Did anyone else notice a crucial passage in Franken’s statement on the Senate floor this morning? He said that he’d be resigning “in the coming weeks.” How many weeks? Will reporters ask him for a date certain? Notice, too, that he neither apologized nor admitted to any wrongdoing. Quite the opposite—he essentially implied that some of his accusers are lying, and he couldn’t help but attack President Trump and Roy Moore.
I think Franken is attempting a super-Clintonian dodge. He had to address the immediate firestorm, but he’s probably holding out for Roy Moore to win the election in Alabama next week, be seated in the Senate by the Republican majority, and then Franken may try to rescind his promised resignation, the storm having blown over and attention shifting to the baggage of Moore. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the Democratic Senators who called for his resignation yesterday suddenly reverse course and say Senator Moore changes everything. I wouldn’t be surprised if this whole thing wasn’t hatched as a stunt by Chuck Schumer to relive the pressure on Franken, set up a renewed attack on Trump, and up the pressure on Republicans over Moore. Gotta keep that “GOP war on women” theme alive! Like Clinton in 1998, I’ll bet Franken thinks he can brazen this out if he temporizes. You should never underestimate the Gollum-like fanaticism of politicians to hold on to their offices.
There is no reason for Franken to stay on beyond today. Gov. Dayton can appoint a replacement Senator right away. Keep a close eye on whether Franken casts votes on the Senate floor or in committee in the coming weeks. That will be one clue.
P.S. If you have a moment, might be worth taking in the old Saturday Night Life 1991 sketch about the Clarence Thomas hearings, and noting, about two-thirds of the way through, who plays Sen. Paul Simon. Life imitates art if you wait long enough!
PAUL ADDS: I wonder whether Franken expects allegations against other Democratic Senators or members of Congress to surface during the next few weeks. If they do, and congressional Dems don’t call for the alleged offenders to resign, Franken can argue that he is being singled out.
In other words, Franken may believe he has a path to safety even if Roy Moore doesn’t win or isn’t seated, and a clear path if Moore wins and is seated.