By now you’ve heard that today’s top political story is the news that Minnesota Democrat Senator Al Franken has announced his resignation following growing calls for his head over allegations of sexual harassment bordering on assault.
Or did he?
At Powerline, Steven Hayward noticed something very interesting about Franken’s speech — that on top of refusing to admit any of his misdeeds, the former comedian announced not that he has resigned, but that he will be resigning “in the coming weeks,” conveniently neglecting to explain why he’s not doing it today and leaving out a specific day by which he’ll have his office cleaned out.
Why? There are no policy implications at stake — Minnesota’s Governor, Mark Dayton, is a fellow Democrat who would appoint someone who would vote the same way. So what’s going on? Hayward makes the case that Franken is still betting on a path where he won’t have to resign at all:
He had to address the immediate firestorm, but he’s probably holding out for Roy Moore to win the election in Alabama next week, be seated in the Senate by the Republican majority, and then Franken may try to rescind his promised resignation, the storm having blown over and attention shifting to the baggage of Moore. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the Democratic Senators who called for his resignation yesterday suddenly reverse course and say Senator Moore changes everything. I wouldn’t be surprised if this whole thing wasn’t hatched as a stunt by Chuck Schumer to relive the pressure on Franken, set up a renewed attack on Trump, and up the pressure on Republicans over Moore. Gotta keep that “GOP war on women” theme alive!
I think that’s exactly right. Aside from Franken’s inherent shamelessness, note well the fact that none of the national Democrats called for his resignation until after Moore’s polling turned around and Donald Trump and the RNC reaffirmed their support for his campaign.
There is no conceivable justification for waiting so long — there was photographic evidence from Day 1, and regardless of what one thinks of Moore’s denials, they’re nothing compared to Franken merely claiming not to remember and lamely suggesting that women just misinterpreted “hugs.” The party of Bill Clinton, abortion-on-demand, and voter fraud has no conscience to speak of, so of course they were waiting to see what the most politically-advantageous move would be.
It’s all a sick farce. Republicans and conservatives should concede nothing. As I explained on Tuesday, moral consistency doesn’t require us to preemptively give the Alabama Senate seat to Doug Jones; it simply requires us to demand that the Senate investigate the charges against Moore, and expel him depending on the results. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week that the Senate Ethics Committee will “immediately” take up the matter if Moore wins, and Republicans will have every political incentive to come down hard on Moore for anything it turns out he’s guilty of.
The path forward could not be simpler: keep calm, ignore the media’s name-calling, wait for the facts and do the right thing once we get them, and through it all, don’t let anyone lose sight of the supreme character bankruptcy of the Democrat Party.