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In speech, Franken did himself and Minnesota proud

Sen. Al Franken delivering his resignation speech on Thursday morning.

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.”

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Comments (63)

  1. Submitted by Tyler Webster on 12/07/2017 - 12:32 pm.

    We should believe all victims, except for mine own. That’s what I got from his speech. Please don’t make this out to be some valiant act of self sacrifice. This is least that he acceptably do. Resigning his position of power is a low bar of achievement. Anyone who supports the #metoo movement and the #webelieveher movement should feel insulted that Franken is both denying his allegations, and counting himself among the supporters of women in these situation. He and the other Democrats who have stood by him should feel ashamed.

    • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 12/07/2017 - 01:31 pm.

      Why, exactly Tyler?

      I’m so tired of thinking that the only way to support women is to accept any accusation on its face. It’s so condescending to women to consider that they can’t be as politically cunning and calculating as men. One need look no further than the woman that made up her Roy Moore story in an effort to discredit the Washington Post. Want to treat women as equals? Let the story and the investigation play out, just as we would do if the roles were reversed.

      • Submitted by Virginia Martin on 12/07/2017 - 02:34 pm.


        I agree.

        • Submitted by LK WOODRUFF on 12/08/2017 - 02:08 pm.

          I agree as well

          I am increasingly uncomfortable by casual &/or anonymous accusations against many men, and regarding a wide variety of behaviors (some criminal, others not), resulting in the males losing their livelihoods and careers with NO DUE PROCESS. If this continues, soon we will have many, many men unable to work and provide for their families. This is wrong on so many levels….

          I am also deeply concerned that Al Franken was singled out and set up by the Trump Admin, who were not at all happy with his hardline questioning of Sessions recently. It should be clear to the world by now that they will say and do ANYTHING to get their way in any and all issues. They also desperately want their 52 votes. How better to do than to take down a DEM congressman????

          Let us all remember that Trump, Bannon and Pence are owned by the Koch Bros and Mercers, who forked out almost $1B to get them in the White House. They own them. And Bannon has been making speeches about their aggressive ‘war’ on anyone opposed to the Trump Admin agenda….

          Lastly, it is outrageous that Trump, with all of the charges made against him and with his many publicly admitted egregious behaviors, remains in office. And it is unconscionable that Roy Moore continues to run for congress and Trump publicly continues to support him. I say: cut off the head of the snake and the rest will much more quickly fall into line.

          • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 12/08/2017 - 04:40 pm.

            Couple points of clarification.

            The not only did the Koch brothers Not give Trump a penny, they actively worked against him.

            Secondly, Roy Moore’s main accusor today admitted she wrote “part” of the inscription in the infamous year book.


            She won’t say which part she wrote…Judge Moore says it’s his signature part.

            • Submitted by Ed Day on 12/09/2017 - 10:00 am.

              Accuser said she added notes to Moore’s message

              According to the link provided, she clearly states that it is Moore’s signature.
              The writing underneath it is definitely not the same.
              A handwriting analysis could easily determine which parts of the message were written by Moore.

              • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 12/09/2017 - 06:13 pm.

                Yes, she added, um….notes….to a document she intended to bring down a Senate candidate from an opposing political oarty. Moore has repeatedly called for handwriting analysis; she refuses. Her lawyer has said she cannot vouch for the document’s authenticity.

                The signature is in two color inks. Moore says it’s not his, and several people who have inspected the photographs of it agree with him.

                The accusation is undone; we move on.

                • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 12/11/2017 - 09:26 am.

                  Move on to where…

                  Do we move onto the other 6 accusers or just call it a day on he whole sexual harassment aspects of the campaign? I think the former and I suspect you support the latter?

            • Submitted by Bill Willy on 12/09/2017 - 03:44 pm.

              Further clarification

              The story is the Judge is on the team that traded the Koch brothers for the Mercers, Steve Bannon’s big benefactors (even though Bannon makes his living ranting about crooked establishment types always doing the bidding of THEIR benefactors). And, as you no doubt know, the Mercers have no time for the Koch brothers, think they’re idiots and way too weak or empty when it comes to True Conservative Values, political action, etc..


              The Judge is Steve Bannon’s top guy . . . The lead off hitter in the (so far mostly secret) lineup of similar all star anti-establishment, deep state-destroying candidates Bannon says he’s going to unleash in the 2018 primaries to demolish, crush, purge all the non-believers, infidels and great Satans in his holy war on his version of “the establishment.”

              And seeing as how the Mercers are Bannon’s primary backers (his sugar Mom and Dad) and the one’s who have been and will be funding most of his envisioned destruction of the new Evil Doers, you’re probably right when you say the Judge wasn’t funded by the Koch brothers.

              I don’t know anything about Roy Moore’s sex life, but those allegations aside — and given the other highlights of his legal and political career — it’s interesting that you seem to be such a devoted supporter . . . From what I can tell, he doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy I’d want to have too many Takis with. But you may know him a lot better than I do.

              Speaking of which, I’m curious . . . What is it about the Judge you like so much? Why do you think he’d make a good Senator? Besides being a rock solid rubber stamp for whatever Mr Big might want to do (not to mention being a sexual allegations witch hunt soul mate), what is it you think the Judge would do that would make life in America better for you, me, everyone else? Which of his ideas for potential legislation do you like the best?

              Or doesn’t any of that stuff (really) matter?

              • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 12/10/2017 - 06:31 pm.

                I’m convinced Judge Moore will be a reliable vote when it comes to dismantling leftist infrastructure in thenfederal government, leftist programs that get federal funding and will end leftist influence in socio-economic affairs where ever possible.

                Good enough for me.

      • Submitted by Tyler Webster on 12/07/2017 - 02:51 pm.

        Washington Post Story

        The story to discredit the Washington Post was propagated by Project Veritas, in an attempt to throw all of the other accusations against Moore and the Post’s reporting into question. The Post vetted and rejected that story.

        There is a difference between a single accusation, (Look at the Rolling Stone’s “Rape on Campus Article” which was later proven to be fabricated) and a series of accusations that show a pattern of misbehavior. Franken’s case has demonstrated a track record of misbehavior and disrespect towards women. This is not a case of women not being cunning enough in politics, no one is suggesting that. If all 6 or 7 of his accusers from both sides of the aisle are fabricating their stories, then we have a serious conspiracy on our hands here. The story has played out, as it did with Tony Cornish and Dan Schoen. Is there anything further that needs to be litigated here? Like it or not, Franken behaved a certain way, and now it’s time to take his medicine.

        • Submitted by LK WOODRUFF on 12/08/2017 - 02:16 pm.

          due process would show intent

          Franken’s first accuser works for FOX (and today I heard that she rec’d weeks of preparation before going public).

          The second accuser hails from the very red state of TX….where bizarre things happen on a regular basis.

          I stopped paying serious attention at that point….

          But please do read my other posted comment in this thread. Hopefully it will open both your eyes and your mind.

          And again, remember that lewd or sophomoric behavior is a cultural thing. It is highly prevalent and beyond annoying and completely unnecessary, but it is not criminal.

          Drugging, raping, and preying on adolescent girls are.

          And all accused deserve due process.

    • Submitted by Arthur Swenson on 12/07/2017 - 01:57 pm.

      Senator Franken

      Minnesota and,, indeed, the whole country, are poorer this afternoon.

      • Submitted by Virginia Martin on 12/07/2017 - 02:34 pm.


        We are. I will miss him. He was an is a good man.

      • Submitted by jim hughes on 12/07/2017 - 03:03 pm.

        burn the witch

        He’s only the latest victim of a witch-hunt now spinning out of control. Maybe, a year from now, we’ll be seeing the “what went wrong?” pieces from the same media outlets now throwing gasoline on the flames. Until then, self-styled social justice advocates will continue setting their party up to lose more elections, then despairing because they don’t understand why that’s happening.

  2. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 12/07/2017 - 12:55 pm.

    Franken’s speech was exactly what I expected from him. He’s consistent.

  3. Submitted by Mike Chrun on 12/07/2017 - 01:41 pm.

    Franken’s consistency is certainly more admirable than consistent blanket lying about how you acted despite many more accusers and evidence like a tape catching your juvenile bragging or written notes to teenagers when you were in your 30’s. Hillary’s characterization of deplorables supporting Trump wasn’t totally inaccurate.

  4. Submitted by Howard Salute on 12/07/2017 - 01:47 pm.

    God Bless Al’s victims

    Sorry to see Al leave in this fashion. He was an effective Senator. Not sure he did MN proud. It was hard for me to hear him play the role of the victim. But God bless Al.

  5. Submitted by Carol Flynn on 12/07/2017 - 02:20 pm.


    Why am I angry with the Senate Democratic women who turned on Senator Franken? Why do I weep when I think of my generation of women who were never given an opportunity to be anything but a helper and who knew their place in society was beneath even the lowliest man. As one who experienced serious discrimination all her life, I am unable to fall apart over the Franken accusers. They are not credible victims in my world.

    • Submitted by Virginia Martin on 12/07/2017 - 02:38 pm.


      I didn’t think most of them were credible victims either. But we’ll never know because he was hounded out and an investigation never took place. Even if it had an had exonerated him, he was probably doomed. I still like and respect him–probably even more.
      And I do know after a lifetime in the corporate world that it was tough to rise above anything but a “helper” and a poorly paid one at that. I KNOW I was paid less than men in my career.

    • Submitted by Jan Arnold on 12/07/2017 - 03:51 pm.

      Franken Witch Hunt

      I never thought the first two women who came forward were creditable. The first one, the radio personality, is on a right wing station that plays Rush Limbaugh and is a friend of Sean Hannity. There is You Tube video of her groping band members and kissing random soldiers on that USO tour, doing the same thing she found so distasteful 10 years later.

      The second woman is a Republican Texas resident, she and her husband both said they voted for Trump.

      The anonymous other woman have stated basically the same story, except one said Franken wanted to meet in the bathroom. Really? She must have gone off script.

      I find it curious that these women suddenly came forward as Trump is getting dragged further into the Russia probe and other investigations. I think the GOP/Trump was behind this to silence a loud voice showing what a scam the current administration is. After all Franken did show that Sessions should not be in any position of power due to his poor memory.

      Franken may have put his hand on a woman’s butt, but I don’t think you will find any straight male over 16 who has not done that. I don’t think he asked a woman to meet him the bathroom.

      • Submitted by Mark Kulda on 12/11/2017 - 11:54 am.

        The second accuser

        was a long time Minnesotan who only recently moved to Texas. There are other more complete reports that state both she and her husband are not overly political and have voted for both parties before.

  6. Submitted by Tim Smith on 12/07/2017 - 03:19 pm.

    we now know

    There are no limits to political hypocrisy and blind loyalty. Thank you to the women who have come out against all who treated so horribly and lets hope Al’s non apology (Hillary must be so proud)j does not set the standard. Lets hope the war on these women ends.

    • Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 12/08/2017 - 12:44 am.

      Political Hypocrisy and Loyalty?

      The “war on women” can never end while Donald Trump remains in office. The “political hypocrisy and blind loyalty” you cite are most evident in Republicans staunch defense of Mr. Trump and Mr. Roy Moore. Their behavior – based on the women “who have come out against and were treated so horribly” pales next to Sen. Franken. No Republican or Republican supporter is credible about this issue while defending Trump and Moore.

    • Submitted by jim hughes on 12/08/2017 - 05:55 pm.

      what are we even talking about?

      I can’t imagine what Al Franken would think, reading that he was supposedly part of a ‘war on women’ while at the State Fair.

      Hopefully he can use some of this hysteria and madness in a new book, which I have no doubt will be very, very funny.

  7. Submitted by Tim Smith on 12/07/2017 - 03:22 pm.

    hi comments

    on Trump and Moore were over stated and very harsh, divisive partisan Al to the end. the base applauded am sure.

    • Submitted by Cameron Parkhurst on 12/07/2017 - 07:10 pm.

      Comments about Trump and Moore

      Were not overstated or harsh, they were spot on. Trump has been accused by more women or worse things and all he can do is say everyone of them lied, or comment on their looks and state that he would never be interested in them. As for Moore…sounds like an old school gentlemen on the plantation.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/08/2017 - 09:09 am.

      Harsh and Divisive

      Really? After over 20 years of Republican scorched earth partisan politics, calling out rump and Moore is “er stated and very harsh, divisive partisan?” After the Obama administration, which Republicans vowed from the start to oppose at every turn, one speech by a Senator leaving voluntarily is somehow beyond the pale? Calling out a presidential boor who uses Twitter to attack his many enemies with rhetoric is too much?

      Give me a break.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/08/2017 - 01:58 pm.

      Harry Truman said

      “I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell.”

  8. Submitted by Jim Smola on 12/07/2017 - 03:49 pm.


    In my professional life I attended workshops and training on harassment. In every one of these trainings and workshops a main point of emphasis was harassment is determined by the person who is being harassed. There are guidelines yet it is how the victim feels that is the determinant.

    I also represented individuals who were accused of harassment. Men were accused in every situation. Some accusations were more extreme than others but in each incident the victim was uncomfortable, intimidated, or afraid. In many of those situations that were not as severe the accuser either didn’t realize the victim was being harassed or couldn’t remember the situation. That doesn’t excuse them yet it is an example of our society and how men treat women.

    My point is I believe Senator Franken when he says he doesn’t remember or he remembers it differently. I don’t excuse his behavior yet I understand his statement. As sad as I am to see him resign it is the right action to take.

    • Submitted by Nick Foreman on 12/07/2017 - 06:42 pm.

      How does due process fit in?

      Unknown and undefined witnesses don’t get into the courtroom

      • Submitted by jim hughes on 12/08/2017 - 06:16 pm.

        it’s different now

        In a witch hunt, “Due Process” means you get a chance to confess and beg for mercy before you’re burned at the stake.

  9. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/07/2017 - 03:56 pm.

    Call him Jonah

    Franken was thrown overboard (or under the bus if you will) to strengthen a future Democratic case against Trump. I doubt that many male politicians over 60 could pass a close scrutiny of their behavior towards women. And I’m waiting for the first case of a male Congressional page talking about being chased aaround an office by a female congersperson .

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 12/07/2017 - 04:48 pm.

      The Frustrating Thing Is

      That the Democrats will NEVER take on Trump. Their dysfunctions do not allow them to be warrior-like enough to take on that battle. They were too severely taught never to be mean to anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings to be able to do so now.

      But they can, and certainly will continue to eat their own in an effort to feel as if they’re doing something that demonstrates strength.

      Hounding Al Franken out of the senate is going to have precisely the opposite effect that those responsible are hoping it will have,…

      unless, of course the whole thing was a trap into which the Democratic leadership allowed itself to be very predictably guided,…

      in which case, it will have EXACTLY the effect those who orchestrated it were hoping for.

  10. Submitted by Charles Holtman on 12/07/2017 - 04:06 pm.

    How dare a majority of the Democratic caucus

    negate my voting franchise and that of every other Minnesotan? How dare they decide that our vote is cancelled, simply because it is easier to throw a powerful and humane voice under the bus than to think thru ambiguous allegations of boorish behavior and how one should respond to them with principle and courage? By what right does the moral judgment of one person, Senator or ordinary person, as to the personal failure of an elected official become a penalty against that elected official’s entire constituency? What is the moral or analytical footing for a call to resign? There is none, yet we clamor like hyenas for it and now it is done.

    Regardless of the objective and subjective truths of the allegations against Franken, which we now will never know, the precedent has been set, and it must be followed in every case, regardless of the party to which the Governor belongs or the process for replacement under state law. With the ease of orchestrating allegations, the unscrupled will to power of the Republican party, a media scouring the earth for the salacious, and a Democratic party that is nothing more than tactical fecklessness and cowardice, what has been established today is that every Democratic official serves at the pleasure of the Republican party.

    Senator Gillibrand and the rest of you, my daughters thank you.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/08/2017 - 12:02 pm.

      Yeah, I have to kinda agree

      Franken’s clearly behaved like a cad on several occasions, but the Party forced him out thereby effectively nullifying his election. In the end I support his resignation but it didn’t have to be this way. Franken and his Party’s response to these allegations betrays a continuing inability to deal with or avoid scandal. Why couldn’t Franken deny some of these allegations and provide his own account of others? Had they not messed up the response Franken would have been humiliated, and deserved to be humiliated, but he could have stayed in office long enough to let voters decide his fate.

      I think the fact that neither Franken or the Party were able to navigate this crises tells us that Democrats have a long way to go if they’re going to pick up seats in the next election cycle. And THAT frankly worries me more than Franken’s resignation.

    • Submitted by LK WOODRUFF on 12/08/2017 - 02:30 pm.

      Contact Gillibrand

      I watched Al Franken’s speech yesterday and wept, mostly in frustration.

      Then I wrote a well-worded letter to Ms Gillibrand et al….reproaching her and them for their too swift witch hunt and demands for resignation without due process, etc.

      I urged far more caution, care and thought as she and they move forward.

      I ended it with a warning of possible loss of support from older females like myself, who endured far more in the ‘men’s world’ environments we worked in years ago, should she and they continue down this road.

      Finally, I strongly suggest she and they start at the top, with Trump.

    • Submitted by Bill Willy on 12/09/2017 - 11:20 pm.

      You’re not alone

      According to the Secretary of State’s office, 1,053,205 Minnesotans voted for Al Franken in 2014.

      A little less than one-fifth of the state’s entire population and 53 percent of those who voted.

      All their votes were just thrown out the window too.

      And that’s not right.

      And (on the off chance any behind the scenes scum coated Republican mole people DID have a hand in his ouster) that’s a LOT more damage than any Republican-backed voter ID law or gerrymandering could do in Minnesota.

      Al Franken hasn’t resigned yet. He needs to send the gov an official document saying so.

      He should reconsidered and retract his (pending) resignation based on that voter disenfranchisement factor alone.

      He owes it to what I’d bet is a strong percentage of those million+ Minnesotans who made it plain they wanted him to represent them in Congress and still do — not a “replacement,” a “placeholder,” or anyone else.

      He should forget what “party leaders” think for a few minutes, reflect on what all those votes actually mean, think about what Paul Wellstone might have done under similar circumstances, take a deep breath, prepare himself to eat whatever resignation retraction crow he’d have to eat, eat it and head back to Washington to face the ethics committee “due process” music and, if that committee investigates and decides his actions towards women were real and serious enough for him to be expelled, so be it.

      (As far as going through the ethics committee process goes, another thing he could reflect on would be the way in which he would be providing yet another service to ALL Americans by helping shape the much needed way in which that “due process” — so many people have said is needed — would work in the case of Congressional sexual misbehavior . . . This all out, accusations-only, witch hunt approach so many others have commented on is NOT the way to handle things in a democracy and “nation of laws,” regardless of who the alleged perpetrator is or what type of sexual transgressions they’ve been accused of unless that accused perpetrator decides — without massive pressure from “party leadership” — to skip it and resign . . . Al Franken didn’t do that. He WANTED to go through the process but others decided he shouldn’t . . . Main point being, he would be providing a “new pathfinder” service by going through the process and, in the worst case, being expelled or resigning AFTER it’s over.)

      As far as his “inability to be effective” goes, that’s a whole lot like the pot calling the kettle blacker than black. Which Democratic Senator IS being effective or stands a chance of being effective as long as Republicans control the whole shooting match?

      While “political calculations” and “positioning” may be an intriguing and seductive intellectual pastime, I think I tend to agree with what Greg Kappahn said about Democrats being unlikely to actually use whatever moral high ground those calculations may (or may not) prove to yield.

      Has Democratic leadership or any group of Democrats who demanded Franken’s resignation stood up and called for the president’s resignation with anything near the same clarity or organized political punch yet?

      If not, why not? Too “politically risky”? Too something else?

      If forcing Franken’s resignation would actually lead to Democrats being able to force the president to resign (for his light years worse behavior than Al’s) I’d probably be okay with him “stepping down” (as he probably would be too). But anything short of that would mean that his resignation (and the cancellation of more than a million MN voters votes) would turn out to be just another mostly empty gesture or “wasted martyrdom” of one of those rare politicians with a brain and a heart who really HAS worked hard in a progressive as possible way for ALL the people of Minnesota, whether they agree or voted for him or not.

      Anyway . . . Great comment, Charles. You’re not only not alone, but, in my opinion, 100% correct in your assessment and more than well-articulated outrage.

  11. Submitted by Howard Miller on 12/07/2017 - 04:09 pm.

    why not let the ethics investigation run it’s course?

    Senator Franken disputes some allegations against him. He apologized for his misconduct and embraced participating in an ethics investigation. Instead, members from his own party ran him out of town without so much as a single hearing that defined all the charges, began a process of sorting fact from fiction.

    Senator Franken earned a fair investigation into his conduct from his pro-women advocacy for years. Instead, Democrats picked up the tar and feathers, smeared him because …. Senators Gillibrand and Schumer, both reliable New York shills for Wall Street, decided he had to go? How about Minnesotans getting to decide this rather than the senators from New York?

  12. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/07/2017 - 09:12 pm.

    From Mr. Black’s writing and many comments here, I can conclude that a person may be misbehaving towards women and yet be women’ advocate and strong supporter of women rights (and no, I am not being sarcastic here nor do I personally think it is impossible). So the question is: Why did that bragging on infamous tape make Trump an immediate misogynist – no questions asked (it looks like this is the only evidence people can produce for his being a misogynist)?

    • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 12/08/2017 - 09:08 am.

      Every bit of data that exists as to Trump’s character

      – a massive amount of information from a lifetime in the public spotlight – demonstrates that Trump is a narcissist who is motivated only by self-interests – ego, wealth and sexual gratification. He is incapable even of comprehending other persons as agents in their own right with their own interests, less of a community of persons with mutual commitments (which makes him perhaps the least fit person in the U.S. to be President). Persons are simply things that populate the landscape that he navigates in pursuit of ego, wealth and sexual gratification, trampled and/or used as he judges will advance these. There is certainly much other evidence, beyond the tape, of his view toward women, but this evidence isn’t different in kind from his view toward people generally. It isn’t misogyny, it’s sociopathy. It simply takes a different form when directed at women, for obvious reasons.

      Like the sexual allegations against Moore, Trump’s orientation toward women is barely relevant to his unfitness for office, because in both cases this is just the smallest bit of further evidence as to what is already plainly demonstrated as a grotesque character who would advance grotesque policies. Conversely, all evidence of Franken’s character depicts a thoughtful and humane person (with a sarcastic, ribald and self-effacing sense of humor). This is strongly relevant where both context and intent are ambiguous yet essential to judging acts. There is more than one hypothesis that makes sense of the allegations against Franken, and perhaps the likeliest one is much more innocent than malign, and where malign is venial.

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/08/2017 - 09:48 pm.

        I am glad you agreed with me that Trump is not a misogynist… So all other labels attached to Trump have as much basis as a misogynist one. “Trump is a narcissist who is motivated only by self-interests…” Have you read about Steve Jobs? Or many other highly successful people? Unfortunately, very few compassionate and caring people succeed – one needs to be ruthless to get on top… So please, about Franken… He was as partisan and self-promoting (“Giant of the Senate?”) as one can be and his understanding of the world was minimal (I once wrote to him)… But that, by the way, doesn’t mean that I think he had to resign because of the allegations.

    • Submitted by Ed Day on 12/08/2017 - 09:26 am.

      Public comments

      His response to the tape minimizing his comments as normal “locker room talk” probably qualifies. His comments about Megyn Kelly and Hillary Clinton during the campaign might qualify as evidence. Responding to sexual harassment allegations by saying his accuser was “too ugly” could be evidence.

      Then there’s decades of history, documented on talk shows and in print, of branding himself as a player (sometimes while married) who evidently thought of women as objects to the point that he used his positional authority to gawk at pageant contestants.

      I realize these are merely words, which can’t be used as evidence because he could have been lying, but to answer your question, that might be why there was such a strong reaction to the infamous tape.

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/10/2017 - 09:09 pm.

        I think by now we all can agree that Trump likes to brag… which makes it reasonable to assume that a lot of his talk was just bragging. Kelly and Clinton were his political opponents – I don’t think Trump was any kinder to Rubio or Cruze so gender has nothing to do with that.

    • Submitted by Bill Willy on 12/11/2017 - 12:38 pm.

      Yet another example (that will do as well as any)

      You wrote a Community Voices column last week. At the end of it you said,

      “So here is my definition of an independent moderate centrist: It is someone who can objectively and critically evaluate, without bias, all proposed ideas from both the left and the right and find the best current solution based on facts, logic, and reason regardless of where it came from (and yes, in some cases, it may be a compromises, but not always). In other words, it’s a person who can understand and support any reasonable idea and for whom left-right divide is irrelevant. In which case, should we even care about the political spectrum?”

      And yet you keep making comments like:

      “I am glad you agreed with me that Trump is not a misogynist… So all other labels attached to Trump have as much basis as a misogynist one.”


      “I think by now we all can agree that Trump likes to brag… which makes it reasonable to assume that a lot of his talk was just bragging.”

      In other words, he’s fine. He’s normal. He’s just like everyone else. No problem. Nothing to worry about. End of story.

      And, whatever your intention in your Community Voices piece, you, like a dependable clock, keep making dismissive comments like those anytime anyone calls the president’s seemingly extreme and long-term (as in his entire adult life) sexist behavior into reasonable, well-documented question.

      “That means nothing. Everybody does it. Everybody brags. No big deal.”

      Your daughter comes home crying around 11:00 p.m. and tells you the boy she went out with started kissing her, touching her breasts and put his hand between her legs and touched her “there” through her clothes and kept trying to do that even though she pulled away, told him to stop, leave her alone and take her home, which, apparently, he just did, and there you are, looking at her, wondering how to handle things.

      What do you do? What do you think? What do you say?

      Do you think she’s probably just making it up or exaggerating (like all girls do?) to make herself the center of attention?

      Do you say, “Oh, honey . . . You probably just imagined it. He probably just likes you a lot and you’re probably just blowing that up in your mind into all this nasty stuff you’re saying. I’m sure we can all agree he didn’t do whatever you think he did or, if he did actually do some of it, he didn’t mean it in the way you think he meant it. I’m sure he’s a fine young man and I’m sure we all agree that he wouldn’t do anything to harm you, ever”?

      But then she tells you, “No, daddy. He tried to do the same thing two weeks ago and, when I told him to cut it out, he promised he’d never do it again but THEN I heard he told all his friends at school about it and I was SO embarrassed I never wanted to see or talk to him again but he told me he was really, really sorry, didn’t mean anything by it and asked if he could take me out and make it up to me and, like an idiot, I said ‘Okay’ and now he just did it again!”

      Do you tell your daughter, “Now now . . . Don’t worry about that. He was probably just bragging and talking like all boys talk in lockerrooms. I’m sure he’s not any worse than any of his other friends and I really think you should calm down and be reasonable about this”?

      Sounds a little absurd, doesn’t it?

      As they say, “Not to put too fine a point on it,” but just to make sure you don’t miss the implication, that’s pretty much exactly the way you sound when it comes to your relentless defense of the president.

      Read this:

      Keeping that daughter in mind (imaginary or otherwise) pay particular attention to what the young women involved in the beauty pageants the president owns (or owned at the time) had to say and then read this:

      As you’ll notice, you can not only read the president’s related words, but you can listen to them.

      After you’ve taken a look at (and maybe listened to) that relatively small handful of “facts, logic, and reason regardless of where it came from,” come back here and tell me why you keep going out of your way to make excuses for what very much appears to be the president’s “highly regrettable,” life-long sexual behavior toward women (however you want to label it) and, as evidenced by the president’s own words in this case, why you keep defending him when he lies.

      And please tell me what that defense has to do with being (or aspiring to be?) “a person who can understand and support any reasonable idea and for whom left-right divide is irrelevant.”

      (And by the way . . . Your comment, “it looks like this is the only evidence people can produce for his being a misogynist,” seems to show just how extensively you have or haven’t actually looked into the possible “facts, logic and reason regardless of where it came from” involved in this particular issue.)

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/11/2017 - 09:46 pm.

        I can also say that we should not expect moral leadership from our presidents or political leaders – they did not get to the top by being very moral because politics is dirty. On the other hand, resistance and relentless (and mostly baseless) undermining of Trump coming from the left makes America weaker and strengthens Russia, China, Iran, etc.

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/12/2017 - 10:02 pm.

        Let me start with the beginning – i.e. a definition of a misogynist: One who hates or mistrusts women. Rapists are not misogynists; Harry Weinstein was not a misogynist; and neither is Trump. So all I was trying to say was that this definition doesn’t fit Trump. Now, let me go further: I have not been defending Trump and I said that many times (or, alternatively, I can say that I have been defending him the same way a public defender defends a murderer: if a murderer is not a murderer, he should not be convicted of a murder even though he may be a very bad human being and did everything else wrong). So based on the above, Trump is not a racist or xenophobe – at least so far I have not seen any evidence of that. Which does not mean that I like him as a person or that I don’t have problems with some things he has done or does. So as you can see I am very consistent.

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/12/2017 - 10:03 pm.

        Now we can go back to your bringing up all allegations against Trump that are coming from different women. The first thing I always do in all cases (and I hope I made it clear to everyone) is I try to find the facts. Allegations are just allegations – be it against Franken or Trump (or Bill Clinton, if we are talking about this subject). Everyone is innocent until proven guilty and everyone has the right to defend oneself

  13. Submitted by joe smith on 12/07/2017 - 09:32 pm.

    I think Franken got railroaded

    but if he is truly is innocent, fight. Giving up to lies shows a lack of character on Franken’s part. If you are innocent, as he claims he is, then stand up for yourself and fight for not only yourself but everyone who is falsely accused.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/08/2017 - 09:13 am.

      Lack of Character

      Maybe he thought that an Ethics Committee proceeding would be a distraction.

      Consider what the Republicans are doing: They are poised to enact a tax bill that will ruin the fabric of the American economy. To pay for it, the next step will doubtless be some kind of “entitlement reform” of the kind Speaker Ryan has wanted ever since it wouldn’t effect him any more. The Trump administration is pursuing an increasingly reckless foreign policy. Environmental protections are being eviscerated, because they may have been endorsed by Obama.

      Would the American public pay attention to that when there is some salacious showboating going on in the Senate? Of course not, and that’s the way the Republicans wanted it. Bread, circuses, and tax cuts for the wealthy–it was such an elegant idea.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/08/2017 - 06:57 pm.


      There are some fights you can’t win.
      Since this is not a court battle, there is no way that he could stop the stream of allegators. No matter how well he dealt with it, he would be unable to function as effectively in the Senate as he had and as he would like to.
      “You’ve got to know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em.”

  14. Submitted by Cornel Culp on 12/07/2017 - 09:51 pm.

    Moving On

    I voted for Franken, I don’t regret it, and I’m not sure how guilty he is of what he’s accused of. However, there’s a difference in his case. From my point of view, He didn’t use his position as Senator for leverage to receive sex. Conyers, Trump, Moore have all done this and, that crosses the line for me. What Franken is accused of is enough for me to accept the outcome ( I just had to think of him doing it to my daughter or mom), I’m just concerned this may have all happened too fast.
    I don’t get emotional about politicians, EVERY person that represents me in DC is replaceable. I very much like the idea of Lori Swanson being our next Senator.

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/08/2017 - 09:58 am.


    This is a speech Franken should never have had to make in the first place. I don’t know what he said, and I don’t care. I’m not going to celebrate his departure but there can be nothing to be “proud” of here. This isn’t about his record, it’s about his humiliation. And yeah, he’s a affluent white guy who’s benefited from a boat load of privilege… that was actually his problem.

  16. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/08/2017 - 10:09 am.

    Another self inflicted wound

    On one hand Franken was forced out by the Party, and I don’t trust the Democratic Party leadership so I’m not sure what was really behind that effort- was it really ALL about the allegations or is there something else going on in the background? While Franken is a dyed in the wool Democrat and team player, he was also NOT the first choice of the centrist elite, he was after all a Wellstone (i.e. Liberal) Democrat at a time when centrists are trying to re-solidify their power and Party leadership.

    On another hand Franken doomed himself because he never really tried to respond in any effective way to the allegations. He essentially left it up to someone else to decide how to respond, and they decided he had to resign. What was that all about?

    On yet another hand my problem with Franken is that when asked if he’d ever groped a woman or stuck his tongue in a woman’s mouth without consent… he couldn’t remember.

    As a 55 year old man who’s lived and worked with woman my whole life, I can tell you definitively and without hesitation that never in my life have I fondled a woman’s breasts, or grabbed a woman’s backside, or stuck my tongue in a woman’s mouth, without consent. I can tell you that right now… I don’t even have to think about it… and it’s the truth. Why can’t Franken just say he doesn’t grab women’s butts and breasts when he poses for photos? That should be a no-brainer.

    Essentially Franken himself at least partially confirmed the allegations simply because he’s not able to deny them. That combined with photos, and reliable testimony confirms in my mind that Franken is a guy who does things men are not supposed to do with women, and NOT just in the distant past in a different life.

    I can understand, and I appreciate that Franken wouldn’t want to “attack” his accusers, but he didn’t have to, he should have been able to simply deny the accusations. If he “remembers” things differently, then he should have told us what he remembers. He didn’t have to explain why women would make such accusations, he should have been able to just deny them.

    I don’t doubt that part of this was orchestrated by Republican operatives trying to discredit Franken and divert attention from Moore and Trump. The problem is they were exploiting a “real” weakness, not manufacturing “fake news”. That photo of Franken with his hands hovering over Tweeden’s breasts is a real photo. Nevertheless I’m surprised that Franken was caught so flat footed by this.

  17. Submitted by Monica Manning on 12/08/2017 - 11:40 am.

    The Right Speech

    The Democratic women senators perfectly demonstrated what happens when the oppressed adopt the tactics of their oppressors. Minnesotans should have determined Senator Franken’s future: recall, re-election, or defeat. It should not have been the women senators from NY, MO, CA, etc. This was a violation of democracy. I agree with Eric. It was the right speech, rightly given.

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 12/08/2017 - 02:23 pm.

      I don’t like outsiders determining MN election outcomes either,

      …but the main way this takes place is through “foreign” money (i.e., out of state money) flooding into MN during these campaigns.

      I believe Al Franken was a leading practitioner of gathering money in far-flung locales to use in local elections all over, not just here in MN. I’m more perturbed about this. This dynamic can help you on some occasions – and hurt you on others.

      But you gotta admit – whether for good or I’ll – that those women Senators choreographed a tsunami of headlines – and political movement – by working closely TOGETHER to achieve the desired effect. I’m very impressed with how their joined and coordinated forces, assertive in a high degree, were so highly effective.

  18. Submitted by Wanda Ballentine on 12/08/2017 - 01:04 pm.


    He was a wonderful Senator – really questioned Trump’s terrible appointees. I am wondering how many Congessmen should leave – CERTAINLY TRUMP!!!

  19. Submitted by Mary Gustafson on 12/08/2017 - 01:46 pm.

    Senator Franken chose actions in the past that came back to haunt him and are not just those that have been widely publicized. There has been hardly any mention of the Playboy articles, for instance. When a choice like that is made, there is always a chance that at sometime in the future there will be consequences. I’m amazed at how many women have said to me, “well, that’s just the way it was. All guys were handsy back then.” (I’m 61.) But each one of those handsy guys chose his actions – even if he was just following a normal course of action for the time period.

    Senator Franken also CHOSE to resign. No matter how many women or men said he should, he didn’t have to. I find it cowardly that he couldn’t ever admit or “remember” the things he did. But I find it courageous that he would choose to take the steps that would stop the Republicans from continuing the “whatabout” defense of Moore and others. And he also took his family out of a spotlight that must have been particularly horrific for them.

    But no one forced anyone or threw anyone under the bus or anything else. There were no criminal complaints or arrests, so due process doesn’t apply. I’m so thankful that I come from a state like Minnesota where our politicians do the right thing for their constituents.

  20. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 12/08/2017 - 01:53 pm.

    Lots of us women who have undergone serious sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace our entire lives–we are Franken’s age and maybe even a bit older–are truly astonished at the mildness of the offenses Al Franken is accused of, in the new context of “it’s the woman’s experience, how she feels, not the actual event” standards of sexual harassment training workshops. We older women feel in our heart of hearts that the women overstated the outrage.

    And several of them have accused Al Franken of saying things that are simply not in his known character, they don’t sound like him at all–the bit about the invite to the bathroom, and the “I have a right [to sexual gratification] because I’m an entertainer” sentence both just fail to sound like him. Forgive me, ladies, but I’m not buying those stories, or the outrage of the woman who said she was deeply offended by Franken squeezing her waist during a photo op. So when Franken says several of the accusations were not true, I can bet which ones he’s talking of. And when he says he remembers differently several other occasions, he’s referring to photo ops where women said he misplaced his hand.

    But, let’s say thuat Al Franken is a groper. He should have had the opportunity for an investigation by the Ethics Committee of the Senate.

    Franken was denied a hearing. He was denied due process. And that–plus his being pushed out by “public opinion”–is the democracy-destroying element of his case. Republicans are dancing with joy, knowing that all they have to do is keep repeating “the voters must decide [on Trump’s offenses, on Roy Moore’s offenses]” and their guys will continue to tarnish our nation’s dignity and the rule of law.

    One final thought: Why should Al Franken, denied a fair hearing by his peers, admit to offenses he denies committing, while he resigns? Why should he apologize for stuff he didn’t do?

    Do you know for sure that he did all that he’s accused of? No, you don’t.

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