What’s old is new again. What is old is “the idea that a comedian (a comedian on purpose) as president was beneath the dignity of the United States.” That idea was floated — and summarily dismissed — in a February 2016 column in “Vanity Fair” by liberal journalist Michael Kinsley titled “Why ‘Al Franken for president’ is no longer idiotic idea.”
Kinsely was not alone in the view that Stuart Smalley, the character Franken played on “Saturday Night Live,” was a seasoned enough statesman to assume the reins of government. The same month, National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar, penned a piece titled “No joke: Al Franken for president?” and two months later Bill Scher proposed that Franken was at least ready to be a heartbeat away from President (Hillary) Clinton.
These endorsements were not without caveats. Kraushaar, for instance, acknowledged that “Franken, 65, may not be the Democrats’ strongest candidate in the general election” and that “his deeply liberal politics and long-standing dismissiveness of Republicans turn off many voters in the middle.” And Scher’s analysis, which included the observations that “Before Donald Trump, Franken wouldn’t possibly have merited serious consideration,” was totally illogical. He seemed to be saying that if the Republicans were willing to entertain an atypical candidate for the presidency, then the Democrats should have no qualms about selecting a man who can drop his pants on queue.
Presumably any thoughts of Franken as president have now been dashed by the latest accuser of sexual misconduct. The victim, broadcaster Leeann Tweeden accused Franken of groping and forcibly kissing her in 2006 when both were on a USO Tour to Afghanistan. She even provided visual evidence in a tweet:
— Leeann Tweeden (@LeeannTweeden) November 16, 2017
Of the photo, Tweeden told Variety:
I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep. I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated. How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?
Franken has admitted to having groped Tweeden and apologized for the same.
The question that now arises is when Franken will step down from his Senate seat. Surely, the Democrats who have been unequivocal in their condemnation of Judge Roy Moore, whose guilt has not yet been proven, will understand that Franken must go.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already called for an ethics committee investigation:
As with all credible allegations of sexual harassment or assault, I believe the Ethics Committee should review the matter. I hope the Democratic Leader will join me on this. Regardless of party, harassment and assault are completely unacceptable — in the workplace or anywhere else.