Washington Post: Al Franken Is Just The Tip Of The Congressional Harassment Iceberg

Washington Post: Al Franken Is Just The Tip Of The Congressional Harassment Iceberg

One has to wonder if this is a serious concern for the Washington Post Editorial Board, or a bit of Whataboutism designed to protect Franken from calls to resign. Which is ridiculous, because, if he resigns, there’s a good chance another Democrat will replace him, so, it’s not like the Democrats would lose ultimately

Al Franken is just the start of Congress’s reckoning with sexual harassment

DURING A hearing on harassment in the Capitol, Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) told the story of a young woman whose male boss, a sitting member of Congress, answered the door in a towel and exposed himself when the staffer stopped by his house to drop off materials. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said she knew of two current lawmakers, one a Democrat and the other a Republican, who “have engaged in sexual harassment.” And now a Los Angeles radio host has accused Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) of kissing and groping her without her consent.

Mr. Franken’s misconduct occurred in 2006, three years before he entered the Senate. But the allegations against him have brought the nationwide reckoning with sexual harassment into the Capitol. (snip – we know what the deal is with Franken)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) have both called for an investigation into Mr. Franken’s conduct, to which the senator pledges his cooperation. We’re glad to see members of Mr. Franken’s own party voice their support for a fair probe by the Senate Ethics Committee. Mr. McConnell’s commitment to supporting committee investigations into “all credible allegations of sexual harassment or assault” also must hold firm for members of his own party — not only Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, into whom Mr. McConnell has promised an ethics probe if Mr. Moore triumphs in an Alabama special election. Ms. Comstock’s and Ms. Speier’s stories show that abuse of power on Capitol Hill is a problem that crosses party lines.

Here’s the question: was it abuse of power? Or just people being jerks? Franken was certainly a jerk in both instances, but, does it rise to the level of sexual harassment? Or just inappropriate contact? Certainly, we’ve all done things that we later regretted, have we not? And, sometimes, we would apologize and atone for the actions. Was dropping the towel from the beginning of the editorial a mistake? Was the Congressman looking for something more? Or just an accident? Part of the problem here is that the SJWs have expanded the definition of sexual harassment well beyond reasonable definition. Just checking out another person is now sexual harassment. Asking for dates is sexual harassment. A wolf whistle, while rude (and, yes, women do all this, too), is now The Worst.

As the committee looks into Mr. Franken’s behavior, it will have to consider what comes next. What level of misconduct merits a lawmaker’s departure from Congress? Should the legislature have a zero-tolerance policy, or can gradations of offense be recognized? If a member’s wrongdoing took place entirely before his time on the Hill, should that affect continued service? Members of the House of Representatives should be asking these same questions.

And that’s where we wonder if this is about protecting Franken. In the private sector, most people who engage in actual sexual harassment will be terminated. I’ve sat in on several cases where employees harassed others. No touching was involved in either. Just poor words and gestures. Only one was dumb enough to make a complaint to the EEOC. For Franken, this occurred prior to his election. Should this mean he should be ousted? Resign? The WPEB doesn’t say

“As elected officials,” Ms. Gillibrand said, “we should be held to the highest standards — not the lowest.” She is right. Both Democrats and Republicans should support measures to hold predators to account, provide victims with support and make clear that all people deserve to be treated with respect.

Let’s be honest: the highest standards train left the station long. Very few good people run for office. And, considering the support of outlets like the Washington Post for people like Robert Byrd, Bill Clinton (and his enabling/protecting wife), and a guy who left a young woman to drown while he lawyered up and created an alibi, perhaps they aren’t the best for holding elected officials accountable.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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