Al Franken's career is collateral damage for the Dems on the way to getting Trump

That sinking feeling Al Franken is experiencing is the realization that his career is now a pawn in the fanatical efforts of Democrats to get President Trump out of office.  The Democrats would not lose his seat, since Minnesota's Governor Mark Dayton can be expected to appoint a Democrat to serve out his term.  Franken is not well liked for reasons that should be self-evident: he is as big a jerk in regular life, as the infamous picture of him and Ms. Tweeden on the C17 would seem to indicate.

 The logical steps for getting Trump  are clear.

Step one: Establish that sexual harassment before taking office is sufficient grounds to remove someone from office.  This is the necessary predicate.  Franken's departure from office will establish the purported sincerity of the Democrats in establishing this brand-new principle.  As a number of observers point out, nobody has ever been thrown out of the Senate for actions prior to taking office.

Step two: Apply this doctrine to Roy Moore if he should win the Senate seat for which he running.  If he loses, triumphantly announce that even the reddest of red states agrees that previous misbehavior is dispositive in removing an incumbent.

Step three: Throw Bill Clinton under the bus.  Rend garments, pull hair out, and otherwise demonstrate what looks like sincere regret that Bill Clinton remained in office thanks to rock-solid Democrat solidarity, now that there is no incumbency to protect.  Hillary, who has become a drag on the party, is thus to be intimidated into quietly caring for her grandchildren.

This is a dangerous assumption, because Hillary will fight back, and thanks to her access to FBI files while living in the White House, she has access to a lot of dirt on many Democrats as well as Republicans, not to mention whatever other dirt she and her machine have come across in the intervening decades.  She fights dirty and still has plenty of friends in the media.

Step four: As the hysteria mounts, following the blood sacrifices, demand that President Trump be impeached for actions before he took office.  Failing that, tell voters that by hanging onto office, he is disgracing the nation and telling little boys to grope their little girl classmates in first grade.

I don't think this plan will work out the way Democrats are thinking.  For one thing, Franken is far from alone in his misbehavior.  The revelation that over $15 million in taxpayer money was spent hushing up claims of sexual harassment in Congress between 1997 and 2014 is a ticking bomb.  The 237 claimants currently are held silent by confidentiality agreements, but leaks are not unknown, and we can expect demands for Congress to abrogate those agreements to be loud as the necessary frenzy to unseat Trump is stoked.

We have no idea which solons are implicated in these settlements, but I strongly suspect that Democrats predominate.  I accept that the inclination to sin is equally distributed between Republicans and Democrats, but the social context for sexual misbehavior is very different in the two parties.  The Democrats, after all, are the party that celebrates sexual liberation and has excused Bill Clinton's sexual predation on political grounds.  Until Harvey Weinstein's misbehavior became public, there was little or no shame (as in public denunciations) for male Democrats abusing powerless females.  Their support of abortion entitled them to act out on lower-status women.

My reading of the Franken sexual assault picture (touching the breast of a sleeping woman is sexual assault, with no doubt) is that Franken's facial expression is that of a little boy aware that he is misbehaving and exultant that he can get away with it.

Among Republicans, such visible sexual misbehavior has always been condemned, which means that GOP members of Congress probably felt more inhibitions.  They had no expectation that their positions on abortion or sexuality would win them forgiveness from others in the party or the media.  In such a coercive environment, the amount of bad behavior is likely to have been much less.

Ned Barnett wisely observes today elsewhere on these pages:

The big challenge will be to find anyone who was an adult in the '60s, '70s or '80s who didn't, at least once, make what would now be seen (charitably) as a big mistake or (morally) as a sin or (legally) as a criminal action.

So we have a situation in which something approaching mutual assured destruction could be unleashed on Congress, but with heavier damage likely on the Democrats' side of the aisle.  In this circumstance, the only winners would be those Americans who want to drain the swamp.  A wholesale bloodletting on Capitol Hill would not be the worst possible outcome, so long as the new legislators are wisely chosen in sufficient numbers.

Now is the time to start planning those candidacies. 

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