Senator Al Franken announced on December 7th that he would leave Congress sometime “in the coming weeks” after several women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct and more than three dozen Democratic colleagues called for his resignation.
Now, Democrats are backtracking, rethinking their position on Franken, and some are even urging him to take back his resignation announcement.
A handful of Congressional Democrats say they regret urging Franken to resign and say they’ve made a huge mistake.
From the Week:
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) was one of Franken’s biggest defenders, telling Politico that the Democrats’ cornering of Franken was “atrocious.” Even if Franken doesn’t reverse his decision, Manchin said, “I hope [Senate Democrats] have enough guts … and enough conscience and enough heart to say, ‘Al, we made a mistake asking prematurely for you to leave.'”
Franken was accused of sexual harassment by eight women and said that he would “fully gladly cooperate” with an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee into his behavior, but instead announced he would resign after his party colleagues spoke out against him. Manchin was absent from the Democratic chorus calling for Franken’s resignation, but apparently some of the senators who did speak out are also questioning their decision; Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) apparently told Franken “privately” that he “regrets” calling for the senator to step down, Politico reports.
A third senator, who declined to be named because of “political sensitivity,” lamented: “I think we acted prematurely, before we had all the facts. In retrospect, I think we acted too fast.”
While it’s true that several of the allegations against Franken are simply allegations, others can’t be easily dismissed.
Radio news anchor Leeaann Tweeden provided a photo of Franken groping her while she slept during a USO tour in 2006. In the photo, Franken beams a huge smile, obviously thinking that what he’s doing is hilarious.
So why would so many Democrats think that pushing for Franken’s resignation was a “mistake?”
Probably because “taking the moral high ground” by asking Franken to resign was, for them, purely political.
The Daily Wire reports:
Then the voters of Alabama cast Moore out into the darkness. And the Democrats have no ability to claim the moral high ground — Moore isn’t around to use as a whipping post. Which means, of course, that top Democrats now want to walk back Franken’s resignation.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) stated, “What they did to Al was atrocious, the Democrats.” He called Democratic attempts to oust Franken, “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.”
Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), who called for Franken’s ouster, has secretly told Franken he regrets doing so, according to Politico. Two other senators who sided against Franken apparently told Politico the same thing.
Why? Because Democrats aren’t interested in wiping out sexual abuse. They were interested in the political hay to be made by pretending to care about doing so. With Moore out, that possibility is minimized. Now, Democrats could attempt to target President Trump over allegations of sexual abuse, but that strategy has little credibility after Bill Clinton, and it has little capacity to motivate after Trump was elected despite the presence of sexual harassment and abuse allegations. Democrats know that’s going nowhere, so why bother using it as an attack line against Trump?
That’s particularly true given the fine line Democrats now have to walk between opposing Trump and appeasing their base with a counterproductive impeachment move against him. If Democrats continue with the line that alleged sexual abusers must go, they’ll be duty-bound to impeach him come 2018 if they take the House, and top Democrats know that such a strategy will backfire politically. So they’re preemptively walking back their call for sexual abusers and harassers to step down.
Now that Roy Moore has lost in running for Senate, the only remaining reason for Democrats to take the “moral high ground” is to try to set the groundwork for impeaching Trump. But that’s not as feasible as Democrats hoped. The grounds for impeaching Clinton were much more credible than any attempt against Trump would be.
Sen.-elect Doug Jones of Alabama doesn’t join the several Senate Democrats calling for President Trump to step down: “I think we need to move on and not get distracted by those issues … I don’t think the President ought to resign right now” #CNNSOTU https://t.co/EAY9mhL1QI
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) December 17, 2017
Now that Democrats on Capitol Hill see where the so called high ground leads, they’re no longer interested in it, which means they’re now more than willing to defend Franken.
The hypocrisy from the left of “believing women” unless it hurts one of their own is unending.