Al Franken removed himself, and so should Roy Moore.
Today, in a long overdue development, Al Franken took to the Senate floor and officially resigned his seat as a second term Senator from Minnesota. This comes after weeks of allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment from, at this point, seven different women. In his statement, Franken came off as self-righteous and bitter in that he was being forced out while others have not been, rather than contrite and apologetic for his own transgressions. He may have done it for the wrong reasons, and in an overly delayed manner, but it was the correct thing to do.
His seemingly forced resignation from his own colleagues in the Democrat party creates an urgent dilemma for Republicans. Multiple Senate Democrats came forward earlier this week to demand that Franken resign over his vile behavior, which came on the heels of a deluge of pressure for another Democrat, John Conyers, to resign over similar allegations. Conyers, like Franken, was forced to resign. As Democrats publicly pressure their own rank and file members to suffer the consequences of their actions, Republicans sit in a trundle of hypocrisy over the increased scrutiny as it pertains to the issue of sexual harassment and assault.
Also earlier this week (it has yet again been a barnburner of a few days, as now seems the norm) the Republican National Committee officially revamped their support for embattled Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. According to reports, they have begun to infuse campaign cash into the race as Election Day, which is December 12th, is less than a week away. The RNC’s decision to fully back Moore came only hours after Donald Trump officially announced his own endorsement of the former judge, saying on twitter that, “Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama.”
The GOP’s renewed support of Moore highlights the hypocrisy of the statements and actions of the last few months. When allegations surfaced against Hollywood powerhouse Harvey Weinstein, the Republican Party criticized Democrats for accepting campaign contributions from those that committed sexual assault. In many cases, Republicans demanded that those contributions be either returned or donated to charity. This has devolved into a game of “do as I say not as I do.” The GOP has shown itself willing to lambast Democrats for their behavior, but sit pat on criticizing Moore for his string of similar, serious allegations simply because of party affiliation.
“The GOP’s renewed support of Moore highlights the hypocrisy of the statements and actions of the last few months.”
The Democrats are successfully, and quickly, claiming the moral high ground on this issue. Do not misunderstand, their sudden unity in sacrificing a few of their own people has been done almost explicitly for political purposes. If they truly cared about the women involved in these cases, they would have called for these resignations much earlier. It is yet another chapter in the crusade to destroy the Trump administration. However, it’s better to do the right thing for the wrong reasons, than to not do the right thing at all.
Since the exposure of Bill Clinton’s exploits in the 90’s, the Republican Party has held the banner of family values and adherence to a set of moral principles. With their support of Moore, and the Democrat’s willingness to draw the line on what is beyond acceptable, the Republicans no longer deserve to be seen as a morally conservative party. Can Republicans clearly say where they draw the line? If they can’t draw it for Moore, then at what point is certain behavior no longer acceptable? This is not to say the Democrats deserve to carry this banner either. It seems as if general principles have been sacrificed for party purposes.
And here is where the true irony comes into play. The Republican Party has been willing take a poison pill to secure a single Senate seat in Alabama. It seems they will likely be successful and Moore will be elected to the Senate. With RNC and Presidential backing now in play, it is increasingly unlikely that the Senate will move to prohibit Moore from being officially seated, which has been discussed. With this occurring almost simultaneously with Franken’s resignation due to inter-party pressure, the campaign ads for 2018 can almost write themselves.
Every Republican candidate, nationally and locally, will be forced to answer for the actions of the party they belong to. They will all be asked the “Moore” question, which for many will be a lose-lose scenario politically — defend the party; defend an accused child predator; attack the party; lose votes from the base of the party. The party’s lack of moral backbone threatens to not just tear the GOP asunder, but it compromises the very soul of the nation. No Senate seat is worth that.
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