I’m disappointed in Al Franken, but not because he resigned from the Senate.
If the Democrats are going to claim the moral upper hand on the sexual harassment issue so they can wield it against Trump and the GOP in the mid-term elections, he had no choice. Besides, Minnesota’s governor is a Democrat, who will likely name Tina Smith (the current lieutenant governor) to replace Franken until the next election, and then she’ll have the power of the incumbency when she runs for re-election to that seat. So, it’s not like the Dems had a one-vote majority they’re sacrificing by urging Franken to step down.
My disappointment in Franken stems from my admiration for him both before and during his short political career. He always struck me as one of the smart ones, a rarity on Capitol Hill, a public official who seemed to care about using government to make people’s lives better by carrying on the legacy of his hero, Paul Wellstone. That doesn’t excuse Franken forcing his tongue down women’s throats or grabbing their butts repeatedly — for which he didn’t apologize in his resignation speech — but in a world where too many elected officials seem to have no idea what they’re talking about, Franken stood out as different.
I have no idea what he’ll do now, or if he can figure out a career path that gives him a third act, but once he does leave the Senate in a few weeks, it’s going to be quite awhile before he re-emerges, I’m sure.
Meanwhile, is the US a better country without Al Franken in the Senate? You’ll have to ask the women he assaulted.