In any eruption of moral indignation - justifiable or not - there will always exist scolds who play the game of false equivalence: equating one brand of misdeed (say Roy Moore's groping of under-aged girls) with a comedian's skylarking before he even became a Senator. That latter refers to the case of Sen. Al Franken, recently "exposed" by Leeann Tweeden in a photo showing a comic "hands on breasts" photo taken while she was sleeping - on the way to an overseas gig (USO tour) for the troops. MSNBC’s Capitol Hill Correspondent Kasie Hunt reported to viewers that Franken was “not actually groping” Tweeden, he was "mock groping" as in barely placing mitts over her chest to create a joke image. There is a difference, but one wonders how many will process it before going ape shit hysterical.
But that hasn't stopped Left scolds like Amanda Marcotte - in her latest salon.com piece- to call on Franken to resign and "take one for the team" just in case this is all a Reepo dirty trick. According to Marcotte "if this is a political stunt then the people behind it surely want Franken to stay" adding "every day Franken remains in the Senate as visible symbol of liberal hypocrisy, Republicans get a free pass to grope, harass and abuse women." This cowardly willingness and pseudo-moralistic pose would be bad enough but then she expects nothing to come from robust Dem or media defense of Franken and distinguishing it from Trump's and Moore's antics, writing: "Any effort by Democrats or journalists to hold them accountable will be met with 'what about him?'
So Marcotte would wave the white flag of surrender, like your typical surrender monkey, before even firing a shot - or in her case "digging in a heel". How pathetic! But as Bill Maher put it this evening such a move is a non-starter, and if Repukes do play that game it's on them. And if they try to use Franken's case to justify more groping we HOLD THEM To ACCOUNT! We don't turn tail, cry and whine how terrible the Reepo bullies and exploiters are. WE KNOW THAT! Truth be told, Marcotte ought to be ashamed for even writing such tripe.
But it is possible we can make some allowances for her based on unresolved, deep-seated anger issues and neuroticism. She's already been called out on a different issue by LA Times blogger Charlotte Allen who cited a "hilariously off-the-wall -- earlier Slate post of hers in which she, citing a sociological study, denounced the idea of cooking for your husband and children as an imposition on women’s time, money and emotional well-being." Marcotte claimed: “The main reason that people see cooking mostly as a burden is because it is a burden. It's expensive and time-consuming and often done for a bunch of ingrates who would rather just be eating fast food anyway,” Her post originally bore the title “The Tyranny of the Home-Cooked Family Dinner". Tyranny? Methinks she needs a chill pill. So does Ms. Allen who adds:
"Marcotte is known all over the blogosphere for her virulent tirades against almost everybody she deems to harbor sexist misogyny -- and that’s a lot of people."
This elicits the question of whether she suffers from "noisy kettle" neurosis (my niece Shayl's term): always 'whistling' in order to be heard over everyone else by writing the most atrocious, despicable attack posts. If this is the case, and I'd like to give her the benefit of the doubt (despite how she went after Bernie's people last year), maybe we can just ignore this particular whistle over Franken.
Look, no one is asserting Franken - back in his comedian past- was doing any noble action in this USO incident, and yeah, it disrespected Tweeden. But it is emphatically NOT on the level of what the Alabamy slime ball Roy Moore has been accused of doing, including to a young girl of 14. Anyone who tries to mate those two things on a moral spectrum is guilty of false equivalence. It is also up to those of us capable of critical thinking to make that distinction clear, not to confound it by playing into the Reepos' false equivalence hands like Amanda Marcotte would like to do.
But you can be sure in the current climate of #MeToo, there will be many who make an effort to brand Franken with a red letter for "misogynist" or worse, and even attempt to drive him from the Senate in an "ethics committee investigation". Franken himself, obviously hoping to be pre-emptive, has called for such an investigation. But as Michelle Goldberg put it on 'All In' last night:
"What does that even mean to investigate a sitting Senator before he became a Senator?
Well, no one seems to know, and even Steve Kornacki - appearing on Rachel Maddow last night- couldn't recall a single instance where that ever happened. But one thing we DO know is that there once was a Repuke House member (David Vitter) who was involved in a D.C. prostitution ring, and actually WON a seat in the Senate. My beef then: if a so-called "ethics committee" was fine with overlooking that: they also need to overlook (in the sense of forcing expulsion) Franken's one off transgression now. Not to do so is to flagrantly accept a double standard.
And again, what Franken did is in no way comparable to what Vitter did, let's get that straight. We have to because in the midst of the cumulative clouds of high moral dudgeon it is easy to lose sight of perspective. Without moral perspective everything becomes relative ("one act is as bad as another"), and also everything becomes absolute- in the sense that the groping of bare breast or pussy by a Dotard is judged absolutely equal to the mock groping (and rehearsed deep kiss) by a Franken.
For sure, politicians who acknowledge frequenting prostitutes usually don't get elected to any office - especially Senator.. Except that Vitter went public with his ties to the "D.C. Madam" way back in 2007. And, in 2010, he won reelection to the Senate by 19 points over a sitting Democratic member of Congress. Subsequently nothing ever came of Vitter's ascension though he did lose a later race, the take at that time being he finally had a real "hard seed" primary opponent.
The other aspect is why hold Franken - as a current sitting Senator - accountable for something he did as a comedian 11 years ago. Likely as not at that time he hadn't the foggiest notion of ever going into politics or becoming a U.S. Senator. People in their earlier stages of life often do things ridiculous or untoward not thinking it will affect them later, but they do. Should people forever be punished for past minor moral transgressions or sexual skylarking? (Again this is not what Vitter or Roy Moore are guilty of).
Yes, "conduct unbecoming" is something to reckon in - as was the case with former Sen. Bob Packwood. The Republican resigned from the Senate in 1995 amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assaulting women. The Senate ethics committee had voted unanimously to recommend his expulsion. BUT he was already a Senator!
There seems to be no standard at all for going after a guy like Franken, who committed his "misdeeds" against one woman (a 2nd has since come forward - but I'm not buying a one off 'butt pinch' at a state fair, sorry) while a comedian. As Ms. Goldberg said: "What would that ethics investigation even look like?" Well, a joke, to be sure. Steve Kornacki correctly observed this could even be tested in the courts if Franken decided to play hardball- and not roll over for the pseudo morality scolds.
Meanwhile, we had the likes of Donnie Dotard- who kept his twitter shut down on child predator Roy Moore- tweeting about Franken:
"The Al Franken picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words Where do his hands go in pictures 2,3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps?"
Well, obviously Dotard would be thinking "grab her pussy" - because that's what HE would do in the same situation. After all, we heard him on the Access Hollywood tape bragging about "grabbing pussy." Let's also recall more than a dozen women came forward during the campaign - including Miss Universe contestants - who complained about Trump's attempts at fondling- including of their bare breasts. Yet this asshole became a sitting president! So, I don't want to hear any BS now from moral scolds going after Franken's mock grope when they don't also demand Trump resign.. If Marcotte wants to be taken at all seriously, then she places a demand for Trump to resign before making any demand Franken do so.
No one is saying that in this new climate of sensitivity to sexual harassment Franken deserves to get off Scot free. But at the same time, whatever sanction has to be both judicious and sensible for misdeeds done before even assuming political office. The only one that stands out as just, to my reckoning, is censure. Anything more - like expelling him from the Senate - is analogous to using a gas chamber to punish a jaywalker. Bottom line: any sanction must have temperance built in especially in light of the Vitter precedent.
If Sen. Franken is proactive in his own defense, and invokes the preceding - especially how David Vitter escaped any expulsion - he should not lose his seat. If Dems, instead of acting the part of incessant moral scolds, come to his defense by exposing the double standards at work, this is even more probable. What they can't do is appease noisy neurotics like Amanda Marcotte - who appears so terrified of GOP "dirty tricks" in Al Franken's exposure that she can't think straight. At least before she writes. Bill Maher was correct that it is time people learn to tell the difference between two wholly different classes of actions. Unlike Marcotte, they also need to assess the dramatic consequences of tossing a Senator - who made one mistake - under the political bus merely to seek safety from the Reeptard bullies. Short answer: There is no safety, you have to stand and fight!
President Trump, who has remained silent on the accusations leveled against Moore, was quick to comment on Franken’s case through Sarah Huckabee Sanders, with the spokesperson telling reporters the Senate ethics probe is the “appropriate action.”