Is Franken's resignation deeply unfair?


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.

Final point:

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!


  1. "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. "

    This admission doesn't stop Somerby from criticizing anyone here. Today's post is full of this "we don't know if it's true but we'll attack as if true...and then after the attack, hedge our bets by asserting that it may not be true after all."

    The possibility that certain people may be genuinely concerned about sexual harassment must give way to the certainty that these people are "fraudulent phonies." And THAT is the takeaway here: Somerby's judgment of others, not a logically coherent argument. Otherwise, why all the wishy-washiness, or "nuance?"

    1. Franken had nothing to do with "sexual harassment."

      Which, apparently is everything now. Even jokes.

    2. Btw, Franken did give a blanket rejection of all the touching and groping claims. He never apologized for any acts but the picture.

    3. He said he didn’t remember or remembered things differently. Not exactly a blanket denial.

    4. "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.)"
      --Bob Somerby, Daily Howler, January 2nd, 2018

    5. “This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous. I look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation,” Franken said in a statement to POLITICO.

      Sounds like a pretty definite unambiguous denial to me.

    6. Which allegation? There were several and they were different.

  2. "Is Franken's resignation deeply unfair?"

    Oh, it's definitely well-deserved and amounts to poetic justice. Many more limousine-liberal 'social justice warriors' must be purged before it's over.

    What goes around comes around. You reap what you sow. People who live in glass houses... Etc.

    So many bad people to denounce and historical monuments to demolish... Roll up your sleeves, Bob.

    1. New Year, new paycheck, Boris ?

    2. "People who live in glass houses... Etc."

      Didn't you criticize someone for being "pro-Establishment" at one time?
      Speaking of "glass houses", zombie liberals want to keep you from slashing your wrists and bleeding out in support of Trump.

  3. No woman would find that photo of Franken grabbing a sleeping woman’s breasts remotely funny. It is funny to men but it diminishes women. Many men go through their entire lives never groping wimen against their will.

    Simerby calls the indignation of women a “moral panic”. The objections of wimen are finally being taken seriously but Somerby calls it mob rule and makes comparisons to Salem. Clearly women aren’t supposed to object to being groped and men are not supposed to suffer any reprisal for assaulting women.

    Somerby is a real asshole these days.

    1. Do you what satire is? What making fun of the IDEA of doing that sort of thing is all about?

      Sorry, but you're the asshole.

    2. I suppose it would be a funny sketch if a wiman pretend to cut off a man’s junk with scissors too. Not real just a big joke. Why do we never see any sketches like that? Maybe because men din’t fund it funny and they control what gets screen time.

      Somerby is an asshole because he doesn’t recognize what’s wrong with Franken’s behavior. Apparently you are too.

      How many times have women heard “What’s the matter baby, can’t you take a joke?” Franken didn’t care about women’s reactions as a young man. Maybe he does now and that’s why he resigned. We can hope.

    3. It could be funny, yes.

      Franken makes fun of everything. He was doing a number on classic USO tours. The whole ACT was about that.

      Grow up, people. Or at least savvy up.

    4. What’s the matter baby, can’t you take a joke? If assault isn’t funny to you, it is your fault. Grow up all you women who think rape is a crime. Grow up.

    5. Calling wimmin 'wimen' diminishes every womyn.

    6. “I suppose it would be a funny sketch if a wiman pretend to cut off a man’s junk with scissors too.”

      It wasn’t a woman (sic), but three scissor-wielding nihilists would be at least as bad:

      “We believe in nothing, Lebowski. Nothing. And tomorrow we come back and we cut off your Johnson.”

      Humor is subjective but some guys might actually find that funny. Could make John Wayne Bobbitt wince a bit, one would imagine. To his credit, he reportedly made a fortune in porn after his “junk” was sewn back on.

    7. My fingers are not the right size for my cell phone keys. Sorry if the resulting errors confuse anyone.

    8. Humor is not only subjective. It can be an instrument of oppression. This is how men wield power, beginning with teasing girls, which boys consider great fun but girls not so much. Trump probably thinks walking in on those teens and watching them scramble is hilarious.

    9. AnonymousJanuary 2, 2018 at 5:36 PM
      "What’s the matter baby, can’t you take a joke? If assault isn’t funny to you, it is your fault. Grow up all you women who think rape is a crime. Grow up."

      Franken never assaulted anyone in that photo. Case closed.

    10. No, it is an unfunny joke about assaulting someone who is asleep. Men find it funny. Women don’t.

  4. Franken knows that the Republican ethics probe would have hauled in everyone who was even remotely connected to SNL in an effort to do a complete referendum and witch hunt on the 1970s.

    And the media would have excitedly joined in - can you imagine Joy Reid and O'Donnell being allowed to weigh in on the "deeply troubling excesses" of, say, 1975?

    It would have been a disaster. Everyone involved would end up being forced to apologize about everything in the world for fear of multiple perjury indictments.

  5. A frustration to us conservatives is the liberals' ability to trap us by changing the rules of morality. E.g..having been a KKK leader was no problem when Democratic Robert Byrd. (He was the Exalted Cyclops in his local Klan unit.) Suddenly tolerating a Confederate flag or using non-PC language became a mortal sin.

    Drugging a child and committing anal rape was OK when liberals pressed for Roman Polanski to be allowed to return to the USA with little punishment, but suddenly much less serious sins became mortal crimes.

    I am glad to see some liberals hoisted by their own petard.

    1. Do conservatives really have problems with the concept that times change and context matters?

    2. Liberals aren’t defending Polanski. A few of his friends are.

    3. No one's defending him. They're just saying enough's enough.

      Including his victim, which creates a huge problem for the scolds.

    4. Victims don’t decide what happens in our courts.

    5. Yes, those damn liberals wanting to impeach Bill Clinton for having a consensual sexual relationship with an adult, now want pooh-pooh anyone who has a problem with an admitted sexual predator as our President. LOL.
      Can you believe we once treated Conservatives like they weren't an amoral dumpster fire? What were we thinking?

    6. David in Cal, I didn't realize conservatives based their behavior on that of liberals, or on what liberals approved of. Used to be, conservatives liked to pretend there was a single standard of right and wrong. Like, sexual assault of a minor: wrong. Walking in on undressed teenage beauty pageant contestants: wrong. Personally profiting off of an office of public trust: wrong. Lying all the time every day: wrong. Using one's power to threaten private citizens with prosecution and deprivation of due process: wrong.
      But nowadays, the conservatives use the reasoning of a two-year old: My brother stole cookies from the cookie jar, so that makes my stealing ok!! Admit it: conservatives have no integrity left ( if they ever did).

    7. AnonymousJanuary 2, 2018 at 8:09 PM --As you must know, Clinton was impeached (but not convicted) because he committed perjury.

    8. No Comrade DinC, you treasonous bastard. President Clinton was impeached because your party are a bunch of fucking traitors who couldn't abide the fact that a progressive Democrat won two consecutive presidential elections and wrecked their dreams of a 1000 year Reich.

      And President Clinton most certainly did not commit perjury. He lied about a blow job from a consenting adult, a non-material issue in a bogus fraudulent civil suit which was summarily dismissed for lack of evidence.

      But we're in a new world now. We now applaud a lying sack of shit president. We now applaud a disgusting vulgar abomination who brags about the size of his dick. You own that, Comrade. I can't wait to see the pussygrabber under oath in his deposition from the civil suits being brought against him. What's the over/under on how many times he'll commit perjury?

    9. The impeachment process of Bill Clinton was initiated by the House of Representatives on December 19, 1998, against Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, on two charges, one of perjury and one of obstruction of justice.[1]

    10. Yeah, jackass, we already know what your parties traitors said. We already know the pretext they used, demonstrating for all the world how they were willing to burn the country down out of spite. One of the main elements of a perjury charge is that if has to be material to the case. This clearly wasn't.

    11. " ... because he committed perjury."
      No, he was charged with perjury.
      " ... Clinton was impeached (but not convicted)."

      But you keep fucking that chicken.

    12. "he[Clinton] committed perjury.". He didn't. Was never convicted of perjury in a court of law (after he was no longer president). The fact that trolling yahoos in the hose chose to call it "perjury" doesn't it make it so.

    13. I think few people would claim that Clinton didn't give misleading answers during depositions in the Paula Jones trial. In this matter, he had the invaluable assistance of Paula Jones' lawyers who crafted a definition of sexual activity in which one person could have sex with a second person in a way that didn't count as the second person having sex with the first. When all was said and done, the judge was unamused at behavior unbecoming an attorney, who is an officer of the court, and she pulled his license to practice law. But she also ruled that the questions about Lewinsky were improper and inadmissible. Perjury requires knowingly lying under oath about material matters. Thus testimony excluded from trial cannot be the basis for perjury.

    14. "Admit it: conservatives have no integrity left ( if they ever did)."

      The idea that conservatives ever had integrity is a myth propagated by the corporate media. Anyone who still believes it needs to adjust their judgement and learn to trust what they can see with their own eyes.
      Remember, these are the same assholes who called me an "American-hater" for not wanting to spend $3+ Trillion to kick over the hornets nest in the middle east, and then turned around and kept Obama from helping the citizens during the worst economic crash in 7 decades, just so he wouldn't get credit and win re-election.
      I'm not saying they should be deported. I'm saying they should be ignored, because they aren't saying anything in good faith.

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  7. There's a real possibility that Franken resigned out of personal shame. As Bob said, we don't know why he didn't fight. The picture of him "groping" a woman in a flak jacket was something I myself would be embarrassed about were I a US Senator, even given the context of the "comedy" involved in such a long-ago appearance.

    But then again, she accepted his apology.

    The circular firing squad certainly didn’t help. Leahy comes across as a scumbag on the level of Rubio, who voted for the tax bill but said, wait, it really might be a bad deal.

    I don’t think we’ll ever know though I anticipate some future writing from Franken.

    What’s most maddening about this is that Franken was a champion of women’s rights. I can’t speak to the other violations, and Franken wouldn’t. That’s why I believe it was a feeling of personal shame that motivated him, not to mention the circus that would have followed had he fought.

    Goodbye, Mr. Franken. Goodbye, all men of good will, whose past can never be made perfect in the American cesspool of politics.


    1. The cesspool of politics mirrors the cesspool of our society.
      And men of good will might possibly be able to find a way not to grope women, don't you think?

  8. Odd that Bob, who once insisted he is here to write about WRITERS, misses forest for the trees: Franken was forced to leave by a gossip wave started by laughable charges from created by unethical editors and reporters. But, Bob can now only tiptoe up to the bar and whisper "Me too."
    It's not all his fault. The tawdry vicisiousness of David in Ca explains how we got to this point. All is probably lost.