McFeely: It's time to resign, Sen. Franken
Leave it up to Democrats to spend their time hand-wringing while Republicans punch them in the face. It's one of the reasons Republicans control Congress, the White House and most of the state governments around the country.
Republicans, politically, are mean. Vicious, even. They play to win. This observation is not meant as a criticism, necessarily. It's actually worthy of awe.
Look at what happened this week. The Republican president of the United States said he's supporting a Republican U.S. Senate candidate who was credibly accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl and sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl when he was in his 30s.
Republicans have made their decision: They'll support Roy Moore rather than lose an election. Their singular focus is impressive, if soulless.
Democrats? They debate, contemplate and reflect about nebulous concepts such as "doing the right thing." They recoil in horror at the stench of what Republicans are doing, but their response is only to retreat to Starbucks to philosophize about how great the world would be if people wouldn't hurt each other's feelings.
Take the case of U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, a popular Democrat. Franken was credibly accused by a woman of forcibly kissing and groping her. Days later, a different woman accused Franken of grabbing her buttocks while taking a photo at the Minnesota State Fair.
Democrats stumbled, fumbled and mumbled in the aftermath of the revelations, seemingly going through the seven stages of grief over their beloved liberal. They talked about being hurt by the news and struggling with it. The wailing on social media was unbearable. The hand-wringing was heavy, the debate over what Franken should do heavier.
Meantime, national outrage deflected from the unconscionable creep in Alabama.
Only a handful of Democrats, it seems, got it. Two female Minnesota gubernatorial candidates and a couple of progressive organizations said what needed to be said: Franken should resign. His behavior, they said, was inexcusable and he should lead by example by quitting.
They could have been more succinct and said: Get lost, Al.
Franken's toast. The moment his accusers came forward, Franken was a political liability. He's no longer an effective voice for progressives and his indiscretions will be weaponized against other Democrats. He serves no political purpose.
How can Democrats rail against the hypocrisy of Republicans if their own creepers aren't held accountable? Democrats can seize the moral high ground to use against Republicans.
There is no political price to pay for having Franken vanish. Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, would appoint a successor to fill Franken's seat until 2018. Democrats could throw everything at picking up the Alabama seat, even if it would only be temporary.
Franken messed up and needs to pay the price. He's replaceable, just like every politician. Democrats should stop sniveling and realize that. There are times for introspection and times for political hardball. Now is time for the latter.
It's not personal, it's strictly business. Resign, Sen. Franken.
Readers can reach Forum columnist Mike McFeely at (701) 241-5379