Things are likely not very joyful in the office of Senator Al Franken or Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer this morning.
After enjoying nothing short of a feeding frenzy in recent days with the continuous stream of accusations against Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, things have taken an unfortunate turn for the progressive left. As liberals basked in the glow of yet another conservative “family values” politician being exposed as a hypocrite, Judge Moore and his legal team have mounted perhaps the most bumbling, weakest defense possible.
It’s been so bad that even Republican lawmakers felt obligated to move quickly and distance themselves from the train wreck that is the judge’s candidacy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised an immediate ethics investigation, while Indiana Republican Senator Todd Young (among others) said Moore needs to step aside, “to protect the integrity of the Senate.”
That comment from young alone might be the most absurd of this entire saga. Who, other than the self-absorbed pols that occupy the joint, believes that there is any integrity in an institution that until recently included Grand Cyclops Klansman Robert Byrd, sleazy womanizer Ted Kennedy, and currently includes federally indicted Bob Menendez and Al Franken.
Complete with photographic evidence, Los Angeles news anchor and former sports broadcaster Leeann Tweeden has come forward with evidence that Senator Franken sexually assaulted her while she was sleeping on a USO Tour.
I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep. I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated. How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?
I told my husband everything that happened and showed him the picture. I wanted to shout my story to the world with a megaphone to anyone who would listen, but even as angry as I was, I was worried about the potential backlash and damage going public might have on my career as a broadcaster.
But that was then, this is now. I’m no longer afraid.
She shouldn’t be. She shouldn’t have ever had to be. And the truth is, she is far from alone. The sordid conduct of our country’s “public servants” in Washington is among the worst kept secrets in the world. Ask yourself if you would be surprised if news broke that either of your two Senators were guilty of corruption or adultery. Assuming the vast majority of us would answer no, think how sad that is.
Everyone has moral failings. Expecting to find anyone free from sin to elect to office is an unreasonable standard and irrational proposition. Jesus won’t be appearing on any ballots any time soon.
But surely those we elect to positions of public trust should be held to a higher standard.
Surely it is appropriate to expect that if we are placing them in charge of the public’s affairs, they should exhibit responsible control over their personal affairs.
Surely Republicans can agree that child predators like Dennis Hastert aren’t worthy of distinction, and that there are better options for leaders than men like Moore who can’t put up a credible defense against accusations he assaulted a 14-year-old girl.
Surely Democrats can agree that Ted Kennedy leaving his 28-year-old mistress to drown in a car he wrecked while drunk should have been disqualifying, and that Al Franken forcing his tongue into the mouth of a woman who didn’t want it there, then grabbing her breasts while she slept is enough to expel from the Senate.
Recent months have witnessed an important moment in American culture where the sexual perversion of many powerful men has been exposed and rightfully shamed. But if that movement towards greater respect for women is to endure – and I hope it does – we can’t allow it to go unpunished in the “world’s most deliberative body.”
Todd Young is wrong – we don’t need to “protect the integrity of the Senate.” We need to “return integrity to the Senate.”