When Scott Fitzgerald said that there are no second acts in American lives, he could have been talking about Al Franken. The curtain is about to ring down on his second – and likely final – act as junior Senator for the State of Minnesota. Many of his Democratic colleagues and lots of his Republican adversaries have demanded his resignation over a growing number of sexual misconduct incidents. After all, Conyers is gone. Roy Moore may be walking into a shooting gallery. Franken will resign. The culture demands it because the Groper-in-Chief is the elephant in the room. All of the fallen misogynists are placeholders for the future ex-president. Their careers are dying for his sins as well as their own.
If Franken’s follies were limited to his first act, comedian and humorist, he might have survived. Not that shoving his tongue down Leann Tweeden’s throat passes for stagecraft or that the prank photo of Franken seeming to grab her breasts would get him on the short list for the Mark Twain Award. But USO shows have never been high-brow affairs. Bob Hope ran on fumes for decades by parading Ms. Va-Va-Va-Voom in front of our weary troops. Different times, different mores perhaps, but Bob probably kept both hands on his own putter.
As a Senator, Franken supported legislation that called for equal pay for women and freedom in their reproductive rights choices. He sponsored a bill from which he has removed his name. After the USO scandal broke he stood defiant, calling for the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate him. No Senator had been unseated for acts undertaken before taking office. He thought he could withstand the scrutiny. Not any more.
The funny man got the hook when more victims stepped forward, complaining that Senator Al groped them during photo ops at the Minnesota State Fair. Franken said he didn’t remember; between the fried mooseburgers on a stick and the Four-H shows, one could lose their mind and forget locking their mitts like a vice grips on a voter’s buttocks. Five was too much, though, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the list continues to grow. In fact, he’s lucky that the sheep and cows have maintained their vow of silence.
Franken has been a hard-working Senator, and he has taken his state’s interests seriously and knowledgeably. He’s a smart and articulate guy. He’s done his homework and has gone after Jeff Sessions and Betsy Devos in their confirmation hearings, nailing them with their own words. Being an honorary Minnesotan, I’ve observed his supporter’s silent disapproval. His constituents were not calling for his ouster but they were ashamed of his behavior. Liberals wanted to give him a pass, but he should not get special treatment. It doesn’t matter if his heart is in the right place if his hands are not.