The Franken effect

Al Franken has fancied himself a leftist firebrand following in the footsteps of Paul Wellstone. What a dud. Franken’s true contribution to American politics now proves to be the grope and grin photograph.

In the latest installment of the Franken affair, two more women offer accounts of Franken’s grope and grin maneuver. Think of them as too close encounters of the Franken kind.

The testimony this time around has elicited an incredibly lame response from Franken, hiding out in a Washington bunker: “It’s difficult to respond to anonymous accusers, and I don’t remember those campaign events.”

What good would the names do? He doesn’t remember them either. He doesn’t need to know the women’s names or recall the campaign events to know whether he grabbed their butts. Franken hasn’t been funny in a long time, if ever. Here he achieves something near humor, albeit unintentionally.

Those of us paying attention before Franken assumed office in 2009 knew a lot about him. We knew of his unsavory comedy stylings. We knew of his cocaine fueled nights writing for Saturday Night Live. We knew of his anger management issues. We knew he is a jerk. He toned himself down in public to run for office, but he couldn’t conceal his essential malice.

Okay, we didn’t know this particular manifestation. We knew he is an ass. We just didn’t know he is an ass man.

Minnesotans seem to be shocked. Many are disappointed. According to a KSTP/Survey USA poll released yesterday, before the latest accusations were made public, precisely 22 percent of Minnesotans think he should remain in office. Thirty-three percent think he should resign; 36 percent want to await the results of the Ethics Committee investigation; 10 percent remain undecided.

Franken doesn’t stand for reelection until 2020. He can keep his head down and hope the storm blows over. Under the circumstances, I hope he does so. The Democrats deserve him and the symmetry is irresistible. Having begun his career as a humorist, he can finish it as a laughingstock.


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