I will always remember Al Franken as a frequent writer and occasional performer on the early (good) seasons of Saturday Night Live. Mostly I think of a spot in which he declared that the 1980’s, in contrast to the “me decade” of the 70’s, would be known as the Al Franken decade. Going forward, people would make their life choices, not thinking about what was best for them, but thinking about how it would benefit Al Franken. It was damned funny.
Today he announced he would resign his seat in the Senate as a result of numerous allegations of sexual misconduct that have surfaced in recent weeks. On the heels of the “retirement” of Representative John Conyers earlier this week, it appears that the Democrats at least are taking this misbehavior by their elected officials much more seriously than their friends across the aisle, many of whom seem to be doubling down on their own poster boy, Judge Roy Moore.
But is this really a sudden epidemic of integrity or is there a method to this madness? Being a suspicious person, I lean towards the latter. Certainly, the idea that Democrats are actually taking this matter much more seriously than Republicans makes for a great ad campaign and puts pressure on them to respond in kind. But what are they actually losing politically in these two moves? Absolutely nothing is the correct answer. Conyers will certainly be replaced by another liberal Democrat in a special election and so will Franken, whose successor will be appointed by a Democrat governor.
The Republicans stand to lose far more if they lose the Senate seat formally held by the utterly reprehensible Jeff Sessions. I suppose it would be almost fitting that he be replaced by another awful politician but Judge Moore is kind of pushing the envelope here. And not just because he is chasing 14 year olds. Some of ideas are “just a bit outside” and that’s coming from the mouth of an anarchist. Sadly, for them at least, they can’t win. Senator Moore would be the featured image in every Democrat ad in 2018 and those ads are liable to work.
The Republicans should be hoping they lose this special election because, at least that way, part of the problem goes away. They should have been smarter sooner but now it is too late. Sadly, none of this is about integrity or decency. It is just politics, good or bad. Hopefully next time I will have something else worth discussing. Until then, have a great weekend!