Just a quick response to Al Franken’s brief, dignified Senate floor statement announcing his plans to resign:
I thought he did himself and Minnesota proud, and I wish him well in what he implied would be continuing career as an activist for causes in which he believes.
Some people will be bothered by the fact that he didn’t go beyond his previous comments about what he recalls doing and not doing in the instances in which he has been accused of improper touching and kissing of women without their consent. What he said on the Senate floor was: “Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others, were not as I remembered them.”
Feel free to be bothered.
Personally, I appreciated the tone and substance of his statement. I, too, was previously bothered by the strange, apology-but-not-quite-a-confession approach that Franken had used to discuss the allegations against him, except for the one instance in which there was photographic evidence. But his announcement this morning should end the matter.
But, as he noted in his short remarks, he is voluntarily paying a very high price compared others, still politically active, who are accused of much worse. Here’s that quote from his statement:
I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party.
But unlike those to whom he alluded, he has chosen to resign. His claim, that he is doing so because he could no longer be effective as a senator if he had to devote his attention to defending himself before the Ethics Committee, might be a tad self-serving. But that small reservation pales in comparison with the example he set of resigning rather than spend the rest of his term discussing which of the allegations he believes are untrue, and which are just not as he remembers them.
He talked up his old political hero Paul Wellstone. He raved about Minnesotans (I, too, believe in Minnesota exceptionalism). And, rather than go out whining, he simply said, reflecting on the larger story of his life: “This has been a tough few weeks for me. But I am a very lucky man.”