Those popping sounds you hear aren’t light bulbs breaking as they hit the frozen surface of Lake Wobegon. Instead, that sound comes from political heads exploding in the Democratic Media Complex. Because liberal Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota was exposed, completely, for what he really is by West Coast radio news anchor Leeann Tweeden. What does this mean for Franken’s future?
There’s that photo of Franken smiling and grabbing at her breasts as Tweeden, a former model, slept on the way home from a USO tour in 2006. Franken leered and posed, fingers spread on her, like some cartoon of a sex-crazed sixth grade boy.
“You knew exactly what you were doing,” Tweeden wrote in an online post. “You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping, and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later, and be ashamed.”
And just like that, the Democratic strategy to politicize sexual abuse and use it to beat Republicans to death at the polls must undergo a drastic rewrite.
So what do they do? Do they demand that Franken resign?
Franken and Democratic and Republican leaders want to send all this to the Senate Ethics Committee for an investigation. But there it will be lost in dusty vaults away from public scrutiny.
We already know what happened. An ethics committee investigation won’t tell us what happened. The only question is: What are Democrats going to do about it?
Franken apologized, says he’s sorry, says he respects women. But if he truly means it, there’s one thing for him to do: Resign immediately, disappear out into the woods.
It’s exactly what I recommended for the repugnant Alabama Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore: Take a long walk in the woods and disappear.
Republican senators want Moore to drop out of the race. But will Democrats demand en masse that Franken resign? No. They’ll want to study this, and spin it somehow, and mitigate differences between Franken and Moore, the former a simple creep, the latter accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. But all that is just playing for time.
And what will the media half of the Democratic Media Complex do?
Years ago many of them, particularly liberal pundits in Washington and New York, defended President Bill Clinton’s alleged assaults on women and dismissed allegations that he raped Juanita Broaddrick.
Leading feminists and liberal men trashed Clinton’s female accusers, because Clinton was their guy and he promised them what they wanted.
And what did a few women from Arkansas matter to the elite feminists of Washington and New York and Chicago and L.A. who were willing to forgive Clinton in exchange for a prize?
After all, Clinton was president. He promised he’d protect abortion. And they got what they wanted.
In recent days, though, as many on the left and right peeled (and rightfully so) the skin off creepy Roy Moore, an amazing thing has happened.
Pundits on the left began to wring their hands and confess their guilt about what they did to Clinton’s accusers.
It all rings hollow, of course, but there’s a good reason that it rings hollow.
It is hollow.
But without the icy tears of calculated contrition, they couldn’t proceed on the Democratic action plan.
Now the Franken explosion complicates that strategy, which only a few days ago was quite clear: Hound Moore as a monster, cast Republicans as either abusers of women or supporters of sexual abuse, and shame them, shame them, shame them.
And forge all of it into another Year of the Woman campaign to be used ultimately against President Donald Trump, whose history with women is ugly and boorish at best.
But now, that strategy – smelting gender identity politics with the real pain women have suffered at the hands of men – has been undercut.
And anything less than Franken’s departure from the Senate will be seen as just more political hypocrisy.
Tweeden, now news anchor on “McIntyire in the Morning” on KABC-AM in Los Angeles, posted her account and then talked at length about it.
She detailed Franken’s behavior, his grabbing and groping and aggressive kiss – actually more than just a “kiss,” during a USO tour before he was elected to the Senate, before he was a champion of women.
“Franken came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and . . . [we won’t recount the exact words here],” Tweeden wrote. “I walked away. All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible. I felt disgusted and violated.”
Other women might come forward, accusing both Republicans and Democrats. Let it all come out. All of it.
This is what happens when the levee breaks.
And Franken, a comedian by trade, must realize that with the photo out there, with another accuser, it just might be time for him to exit stage left.
I can see him walking alone along the frozen banks of Lake Wobegon, laughing at his own jokes.
About the Author
John Kass is a writer for the Chicago Tribune.