Why the Left is reconsidering Al Franken

Wednesday, July 24, 2019
 | 
Ben Shapiro - Guest Columnist
https://twitter.com/BenShapiro
Shapiro

Sen. Al Franken was kicked out of the Democratic Party when Democrats were trying to build a case against President Donald Trump. Now that they've concluded that case won't work, they want Franken back again. Presumably, they'll soon be back to praising Bill Clinton, too.


On Monday, The New Yorker printed a lengthy piece by reporter Jane Mayer about the sad fate of former Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. Franken resigned from the Senate in 2017 after a bevy of women accused him of sexual harassment; their accounts ranged from unwanted kisses to unsolicited fondling. In the midst of the #MeToo movement, Franken stepped down, all the while decrying President Trump's own record of allegations concerning mistreatment of women.

At the time, there were two possible interpretations of events. The first was more inspiring: After decades of defending sexual misconduct by powerful Democratic figures, Democrats and their media allies were finally willing to reset a social standard. In the wake of #MeToo, they had reconsidered their worship of Teddy Kennedy, their pathetic willingness to cover for Bill Clinton. A new day had dawned.

Then there was the second, more cynical theory: Democrats and their media allies were looking to set a new standard out of pure partisanship. They weren't really concerned about Franken's victims any more than they had been about Clinton's victims. Instead, they were looking to establish a level of morally superior ground upon which to attack Trump and demand that Republicans disown him.

This week, we found out which theory was true.

Mayer, the New Yorker reporter, rose to public acclaim just last year when she reported on then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's supposed sexual evils. With no supporting facts other than the hazy accounts of decades-old events, she attacked Kavanaugh with alacrity. Now, however, she has flipped: She's concerned with Franken's lack of due process; she questions the political motivations of one of his accusers; she points out that the evidence is supposedly scanty. Democrats, too, have risen to Franken's defense. Many now claim that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., was the real villain in this scenario, having rushed for Franken's scalp precipitously.

Al Franken (U.S. senator)In other words, Franken was kicked out of the party when Democrats were trying to build a case against Trump. Now that they've concluded that case won't work, they want Franken back again. Presumably, they'll soon be back to praising Clinton, too.

This sort of behavior is deeply destructive to American public discourse. That's because a standard upheld only as a weapon to target political opposition is no standard at all. What's more, the partisan interpretation of the standard creates an incentive for opponents to violate their own commitment to the standard. It's a classic prisoner's dilemma: The person who actually abides by a common moral standard and speaks out against bad behavior on all sides ends up the sucker. Only a fool would call out his own side to the cheers of opponents while his opponents defend their own degenerates.

The problem of politically motivated standards isn't restricted to sexual abuse. It extends to race: Why should Republicans condemn President Trump's tweets about the so-called Squad while Democrats maintain support for Rep. Ilhan Omar's anti-Semitism and Rep. Ayanna Pressley's racism? Why should Republicans provide ammunition to their ill-motivated opponents?

The only way to restore a common standard in politics is for both sides to rebuild trust, step by step. And that can only happen when both sides share common goals and values. Otherwise, everyone will decide that losing by abiding by the rules must take a back seat to victory by any means. And that means the destruction of our standards, one by one, until there are no standards left.

We're getting pretty close already.

COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM


Ben Shapiro, 35, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of "The Ben Shapiro Show" and editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com. He is author of the No. 1 New York Times bestseller "The Right Side Of History."

This column is printed with permission. Opinions expressed in 'Perspectives' columns published by OneNewsNow.com are the sole responsibility of the article's author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of the staff or management of, or advertisers who support the American Family News Network, OneNewsNow.com, our parent organization or its other affiliates.

We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article - NOT another reader's comments. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved. More details

FEATURED PODCAST

SIGN UP FOR OUR DAILY NEWSBRIEF

SUBSCRIBE

VOTE IN OUR POLL

Why is the Democratic establishment so worried that Bernie Sanders may become their nominee?

CAST YOUR VOTE

GET PUSH NOTIFICATIONS

SUBSCRIBE

LATEST AP HEADLINES

Worried Democrats rush to slow front-runner Sanders
Dow drops over 1,000 as outbreak threatens global economy
Generational split among SC black voters could hurt Biden
Victims turn to media to expose sex abuse by college doctors
Public memorial service remembers the private Kobe Bryant
US appeals court upholds Trump rules involving abortions
Justices to hear Philly dispute over same-sex foster parents

LATEST FROM THE WEB

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos calls out AOC's hypocrisy on school choice
Trump administration asks Congress for $2.5B to combat coronavirus
Liberal Ninth Circuit upholds Trump admin's rules on abortion funding
Greyhound to stop allowing Border Patrol immigration checks on buses
Public school launches secret program to turn kids 'trans' without telling parents

CARTOON OF THE DAY

Cartoon of the Day