Melinda Henneberger

Do the feminists for Al Franken believe the women?

So many of my friends who consider themselves serious feminists are just sure Sen. Al Franken was set up. Yes, all eight times. Or else they can’t see that the Minnesotan did anything so bad.

Or else they say that even if did behave “boorishly,” well how unforgiveable of the “weak” and “torch-bearing mob” of Democratic women in the U.S. Senate to think he should be forced out as long as way worse Donald Trump and Roy Moore are still walking around breathing, politically speaking. Some are so enraged they’re threatening to leave the Democratic Party, and others, no kidding, want Franken to run for president.

Because believe the women?

By this tribal non-logic, the party should have stood by a mere (alleged!) butt- and boob-grabber because the other team may elect an accused teen molester to the U.S. Senate. And has already put in the White House a man who bragged about grabbing first and asking never. Somehow, standing up for women was “setting back the cause of women’s rights.” So much for #metoo. More like, more of the same, please. I, too, was agitated by Franken’s resignation speech. (That is what that was, right?) But not because poor Al had been railroaded. Instead, I was talking back to the TV because:

  • He walked back his previous apologies and only seemed sorry for himself. So when he’d said, “I let a lot of people down,” what was he talking about?
  • He hid behind the ghost of his predecessor Paul Wellstone, three times invoking an actual “giant of the Senate” who unfortunately for us all isn’t around to ask Franken to please leave him out of it.
  • He said, “I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator — nothing — has brought dishonor on this institution.” But if you do believe the women, that’s not true. He was elected to the Senate in 2008. It was in 2009 a former Democratic Congressional aide says he groped her while posing for a photo. And it was in 2010 that another woman says he grabbed her backside while her husband took their picture at the Minnesota State Fair. After two more women accused Franken of grabbing them at events in 2007 and 2008, he explained, “I hug people. I’ve learned from recent stories that in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women.” So, did he cross a line or didn’t he?
  • He’s still posing as a champion of women. Only, a progressive who’d treat anybody like a cookie on a dessert tray is not a progressive at all.

Yet instead of getting credit for doing what had to be done, women senators have been inundated with outraged calls. On Sen. Claire McCaskill’s Facebook page, Missouri women told her, “You joined a lynch mob.” “You know as well as I do these women were paid lackeys.” And, “I am ashamed of you...I can’t vote for you.”

Hours after Franken’s announcement, Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks said he was resigning, too, after aides said he’d pressured them to carry his baby as surrogates. The House Ethics Committee voted to investigate claims against Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold.

Suddenly, Rs stopped smiling. Some even began defending Franken, who’d been great cover for their support of accused molester Roy Moore in next week’s Alabama Senate race. And uh-oh, a new Quinnipiac poll said 70 percent of us want Congress to investigate allegations against Trump. They should, of course. Yet those hoping one accused groper will succeed another are only undermining their argument about why that is.