Mr. Franken is being run out of town by fellow Democrats in large part for their own political purposes. They want him banished so they can claim to have cleaned their own stables so they can attack Republicans who support Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore and Donald Trump. Mr. Franken is political ballast who had to go.
We’d even have a little sympathy for him had he not chosen the disingenuous exit of claiming innocence but resigning anyway.
People speak of mixed motives and say it’s all brute politics. The Democrats are positioning themselves for the high ground should Republican Roy Moore be elected. They’re aligning themselves with the passions of their base, while clearing the way for a probe into sexual-harassment accusations against the president. New York’s Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who led the charge that forced Mr. Franken’s departure, hopes to run for president in 2020 as a champion of women, so the move was happily on-brand. I don’t doubt all of this is true. Little in politics comes from wholly clean hands.
(Peggy Noonan, Al Franken Departs Without Grace) Noonan goes on to sound yet another call for Alabama Republicans to think twice, or thrice, about voting for Roy Moore.
“ ‘All this will I give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’ ”
The prospect of Sen. Roy Moore has been both horrifying and clarifying. It would be difficult to design a more controlled, precise test of the moral gag reflex in politics.
(Michael Gerson) For someone who is Biblically literate, that’s a really potent epigram, isn’t it? More:
In this political lifeboat dilemma, Republicans are being asked what principles they are willing to throw overboard in the interest of power. A belief that character matters in politics? Splash. A commitment to religious and ethnic inclusion? Splash. Moral outrage at credible charges of sexual predation against teen girls? Splash.
Those remaining in this lightened boat display a kind of shocking clarity. They value certain political ends — tax cuts, a conservative judiciary — more than ethical considerations. When it comes to confirming judges who oppose Roe v. Wade, the vote of a statesman is no better than the vote of a sexual predator — or, presumably, of a drug dealer or a murderer. This type of calculation admits no limiting principle.
So, in this view, it does not really matter that there is (as Ivanka Trump put it) “no reason to doubt the victims’ accounts” in Moore’s case. It does not matter that Moore’s explanations have been shifting and slippery. It does not matter that Moore has said that homosexual behavior should be illegal, or that he compared resisting gay marriage to resisting the Holocaust, or that he referred to Asians as “yellows,” or that he doesn’t believe former president Barack Obama is a natural born citizen, or that he believes there are communities living under shariah law in Illinois and Indiana.
Those willing to swallow all this — all the ignorance, cruelty, creepiness and malice — have truly shown the strength of their partisan commitment. A purity indistinguishable from mania …
The basic argument here — that ethics can be ignored in the process of doing great work in the world — is precisely what brings institutions into disrepute. The Catholic Church covered up sexual predation on the justification that it was otherwise doing great work in the world. Some evangelical Christians are now publicly playing down credible charges of sexual predation for the same reason. And they are doing tremendous damage to the reputation of the Christian church in the process ….
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I would a thousand times rather have dinner with secular liberals of a certain temperament than with a group of religious conservatives who agreed with me about most things, but who have no sense of humor or irony.