Friday, December 22, 2017

Dem senators repudiate demand that Franken resign

The following article appeared on the American Thinker on December 20th

It's a perfect Christmas gift for conservatives: Senate Democrats beclowning themselves in defense of a professional clown who sits among them.  Poor Al Franken was relegated to the status of collateral damage in the desperation of his Senate Democrat colleagues to use claims of sexual harassment as a tool to expel Roy Moore, the presumptive winner of Alabama's special election to replace Jeff Sessions.  Instead, they watched as Moore was defeated, and the expectation that Moore would be a handy albatross to hang on the neck of President Donald Trump evaporated before their eyes.  They had anticipated that the expulsion of Moore would lead to Democrat congressional majorities and thus the nirvana of impeachment, the holy grail of Democrat politics at the moment.

Franken's promise to resign "in the coming weeks" was an obvious move to hedge against the possibility of Moore being defeated.  And now that there is no political gain to be had from forcing Franken out, two Democrat senators are publicly stating their regrets, while two others are sneakily privately telling journalists they also regret their haste in joining the mob demanding the end of Franken's political career.

There can be little doubt that Franken, who adores the status of being a senator, really, really doesn't want to resign.  The problem is that repudiating his promise would be more than a little embarrassing, even though Franken has never confessed to actual misbehavior and never really apologized for it, either.

The reasons publicly being offered by the two willing to speak on the record are self-discrediting on their own, only in part because they are dishonest about the real reason – the planned expulsion of Moore – they took that position in the first place.  The remarks on their face constitute evidence that the senators are not to be trusted because they rush to judgment and follow the psychology of the mob.

Here is what Joe Manchin – who never called on Franken to resign – had to say, on the record, to Politico:

"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. ...

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.'"

The other senator willing to go on the record publicly, Patrick Leahy, has been less effusive:

In a statement released late Monday, Leahy said "I have stood for due process throughout my years as a prosecutor – I regret not doing that this time. The Ethics committee should have been allowed to investigate and make its recommendation."

This is a startling confession for a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where a lack of regard for due process ought to be disqualifying.

Other senators are, for the moment, sticking by their guns.  They are not willing to beclown themselves – yet.

However, keep in mind that the Senate Ethics Committee will take up Franken next year.  I would watch closely for signs that that it will give him a pass.  If I were Leann Tweeden, who was the first to complain, I would stand by for a campaign of attack intended to discredit her.

If the ethics committee concludes there is no proof that Franken misbehaved, then expect the Democrats to change their minds and start talking about the importance of due process.  The rhetoric of "justice" will be employed, with simultaneous vow to hunt down real "anti-woman" offenders (i.e., Republicans).  Democrats can spout hypocritical rhetoric like this in their sleep, after all.

If that develops, the lieutenant governor of Minnesota, Tina Smith, the former Planned Parenthood executive who has been named by Governor Mark Dayton as Franken's replacement, will be told to get back in line and wait for her chance to gain national office.  Expect her to gain a speaker slot at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

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