Sen. Mazie Hirono wants Sen. Al Franken to "Set An Example"
Originally posted at the ungodly hour of 5 AM.
Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono (HI) reiterated her call for fellow Democrat Sen. Al Franken (MN) to resign from the U.S. Senate last night on the Rachel Maddow Show last night.
1. When Sen. Hirono said, "When the third, fourth, fifth, sixth woman steps forward, you come to what I would describe as a tipping point and the need to take a position," I couldn't help but recall the long list of Seattle pols who waited until after a fifth accuser had stepped forward before calling on Mayor Ed Murray to resign. The accusations against Murray were far more serious than those against Franken, of course, but there are echoes of the Murray scandal here. Locals politicians — like our new mayor — who waited until the fifth accusation to call on Murray to resign came in for heavy criticism. Yesterday Democratic senators were being praised for calling on Franken to resign after his eighth accuser stepped forward. So what's the math here? Do we divide the number of accusers by the seriousness of the accusations before determining how many accusers it takes to reach the tipping point?
2. When asked if she expects Franken to resign today (Franken is making a statement this morning and may have already resigned by the time you read this), Sen. Hirono said, "I hope he'll do the right thing and step aside. We can't force him to resign, but I think so many of us have called upon him to set an example. I think we should be held to a standard."
Ezra Klein also called on Democrats to hold themselves to a higher standard and set a good example...
Unlike the Democratic senators who called on Franken to resign yesterday, at least Klein paired his call for Franken to resign with a demand for Trump to resign as well. Good on him. But I'm suspicious of the utility — not the morality — of Democrats holding themselves to higher standards than Republicans hold themselves to or are held to by the media. As I attempted to articulate during my convo with Sydney Brownstone and Eli Sanders on this week's Blabbermouth, I'm totally with Sydney (and Mazie and Ezra) on the morality — politicians who abuse or assault women and girls (or men and boys) should have to resign — but I worry about the consequences if only Democrats are held to this standard. Republicans are in Washington for the raw exercise of power — Merrick Garland, the tax bill, this insane and insanely hypocritical gun bill, etc., etc. — but Democrats are there to set a good example and shame Republicans into being better people. Not now, while the world is burning, not right away. Because it won't happen all at once, like Klein says, but, you know, someday. Hopefully before the GOP, which currently controls everything, gets around to destroying everything. Fingers crossed. [shamrock emoji]
Dahlia Lithwick has the same qualms I do and she unpacked them much more eloquently on Slate than I was able to do on Blabbermouth:
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