Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Franken Must Go- If....

It was six days- nearly a week- ago that Bruce Bartlett, having had enough, tweeted

The issue is not whether charges against Franken are true; I assume they are & charges against Trump are also true. But I don't hear progressives demanding that Trump resign, only that Franken resign. It's the double standard that the left enforces on itself that drives me crazy.

On Sunday, December 10, Kirsten Gillibrand became the fifth US senator (all Democrats) to call on Donald Trump to resign or consider resigning as President because of the allegations that he has harassed and/or assaulted numerous women. She had been preceeded by Vermont senator Sanders, New Jersey senator Booker, and Oregon senators Merkley and Wyden, though Ms. Gillibrand was notably the first woman to have asked Trump to step down.

Still (as they all realize) Donald Trump won't resign, so their pleas will prove of very limited value. That is, unless they take that emphatic advice from Bartlett, who served Presidents Reagan and Bush 41.  On the same day as his other tweet, Bartlett had remarked "Democrats are so stupid. The obvious thing to say about the Al Franken business is that he will resign the day Trump resigns."

This plan is brilliantly simple. There is no concern that President Trump will call their bluff because Trump still would refuse to resign. Althoug at that point, Democrats would need a response, if Alabama voters do the predictable today (Tuesday), they have one begging to be used: Franken will resign once there is an ethics investigation of Senator-elect Roy Moore.

This would box in Senate Majority Leader McConnell, who otherwise is unlikely to initiate an ethics investigation because of the bad publicity it would engender for the GOP.  He could accept the Democrats' challenge, in which case well-publicized, possibly lurid, hearings would do his Party no good.  Alternatively, he could stubbornly refuse an investigation.  Not only could Democrats then use a Senator Moore as a campaign weapon (which they are expected to do anyway,) but McConnell's refusal would throw upon the issue greater attention because it would be coupled with the Franken matter.

Bartlett believes the Democratic Party is "stupid" because it demanded that one of its own, Al Franken, resign with no questions asked. But when members of the Congressional Black Caucus, singed by pressure on John Conyers to resign, alleged a double standard, other Democratic pols took notice. When that was coupled with a recommendation from seven female Senators that Franken resign, the Party had no choice. The base would not be denied.

But Democratic members of the House and the Senate, especially blacks and women, are not fond of President Trump.  There likely would be little pushback from anyone in the Party if the  resignation of one (of 100) Senators was linked to that of the President of the United States. The Party wasn't necessarily stupid by pressuring Al Franken to go back to Minnesota. Nonetheless, if in the wake of calls for President Trump to resign they don't link the two, Bruce Bartlett's characterization would be proven accurate, and clearly so.

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