Why the Left Is Reconsidering Al Franken

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By Ben Shapiro

On Monday, The New Yorker printed a lengthy piece by reporter Jane Mayer about the sad fate of former Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. Franken resigned from the Senate in 2017 after a bevy of women accused him of sexual harassment; their accounts ranged from unwanted kisses to unsolicited a— grabbing. In the midst of the #MeToo movement, Franken stepped down, all the while decrying President Trump’s own record of allegations concerning mistreatment of women.

At the time, there were two possible interpretations of events. The first was more inspiring: After decades of defending sexual misconduct by powerful Democratic figures, Democrats and their media allies were finally willing to reset a social standard. In the wake of #MeToo, they had reconsidered their worship of Teddy Kennedy, their pathetic willingness to cover for Bill Clinton. A new day had dawned.

Then there was the second, more cynical theory: Democrats and their media allies were looking to set a new standard out of pure partisanship. They weren’t really concerned about Franken’s victims any more than they had been about Clinton’s victims. Instead, they were looking to establish a level of morally superior ground upon which to attack Trump and demand that Republicans disown him.

This week, we found out which theory was true.

Mayer, the New Yorker reporter, rose to public acclaim just last year when she reported on then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s supposed sexual evils. With no supporting facts other than the hazy accounts of decades-old events, she attacked Kavanaugh with alacrity. Now, however, she has flipped: She’s concerned with Franken’s lack of due process; she questions the political motivations of one of his accusers; she points out that the evidence is supposedly scanty. Democrats, too, have risen to Franken’s defense. Many now claim that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., was the real villain in this scenario, having rushed for Franken’s scalp precipitously.

 

In other words, Franken was kicked out of the party when Democrats were trying to build a case against Trump. Now that they've concluded that case won't work, they want Franken back again. Presumably, they'll soon be back to praising Clinton, too.

This sort of behavior is deeply destructive to American public discourse. That's because a standard upheld only as a weapon to target political opposition is no standard at all. What's more, the partisan interpretation of the standard creates an incentive for opponents to violate their own commitment to the standard. It's a classic prisoner's dilemma: The person who actually abides by a common moral standard and speaks out against bad behavior on all sides ends up the sucker. Only a fool would call out his own side to the cheers of opponents while his opponents defend their own degenerates.

The problem of politically motivated standards isn't restricted to sexual abuse. It extends to race: Why should Republicans condemn President Trump's tweets about the so-called Squad while Democrats maintain support for Rep. Ilhan Omar's anti-Semitism and Rep. Ayanna Pressley's racism? Why should Republicans provide ammunition to their ill-motivated opponents?

The only way to restore a common standard in politics is for both sides to rebuild trust, step by step. And that can only happen when both sides share common goals and values. Otherwise, everyone will decide that losing by abiding by the rules must take a back seat to victory by any means. And that means the destruction of our standards, one by one, until there are no standards left.

We're getting pretty close already.

21 thoughts on “Why the Left Is Reconsidering Al Franken”

  1. First it was Spitzer….then it was Weiner (until he screwed up again)…now it’s Franken…..JEWISH PRIVILEGE is real because liberal Jewish Democrats control the media…and Hollywood….

      1. Anyone who saw how Franken was elected in the first place would know he was shady. Election night, the returns show that his opponent has won. The Democrats demand a recount. Again it shows that the Republican has won. They demand another recount, and get one. This one shows him the winner. End of recounts! Now that the Democrat wins, that is the sacred Will of the People! Right about the same time, Christine Gregoire beats Dino Rossi for the Washington governorship. Same scenario–recount until the Democrat wins, then lock the door.

  2. Take note ladies of AMERICA. The democrats are now saying that you are all liars and are going to turn their backs on you. Get ready to be abused by democrat politicians with no avenue of recourse as you will NOT be believed!

    1. that is why they want him back being a sexual pervert is a ticket to the lefts desire to screw the country plain and simple they dont want decent honest people that is not the lefts agenda

      1. And that decent honest person in the Republican view is Donald (the pussy grabber) Trump. And while he was out there grabbing pussies the Party decided they loved this guy and now back him 100% on anything he does, says, and believes in. Can America survive this piece of shits 4 years in office? Can the country still be the USA when he leaves? Doubtful at best.

  3. The ‘taxocrats’ (some call them democrats) will go to ANY extreme to achieve their NON-USA results… regardless of ANYTHING else….

  4. Al Franken was a very good man and I wish he would be back in the Senate! He’s smart and articulate and we need him! Can we get him back in the Senate???

  5. He probably didn’t win his state to begin with. Probably less so this go around unless he moves to another state. A carpet bagger like Hillary was. Never lived in NY State and yet the people up there were dumb enough to vote for her.

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