that he would have done that. That said, no one's legitimate interests are served by the "Queen of Hearts" behaviors typical of moral panics and stampedes. Unfortunately, our discourse is so degraded at this point that our leaders seem to know of no other ways to play.
That represents a deep intellectual and moral failing. On this one occasion, it isn't Donald Trump's fault!