Al Franken

Ms. Smith goes to Washington

Featured image Minnesota Governor Dayton will announce this morning that he has chosen Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith to succeed Al Franken in the Senate upon Franken’s resignation. Franken has stated his intention to resign but left the timing vague. Once Dayton makes his announcement this morning I trust that Franken’s departure will follow in due course. Exit the clown. Star Tribune reporter Patrick Coolican notes Smith served as Dayton’s first chief of »

Exit the clown

Featured image I was present at the creation of Al Franken’s political career in Minnesota. Thanks to the gracious invitation of a Minnesota DFL public affairs officer, I was one of two reporters in attendance at Franken’s debut as a possible senatorial candidate before an audience of paying Democrats. I wrote up my account of Franken’s performance for Power Line in “Saturday night live with Al Franken.” (The only other reporter there »

The Franken Hedge? [with comment by Paul]

Featured image 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 »

The expendable Mr. Franken

Featured image Democratic support for the tenure of Minnesota Senator Al Franken in office died on the vine today. First Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stepped forward to call for Franken’s resignation. Her call was followed by other Democratic women senators with the exception of his colleague Amy Klobuchar, whose help was unnecessary to the task at hand. However, she had been among the first Senators to call for Franken’s case to be remitted »

Sabo, come to Minneapolis

Featured image Al Franken is not just a national story. He is a major Minnesota story. Sometimes it feels like everything’s happening here, that we’re at ground zero of the suicide of the West. If not exactly ground zero, we are in the vicinity of the intersection of liberal media, liberal governance, liberal social policy, liberal fatuity and liberal preening. It is suffocating. Al Franken is a major Minnesota story not only »

The Franken connection [with comment by Paul]

Featured image This question really should be for Senator Franken. His buddies at the Congressional Black Caucus want to know. They wonder why the formerly iconic John Conyers has to go — but not you. As a man who fancies himself a humorist, perhaps Franken can see the amusement a detached observer might take at finding him in this particular pickle. In any event, having given it a lot of thought over »

The new Al Franken, Part Three

Featured image Paul gave a good account (here and here) of the November 29 Senate Judiciary Committee on the nominations of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the Eighth Circuit and Kyle Duncan to the Fifth Circuit. I want only to add a few personal notes along with the video of the hearing below. I am a fan and admirer of Justice Stras. He will make a great contribution to the »

The new Al Franken, Part Two

Featured image In addition to questioning Alex Azar during the confirmation hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee yesterday, Al Franken made it to the Judiciary Committee to question court of appeals nominees David Stras and Kyle Duncan. The new Al Franken was on display in that proceeding too. From the old Al Franken, one would have expected fireworks. After all, Franken held up Stras’ nomination for months by »

The new Al Franken

Featured image The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee held a hearing yesterday on President Trump’s nomination of Alex Azar to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Naturally, Azar received hostile questions from the likes of Elizabeth Warren and Patty Murray. In the hour or so that I watched, the nominee, a strong conservative, acquitted himself very well. During the time I watched, Al Franken questioned Azar (at the »

Another “crowded & chaotic situation”

Featured image Emerging today from the “crowded and chaotic situations” in Al Franken’s past is Stephanie Kemplin’s story, related by CNN’s MJ Lee. It involves another grope by Franken while he and Kemplin posed for a photograph on a USO tour in December 2003. The photograph itself is innocent. Kemplin says the grope took place just before the photograph was snapped. Lee reached out to Franken’s spokesman for comment. I think I »

Al Franken regrets

Featured image A stringer for 5 Eyewitness News in the Twin Cities caught up with Al Franken on his apology tour yesterday. It looks like the interview was conducted on outside the house of Franken’s daughter, where he had been holed up over the long Thanksgiving weekend. I have embedded the whole thing below (about 7 minutes). The quality of the interview pales in comparison to that conducted by Esme Murphy on »

Franken: Just very, very sorry

Featured image Last night CBS Minnesota broadcast excerpts of the interview Al Franken gave to anchor/reporter Esme Murphy at his daughter’s home in Washington, where he rode out the storm over the long Thanksgiving weekend during which he issued laughable and inconsistent statements on his misconduct. CBS Minnesota has posted the broadcast report (video below, about six minutes) and a companion summary here. It has also posted the entire 33-minute interview. If »

Franken meets the press

Featured image Minnesota Senator Al Franken has not yet emerged from the bunker in which he is hiding somewhere in Washington. He will emerge tomorrow when he returns to work to take care of the business at hand, so to speak. Today, however, Franken made himself available to talk to trusted media outlets, such as the Star Tribune. Franken told the Star Tribune’s Jennifer Brooks that the sexual misconduct of which he »

Franken’s statement

Featured image The Thanksgiving statement issued by Minnesota Senator Al Franken on ventures in grope and grin photographs poses a test for Minnesota voters and Minnesota media. It is a sort of intelligence test. How stupid are you? Franken is betting that we are on par with the vegetable kingdom’s cabbage and potato. In the annals of false apology, this must set a new record: I’ve met tens of thousands of people »

Franken speaks: I need to be more careful

Featured image From a bunker somewhere in Washington, Minnesota Senator Al Franken issued a statement yesterday all but acknowledging the misconduct of which he has been charged this week and declaring that he’s not going anywhere. He’s sorry. He’s learned from it. He wants to make sure it won’t happen again. Franken frames his misconduct as an excess of warmth. He has hugged people in the thousands, often in crowded and chaotic »

Al Franken’s transgressions

Featured image The cliche about sexual harassment holds that it’s not about sex, it’s about power. I say it depends on the harasser, the harassment, and maybe the victim. There’s plenty of truth in the cliche, though. A good deal of sexual harassment consists of subjecting women to crude, demeaning sex-related comments. There’s no sex, per se, in that. Sexual remarks are a means to an end, with the end often being »

The Franken effect

Featured image 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 »