Today in Conservative Media is a daily roundup of the biggest stories in the right-wing press.
Conservatives responded to Sen. Al Franken’s announcement of his forthcoming resignation on Thursday. National Review editor Rich Lowry called Franken’s speech “farcical”:
A couple of things are going on here: 1) Democrats obviously want to clear the decks to get a clear line of fire on Roy Moore and Donald Trump, and Franken realizes he can’t stand in the way; 2) In the current environment in the Democratic party it is difficult to question the credibility of any accusers, so Franken would have just dug himself in a deeper hole by trying to defend himself (this is a dynamic that could lead to injustices); 3) Franken is pretty clearly not telling the truth in his denials, and that would have become even more obvious over time.
It’s true that what Franken is accused of isn’t as bad as what Roy Moore is accused of. But he’s a groper, who assumed he could get away with it because the women couldn’t or wouldn’t complain. This is a lousy thing. Surely, the state of Minnesota can come up with someone to occupy one of its two senate seats who hasn’t treated people this way and been dishonest about it.
“Predictably, it didn’t take long before Franken made reference to President Donald Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, and spoke of the ‘irony’ that he would be stepping down ‘while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assaults sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,’ ” Conservative Tribune’s Ben Marquis wrote of Franken’s speech. “The senator droned on for several more minutes, lamenting the fact that this was the ‘worst day’ of his political life and that there was so much more that needed to be done, but expressed confidence that young progressives would take up his mantle and keep working hard to fulfill the left’s agenda.” The Daily Caller’s Amber Athey and Peter Hasson called Franken unapologetic. “Franken’s resignation speech ultimately was pockmarked with the same past excuses he’s offered for his conduct,” they wrote. “Franken portrayed himself as a feminist and ‘champion for women’ throughout his speech, while at the same time trying to undermine the women who accused him of sexual misconduct and refusing to apologize for his actions. Franken’s 1300-word speech on Thursday included exactly zero apologies to the women he allegedly assaulted.”
“Though most of the claims of sexual misconduct over the last few months have involved Democrats, the party is trying to reclaim the moral high ground in anticipation of what they hope will be another ‘Year of the Woman’ in the 2018 midterm elections,” Breitbart’s Joel Pollak said. “To that end, Franken fell on his sword to allow the party to attack Trump.” The Gateway Pundit’s Kristin Taylor criticized Democratic female senators for reportedly embracing Franken after his speech. “If you as a woman truly believe a man is a creepy serial sex assaulter of women, do you get all misty-eyed and line up to tightly hug him when he resigns from the Senate following your demand he do so in the face of numerous accusations of sexual assault?” she asked. “If you are a Democrat woman senator, the answer is ‘yes’, even though several of the allegations involved Franken groping and forcing kisses during hugs.” Franken was also photographed assaulting a woman in her sleep. “Perhaps just like his ‘Saturday Night Live’ character, Stuart Smalley — who would stare into a mirror and say ‘I deserve good things’ and ‘I refuse to beat myself up’ — Franken can take solace in the way his character would sign off each show,” the Daily Wire’s Joseph Curl joked. “ ‘I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.’ ” RedState’s Kimberly Ross speculated about the timing of Franken’s resignation:
No date was given. Today, the people demanded that he make some sort of statement. So he did. The PR police were satisfied, and that’s about it.
In a news cycle that sees almost daily sexual harassment allegations being brought against the well-known, whether they’re in politics, entertainment, or the media, appeasement is a must. At the moment, the spotlight is upon so many figures. Could Franken’s non-resignation resignation announcement [have] been orchestrated to take the heat off of him (at least somewhat) while plans are hatched to save the seat for another Democrat in the near future?
Time will tell.
Hot Air’s Allahpundit criticized Laura Ingraham and Newt Gingrich for defending Franken:
A zero-tolerance policy for harassers in Congress is a good outcome however cynical the reasons for it. And Ingraham is behaving just as expediently in going to the mat for Franken. She’s surprisingly candid about it in her opening statement too: If protecting Trump and Roy Moore means protecting the Democrats’ abusers, that’s a compromise she’s prepared to make. Gingrich, meanwhile, can’t stop congratulating himself for being “politically incorrect” when actually he’s being extremely politically correct by Republican standards. The first rule of GOP political correctness is to cover for Trump at all costs, even if it means stupidly spinning multiple accusations of Franken grabbing women’s asses as just one of those “weird things” comedians do sometimes.
One more thing
You depend on Slate for sharp, distinctive coverage of the latest developments in politics and culture. Now we need to ask for your support.
Our work is more urgent than ever and is reaching more readers—but online advertising revenues don’t fully cover our costs, and we don’t have print subscribers to help keep us afloat. So we need your help. If you think Slate’s work matters, become a Slate Plus member. You’ll get exclusive members-only content and a suite of great benefits—and you’ll help secure Slate’s future.Join Slate Plus